The first thing she remembers is light. Her eyeballs are scales that jar against the fragile skin, scratching and scraping as each micro-millimetre admits glare, unpleasant and unwanted.Her mouth, parched and swollen, stretches almost beyond endurance as tongue and lips peel back and a whisper escapes. Finally, her eyes are wide enough to endure the beam to a tolerable mutation, allowing other images, blurred and discarded shards, to form.
Before there was no feeling, her body a tomb, but now there is too much pain and it needles her from all sides. It bombards her nerves and muscles as it screams its agony from inflicted wounds. The scratched irises bleed and the parched mouth splits, zigzagging open wounds in all directions.
It is difficult to gather knowledge, to place herself on the earth. She dares to look around even though her wretched body protests this small movement. She feels sand dry and hot, a reflection of her being, and feels cotton, a dress she thinks, for now she can think. I am still human. She stays paused on the precipice of life and death. Her fate as yet not decided.
‘Lay,’ says lady desert, ‘I shall place this cushion below your head’.
‘Lay,’ she says, ‘and I will cover you with my blanket, so you are hidden and embraced’.
‘Lay,’ she says, ‘return to me and you will hurt no more’.
She takes her last gasping breath and is gone. She is the desert, assimilated into the arid wasteland as she is wasted.
The first thing she sees is light. Discarded is her form. Now she is an infinite and fragile desert. She skims over land, gliding, stopping, settling only to resume flight. Wisps on the surface scuttling and skittering, playful and free. There she sees them. Camped by a well. They laugh their grotesque laugh and drink their putrid worth.
Her anger stirs and she whips up, squalling, gathering speed until she is fury. They are encased and helpless against the battering of sand. Each grain a spike, jabbed again and again into flesh stripped to its muscular, exposed to its vascular. She absorbs their screams and welcomes them as sweet nectar that fill her need for retribution.
Her nettle calms and she is still. Murderer’s lay writhing, their skin torn and sliced from her diatribe. Soothed, her soul is restored. She gives them one last pitiful gust and resumes her playful awakening. She is desert, fragile and powerful, unstoppable and vengeful, soothing and benevolent.
The last thing they remember is light.