Embryonic darkness lulls the skeletal sleeper into a floating dream. There is no sound, no sight, no flavor…only the fragrance of raw earth…no sensation except a smothering warmth broken by veins of cool, snaking water tangled in the groping roots of ancient trees. Their tentative touch shivers rusty bones, tantalizing them with whispers of sunlight now lost, of colors muted into shadow.

Just as quickly pain intrudes. Stabs of memory block the susurration of rain gentling the parched ground. Memories melt like icicles. Pain recedes.

The rain continues, relentless, worming deep into the silent earth. Now fleshless jaws open wide, yearning to taste fresh water permeated with pine and rose petals. Tasting only musk and mold, desire recoils. The skull is held fast in the iron ground.

Thirst returns, more than a thirst for water…thirst for sun on leaves, starlight on snow. Empty ears strain to hear the eerie bark of wild fox, the staccato tap of a Downey woodpecker.

Dirt filled eye sockets long to be filled with the rosy gold of sunrise, the weight of mountains, clover daintily in flower. The cavity of the nose turns upward, eager to savor aromas beyond the sickening sweet of decay.

Boneyard fingers with curved nails dig into the earth, clutching freshly awoken memories.

Desire burns away the solace of sleep. Forgotten is the blinding shaft of scorching sun, the agony of calloused feet, cacophony of metal striking metal, taste of putrefying fruit, the reek of manure.

Yearning explodes, a super nova shattering a galaxy of darkness. Nothing remains, only the longing to breathe cool air, to revel in the melodies of birds, to trail after rainbows, to feel morning dew…

Fallen away are fears and disappointments. All is forgotten as dream time fades into mist. The tip of an angel’s wing brushes blindness from the sleeper’s eyes. They open slowly, overwhelmed with light, seeking to draw patterns out of chaos.

Published in Stories