The yellow brick road is too bright too bright. The sky has a strange, doubled yellow glow, hurting the eyes. The rainbow is there, like she thought she heard someone say, and that’s calmer to look at. If she could reach that, just get over that, she could rest her eyes.
She could rest.
She found she could fly. It seemed something horrible propelled her. A sense of electricity biting at her from within, waking her wings, an angel of despair, lifting from the ground, a sense of blood flowing from her, making her lighter, brighter but more terrified still.
Just get over the rainbow, somewhere over the rainbow. Someone was singing that, she thought, like in an old movie.
She’s over the rainbow now, she’s somewhere else. It’s like a doctor’s visiting rooms, but everything is odd here, just askew. The clock on the wall doesn’t have the right numbers, and all the furniture looks like it’s made of clouds rather than wood and fabric, like you might sink through it all if you weren’t careful. She thinks for a moment she’s somehow stumbled into a real life Dr Seuss story and any moment she will see strange blue men or cats in hats wandering past. So she was careful, and sat very still, but it was hard because her fingers and toes were tingling unpleasantly, and every once in a while a part of her body felt like it exploded, sheer pain then it settled.
Just stay very still, she told herself, and don’t fall through. Don’t fall through. You don’t know how far up you are, how far up in the sky.
This must be a dream, it’s just like a dream. Or a nightmare. But she wasn’t sure. She didn’t really trust the difference between reality and dreams here. She thought they might just be the same thing.
And perhaps this was real, and it was all a problem with her.
The doctor is there and he’s tapping on her head, at her forehead, telling her she is very ill there.
‘Your thoughts are scrambled eggs,’ he says, or at least she thinks that is what he says.
She is finding it hard to look at him. His face is wavering before her and sometimes it was frighteningly too familiar, too recognisable, and it reminds her of fear, so at other times she tries not to see him properly and his own strange ephemeral nature seems to help with that. He is dressed all in green, and he says ‘Call me Dr Green’ and then he laughs like it is a private joke she can’t understand.
‘You’re very sick here too,’ he says, poking at her chest near her heart, ‘And here you are disorder and chaos’ he continues, pressing her between her legs at the top of her pubic bone.
‘You must be brave,’ he continues, ‘We shall rectify you but there will be trials. You will be tested.’
And suddenly she’s not there anymore, she’s on what looks like a battlefield. The sky is a combination of black, blood-red and purple. It’s completely unnatural, but natural here, like the sky reflects the ground as a mirror. There are bodies strewn before her,the fallen in battle. She’s in armour, but it’s heavy and it’s failing, and somewhere along her arms she feels great pain and looks to see blood seeping from her chain mail and the steel. She is wounded, but cannot fathom why.
Then the man is behind her, holding her around the shoulders, whispering in her ear.
‘You must be a warrior, you must be brave. I will give you information, keys and triggers, and you will carry them with you, and they will help you refine, like a pearl within the oyster, till your quest is done. Here, here is the first. Whenever you see this, you will return to here, and this moment, and know the imminence of death. And in that knowledge you will be truly alive.’
He presses something in her hand and she opens her palm to see the gift of damnation. It is a brooch made of blue feathers and the petals of a blue rose.
‘Blue rose,’ he says, ‘The symbol of impossible love. That is your quest my beloved, and the only way home. The only way home.’
And then there is a blistering sensation of complete pain and terror and only blackness, blackness, into the screaming night.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved