The old man hangs in the air, frayed white linen hanging from his gaunt, feeble frame like the last drooping fronds of a dying willow. He’s lost track of how long he’s been there—months? Years? Long enough that he can barely remember anything else. The power that suspends him also sustains him—it is a prison, not a tomb—but it provides only enough sustenance to prevent his death.
Each day he struggles to master his hunger and his thirst, steeling himself to meet his captor, and each day they go through the same ritual. His former mentor and friend accosts him, threatens him, makes demands he cannot possibly fulfill—and, when the day nears its end, he threatens to do worse the day that follows. But for his captor that day never comes: he’s still trapped in the death-throes of the island, and when the island resets, so does he. And so the next day the old man is forced to do it all again, and the next day, and the next, a never-ending stream of being re-introduced to the man who betrayed him and the entire world.
Except that each new day brings even greater hunger and thirst, and each day it becomes harder to master. It cannot last.