Dust (Flash Fiction 1119 words)

I see a woman on a dark sandy beach. There are mountains in the distance, but there is an ocean separating her from them. The woman, whose name I don’t know, seems to be wearing nothing but multiple scarfs and when she dances the scarfs fly around her, she turns into a colourful flower on the dark beach.

Then I hear wings flapping, like that of a bird in distress. Looking around I find myself in a hospital room, the lights are overwhelming and I can see myself. My head is bloody! This can’t be real. It was a dream I had. A dream I had long time ago. A nightmare. That’s it.

So I’m back on the sandy beach with that woman, except she doesn’t know I’m here. She’s busy dancing. She dances in circles as if she’s hoping the big waves of the ocean will part for her. I walk closer, the anticipation echoes all around me, my heart thrashing violently in my chest, like the flapping of the wings of a bird. A crow I suspect, a raven would be too majestic, but a crow suits me fine. Fluttering, thrashing about, trying to escape it’s prison or perhaps one of its wings is broken and it doesn’t know what to do except to try and try again, until it has no energy left? I look around for it, but I can’t see any bird.

When I’m right there by the woman’s side I realise that there is something strange going on. She is smiling, her dark hair flailing in the wind, flapping about like the wings of that bird I haven’t yet seen and although I’m standing right in front of her she can’t see me.
It’s disconcerting, to say the least, and I wonder why I didn’t think this was strange before. Maybe I am dreaming? That must be it, I’m dreaming and soon I’ll wake up and I’ll shake it off in a matter of minutes and that’ll be that. It’s just a dream, a disconcerting dream, a nightmare.

I try to touch her, but she escapes me. I try to place her, because I’ve seen her before. I’ve seen her face, it’s a familiar face, though I don’t recognise the raven dark hair.
But now I can understand why she wants to cross the ocean and get to the mountains in the distance. It’s an island we can see through the myst over the ocean and although I know nothing about it, I feel drawn to it, it’s a good place, a place of acceptance and tranquility.

I like that word, it’s obscure and yet it seems to convey a sense of lightheartedness, weightless sorrow or pureness of being.

I hear a beep, a sound that’s completely out of place, and then another and another. It disturbs me. Is this my alarm waking me up? Is it time for school? Or was it work? Or what was it I was supposed to do? Where am I in the timeline of my life?

I can’t remember, but that’s the way of dreams. I’ll remember in a minute.
Suddenly an overwhelming desire to kiss this strange woman comes over me. She looks so desirable, dancing in this strange place. And why shouldn’t I? It’s just a dream, I can do whatever I want, because it’s mine and mine alone and no one will ever know.
I can’t even remember who would care.

So I rush up to her, put my hand on the back of her head and pull her close. But she resists me, fights me with flailing arms, as if she can feel me but not see me. I pull her to me, but when I realise her reluctance and fear I let go of her and she continues dancing as if nothing ever happened.

But I want her now, with all my heart and all the fibre of my being and I have to be quick about it because soon it will happen, soon I will wake up and it will all be too late. How can I make her see me? How can I make her notice that I am here on this beach with her? That she is not alone? How?

The signal becomes more incisive and I turn around.
Bright light. Bright light. Blood! I’m floating above what appears to be my own body. But it looks strange. Someone is calling, but I don’t know to whom. I need to return to the woman on the beach. I need to return to her and ask her why she’s here and why she dances. It seems important. I need to kiss her, if it’s the last thing I do. I need to be with her. I love her.

So I turn around again and once I ignore the insistent sound I am able to see her again, the mountains across the ocean seem to have come closer. Maybe we could swim out there? Maybe we could swim there together?

I start dancing, awkwardly at first but then it seems natural to move around, circle after circle on this lone beach and I hold my thumbs and hope with all my heart that I can dance with her instead of dancing all alone.
For a while we dance side by side without touching, but then I take her hand and we dance, holding hands.

She can’t see me, but she isn’t afraid anymore. She isn’t afraid of me, and that’s positive, a good beginning.

“Please see me,” I tell her. But, of course, that doesn’t change a thing. So we dance to the rhythm of the waves. I feel the cold breeze on my skin and my colourful scarfs are flailing all around me. I can feel someone watching me from the distance, but I don’t care. I’m here to dance, to be with her and to get over to the other side, get over to the mountains across the oceans.

I let my hair loose and I dance, it’s careless and whimsy. I know I should be getting back to something, but it’s too hard and this is so easy and I drag her towards me and I hope that she can see me, but she can’t. So I slowly put my lips on hers and I kiss her softly and we continue to dance, sinking slightly into the sand with each step, the cold ocean water tickling our feet and I hardly notice her dissolving in front of me.

I just need to dance, slowly, ever so slowly to the rhythm of this beat I hear, this thump, this flapping of wings.

The crow is here and I am it.


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