Of late, he had begun to look up to the skies, as if in search of an answer.
The sounds he heard had no rational equivalent in any of his experiences or travels. His actions were completely dominated by a desire to escape that which was fueled by partial constructs dragged out of the rancid depths of his imagination.
If pressed, he would not have been able to describe what had surfaced such extreme terror in his heart. The unnatural sounds that echoed off of the surrounding rock formations nearly paralyzed him with fear.
Still he fought to keep moving.
He snapped his head, left then right, frantically turning his head to determine from which direction the sounds which drove him emanated, his glances taking on an almost violent intensity as he sought a glimpse of that which had left him in a state of near mindless, stumbling flight...at the same time, deathly afraid that he might actually see that which for now, he only heard.
At the same time, inhuman wails drifted in and out of the background, rising to screaming peaks of
senseless sound, then cascading down a painful register of moans and sobs. Clasping his hands over his ears had no effect as the cries penetrated his very being.
Soon his own sobs began softly adding to the surrounding chorus of pain.
At some unknown point, oblivious to the consequences, it appeared that he had attempted to ingest several mouthfuls of the ashen grey dust that covered the ground.
It was during a fit of wracking coughs, his body desperately seeking to purge itself, that a distant herd-like movement caught his eye. The shuffling movement of the mass slowly began to adopt a familiarity for some reason as Titus stumbled towards the object.
Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be a large mob of humans, most wearing either the uniform of personnel assigned to the fleet or the heavy laborers associated with the excavation.
Thinking that he had found the remnants of his task force, Titus ran to the group waving his arms.
The mob immediately stopped moving and much like a school of fish, turned as one to face Titus and began shuffling in his direction. The unnatural way in which each and every member of the mob acted the same caused Titus to stop in confusion.
As they moved closer, Titus could see the open mouths of individuals, grey dust trickling out with each step, while their eyes looked frantically from side to side. Titus was left with the distinct impression that
it was as if they were moving while under the control of something else.
As they drew nearer, the mob extended their arms as one. Some even wielded weapons, though he was unable to see if their hands were positioned to fire.
Turning to flee, Titus' flight was interrupted by the shrieking roar of a large entity as it crashed into the mob, much like an oceanic predator driving through a swarm of small fish. Titus immediately ran away, his peripheral vision catching a vision of a monstrous beast, seemingly comprised of scything legs and an open maw.
Sometime later after he had stopped running, he couldn't quite be certain whether he had heard or only imagined that he had heard, dry, dusty screams issue from the mob.
Days...or was it weeks...later, Titus stumbled upon a shallow pool of what appeared to be water. As he bent over the fluid, an impossible visage appeared, framed by the flaming skies.
Shrieking, he turned and ran.