Progress on Sandy Cape: Voyage

It’s taken me weeks to track down where they took her. It took me a good fair while to get back to civilization after that ridiculous desert, if I’m completely honest.

I had very little to go on. They seemed to be from a psych hospital, but I had nothing more than prejudice and fanciful notions to back that up. I decided to stop at the church first.

The kiddy fiddler who runs the church wasn’t very cooperative at first, but then I started breaking things, and he got real talkative real quickly. Yes, he remembered the wedding I asked about. Yes, the bride ran out abruptly, with no explanation that he heard besides, “No, I can’t!” Well, yes, he did have contact details for the groom but that’s personal information! He can’t just— oh, he can give me an address. How helpful!

That’s more or less how it went. I took the church car and got driving. The address was only a few hours away, so I was hopeful.

The address was a fake. The groom was a fake.

I don’t know what the deal was, but he was not who he claimed to be. Perhaps he had been lying to She as well. Perhaps it was all some sort of trap. That thought made me want to find her even faster.

It’s only luck that got me here, in the end. After traveling all over the state asking about the van, trying to find something out, I had returned to near where I started, in a roadside gas station and diner not far from where She had been taken. I had asked the waitress if she knew anything when an old geezer in the next booth interjected.

“That van! Yep, that’ll be from that spooky resort in the mountains. They usually go into town a couple times a week for supplies. Ought to drive right by here if you wait long enough.”

I pressed him on the resort bit. “Well, I says resort, but I don’t right know what it is. Drove by it once. Big, nice buildings. New. Green lawn! Looked like a resort, but I didn’t see any tourists. Spooky, I tell ya.”

I thanked him and waited. I didn’t have to wait long, within an hour the van had sped by. Tossing too much money on the table, I ran out to the car and made to follow the van. And follow it I did. They turned off the road onto a gated lane up into the mountains. I kept driving then doubled back, parking a good distance away and then proceeding on foot.

Now I’m in the compound. I just need to find her. I should be able to feel her, actually… I clear my mind and wait. It’s not long before I see her. Second-storey room, not far from here. I find the room I think it is, and climb a tree outside. It’s evening now, and outside lighting is dim, little chance of being caught. As I climb, someone in the room above me screams.

She.

What are they doing to her?

Peeking in the window, I see her. She is in a nightgown. Her hair is wild and her eyes look tired, so tired. A doctor is trying to get her to take medicine but she’s refusing.

“You need to sleep. You haven’t slept in days,” he says.

She shakes her head. She screams that She doesn’t want to sleep. That he can’t make her sleep.

But he can. He calls for orderlies and they restrain her and he injects her and She’s sedated. She collapses in a chair and passes out. I ought to jump in right now and rip them all to shreds but I wait. The doctor is putting some sort of device on her head. “Sedation took. Dreaming has commenced.” He flicks a switch, and the device projects an image on the wall, a movie but not.

She is a princess in red, and there are soldiers who protect her. But then a ninja comes and starts to kill the soldiers protecting her. She is afraid, so afraid, but She cannot fight back and She cannot wake up. I’ve seen enough.

I leap from the tree into the window. There’s a brief moment of commotion, but cracking a couple heads together and a swift punch to the doctor’s nose have gained me some time.

But what now? I can’t wake her up. She’s in danger in the dream. I need to help her. If only I could get into her dream to protect her. But that’s absurd, I say, me, the trillions of years old being from another universe who until recently was nothing but wind. Absurdity is relative.

I concentrate. I focus. Into her dreams. Into her dreams. Into her dreams. I leap.

And I am in her dream. I am a soldier, the last one standing between She and the evil ninja. She screams. The ninja approaches. We spar. I hold my own. The ninja retreats, but I sense he’ll be back.

I look to She. Relief spreads over her face, and she hugs me. But we cannot stay here. We must move. And so we do, we flee through the woods, through the countryside, and when it is evening, we stop by a small lake to rest. And it is here that She begins.

So that we may become happy, She sings, we have undertaken this journey. Look at you, smiling! It suits you.

We will never fade, She sings, but we will be reborn again and again through many fleetingly beautiful days, whether on dazzling beaches in the summer we’ve yearned for or in the midwinter as the snow swoops and falls. Whenever I turn around, there you are.

So that we may become happy, She sings, we have undertaken this journey. Everyone has wounds that won’t heal. But we are travelers, don’t you know! Look at you, smiling. It suits you.

We’ve gotten lost many times on the road, it seems, She sings, but I can always grasp your warm hands. The one who has raised me up — it’s been you all along.

At the end of this long journey, She sings, what will we think? Everyone is prowling about trying to take love for their own. But we are travelers, don’t you know! So let’s keep traveling until we’ve seen all there is to see.

A snap, a rustle in the trees. I stand just in time to see the ninja step out of the forest.

We fight. I am wounded, dazed.

I can only watch as he runs She through with his sword. After pulling his weapon free, he stalks back into the forest.

I crawl to her. She’s not dead yet, but she will be. I’m not long for this world either. Summoning the last of my strength, I get to my feet, lift her, and walk into the lake. And as we sink beneath the crystal surface, She grasps my hand. We will be reborn. Soon.

Progress on Sandy Cape: daybreak

We flew, She and I, through the heavens, high above the earth. Together, we watched the world as it spun and we felt free and together. We were one and nothing was ever going to tear us apart ever again. It was absolutely fantastic.

Until it wasn’t.

Don’t ask me to explain what happened. I never did a meteorology course, and even if I had, I doubt they cover winds with people infused in them. All I know is that, as we rode the jet stream over the American southwest, we split. She went one way and I another and it hurt and it hurt and it hurt so badly and I screamed for her but either She didn’t hear or She couldn’t hear or She didn’t care. I was alone again.

And I was still wind, which really fucked me off. I miss my body and this is getting tedious. Being in all places is cool for a while. And then it’s not. Flying here and there like the wind — nay, AS the wind — is brilliant for a while. And then it’s very not.

At any rate, there was nothing for me to do and so I continued to circle the world as a wind, a despairing wind, a wailing wind, hoping that I may again find her.

But I didn’t, for the longest time; I couldn’t find her. All I found was hate and death and greed and destruction and all the terrible things in the world. I found parents abusing their children, children starving in the streets, old men signing away their grandchildren’s futures for a few bucks here and now, everyone lying to everyone else in order to get ahead and the consequences be damned because only they matter at only that moment in time.

I hate this world. I hate these people. I want to wipe the earth clean like some divine wind. But that’s not what I am, and who am I to make such judgements? No, after all, I am just wandering as lonely as a cloud, searching for the part of me that was torn away so suddenly.

Instead of being a vengeful destroying wind, I spend my days looking for those who are in pain, who are crying, who need a hug, and, as best as I can being nothing more than wind, I hug them, and I hope that they feel loved, if only for a moment. It may be silly, but I am trillions of years old from another universe, with no body — nothing is too absurd.

I suddenly realize that I’m over the American southwest again, near where I lost her. My mood darkens, and I soar lower, searching for her as I do when I come this way. I hear bells. Church bells. Approaching the source, I see there’s a wedding taking place. Or, there was meant to be, but the bride has burst out of the doors alone, her face tear-streaked. She hops in a car and speeds off through the scrubland on the only highway in sight. I follow her.

After hours of driving, never meeting another car, she runs out of gas and pulls over. Exiting the car, she begins walking down the road, her large billowing wedding dress making going slow. I do what I can to buoy the dress and make it lighter, to make her going easier. And then I see her face clearly.

She.

It’s She, who I lost long ago but now I’ve found. I know not the circumstances that have brought us together again, but I am glad.

She continues to walk along the middle of the road, her dress floating around her as well as I can make it. I blow gently in her face, to dry her tears. She stops, looks about with a puzzled look. I gently blow through her hair, and She smiles. She remembers. And we are together again.

And She begins.

It is the fault of this age, She sings, that without dignity we cling to the fact that we were born — it’s the only thing we have.

Ah, but now is the time, She sings, that we need to stand up and regain ourselves.

Regardless of how far apart we are, She continues, we are beneath the same sky. Some day, one day, we’ll go to that place we saw in our dreams. You are my traveling soulmate, and I shall never forget that.

Surely, She sings, light and shadow are one and the same thing. Squint, and you’ll see that I’m right.

The sadness that underpins your joy, She sings, they make you who you are. But I still wish for the end of your pain.

Regardless of how far apart we are, She sings, we’re always side by side. And should that day come when you lie broken and finished, remember that you are loved.

Nothing happens by chance, She sings, everything that has happened was inevitable.

At least, that’s what I think.

With all of my might, I will myself to hug her, to properly embrace her, my being nothing but wind be damned. I concentrate, and I blow towards her. Her hair and her dress flutter. Dust rises from the road. She covers her eyes.

And in that moment, I am no longer the wind. I am made flesh again. Holding her in that wasteland, the heat from the tarmac burning my feet, I feel such joy. The look of confusion when She uncovers her eyes was more amusing than anything else, but the happiness that replaced it was worth our long separation. We stand there like that for a while, and the clouds darken and the weather starts to turn.

And then, in the distance, a vehicle approaches. A white van, we can tell, as it gets closer. We think nothing of it. I suppose I ought to have wondered if her stood-up fiance would come hunting for us, but I didn’t. And he didn’t.

Instead, it turned out, he sent the nice young men in their clean white coats. The van slammed on the brakes as it got to us, and out piled six men. They swarmed at us, four taking her by each of her limbs and carrying her into the back of the van, ignoring her pleading and her struggling. The other two restrained me. When She was strapped to a gurney in the back of the van, only then did they let me go. I gave chase, but they drove away so quickly.

And so here I am, alone again. In the desert.

But I have my body back. And there’ll be hell to pay.

Progress on Sandy Cape: Dearest

I remain incorporeal. I remain suffused throughout the world. But this world is a new world. It’s… normal. It’s homely. Would that I were as normal as it. Alas, not yet.

On the upside, being in all places has made my job easy. I didn’t have to hunt for She. She was just there. She remains a pop star in this world, and She is in all media at all times. It was facile to hunt her down and to follow her. And now I wait for the song that is sung to me. She is constantly singing songs, but they are not the songs for me. They are songs for everyone. And so I wait.

Today, I find her at her home, a mansion in the city of the beautiful bridge. It’s not a huge, rambling country estate, but it’s large for the city and opulent and well-appointed. She waits in her sitting room as her management and marketing team sit in another room and hammer out strategy for the coming year. She knows it ought to concern her and She knows She ought to take part, but when She tried to join, She was told not to worry herself. She was dismissed.

And so She sits on her sofa and watches the rain fall. The spatters on her window. The drops collecting on the flowers on the patio. The rivulets streaming off the leaves of the trees. And She feels just a little sad. Though She is adored by millions nationwide, She feels that She is alone. Truly alone. Feeling alone in a crowd is the worst type of loneliness. Would that I could touch her mind and let her know that I am here with her always, but alas, I cannot.

A lady enters the room and hands She a coffee. She stares at it for a moment, then, without smiling or making eye contact, nods and takes the cup. The lady bows slightly and exits the way she came in. She sits the cup on the table and stares at it. A voice is growing in her head, and it’s telling her to run away. The voice grips her stomach and She can no longer resist. She stands abruptly, knocking the cup of coffee over. She runs for the door, grabs her coat and bursts outside.

She has no time to lose. If her team inside notice She’s gone, they’ll come and retrieve her. She wants to feel free, just for a few hours. She wants to make a single, real connection with a person who sees She for She, and not for her pop idol persona. She runs down the street, the rain slowly soaking her.

She approaches a shopping street and taking little pain to disguise her identity, walks among the people there. She admires how carefree they are in their window-shopping, how they can be so free and at ease with their special someone.

As She is lost in thought, soaked to the bone and slightly disheveled, she hears a man yell, “Hey!” and looks towards it, only to be greeted with the flash of a camera. The paparazzi have found her, and they pose a barrier to her quest to have a real, honest connection with someone today. The paps dehumanize the famous and make them out to be better, almost godlike. And while She is sure her marketing team has no problem with that, some days, She’d just like to be a normal person.

She steps towards the pap and pushes him, causing him to fall backwards into a puddle. And then She runs. She runs through the rain, She runs through the street. She runs and She runs and She runs, and for a few minutes, She feels free like She’s not felt free in ages.

Turning a corner, She ducks into a shop entrance to catch her breath, and She smiles in spite of herself. Looking up, she notices a girl is also sheltering from the rain there. The girl gives She a puzzled look. She just nods and smiles. The girl is satisfied and holds out a handful of jellybeans to She. At first She is surprised, but She nods again and accepts them. The girl smiles and the two stand there enjoying jelly beans, company, and genuine human interaction for a few minutes. And for a brief time, She is happy.

But then she hears another shout, oh no, the paps are catching up! Flee! She smiles at the girl, and then runs out into the rain again. She jumps in the back of a parked taxi. “What’s going on? I’m on a break!” the driver exclaims. She just shakes her head.

“Drive.”

The driver raises an eyebrow, but then nods and they pull away just as the paparazzi turn the corner and run past her.

They drive for hours. A rainy day becomes a cloudy night. A cloudy night becomes a misty morning. A misty morning becomes a sunny afternoon. And when finally they part ways, the driver and She have shared their hopes and their dreams and have made a real connection. They hug, and he drives off, leaving She here.

Sun baked hills stretch the horizon, and every one is covered with wind turbines. Pausing, She can’t actually remember why She came here. She felt compelled to, though. She stands and looks out on the multitude wind turbines. None are moving, there is no wind.

But I am here. And I have been waiting. Though I cannot touch her mind, I can make the wind blow. And I do. At first just a light breeze, just enough to move her hair, but soon I’ve got the wind strong enough that every wind turbine is spinning. She whirls around and as it dawns on her, She smiles. So often I’ve been the one solving a riddle and searching for her — this time I turned the tables on her, and She’s enjoyed it.

And now that we have found one another, She begins.

Truly, She sings, it’s good to throw away everything except that which is most important to you. Reality is only cruel. But whenever I feel like that, if I close my eyes, there I can see you, smiling as ever.

Ah, until the day I fall asleep forever, She sings, somehow I want to always be with that smile.

All the people are sad, She sings, even though they are forgetful beings. There is something I can do, She continues, for the sake of the things I ought to love, and for the sake of the things I do love.

Ah, the day we met, She sings, everything we did was so awkward. But that time is so far away now, and we have both been so wounded.

Ah, the day we met, She sings, everything we did was so awkward. But that time is so far away now, and we still just struggle along as best we can.

She stops. I cause the wind to blow stronger. She leans into me and raises her arms and suddenly we are together, whirling into the heavens, destination unknown.