Spinning through outer space the girl tumbled back through time to the instantaneous moment when worlds collided and voices rang out. The girl was dizzy from her trip. The girl didn’t know where she was or who she was. The timeline was so murky, you see. And it was only a matter of conscience before they’d meet again.
The girl swung around in space and voyages like moonbeams shining sunbeams. Rays of light glittering in the ocean. Dancing on the water. A bird called out a shrill cooing. It welcomed her to earth. It welcomed her to sleep as she rested by the water by the stream. No consciousness. Only dreaming. Dreamland. Only whispers in the dark. Only voices saying, “is that…?” “is it her?”
In the dream she was running. Not out of fear. Not running from something. No, she was running towards something — as if to greet. And when her lungs filled with air, she felt so awake so alive. But she was sleeping. How could this be?
By the water by the stream at the bend there was a girl who slept. Resting peacefully in the moonlight. There was a girl and a strange bird watching over her. Like a woodpecker — red plummage on its head, white body with black wings. Salt and pepper. Blue eye with red and black around it. A short, squat bird that cooed a low hum. Watching to make sure — was she breathing, was she in trouble? Did she have nightmares?
Eventually the girl would wake, the bird knew. The bird knew that the girl would see him there. The bird knew he was her guardian and he knew the girl would understand that. Every so often he’d bring some seeds to eat in case she was hungry. But she only slept and slept. For a thousand years, it seemed like, she slept. Stirring softly. She’d move her hand sometimes and her fingers seemed to reach for nothing in particular.
Running. In sunlight. On the beach. Through forests. Over rocks. Running with twigs snapping under foot. The breath – hurrying its pace. Her hair, flowing as she moved. Sometimes sticking to her face, until she wiped it away. She didn’t know where she was running to. But it was a long journey. Through streams. Through sand and desert. Through mud. Through storms and snow. Through wind.
Until she came to the place. A clearing, gleaming light. Everything seemed quieter here. Why? She looked around expecting to see someone. There was no one. She looked back at the light. She walked closer and closer. So slowly now. Footsteps sinking into the ground. It felt so solumn. Did she dare look up?
Glittering beam of light over a bed of rocks. She knew once she walked into the light — ah, yes, this is the place. And she’d curl up and close her eyes as light twinkled on her face.
Shadows. Clouds passing overhead and tracing shapes across her face. The bird looked up from picking at greenery. Was it time? Her eyelids began to move. She blinked. Looking low and seeing at first the river. Seeing the water move the way that water does. Dancing light on its surface as it ebbs and flows. The girl’s hands moved to her side. The bird, still and watching. Waiting quietly. She sat up and as she looked up she saw him.
“Oh! Look at that!” is what they both thought within the same moment as though baffled by the presence of the other.
“Hello, bird!” she called out to him.
The bird cooed back and flew closer to get a better look.
She looked around. Seeing her surroundings for the first time.
“I remember this place… I do.”
The bird flew across the river on to the trees. She watched as it soared in the breeze. The grass waved across her skin. Around her wrist and she looked down at her hand pushed into the earth. Picking up her hand and seeing the shapes of blades of grass etched into her palm.
She was no longer running. She was no longer dreaming. She was no longer sleeping.
And the sun began to rise further up into the morning sky. Shining down on the flowing river, the girl resting beside the waters, the soaring, cooing bird, and the trees whispering in the the breeze. Everything was golden radiance.