The canyon was dark and deep. The longer the old man stared the deeper it became. The sun began to set on the horizon, releasing vibrant reds and pinks into the sky. The old man knew what he had to do.
He began to descend into the canyon, noticing the cold from the rocks creep through his clothes and burrow into his skin. The sun dipped below the sky. Twilight was upon him. He reached the bottom eventually, and his joints felt like two metal pieces grinding against one another slowly. His eyelids felt like bricks as they begged him to let them close. He battled to keep himself awake. He stumbled and slipped along the old rocks. The darkness called to him.
He walked along the canyon's floor, dried rocks telling of a river now long gone, once flowing with life-giving nectar. The old man kept walking on the dead rocks until his body became frozen with fear. Up ahead was who he was looking for: Peter.
That was the name given to him by the ones living above the canyon. They always told the old man: people find Peter and never come back. Bats swirled around his deathly figure, his dark robes inviting an embrace. Whispers wafted from him like a deadly smell.
Come, come! Closer!
The old man crept closer. "Peter," he whispered to the terrifying form. The dark man smelled of death and burnt wood.
"I am," the thing spoke. "You have come to accompany me."
"I just know I must find you."
The thing grabbed his hood and withdrew it. What the old man saw underneath was everything. Everything dreamt, everything seen. Everything feared, everything loved. His face had no form, no features. It just appeared to be whatever the old man wanted. All that he didn't want. It was terrifying yet incredibly comforting. The unknown pierced his soul, and he knew it.
"Follow," it said to him.
The old man followed Peter as he walked toward the dark side of the canyon. Frigid air seized him. Peter seemed unaffected. They reached a cave. The moon faded from the sky, the stars twinkled out.
"Who are you?" the old man asked.
"The guardian of the place you are about to enter."
"I don't want to go," he responded.
"You have no choice. I do."
The old man's skin began to loosen, his hair began to fade and fall to the ground. The cave that laid ahead seemed to scream loudly to him. He was forced. His legs pushed him foreword. He was feet from the cave when he saw his skin fall apart. Muscles dropped. His bones creaked and squealed as they struggled to move.
He fell into the cave, Peter staring back at him. "The beyond chooses."
The old man, now only a skeleton, fell into the beyond.
The beyond was darkness.
The old man's life faded.
Death took its place.