Like a maddening drug, the poison beats through your system. You struggle for air and pain shoots through your limbs as your heart stutters erratically. A scarecrow approaches you and demands your token of payment to pass into the Farmer Underworld. Yes, you confess that you are a man of sin…No, wait. Medicine? Oh. You misunderstood again and your addled brain drew you into another fiction. That’s the doctor!
He’s saying something important, but you can’t quite grasp it. It’s this damn poison! You try to focus. Heart? Yes. He says your heart needs to beat faster to keep you alive.
Like a drum, heralding your approach to the Halls of Death. A shadowy figure in the corner rises…a woman. She gently rests her arms around you. Her lips touch your forehead. Cold lips. She draws you to your feet and through the rusted doorway. You hear moaning all around you. She thrusts you to the floor and climbs atop you…this is getting interesting. Then she presses something cold and metallic against your throat. A…barbell?
“Strain!” She orders you. You’re not sure what she has in mind.
She slaps your face, and you recognize her as your first mate.
“Train!” she commands. “Train as if your life depended on it…’cause it does!”
“What?” you cry. “Where am I?” The moaning of the timbers of your ship answer your question.
She hits you in the face. Ouch. That wasn’t very pleasant.
She says, “I don’t care where you think you are! Just listen! If you want to survive, you have to keep your heart rate up. There’s a chance you could burn off the poison and survive. So get lifting!”
Well, who are you to argue with the Angel of Death?
Just beyond the veil of death, a figure beckons. He offers you a bet. If you survive, you can have his boots!