Chapter 11 Scene 4

by Richard Perkins
This entry is part 43 of 65 in the series Doormaker's Fall

Simon could not tell whether he was awake or dreaming. He could not tell what was real or imagined.

The pain. Was the pain real? Was the thirst real? The cracking of his ravaged lips, the burning dryness of his throat, the blistering constriction of his sinuses, the pounding throb behind his eyes, and the afterimage of the sun glaring off the salt flats like blinding daggers. Were these real? He remembered being nearly frozen with cold once. But now he burned from the inside out. If he had the strength he felt sure that he would peel off his own skin to escape the terrible burning. Where had everything gone wrong?

He was crawling, face down on an endless plain of shimmering white. His left arm ached and his hand was clenched in a clawed grip that he could not relax. Something pulled heavily against numb fingers, something he must not let go. Craning his neck around, he squinted against the harsh glare and the curious black film that clouded his vision. Rough cloth, begrimed by heavy wear, and crusted with salt. The cloth was the collar of a… robe, a set of mage’s robes. Yes, that was it, traveling robes like the ones he wore. They were mage’s robes! But robes should not be so heavy! He squinted, and the skin at the corners of his eyes cracked painfully, but he saw the body tangled in the robes. No, it was not a body! It was Gunther! The young air mage twitched occasionally, but exhibited no other signs of life.

Simon continued his hopeless crawl across the blasted landscape. In a small corner of his mind that was still capable of thought, he marveled at his determination even as he wondered if he was merely crawling in circles. He could not see any landmarks in this blinding white glare. But no, there was some faint itch that kept him moving toward something. What was it?

Wasn’t there something he was supposed to remember? Something he had to do? He danced on the edge of consciousness. His mind grasped at elusive fever dreams and flashes of memory, even as his tortured body struggled on across the white plain long after it should have given up and died.

Comments are closed.