Head down toward the terrain below, feet above me to shrouded stars, I fall. White flame licks my body, engulfing me both from within and around but neither burning nor consuming me. Beyond the white veil I can see the red and yellow hues of friction that threaten to destroy me as I plummet, but they do not, perhaps cannot, pierce whatever luster already claims me.
Time, at least my awareness of it, slows as I reach my destination on the surface of a blue planet, and I can hear whispering. Indiscernible. Unintelligible. Strangely, I cannot help but add another adjective … unfeeling. The voice seems so out of place within this dream, or maybe a memory, so distant from consciousness, but the sound does not seem so unfamiliar that I cannot … rather should not inject my own understanding of a personal tone.
My nightmare draws to a close with barely perceptible sensation. Darkness, pain … so complete, so absolute as the white veil turns to ash and upturned rock beneath me, and finally, a faint image. A glimpse into an endless, bleak pool. The intensity of the whispers recoils, and the endlessness of the bleak pool follows, making way for something more. An object unfamiliar, named in terminology foreign to my understanding … an eye, for lack of any better description native to my mind, an ocular protrusion from a void the likes of which I cannot recall ever seeing before, stares through me with an utter, unspeakable hate.
And again, pain. Only pain.
It hurts …
Another day, another long walk all alone in the middle of a mountain paradise. At least, that was what it should have been. Cool, serene strolls through the forest around her home in the fading, mid-afternoon sun often brought peace to the reclusive girl’s mind, but even the soft rustling of the branches and calming breeze gave little comfort today.
Saikah Dalca, a quiet young woman as odd as she was beautiful, trudged over her familiar pathways so regularly visited while lost in thought. No matter how many times she walked this way, there always seemed to be some new sight to behold, but that was to be expected. Distracted and introverted as she often was when wandering, it was miraculous she ever found her way back to the cabin.
A t-shirt and long skirt, her tediously simple choice of outerwear for such ventures, came with the inevitable disadvantage of being unnervingly cold in the mountain air. Moreover, her preference rightly called her sanity into question, given that this was one of the coldest months of the year, and she knew it to be so when setting out! Fortunately, she had remembered to wear a long, mottled cardigan to compensate—little as it did—this particular evening.
Both of her arms stubbornly clung to each other over her chest, partly from a need to ward off the creeping cold of the approaching dusk. Saikah had lived here a long while, and had taken many such walks in her time, but something today seemed amiss. Chilly drafts wafted over her skin in spite of her efforts to beat them away with the comforting—albeit fleeting—warmth provided by the sweater coat. Before long, Saikah discovered her discontent was not one that could be easily, or even physically, thwarted.
From the onset, the day had grown peculiarly dark to her. Cold. Bleak, even. It was the dreary, storm-less cast of daylight—as if the sun was simply uninterested in shining today—that had the wandering young woman quivering.
Her uncanny eyes, with sparkling, white-silver gloss where once her irises had been a vibrant blue, flitted over the landscape searching out a new route to take. Beneath her long, cascading locks of white and silver hair, her thin frame effortlessly—and rather quickly—glided along the rough, obscure grounds of her mountain dwelling. Practiced, ginger steps evaded twisting roots and jutting, fallen branches along her path. Every now and again, however, her absentmindedness would get the better of her footing. But she never once fell. Years of honing her balance had come in handy.
A stray root, curving well above the ground and marred by splintered scrapes—no doubt left by some passing beast—caught the bottom of her sweater-coat and tugged as she unknowingly continued on her way. Though mildly annoyed, Saikah stopped her thoughtful march and calmly moved to unhinge her snagged garment.
“This coat is important, dammit. Don’t give me any trouble,” she whispered softly to the root as she retrieved the ensnared threads of her sweater. “There we are.” Then, to nobody in particular, she murmured, “It was my mother’s. I can’t replace it if anything happens. It was a gift …” Her voice trailed. As she tenderly unwound the last threads from the splinters, an inaudible phrase passed over her lips.
Happy birthday, Saikah. Just one more year gone by. Alone. Continue reading