Rebecca was sitting on one of the small walls that surrounded her home
village. Her long light brown hair hanging over her crouching shoulders
and further down covering her arms. She was staring at the sun. The irony
wasn't lost at her. For years she had taught the town's children that
staring at the sun was bad. And though she knew what damage her eyes were
getting at this few minutes of thought she just needed her spirit to soar
In a way she suspected she was looking at her brother's killer. The
scorching sun that had dried him out and had relinquished him to the
embrace of the desert. It was hard not to point fingers. Even if what she
was blaming were elements
of nature. Rebecca had never thought her schooled mind would revert to
Rebecca looked down again, spots of bright coloured light reflecting on
her retina. They coloured oddly on the light sweater she clutched in her
hands. It was all they had found of her brother. The sweater and the car.
Rebecca once again went over the small facts she had learned about her
brother after he had vanished. It had taken a few days before anyone had
sounded alarm. That someone had been her. She had been worried about her
brother after that strange mid-day visit. There had been something
different about his looks, but what had really alerted her was his
behaviour. All coherence had been lost in his thoughts, like he had been
hiding something. When he hadn't answered her calls for a whole week she had
visited his home. He hadn't been there. He hadn't been going to work
though he had said he was busy.
Rebecca had learnt that he had taken all his vacation days and then
disappeared. No-one had seen him for days, though one morning one of his sweaters
had been found in a recent excavation. Worried, Rebecca had informed the
police. Only a day later they had found what was left of his car in the
desert. Rebecca still remembered how it had felt to go out in the desert
to that broken wreckage.
It had been clear for the police that Kansas had been caught in a
sandstorm. His car had been swept up, smashed again rocks and ground until
it had been reduced to what she now saw laying before her. They hadn't
actually found her brother in the wreckage, but without much tact they had
told her it was impossible that he might have survived the storm without
shelter. And that if he hadn't returned his chances were grim. Rebecca of course knew this to be true, but in her heart she kept
The sun rose above the first sandy hills to a higher spot in the sky. With
a sigh of sadness Rebecca got up and returned home. Halfway there she
turned once more and looked at the sun. A tear again rolled from the
corner of her eye in a path established by it's precedents.
"Rest well my brother." she said.
Once at home Rebecca combed her hair and washed her face. She still had
about an hour before she would have to teach again... it seemed a lot but
an hour was nothing when you had to regain a balanced exterior. Like she
was grieving but could still face the world. She knew she could, but
showing it was a whole lot more difficult. She would never be the same
again and what made her really sad was the fact that she wouldn't never do
the little things with him again. Telling him about a bad day, showing him
a drawing she had gotten from one of the kids, laughing in the evening
The emotions almost overpowered her. It was only by thinking at the
children she taught that she could regain her balance. They needed her in
this one camel town. She was the only teacher in miles and a convenience
when this meant the children could be home an hour earlier to help their
parents. Rebecca still couldn't help feeling a bit of strangeness as she
thought of the way children helped around down here. When she was little
all she had done was play and read.
She took a deep breath, regaining some of her usual energy and went
outside. Her back straightened a bit in the faint cooling breeze that
swept through the village. When she arrived at the school she could see
most of her pupils were there already. She rang the school bell and led
The small class consisted of 10 children ranging from 6 to 14. Teaching
them meant mostly arranging them in small groups and giving them tasks to
solve where she would come and help if asked. But on some days, like on
this day, she had planned something a little more fun. Today they would
talk about Egypt. She would show pictures and teach 'her' children about
the country they lived in. She tried to do a few countries a year at
least, but Egypt was one that came back on most of these days.
The day went by quicker than she could have hoped. There was some truth in
the old saying that work kept sadness at bay. During that day, with the
children close as she told them stories and they told her stories, some
barely touching the topic, she could feel happy. That gave her hope. One
day, maybe a few years in the future she would have conquered her feelings
and life would become more normal again. Maybe it would even come sooner,
though she couldn't imagine that she would get over the death of her
brother quite so soon. They had been close from a very young age, both
strangers in this new land where her parents had brought them. It was
Egypt that had brought them together and so long a she was in it she would
feel as if her brother was with her.
Around noon she dismissed her class before it got too hot and sent the
children home. Rebecca lingered a bit in the classroom watering plants and
arranging some things for the next school day. She had planned an obstacle
race for the smallest while the older children would take time and measure
Rebecca knew she couldn't postpone going home forever. She didn't hate
being alone. She was alone know. That wasn't the problem, she could read,
watch tv and keep herself busy. But reading and tv weren't things that
needed her attention as much as building the obstacle course. She knew her
mind would wander again and she knew where it would end up. Crying.
Rebecca walked home as slow as she could, on the way reciting the tables
of multiplication. She entered her home through the front door and looked
at the living room. It was maybe 5 o clock. Not nearly soon enough to go
Suddenly she remembered a stack of paperwork she still had laying around.
She grasped the opportunity with both her hands and went into her small
workroom. Her desk was looking out onto the town where the sun was still
shining brightly into her office. The room gave off a peaceful atmosphere
and Rebecca started working grateful.
She only looked back up when the sun was setting, maybe 3-4 hours later.
Her stomach rumbled and she went into the kitchen for a quick lunch. She
grasped a few slices of bread and some water and went upstairs. Rebecca
ate quietly in her room in front of the tv, watching the news. Most of the
topics were pointless and they kept her attention only briefly. She zapped
a bit through the channels and finally found a movie she hadn't seen
When she had gotten true the movie without having cried (thank God it was
a comedy and not a drama) she got up and took a shower. The sun was now
fully down and the clock on the small table next to her bed read 10.30. It
was as good a time to go to sleep.
The strain of control had made her tired and she couldn't help thinking
that maybe, just maybe, she'd sleep through the weekend. Rebecca tucked
herself in and closed her eyes. But sleep didn't want to come yet. She lay
awake, twisting and turning, trying to shake the feelings and thoughts.
But she couldn't. And now the tears finally came again before the sadness
finally exhausted her so that she could do nothing else but sleep. And
Rebecca was running. The dark of
the night running with her. She looked up from the sand racing past and
saw the sun in the Western sky. She was running, trying to reach it in
time. It was important that she got there. Because if she didn't...
Her trail of thought stopped there. Rebecca turned down her head again,
concentrating on her feet as they padded across the treacherous sand of
the desert. For a long time running was all she did, the dark of night
always running alongside her. But how much she tried, how hard she ran, it
all didn't matter. The sun slowly faded at the horizon. With her last
powers Rebecca sprinted toward it, feeling she could reach it if only she
could stretch out her hand. Rebecca extended her hand...
It was dark. The sun had been gone for hours. Rebecca looked around
frightened. It came in the dark! It... The sun was her only friend and now
it was gone. It had left her, like her brother, to fend for herself.
Rebecca looked up and saw the deep blue-black sky extend endlessly above
her. She could see the faint light of stars but they were mostly faded in
the bright light of the pure white moon. It seemed much bigger than usual
in some way. Like she was closer to it. Closer to Death, she felt.
A chilly wind picked up and ran past her. Rebecca shivered and clutched
her arms around her body. She was alone, and yet she knew she wasn't.
There was no-one to be seen, but she felt that she was being watched. Like
a rabbit that knows there is a fox lurking. The hairs in the back of her
neck rose and Rebecca started running again.
Now she knew for sure there was something behind her. She raced along a
high cliff wall that looked like it was made from obsidian, razor sharp
and inhospitable. They reached to the sky and it seemed like they were
clawing the dark, trying to pull it around them so it would forever stay.
Rebecca realised she would never be safe again. Faster she ran, gasping the cold night air that almost froze her lungs.
The cliffs came closer together, ever closer until she couldn't go any
further. She hadn't seen this coming. She knew the place to be
different... and yet here she was standing when the only open passage
meant going back. And she couldn't for it was there.
Rebecca huddled down against the wall and waited. Like a frightened animal
she shivered but could not quite do anything about it. She felt she was
meant to be here... meant to die. With frightened eyes she looked up and
Rebecca screamed. The image of the
black shadow appearing in the dead end still lingering in her mind's eye.
But it too soon faded until she could hardly make out what it had looked
like. Her heart still raced and her breath still seemed to come to her in
shallow gasps. Slowly her rational mind regained control of her instincts
and she calmed down. It had all just been a dream brought on by the trauma
of losing her brother.
But then why did it bother her? There had been something about the place
that she felt she needed to know... but it was just beyond her grasp. She
had known the place in her dreams, but Rebecca couldn't remember where or
when she could have seen it.
Sleepily she turned at the clock next to her bed and saw that it was only
4 am. On a Saturday. Rebecca grunted, twisted and tried to get back to
sleep. There was no school in the weekend and no-one else that needed her.
That meant she could stay in her bed for the entire day. She wasn't used
to that thought and after a couple of hours of tossing and small naps she
rose at 6 am.
The images of the dream that had woken her had faded even more. It had
been night and dark, but that was about all she remembered. But the
feeling of fear and suffocation that had woken her was still all to real.
Not even the sun, already rising above the horizon could shake it.
Going down for coffee and some breakfast she couldn't help but laugh at
the irony of the day. She had wanted to stay in bed, just not getting up
and feeling secure and warm all day, not having to face life... in stead
she was up more early than she was used to. It was like a big neon message
smiling at her, saying: "The world needs to be dealt with - No
escaping. Tonight in theatres all over town, starring Rebecca Santdun."
Still somehow influenced by her dream Rebecca felt a drive in the desert
would cheer her up. If she could just get to the place of her dreams than
she would know what her subconscious had been wanting to tell her that
night. Besides, driving had a soothing quality that she could use right
Rebecca sipped some of the hot coffee she had poured herself and made a
face as the very bitter taste reached her tongue. She had never liked
coffee much, but it got her awake. Taking another small sip she lifted
yesterday's paper and read the headlines. The day before she had just
skimmed through the pages and had forgotten all about the paper in the
evening. Maybe waking up early hadn't been so bad. Now she had time to
read two papers and kick back. There would still be time for a trip in the
afternoon, her waking mind making the thought seem like an casual outing.
Rebecca put down her coffee mug and looked up. The sound that had gotten
her attention directed her to the toaster. Two sliced of warm bread were
sticking out. Rebecca got up, dragging the paper with her to search a more
comfortable spot to have breakfast in. She yawned and took the two hot
slices into her free hand. Quickly she took a few steps back to drop them
on top of one of the plates on the kitchen table, when her feet touched
something that hadn't been there before. Depositing the toast on the table
in stead of on a plate she looked down and saw her bare feet standing in
Rebecca looked at the small heap of sand in disbelief. How had it gotten
there? She hadn't stepped on it when she had walked here to get the
toast... Looking around she suddenly saw a little more of the sandy beige
stuff fall down. It seemed to come from the paper, which made sense, it
had come from outside and God knew mail in Egypt always had some sand in
it. Still this many was unusual.
"I'll have to clean this up." she reminded herself, though she
wasn't all too grateful about her inner voice telling her what to do.
First she would have to shake what was left of sand out of the paper
though. Looking absentminded as she was flicking through the pages while
eating some toast, her hand suddenly faltered. She had found the sand, but
what was more important was the page she had found it on. The obituaries.
A small picture of Kansas looked at her, partly covered in dirt that oddly
made him seem more lifelike. Like an old photograph there were only shades
of brownish-red, but even the slightest colour made the picture more
painful then when she had just seen the black-white kind.
Frozen for almost a minute, Rebecca stood there and looked. Inside her
were emotions fighting to be released. Anger won. Someone had done this,
there was no other explanation. Sand just didn't appear like this! Not on
one single page, not in an amount this big. Someone... someone who knew
here was playing a trick on her. But who? Who would want to hurt her? She
had no enemies like you saw in those detective movies. No-one wished her
Maybe it was time for that drive now. Rebecca hastily dressed herself and
went out, car keys in her one hand, a bottle of water in her other. Her
car too was a jeep, anything else eventually died out as far in the desert
as she was living. Sure there were roads, but they could hardly be called
that. The desert had a way of claiming everything that was taken from
Rebecca paused for a moment on that thought. Maybe she should adjust her name calling.
Maybe the sun hadn't been the bad guy. More likely it had been the desert
that had killed him. Like so many other things that came here, trying to
transform dust into life. Rebecca knew the desert could not be trusted.
Ironically she didn't know how right she was with that thought.
Rebecca drove away from the sun on roads that had once been asphalt, but
now were dirt again and thought. There were few people on the road and
even less cars. A little piece of her remained active driving the car, but
the rest of her just went numb.
Suddenly however, after maybe an hour of driving her mind wandered back
into her body. She had been called back to the present when she entered a
more visited part of Egypt. The excavation sites had always been a big hit
among tourists, though now interest was fading slightly. Why go to Egypt
when you could see excavations live on webcam?
A few trucks passed her and even a bus full of Japanese looking out the
windows like they were travelling through an alien landscape. Rebecca
smiled at the thought. It was easy to use stereotypes on others when in
fact she as a native of Great Britain enjoyed her tea more than she liked
Her stomach rumbled and Rebecca realised she was hungry. Midday was only
half an hour away and she had had a really early breakfast. Plus thinking
of that tea made her realise that all she had had to drink that day had
been coffee and some water from her bottle.
For a moment she considered heading to one of the cafeteria's set up for
the tourists and archaeologists. But unlike them she did mind whether she
was filled with a good cup of tea or with some flavoured water. Rebecca
pulled over and parked her car in the parking lot. An idea was forming in
her head. Her brother Kansas had liked tea even more than she had. She was
certain that he'd have some of the good stuff in his office. She couldn't
get around it any more. She'd need to clean out his office one way or
another. Maybe it was better if she did that now when she had nothing else
Rebecca watched both ways and crossed the small dirt road when it was
clear. The white shoal around her head almost went flying when a bus
passed her only seconds after she had crossed. She hastily grabbed it and
pulled it tight. Wherever you went, bus drivers were all the same reckless
people... like they were recruited from the worst drivers out there. Or
maybe they got this way.
Rebecca reached the small office her brother shared with two other men.
Both were out, digging somewhere. The small prefab room was square with
three desks set in different angles to mark as much as personal space as
was possible. Without much problems Rebecca located her brother's desk.
Kansas was by far the most organised of the three. Papers were neatly
stacked in one pile and filed with colours. When she looked over his desk
some more she saw that there was no sign of living on it. Rebecca felt
like she was watching a desk arranged by someone that did interior
decorating for stores. Everything was perfect, like he had known he
wouldn't return. A thought emerged in her mind. But that was silly, Kansas
would never kill himself. And if he did she thought he would have at least
picked a method that wasn't as strange as driving in the desert.
Rebecca looked through a few cabinets and finally found what she was
looking for. She found some tea and an old, small teapot. With only enough
water for about two cups making tea only took her 10 minutes with the
Thankfully sipping from her Jasmine tea Rebecca wandered around. She had
never been someone who could stay still for long. She liked to walk around
and look at everything she saw. She even read everything she could get her
hands on when she was bored or waiting, from motor magazines to
caution-advises on the back of deodorant.
Finally, when the desk had relinquished all it's secrets to her, Rebecca
turned to the wall behind the desk. She nearly dropped her cup of tea when
she saw the photograph. She had seen it before, and had even glanced it
when she had entered the office. Two men, one her brother were broadly
smiling and waving. Vaguely she recognised the second man as one of
Kansas' college friends. They had majored in archaeology together and had
celebrated their first find, a silly piece of pottery right after they had
But it wasn't her brother and his friend that had gotten her attention.
No, the scenery was what had stirred her attention. The rising cliffs, the
stainless blue sky... it was all there! Her dream.
Slowly more information started to pour into her mind through long
forgotten neuro-pathways in her brain. Her brother had found that piece of
pottery and had been ecstatic for at least a week. He and his friend had
dug out the entire canyon it seemed, but nothing else had appeared. Soon
after another site had gotten their attention and there they had found
something of interest and so on. Rebecca had thought she had forgotten all
about the piece but the picture had brought it all back.
And more, the place where they had dug, the exact replica of her
dream-landscape had only been a few miles from where Kansas' car had been
found. It was too much of a coincidence to be ignored. Rebecca finished
her cup of tea and went out to... to do what exactly? Prove that her
brother wasn't dead? Prove maybe that she knew where he had died? Did it
She reached her car and got in. She took a deep breath and thought she
might as well put a few things straight with herself. "First, this is
not a wild goose chase, I'm just going there for a look, not to find
evidence that Kansas is alive. Second, I'm just going there to think a bit
more. Seeing the place will be good for my getting over the loss and all
that psychiatric crap. No more."
When Rebecca got no reply she set out for the desert. To be honest she
really believed the psychiatric crap. There were some things you just
couldn't mess with when it came to mental health. She didn't want to be in
an institution five years from now muttering over and over: "he's
alive.", delusional and under drugs. Whatever unhealthy ideas were
popping into her head she wanted to stop them now. She knew it was hardest
to get passed the denial phase when there wasn't a body. Was she really in
denial? Rebecca hoped so. Denial she could handle.
Rebecca was suddenly aware of the cliffs around her. They were still at
the very edge of the horizon but they would close in onto her soon. A
sudden flash of claustrophobia nearly made her turn back. In stead of
following that urge, Rebecca pushed through and accelerated. Slowly she
got over the fear of being trapped, but only because it was still day. The
sun seemed to make the difference. In her dream it had been night. A
feeling of revelation lay just outside her grasp and vanished as soon as
it had appeared. Frustrated, Rebecca stopped the car and got out. She
found a large smooth rock in the shade and decided to just sit and think
for a while. Meditating to get some memory of her dream. It felt really
For a long time Rebecca just thought. But then, bit by bit she felt like
someone was watching her. She didn't know if it was just the paranoia of
the day, her supposed denial of her brother's dead or just exhaustion. Rebecca squinted to the horizon
where she had felt the strange presence. The sun was already setting. It's
rays and fading light masked whatever she felt at the horizon. She was so intensely
looking at the horizon she didn't see the long donkey shadow stretching
over the sand, formed by light bouncing from the clouds. Maybe she
wouldn't even have noticed it if she had been looking at the sand. The
shadow was big beyond imagining.
Rebecca turned around and stepped back into her car. The desert had a way
of messing with time. It felt like she had only been thinking about her
dream for an hour when in fact it must be closer to five since the sun was
Rebecca felt tired. It was about 8 in the evening and she felt
that her previous night hadn't brought her the rest she had needed. Weary
she turned to her car and decided she would come back tomorrow for more of
an investigation. Maybe she'd even remember something after a good night
When Rebecca turned it almost felt like she was leaving her brother alone,
but that was ridiculous. Her mind objected against such notions and she
shook her head, trying to loose the idea. But her heart kept telling her
she shouldn't go.
Rebecca turned the key in the ignition and felt reality surge back in. She
felt a lot safer too in her car. Nothing could come in and she could run
faster than if she were on foot. Nothing would corner her now. That was
what had happened in her dream, right? Trapped?
Rebecca drove further, almost rushing to get out. She didn't find it odd
that her passing was accompanied by sand flying up in clouds. But when she
looked out on top of a small hill where the road had led her she couldn't
find where she was. Somehow she must have taken the wrong road, a thing
for which she could almost kill herself now.
Rebecca stepped out and tried to look at the horizon. She knew that if she
followed the cliffs she should find the road out... her only problem was
that there were no cliffs. The soft brown of the desert seemed to stretch
endlessly. In the distance it even seemed like it ran all the way to the
sky like a giant cliff itself.
Reconsidering, Rebecca gasped in fear. Sandstorm! She hadn't been in many,
sheltered from most in the small town where she lived by the same cliffs
she saw here. But she wouldn't get to her home, it was hours away and the
sandstorm would hit her too soon. Her only hope lay in the cliffs. She
turned that way and moaned when she saw that she wouldn't be able to drive
there. her car would get stuck within seconds of her turning of the
Rebecca started running toward the cliffs and prayed, the same sentence
going over and over in her head, like a mantra that was the same rhythm as
her strides. "Safe to Cliffs. Safe to Cliffs. Safe to Cliffs."
Rebecca didn't dare look back, but 10 minutes after she had started
running she knew it was hopeless. She had to watch where she went and even
as careful as she had been she had already sprained her ankle, though not
bad. Again she tried to go faster as she heard the sandstorm getting
A few minutes later she could even see sand carried on the winds. To her
horror the cliffs still were dozens of minutes away. Still she didn't look
back, she knew the storm was behind her, why should she risk falling? She
trudged further, pulling her shoal over her mouth and ready to cover her
eyes should she need to use it.
"Anubith, closer!" Kansas
told his dragon.
"The winds are strong, rider mine." the
brown dragon answered, hovering as he was above the sandstorm. he could
not get any lower or he'd be lost in the blaze himself.
"Just closer above her and I'll handle it." Kansas hurried him.
"And when I give you the signal get ready to go between to this
place." Kansas showed Anubith the picture of a tight crack in one of
the cliffs. It was miles away from where they were, but it was the only
safe place he could think of to wait out the storm. Concentrating as best
as he could on a flying dragon he wished with all his heart for his sister
to be safe, on walking distance from the cave he had shown Anubith.
Rebecca pulled the shawl across her
eyes. A sudden uprise of sand swooshed around her and she truly felt that
she would not survive this. But when the dervish around her settled it
almost seemed like the sandstorm was less. But that was most likely only
an illusion. Still she could see the cliff wall only a few minutes away.
Exhausted Rebecca started walking again, struggling to get to the base of
the cliffs, hoping to find a rock where she could shelter behind.
Within minutes she was surrounded by more sand again, the cliffs a ghost
of darker brown that seemed to move. She was lost again, so close to her
goal. Rebecca didn't trust her sense of direction, if she wandered away
from the cliffs she would surely die, even in winter.
"Come here!" a voice
yelled to her.
Rebecca turned around but couldn't see a thing with the sand flying around
her. Dervishes rose around her, making her think they were people. But
they all fell down again, each taking some of her hope with them.
There was that voice again. Rebecca decided to trust her ears since she
couldn't even open her eyes anymore. Carefully she tried to get closer to
the voice, hoping that it wasn't a figment of her imagination.
"Help!" she yelled.
"You're almost here!"
Finally the sand around her faltered a bit and she saw, how she didn't
know, a small chasm in the cliff wall. Inside she could just see someone
waving at her before the sand again came rushing toward her. With renewed
power Rebecca trudged through the storm to the cavern. She bumped into the
rock and knew she had wandered away from the straight line she had
"Hello?!" she yelled again.
"To your right!"
Rebecca hugged the wall and stepped sideways until she felt the chasm she
had seen earlier. She fell in and took a deep breath. The air was still bone-dry
and hot, but at least there was no sand trying to get into her mouth. She
rubbed the sand from her eyes and got up, looking for the person that had
"Kansas?" Rebecca cried
out not believing her own eyes. She looked at the man standing in front of
her. It was Kansas, but not the brother she had known for so many years.
In stead it was the Kansas she had seen that last day. The light brown
hair was still there and for a moment Rebecca even spotted some brown in
his eyes that had always been blue to her knowledge.
Her brother who was clearly not death embraced her and said: "It's
Rebecca untangled herself from her brother's arms. She was ecstatic to see
him, but she couldn't deny that she felt angry. If he hadn't been dead then where had he been? What had he been doing?
"We can't stay here." Kansas said pulling her away.
Rebecca looked around and saw that the sandstorm had suddenly retracted
and now seemed a few kilometres in the distance. They were still in danger
if they could only get away by foot. Kansas stopped again and turned
toward her. Rebecca found it strange that she had just let her brother
take over. She had always been the older and wiser sibling, there had been
times that she had helped him. Maybe it was just his turn now.
"I don't want you to get afraid." Kansas said, "Behind that
dune is what brought me here. You don't need to fear him. Do you
Rebecca nodded. What the hell was he talking about? The anger that had
gotten to her still hadn't fully left. She felt irritated and lost. She
knew nothing of what was happening and though she wanted information she
knew she wouldn't get it until they were safe.
"Anubith!" Kansas yelled and pointed to a small dune.
Rebecca blinked her eyes when she saw a large dark brown animal rising
behind the dune and coming there way. Her mind just wandered away after
that. She didn't need to think. It was almost like a fairy tale. How else
could she be seeing an animal she was sure didn't exist?
"This is Anubith, my dragon." Kansas said.
"Dragon? I must be dreaming! Another figment of my denial!"
Rebecca said, pushing her brother away.
"Anubith is as real as you and me. I fear I have waited to long to
get back. I will tell you my story if you want to hear it." he
"It's not like I have anything else to do." Rebecca shrugged and
thought if her mind wanted to entertain her it wasn't doing a bad job.
"I was ill, Becca. Cancer. The doctors didn't give me another three
months. I was thinking about it here and suddenly a man on a dragon flew
down and... and they searched me. That's how I got Anubith. As weird as it
may seem I was on another planet for 2 years." Kansas said, not
looking his sister in the eye. Rebecca noted this and knew he was not
telling her something. Her brother had always been bad at lying. And then
this thing about being away 2 years... how could that be?
"What are you not telling?" she asked bluntly. "How come
it's been two years for you and only two weeks for me?"
Kansas grabbed the opportunity to cover up a few of the things that would
make the story seem even more like a story you might read in a tabloid.
"Dragons, at least the kind of dragon I have can fly across time as
well as space in a single heartbeat. They are incredible." Kansas
said clearly still admiring the fact, "I had to wait 2 years for
Anubith to grow up though, that is what took me so long. I wouldn't even
have come back at all if I hadn't had these dreams..."
Now that sounded familiar. Rebecca opened her mouth to say something but
decided against it. If he felt like he could keep secrets from her, than
she could keep secrets from him. Besides, they were just dreams, she tried
"What do we do now?" she asked.
"I stay until I know for sure you are safe."
"Safe from what?"
"Ehh... Whatever it is that made me come here." Kansas said
avoiding the topic 'Evil Desert Demons and what they have to do with your
baby brother for 1000' again and hoped she wouldn't notice it. He was
terribly wrong believing that thought.
"What? Are there people out there that could make the desert come
alive?!" Rebecca said sarcastically.
Kansas winced at the thought of telling his sister he was now one of them
so he decided to keep it vague. "I have seen people do it. You can't
believe what is out there." he said pointing at the sky, "Maybe
something found it's way to you through me." This time he did look in
his sister's eyes. He knew that to be a fact, though not exactly as he had
"That again leaves us with What do we do about it?"
"I'll find out more tomorrow. Tonight we will stay here where we are
safe. Anubith will watch us." Kansas said, "I've brought some
food, blankets and we can build a fire."
"You came prepared."
"I didn't really know what to expect." Kansas said hurt,
"Maybe you guys wouldn't let me in again and I had to stay
Rebecca shrugged and helped build their camp. While she was doing that she
couldn't help but now and again stare at the dragon. He was big and seemed
to be always looking her way. When the dragon blinked like he had heard
her, she hurried to look the other way.
Dinner was simple, a few sausages, some tea and a piece of bread for each.
But the whole thing felt magical to Rebecca. She was speaking to her dead
brother in a way, not a thing many people could say. Of course he wasn't
that, he had convinced her enough that he was real with stories from the
time they had been children, things only he could know.
The evening advanced a little further and Kansas suggested they'd sleep.
Rebecca agreed, she was still tired though Kansas' miracle return had kept
it away for a short period of time. Rebecca crawled into her sleeping bag
and was sleeping before she even hit her pillow, guarded by the fire and
the large dragon that was curled around them for warmth.
Rebecca was running in the
night. The big pure white moon above her reflecting the sun's rays though
it's gentle power was now gone from the world. A sense of loneliness
creped up on her and she stopped running. She felt like crying
though she didn't know why. It had something to do with loss... but she
couldn't quite make sense of it.
A chilly breeze picked up and threw little specks of sand at her back and
hair. The wind played with her hair and then nudged her forward. Not quite
sure what was happening, but thinking she needed to get home now or
something might happen, Rebecca started running.
A thousand paces later she screamed out in fear when she saw the walls of
the cliff creeping closer towards her. The same place, the same time. Her
nightmare. With a gigantic effort she tried to wake up, but she couldn't.
She tried to defy the dream, make it hers again and not some foreboding of
death and agony. But she couldn't. She tried to stop, but when she did, a
scream sounded, so cruel that she had to start running again, trying to
Soon she reached the death end. Rebecca pushed herself as close to the
wall as she could in a ridiculous effort to keep as much distance between
her and what was chasing her. She presumed it was Seth, the ancient
Egyptian God of the Desert and Evil. In her dreams this thought came easy,
like the logic of dreams was still active and only a basic part of her
knew this was all a dream again... but what would happen when she died?
Didn't they say that if you died in your dream you died for real?
Frightened Rebecca waited. Slowly, agonisingly, a shadow flowed over the
sand toward her and then into the sky in front of her. As the thing
started to gain depth Rebecca screamed, but there was no-one to help her
in her dreams. She could already feel the soft pulling again... the
feeling she knew was Death.
Crying, shivering and lost she tried to get away, get past the shadow, but
there was no light left... only darkness. The eyes of the Desert God
glowed as they drank the last bit of moonlight away. She didn't like those
eyes looking at her, but they did. Rebecca didn't want to look Seth in the
eyes, but her eyes were drawn to the light as a moth to a flame. She
couldn't escape them. When she had finally given in to the urge she
stopped feeling. No, not really... She stopped being herself. She still
felt, but now as someone else, as a thing not attached to this plain.
"Stop!" a voice sounded.
For a moment she thought she had said something, a last silly throw at
freedom and life. But the voice hadn't been her own. Did she still
remember her own voice? Or was that gone too? She was quite sure it didn't
sound like that, though it hadn't been completely unfamiliar either.
"Release her." the voice said.
Rebecca felt the weight of the eyes release her. She fell back to herself,
and embraced the pain. She was real once again. Her body was hers, again. Carefully
she looked up. She wasn't alone anymore. A second shadow, this one also
dark, but not frightening had appeared in her dream. The head of the
jackal awoke some old school memories that had been buried deep below
her conscious memories. Anubis, Judge of the Death and Guardian of the
afterlife stood in front of her, oddly transparent with a heart of fire
shaped like a dragon.
"Rebecca..." a voice whispered in
her head far away, "Come..."
Anything seemed better than this and she was mysteriously comforted by the
figure behind her. She felt safe enough to turn. The walls around her were
gone and she felt the urge to open her eyes... but weren't her eyes open
Her eyes flew open and she nearly
screamed when she saw the snout of Anubith hovering only centimetres above
"Calm down." the voice in
her head said, "I had to wake you. Are you
"Yes." Rebecca said suddenly making a few links to her dream.
The images had remained clearer this time, perhaps because the dragon had
guided her out. Slowly Anubith leaned back and the world around Rebecca
grew. She could see stars and the moon at his normal distance in the sky.
And finally she could see past the dragon to her brother sleeping. 'Like
the dead' drifted into Rebecca's mind.
"How can he still be asleep?" she asked the dragon.
"You did not make that many noises, but
normally he would have woken up. It's the desert keeping him trapped. He
has a nightmare like you, but not one that needs me in it."
"How can you know?"
"We are one. I can see his thoughts even
when he is sleeping, like I could sense you were in danger. He senses it
too." Anubith said looking at his bond.
Kansas suddenly jumped into a sitting position. Breathing heavily he
looked around and only fell back down when he saw her sitting with Anubith.
"Kansas?" she asked.
"A nightmare, nothing more." he said, trying to fool her.
"If they were anything like mine then I wouldn't say they were just
"You have them too?"
Rebecca told him about the dream she had had tonight and the things she
still remembered from the one the previous night. Throughout her story she
could see his face grow more dim and guilty until he was only a ghost of
his former cheerful self, like the ghost she had seen that last day. Maybe
that was all what was left of the brother she had known, a ghost.
"There is more... this just isn't the right
place to be foolish." Anubith told her.
"I'm taking you with me."
"Because I can never protect you here where the desert is all around
"Anubith is great, but one time he'll not be fast enough. One time we
won't be there. One time he'll be with me and you'll be alone."
"But that could happen everywhere. Just as likely here as at this
Darkling Dawn place."
"I said Anubith wouldn't be able to protect you always..."
"What are you saying?"
"That you need your own dragon. I won't be able to live with myself
if I know you died because of me."
"But what about mom and dad?"
"Maybe it is time to tell them..." Kansas whispered, his eyes
that had been on her at the entire conversation suddenly turned down in
shame. Rebecca embraced her brother and made him look in her eyes again.
"You have nothing to be ashamed about..." she said, "You
are alive. There is still hope."
"Hope there is." Kansas smiled.
Sand around them gathered and brought them home.
"How did you do that?" Rebecca asked taking a few quick steps
back. She looked at the dragon with suspicion. She wasn't very trusting of
sand at the present moment. When she looked back at Kansas she noticed he
was looking sad again. It looked as though force had left him again.
"I am not without tricks either..." he whispered. "I am
sorry I just dropped that on you."
"How...?" Rebecca asked.
"I'm not exactly human anymore." Kansas said, "I am alive
but I relinquished a lot for that right. I'm not sure what else I lost. I
just thought it was my life that would be sacrificed. I'm not sure if
there is something we call a soul, but I would have given it up to spend
just a few more years with you and our parents. But I had never imagined
it would want you too... The Desert is slowly taking all that was good in
my life, claiming it as a price for my life."
"Then I will come with you... but not without telling our
"Have they suffered?" Kansas asked, pain in his eyes at his
"They have. Like I have. They shouldn't have to feel that pain a
second time. They need to know, Kansas. No matter how ashamed you are,
though again, I don't think you should be."
"No I can't let them lose all that they have left in this world. I
will go in with you and tell them my story." Kansas sighed and looked
at the house he had lived in since they had emigrated to Egypt when he had
only been a little boy. He couldn't by any means call it his home, not
after what he had brought upon his parents. He didn't deserve to have a
home. That was mostly why he had refrained from timing back like most
earthlings did. He hadn't appeared on the same deserted place a day later,
but had instead skipped a week to the time when his sister needed him. To
her the grief was new, from Kansas' point of view he had already been away
for a year and a half.
Rebecca led her brother into the kitchen. Her mother turned and smiled
sadly when she saw Rebecca entering. She opened her mouth to speak when
Kansas came in. Their mother shrieked and dropped the plate she was
holding. Their father raced in, alerted by her scream. But when he saw why
she had screamed he could only stand and look.
"Kansas." he said, trying to make sense of the situation. At 11
pm that was rather difficult. His mind kept running in circles around the
fact his eyes presented him with. His wife overcame the initial fear she
had gotten when she had seen her son lurking in the shadows like a ghost,
and walked toward him. After the first brief contact her fingers made,
still doubting a little bit, she threw herself forward and hugged him like
she hadn't done in years.
"Oh Kansas." she kept repeating, hot tears falling in his neck.
"Mom, Dad, I need to tell you something..." Kansas started.
He told his story without interruptions, only faltered now and again when
he came to parts in it that he felt were things he should feel guilty for.
Things like going to the witch, and later fleeing, leaving his sister and
parents alone and grieving.
"It wasn't something that came easy. Nor would I do it again..."
he said, but in saying so he wondered. Would he really pass up the
opportunity to live? To risk losing Anubith? He very much doubted it...
"In the least I would have returned earlier, " he said
Kansas then went over the dreams Rebecca had had and his part in them. He
left nothing out about what he thought were the reasons for her peril. But
most of all he stressed the need for her to get a dragon of her own.
Finally Kansas could end his story. He looked around: "Can you
forgive me?" he asked.
"There is nothing to forgive." Rebecca said again. Both her
parents looked at her and nodded. Rebecca could see their father had a few
questions of his own, but their mother seemed strangely placid and
accepting. Rebecca understood somehow that as long as she knew her
children were alive and safe that she was happy. A thought that gave her a
firm ground for what she knew needed to be said.
"Mom, Dad, I have decided to go with Kansas. We won't stay as long as
Kansas did. We will be back tomorrow, though it will be a year at least
for us. And we will be coming back every day until we are sure you aren't
in danger. Maybe one day you will join us too, I really hope you
"Only time will tell." her father said, reluctant about leaving
Rebecca looked at her mother and saw that she was calm and would let them
go, no matter how hard it would be for her. She had adapted many of the
ways of Egypt. Her life was with their father and not a hair on her head
thought about leaving him.
Rising to let her and her brother out again she stepped closer to Rebecca
and hugged her.
"Farewell." she said, opening the window into the night.
Rebecca admired her even more when Anubith stepped forward from the
shadows, his whirling eyes a soft blue and extended an arm to let Kansas
and Rebecca climb on his back.
"Farewell!" Rebecca called out, bracing herself against her
brother's back when Anubith took off. Only seconds later he disappeared
from the Egyptian sky into Between and brought his rider and Rebecca
safely to Darkling Dawn.
To the Hatching
Read Kansas' Story
Rebecca is a Candidate at Darkling Dawn
made with a picture found on google search engine
Music Playing is called 'In the Air