Teleportation was never an exact science - not when there were plenty of realms to see, numerous dimensions to fall into, clustered of life that people generally didn’t see hidden in the seams between the sewed up edges of the universe - and, on more than one occasion he opted not to talk about in any considerable regard, Henry wasn’t without his miscalculations. It might not have been difficult to tear open a portal into another dimension, especially those he had been familiar with, but there were a great many things in the books he had taken to - those iron-bound and locking texts with everything from recipes for various potions to spells for various purposes, and when performed correctly they could unlock an equally vast expanse of existence that one was either extremely brazen or extremely foolish - perhaps even both - to tread within or, as had been the case of his own gruesome existence, bring about to present fibers of reality.
And on one occasion - one he could remember vividly, not fondly, and widely preferred not to - it had nearly killed him through no fault of his own; but the airbrushed landscape that stretched out in front of him was no battlefield for a kingdom of bones nor was it the decrepit rot that spread from a splayed cage of bone, jutting out in parts anatomically incorrect for the structure. The soft sounds of a bristle brush across already laid lines and blocked color swatches - some meant for illuminated backing as layers were placed over them while others would carry into deeper tones of the same palette to build up form - had nothing to do with the incessant buzz of insects, like swarming flies, that would have accompanied such a putrid existence. The canvas wasn’t a creeping battlefield that threatened to push away the living nature of the world - people and all - in hopes of domination over the other parliaments, searching out those avatars which would bring about the full power of Sethe, and yet, there was something particularly foul on the wind that seemed to carry even into the confines of a new existence in a new apartment which, on such a turn-heel of cleanliness, seemed to breathe.
It was in the walls, under the floors, an ceaseless tapping of small limbs that on their own may not have made no sound, but in the growing numbers became a droning predator hum as if they were looking for something - looking for someone - that was shut up within; and though Henry would have liked to believe that it was something to do with his own mental fortitude, perhaps someone attempting to break through ill-laid telepathic securities, a demon from the depths with something to say about the appointed eldritch guardian of Limbo, there was the ever-falling pit of despair in his stomach that told him he knew what this was and that he knew what had befallen San Francisco.
But never once had he guessed it wasn’t San Francisco to be affected, but the individual, until there was a larger - louder - crash at his front door.
They almost seemed to come in droves, such misshapen creatures built of rotting flesh, putrescent sinew, and spoilt being, forever shifted by the Rot as - one by one - even some of the mightiest of heroes that might have once protected the animalistic Red and natural Green; but while the façade of costumed supers and masked villains might have been recognizable in some form, there were just as many that, everyday citizens who held little hope against such a perverse and permanent force as the Black, had only become malformed, misshapen monsters against such an intrusion. Leonard - the zombie cohort of his brother who he could only imagine would maintain some sense of abominable liveliness - had been one of them and a number of individuals sure to be unrecognizable in such a future with him, necks twisted around with the parasitic mold brought on by the flap of ill-natured wings, buzzing - always buzzing - around.
But the Henry who had endured the sudden spike of sharp bones while a deity - this Avatar of the Rot - attempted to escape into San Francisco wasn’t the same that was facing the Rot now nor was he alone as the dark shirt he wore shifted, mutated of its own volition, to fortify what was otherwise soft and meek, destructible flesh, and force some movement into suddenly still movement. Staying there - it wasn’t beneficial to either of them, the symbiote knew though there had been no forewarning, no discussion, of the equally parasitic action that had taken place to ensure not only Henry’s safety, but his own when the last thing either wanted to be a part of was such a disastrous horde that heralded the end of life in that cyclical cycle of mortality.
Where magic wouldn’t work, force would and through the dismemberment of decomposing parts courtesy of a weapon born of the symbiote’s very flesh, he emerged on the other side of a turning pack in a full sprint, tripping only slightly when the alien creature once more submerged, armor melding back into the jacket form it more readily wore in contemporary society, and Henry felt his sneakered feet hitting a pavement of bone, not concrete.
It might have been San Francisco, the decrepit landscape that now stretched before him, but this was no longer the right place, the right time, or the future he had any hope of being caught in, and he had no idea how he got there.
“I can’t -” Henry stammered, pillars of bone standing high like the skyscrapers that once adored the city while skeletal remains of concrete and steel construction reached towards the sky as if searching for some hope - some salvation - from within the rubble. The air, damp with decay, weighed heavily, threatening to choke out the senses well before he was able to catch any panicked breath that only seemed to grow more severe as the all-too-long seconds passed, allowing his eyes to take in the effigies of untold destruction; and something stirred within, a compulsion that threatened to trigger fight or flight.
And, in this case with a door unintentionally opened in a treacherous future he had only seen a sliver of from the threatening hold of a slow death, it would be flight that won out.
“I can’t do this again,” Henry commented to that voice listening on the other side of symbiotic bond, attempting some measure of stability in shaky hands to attempt to find an exit - to anywhere, to any dimension, to those places he dared not tread or those he had yet to see. Any of them would have been better than this, but where it had been so easy before to tear into those interdimensional fabrics, even magically-inclined fingers found it hard to find and grab hold of such a divide with the threatening echo of the march behind him, all gnashing claws and snarling teeth, encroaching.
Fight, nothing that Henry could say he was ever good at without the aid of those magical energies often employed, was the only option. Fight, nothing that Henry was inclined to even with all matters of destructive creatures just a few layers of fabric away, was what he had to do. Fight, nothing his bones seemed inclined to do on their own, was a job for someone else that once more worked his way from the depths of biological being to take over in a flood of darkness that seemed to seep into every nook and cranny and niche of Henry’s physical being, was what would help them survive.