After the Battle

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  • Dedicated to Jan Webb
                                          

After the Battle

There was no sensation, no thought, no dreams, or even memories. The void stretched on and on, or it would have stretched on and on, if such words had any meaning here.

Slowly, like sunlight illuminating the depths of a dark pond, awareness started to flood into the nothing that prevailed. Anger, fear, confusion swarmed the...mind.

That's what it was called. A mind was something that held memories that carried and thoughts of the body. Body. That was something different, wasn't it? A body was something that the mind controlled. It was something...what was the word? Real!

A body was able to move, to feel. Feel. It wasn't the same as emotions, but the two were somehow tied. Feeling was something that was exclusive to a body. It...it was no use trying to describe things that could no longer be experienced.

If they could no longer be experienced, then they had been experienced once before. Memories, if remembered awareness of one's own body could be called a memory, flooded into the void.

Instead of nothing, something could be felt. A body, a solid body, a real body that could dream, that could think, that could feel.

The creature struggled against the darkness, his limbs flailing through nothing. He couldn't tell if he was falling or rising, or both. Warmth spread across his back and a dusty coarseness prickled at his arms and neck.

The world around him came into focus. Thick black mist rose into the air, and the light of early morning poured over an unending stretch of sand.

"Where...am...I?" the man thought. He got to his feet, and looked around, trying to find out what was going on. There was a small water filled hole a few yards away. He felt pulled to it, and his limbs obeyed the tug

He knelt down next to the hole, and slowly peered into its depths. The water was placid and still, and he was beginning to wonder why he had felt so intent on looking at it at all. His own reflection stared up at him, forcing him to gaze upon it.

His hair was flaming red, and his eyes were solid orbs of night sky blue. The blue started to drip down his cheeks, and it merged with the red streaming out of his hair. His hair and skin were now solid white, and his eyes were pale gray. The man stared down, a volcano of panic rising through his body. He finally managed to push up from the water, every muscle in his body screaming to get up and run as fast and as far as he could manage, but his limbs remained locked in place.

He took a few deep breaths and tried to calm himself. His beating heart slowed down, and the storm in his mind calmed a bit, but no matter how much he tried, he couldn't get it to settle. Too much was going on, and he couldn't wrap his head around any of it.

He forced himself to think, straining to keep his thoughts in some sort of order. First things first, where was he, and how would he get...home? Somewhere in his muddled thoughts, he knew there was something wrong with that statement.

There was something missing, something that was just out of his grasp. Slowly, it dawned on him. He couldn't get home, because he didn't know where home was. The more he tried to search his mind, the more he found that it was as empty as the desert around him. Everything was shrouded in darkness, even his name.

His thoughts were interrupted by a hand on his shoulder. He leapt, staring face to face with a leather skinned man with short gray hair. The man was wearing a loose fitting shirt and pants in shades of gold and beige that blended in with the surrounding sand.

"Who the hell are you?" He glared at the newcomer, clenching his hands into fists.

He took a step forward, causing the man to lower his hand..

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