My memories faded under the black sand

Estimated Reading Time — 5 minutes

I woke up lying face down in cool black sand. The air smelled strongly of the ocean, but when I sat down and wiped the dirt from my face, there was no shore in sight. Instead, what I saw was an endless horizon of black desert. Each direction was the same; a flat plain of nothingness. I felt the warm heat of the sun, but saw no sun. Oddly enough, I couldn’t even tell if it was daylight or not. The sky was gray, but not filled with clouds; almost as if it had always been so.

I got up, chose a direction to walk in, and went in search of anything resembling society. That’s when the fear started to set in. Before that moment, it was like my mind was in a fog. As if waking up in such a weird place was somehow a normal occurrence. Now I was afraid. Where am I? How did I get here? And scariest of all; Who am I? As I walked, I tried my best to remember anything about me. Favorite food, color, place of birth – but I couldn’t conjure up any memories from deep within my brain.

How long I had been walking was impossible to say. The sky never got darker or brighter; just an unchanging gray cover. I guessed maybe nine or ten, but it was a real stab in the dark. My stomach started to rumble. Am I hungry or just a little hungry? Even this question was difficult to answer. Ever since I woke up, my body had been numb and cool, despite the heat radiating from a hidden sun. I have to find food, I thought. Or maybe I said it out loud. It was getting hard to tell if my dialogue was internal or if I had just been talking to myself the whole time. I don’t quite remember one way or another.

After what looked like a day of wandering, I finally came across a small pond. Red water lilies were clustered on half of its surface. I dropped to my knees at the water’s edge and drank, spilling more on myself than I managed to sip from my cupped hands. I let my arms hang down as I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The water, like the sand, was nice and cool. It may or may not taste horrible. I have trouble remembering that too.

I decided to stay a while at the edge of the pond. Maybe someone would come by and help me – maybe I would die. Anyway, I didn’t have many options to choose from.

It wasn’t ideal, but to satisfy my hunger, I decided to pick the red water lilies. I remember it very well, because as soon as I swallowed my first bite, I threw up. I stared in both shock and horror at the black sand that seemed to devour my vomit. The sand crawled over the mess and sucked it into its mysterious depths before returning to its perfectly flat state. Seeing this made me wonder about something. I turned to look for my steps, but they were gone. The black sand covered my tracks as if aiding me in an elaborate flight in which no trace would be left.

At one point, I managed to doze off, one hand touching the edge of the water. When I woke up, a creature at least two stories tall was sitting on the other side of the pond, staring at me. Panic flooded my body, and in an instant I was on my feet, but the creature didn’t move. I stood there for a long time, frozen in place. I determined that if it was going to hurt me, it would have by now.

The creature had three long, slender legs that moved like tentacles; all with massive claws digging into the black sand. Behind her was a large half-shell that extended slightly beyond her face and curved back, down, and to a point. It had three glowing white eyes in the center of its head – a grotesque face that I can only describe as an abyss of shadow and darkness. As he stood up, a large number of long, thin antennae fluttered, protruding from a bony plate at the top of his forehead.

He watched for an eternity, his stance never wavering, his antennae dancing as he watched me. His uppermost eye slowly changed to a pale, yellowed white and let out a faint bone clicking sound. It was a sound that was more sensation than noise – so low it made my eardrums buzz. He turned his massive body and strode away from the pond. Its antennae seemed to be beckoning me to follow, or maybe that part I had just imagined. Anyway, I followed the creature. It wasn’t hard to catch up. He moved slowly, almost lazy in his movements. I managed to walk at a steady pace alongside her.

It seemed like another eternity had passed since the creature and I had been at the pond. I wondered if this would be my life now. Wandering aimlessly in a black landscape, side by side with a monster, in search of food and water; a primal, animal-like existence. A state where only those two goals mattered. Is there someone I miss? Someone looking for me? Questions that I know I didn’t have the answers to. The wrong questions. A voice in my head spoke, firmly. A voice that wasn’t mine.

On the horizon, a tree with white and pink petals appeared. Its thick and high trunk, leaning slightly to one side. The mighty creature stopped. One of its antennae seemed pointed towards him. I walked towards the tree, the creature remained in its place. I watched back as he curled his legs under himself, making a makeshift seat. Closer to the tree, a hollow became visible in the trunk. It was about eye level and shaped like a hand. Carefully, I lifted my own hand into the void. My hand would fit perfectly. I took another step to insert my fingers into the trunk. As I got closer, the sound of chanting became audible. Silent at first, but when my hand crossed the threshold of the hollow, it was deafening. My vision then left me. My breathing was choppy and my knees were shaking. Images crossed my mind.

A woman and a man with his arm around her waist are smiling at me. I looked at myself and saw that I was wearing a blue dress. Graduation; the word came out of my subconscious. It’s a memory. It’s one of my memories! I felt a tear roll down my cheek. And these people are my parents! How could I forget their faces? I felt angry with myself. Those people who raised me had disappeared from my mind, and I couldn’t help but feel the need to blame myself for it.

My vision has returned. I pulled my hand out of the hollow of the tree. Did I forget to breathe? I gasped as if I had been held underwater a little too long. I felt dizzy and nauseous, like I was going to vomit again. I turned to the creature. There were more now. Too many to count. It was as if an army of them had risen from the depths of the cool black sand. I was scared, and this time the feeling didn’t go away. They started to approach me. I put my back to the tree. My breathing became faster and shallower as a cold, dark hand slowly reached down the left side of my head and rested on my face, suddenly pulling it back.

What happened next I don’t remember, but when I regained consciousness I was lying in a hospital bed. My brain felt like it was being stabbed repeatedly by a hot iron. Even though the pain was unbearable and my movements were restricted by the various tubes and wires attached to me, I managed to sit up. A small metal table on wheels sat next to me. Above, wet and bloody gauze, scissors, medical tape and a glass of water. I looked down at my arm. He was numb, but I felt a tingling sensation coming from his back. I turned it over slowly, shaking it. A few words had been etched into my skin in clean, precise cuts.

Black sand devours everything in time.


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