Ananda's Journal - Entry 25
July 27th – Dawn
I found myself in the mountainous desert, where Central America runs into North America proper. It was hot and oppressively humid, the air heavy with threat of rain. The sky was dark and blanketed by clouds, leaving heat the worlds’ only color. I knew beyond doubt that I was being hunted.
Lightning. A split second of well-defined forms. The thunder reached me and the clouds opened. I stepped out onto a boulder that projected from the hillside, turning my face up to the cold droplets. Raising my arms, I sent a spark to call the storm. It answered. Everything turned white through my closed eyelids and I was surrounded by a roar that struck resonance in my bones, seeming to echo in my chest. It mattered little to my question; only that I kept my wits about me. This knot of heat and charge passing through the atmosphere, did it seek me? It did not. Then who?
Unknown. The contact was severed without a closing courtesy, as was its way. I sank shakily to one knee, half-blind and more than half deaf from the ringing in my ears. The stone nearby remained warm, not boiling or glassy. Had it all been in my mind? Did it matter? And the more pressing question – Who?
The hillside below me offered no answers.
I remember waking briefly, feeling too hot. I kicked the blanket against the door of my capsule-dorm and tried to recapture the sleep I’d just left. Unusually, the dream picked up again when I did.
The transition wasn’t quite seamless. I was facing uphill, now. The sun-baked earth hadn’t yet surrendered its heat to the chill rain. Its warm glow was crazed like broken glass by the sparse lines of desert trees. A brightness here. A shadow there. Something moved, above. With a bare twitch of fingers, I took hold of a strand of ionized air and drew it to earth – close, but not too close.
The lightning followed. It branched towards me – a visceral ‘no’ faster than conscious will pushed it away. Towards the other focus of my attention. Something moved on the hillside, and then no longer. I caught up with myself and released the filament of charged air. It dissipated almost instantly on its own, freeing me of any need to sever it. Instead I found myself running towards its ground site, not caring about the noise I made or the stones dislodged in my wake.
There. Heat, screened by the creosote bushes. It occurred to me, distantly, that they smelled resinous. Not seeing an easier way around, I pushed through them to the human figure on the other side. Far simpler than normal, since I had no gear with me. The person was apparently lying where she’d fallen. Not obviously breathing. I checked her vital signs out of blank habit: breath was barely enough to feel, pulse was weak and fast, but there. Not that I could’ve done much if it hadn’t been. The next bolt of lightning cracked the sky. I stared, afterimage lingering in my sight. The mud-streaked lightning-struck person – it was me.
I woke and stared at the ceiling for a long while before deciding to record this one.