1: Wake up

Darkness overwhelms her, swirling in all directions swallowing her being. Memories blur from the back of her mind to infinity. She can almost reach out and touch his hair again. Lingering in the air is the pungent breath of blood. Silence has overtaken the darkness isolating all of her senses. Is this hell? She reaches out for something. Anything. Screaming at the top of her lungs there is not so much as an echo. Is this a dream? Wake up! Wake up! Struggling to grasp for something, anything, she remembers.

“If you keep lying like this, you’ll end up completely alone in the world.”

Was that her mom? Everything seems so foreign now. Wake up! Wake up! Fighting the darkness she opens her eyes.

Rushing in from all directions is the light, followed by the sounds-echoes from the world. This must be what birth is like. Finally, her eyes were open, but to see what?

At first there is only the overwhelming light and noise. But this wouldn’t do. Pushed to wits end, she finally grasps her surroundings. She was sitting waist deep in sand, underneath a lone palm tree amongst dune after dune of a sand ocean. So white was the sand that it seemed that no such purity could exist. Illuminated by no sun but an omnipotent light that seemed to truly emanate from the entire sky. The air was dry with grit. Fighting the weight of the sand, she rose to her feet. Staring deep off into the dunes, she feels a breeze pushing gently at her back, beckoning her to follow. Stepping a few wobbly steps, she learned to walk again.

Walking with the wind, she began trekking up an enormous dune, step by step by step. Higher went the dune, reaching so high it must surely be a mirage. Finally! The peak! Looking back from atop this enormous dune the palm tree seemed only a dot miles and miles away. Staring now at an infinite horizon of sand, she could see a brief reflection in the not too far off distance. Water! She needed water, right? Memories of swimming flooded her conscious as the gentle wind blew a cloud of dust past her left side. Upon touching the dune, the cloud revealed a being as it sped down the dune and dissipated in the air. Standing beside her and facing the same way as her, his presence loomed deeply over her. Shadowing her even from the infinite light. Hair swam from front to back on his head, long and untamed kept dirty by this environment. His eyes and much of his brow was covered by a strand of cloth that was knotted deep in locks of hair on the backside of his head. Dressed in a dirt colored gown that was torn and filled with wholes at the cuffs and bottom he smelled of sweat and dirt and seemed to be from the earth itself. Having tanned hide like that of a long lived man his wrinkles translated his wisdom. She felt no threat from this being, as penetrating as his presence was. Standing for a time, he just stared with no eyes at the world set in front of them.

Finally he spoke! Turning to face her: “Don’t stop now, your doing so well.” he spoke with such grace and agility her knees became weak and she almost didn’t notice as he faded away, just as the cloud of dust that carried him in did. Puzzled as she was by this, she followed his wishes and started down the dune.

A memory of salty air on a sun lit beach off the coast of who knows where paused her step for only a second. She could almost remember him, remember herself. Walking on and on through her desert, each dune she climbed brought her closer and closer to the glistening water she sought until it was just over the next dune! Climbing to the top of this last dune, there was another smaller dune to climb. Reaching the top of this second last dune there was hopefully just this one last dune to climb. Wary to cross this last dune she hesitated and the wind shifted. Pushing to her right now, she decided to ignore it take on the final dune. After reaching this one’s peak, she could finally see it. A lake surrounded by palm trees. An oasis. Walking down the dune and to the waters edge, She went to bring a sip of water to her lips.

She wasn’t alone. Pausing, the water in her hands trickled through her fingers and back into the lake, she began looking for whoever was there. It wasn’t hard to find him, not far from her, was a man. Standing at the waters edge, his eyes had been on her this entire time. Turning to face him, she froze. Was she scared or confused? Without any notice he began approaching her. Step by step he grew closer to her. Until finally he was an arms length away.

“Welcome” is all he spoke. Wearing a dirty white tee shirt, a run-down old pair of blue jeans, and pure white and clean sneakers, he was something to behold. Frizzled short hair stood above a pair of dark-green eyes and blistered lips. He stood for a short time, staring and smiling at her. Then nodded kneeling to one knee and looking out on the water.

This is when she noticed how pure the water really was. Without a single ripple or wave, there seemed no bottom. Dark but clear, it reflected only her and the palm trees. Staring for a time at her own reflection, there seemed to be something missing. Is this me? Am I real? Dressed in a black blouse with a black full length skirt over black slippers, her hair was blacker still. Looking down at her own face, there were two eyes, a noseā€¦ Where was the mouth? Did she ever have a mouth? Unsure of how to react, she looked towards her new acquaintance for answers.