“Where are we?”
The bird only cooed in response, looking at her with anticipation.
Something was different. Where was the river? Where was the forest? Where was the twinkling light of the sunrise in the morning?
No, this was a great empty hall and a hallowness — a sound she had never heard before. It was so quiet and empty. She felt palpably aware of being alone here. Golden tan orange walls. Shadows of light cascading upon themselves. Warmth seemingly coming from somewhere beyond. She could feel a light – something drawing her to it. It was as though every corridor, every hallway, lead her deeper – but was it closer?
The bird hopped along after her. Sometimes flying ahead. Cooing encouragement.
Does he know the way?
She quickened her pace following after him around twists and turns. Something was there. Something was nearby. The bird knew and she knew too. They turned down an empty corridor and up flights of stairs. Around a corner and there it was.
A garden within the center with a fountain and statues guarding each entry point. She looked into the faces of each as she passed slowly as if any moment the statues might move of their own volition.
The sound was greater here, but something was off. She felt weak and felt to her knees. As she grabbed her head the world seemed to spin. The only safe place seemed to be the ground if she could just get there. The bird flew in front of her eyes and she looked at him it seemed like all she could hear was a high pitched screeching.
She closed her eyes and quietly she listened to herself to make sure it was real. To make sure she was still there. A quiet heartbeat below the crash and chaos of the outside world.
And she opened her eyes.
Breathing in grassy dew. Gentle ripples of water nearby. Wind though the trees shaking their branches. A coo from the bird. She sat up.
Where am I?