When I open my eyes the blindfold lies at my feet clinging to the prickly grass. It is silk, the color of blood, and ripples in the breeze. Whoever brought me here has left me and my mind pushes into a dark empty space as I try to remember the past. There are no marks on my skin. The ends of the silk hold together with a single delicate knot.
The boney ribs of corset fingers run down my torso like streaks of water down glass, holding me snugly in their embrace. The fabric is smoky gray, the swirling of silver and ash. At my waist the material stretches outwards, falling like a waterfall, down, with the buoyancy of balloons floating.
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I am outdoors where the sun is melting the sky orange and maroon, heavy and deep, sifting through the branches of the tree on the hill. Below me lies a field with long stemmed flowers arching soft petals towards the horizon. I can feel someone in the silence, holding there, like a breath, like the wind that trails behind a kite, following the light.
I blink and I am standing in the field. Everything is black and white and gray. Around me tall sticks shoot upwards, a labyrinth of skeleton branches planted firmly in the earth. I am in the maze, completely surrounded. All I see in every direction are the gray and white sticks, peeling at the edges, forming paths that weave off through the distance. Above me to the right a scarecrow perches high into the air, arms slumping, black shirt slightly torn as though he’d worn it for a hundred years and a touch would cause it to disintegrate. A raven, with silky black feathers, adjusts his feet around the scarecrows writs and eyes me with curious intent.
The voice carries through the labyrinth, whisper soft. For a moment I think it’s in my head, but the bird snaps his neck to the side, tilting an ear. It’s beady eyeball and I share a moment as if we both know something. We hold frozen as though we’ve glimpsed a mystical creature and movement will dispel the magic. The whisper comes like the wind but I understand it in words that flow under my skin. It says that it won’t show me further than I am at each step of the way. It won’t show me what is beyond, only the place in the labyrinth that is in front of me.
I leave the bird and begin my way through the slender trees. Pale sand lines the path. My bare feet leave their mark as my dress catches along the bark. I walk for hours in the dim light feeling the sand cool beneath my feet.
As I continue the cool turns to liquid and I am wading deeper into water, up to my waist. There is a light below the surface calling to me. Water seeps into the balloon of my dress making it heavy, making it easier to walk further till I bend my knees and I am under.
Light flows from the corners of the walls. My eyes see perfectly clear into the tiled pool with it’s tiny white squares. I breathe easily and watch as my hair floats around me, suspended in watery locomotion, the fins of mermaids. As I pull myself through the water my dress tugs and releases against my skin. The voice whispers. It says that I will feel like I am moving slowly as though through water but it will be with beautiful grace. The light shines into my eyes.
When I blink again I awaken on the sandy path. The softness brushes easily from my skin. Only my hair remains slightly damp, the sole hint of my watery excursion. The sky is light and overcast with gray clouds collecting for the storm.
I walk until the bottoms of my feet grow numb. Everything looks the same. The trees are peeling, revealing a white underbelly beneath the gray. I turn another corner and finally a change. Before me lies a long straight path that recedes into a pearl of shadows. The voice whispers, I am with you. And as I press my feet into the hardening sand the voice resonates like blue butterfly wings beneath my skin.
I am with you. I am with you. I am with you.