It was his sense of sound that returned first. Even before he felt it on his skin, the grass and leaves sighed as a warm breeze brushed past them. Somewhere in the distance, a bird chirruped playfully, calling out to whomever would listen to its song. What darkness had once surrounded him was gone, chased away by the natural light of the sun.
“How long was I out,” he wondered.
His body ached, bruised from the rubble that had battered him in the alley. Slowly, he pushed himself into a sitting position, balled his hands into fists, and ground them into his eyes as he attempted to chase away the cobwebs.
When he opened his eyes, the light stabbed into them like red-hot daggers. His vision was blurry, but what he could see was nothing short of confusing. A sea of green surrounded him, undulating softly to and fro in the wind. His head barely poked over the tips of the soft blades of grass, which he could now identify by its fresh smell, something he hadn’t experienced since he was a boy.
As his vision swam into focus, he could see that he was indeed in the middle of the richest pasture he had ever laid eyes upon. The grass was deep emerald, and as he rose to his feet, he discovered that it reached nearly to his waist. Though the ground around his immediate area was flat, he soon learned that he was between two lines of hills that sharply rose and fell to either side of him.
“Luigi,” he hollered again as a sinking feeling began to grow inside of him. The last thing he remembered, before being swallowed by the darkness, was the look in his brother’s eyes as he slipped away. It was the fear of a man who know he was going to die.
He turned, and what he saw next stopped him in his tracks. Suddenly, the desperation was pushed aside, the need to find his sibling, forgotten. For, before him was something that in all his years as a plumber, had never existed until this moment.
Mario Morelli, son of Rocco and a master of his trade in his own right, was staring into the five foot diameter opening of a green steel pipe. There was only a few feet in before it dropped off into the ground, but it was the sign over the opening that gave him more cause for concern. In bold letters, in a font he didn’t recognize, was a word he could easily read.
He didn’t have long to ponder the implications, for behind him, something was shambling toward him.