Sandcastle

Wind swirled into the canyon. It gathered spray from the falls to comfort sunburned skin. Brandy shivered. The muscles in her uterus lost their hold.

Nothing lasts, the vacuum whispered.

Nothing lasts, indeed; the fatalistic sentiment left her cold.

Shifting from below him, Brandy rearranged herself, intermingling limbs (and dreams) with Simon… until she sensed him drift beyond her grasp. Loathe to let him go, she loyally pursued him:

into a viscous medium…
sounds resembling murmurs…
everything sedate…
everything bathed serenely in a rubicund light.

‘Do you feel that, Brandy?’

‘What?’

‘The flow.’

‘Huh?’

‘Bloodstreams.’

‘Where?’

‘Inside us.’

‘How? I'm lost. Make sense, will you!’

‘I'll try. Just listen.'

‘Heartbeats?’

‘And?’

‘And nothing. Water falling, maybe. All around, but really muffled.’

‘Do you see things?’

‘No, it’s dark.’

‘You don't see me?’

‘No. Yes. Well, sort of. But it’s black as night.’

‘Not red?’

‘Okay, it's red as night; same difference.’

‘Take my hand.’

‘Okay, but—Jeezus!—I feel every crease in your palm!’

‘It seems our senses are heightened here.’

‘Are we going somewhere?’

‘Deeper.’

‘No, I don't think I should come. I mean, I really shouldn't be here.’

‘But you are. You would be anyway.’

‘Hey, you don't think… Are we dead?!’

‘Calm down. You’re safe.’

‘Why have you brought me here?’

‘I thought we 'came' together.’

‘That's not funny. I just followed.’

‘True. But in a very real sense, you led. Had I been left alone I might never have reached this level of understanding.  
I only sniffed the Poppy, Brandy, never touched its petals, never really mingled to the point of pollination. 
It's so clear!
Like the mirror's flip-flopped images
I-with-you and you-with-me exchanged
each relieved of Self
becoming the Other
an I for an I transmute
resulting in Us
in We.'
Then you and I made Us
I with I transformed to become this We.’

‘Simon, I have no idea what you're talking about. Where are we? Am I dense, or what?
I hardly understand how we can speak, ask these stupid questions.
Weren’t we making love? That’s all I remember.
It was special, I'll admit, but this is… weird.
Unless… We must have fallen asleep; this is just some daydream.
Yours, mine, ours, whatever, but not like things before.
Not like loving in the flesh.
You know, as in for real.'

‘What is "for real"?
Why discount our dreams; just because they don't conform to"reality"?
Life is everything conceivable. Why set limits? Why make rules?
Why clip wings or blind the mind's third eye to accomplish mediocrity?
Aren't we holding hands this instant?
Don't you feel our lifelines yearning to converge?
Haven't we reached a realm wherein fates intetwine?’

Their bodies, for the longest time, married their surroundings—as indigenous to their setting as the landscape to itself. The sun's eye passed, its heat abridged by shadows that inch-by-inch advanced... crept up to… then onto… then over torsos… limbs… and faces—one, awakened from the inner hues his lids diffused, beheld: the jagged cliff-edge looming overhead.

*

Brandy, hand left empty like a severed paw, stirred lazily. Then, aware of Simon's absence, hurriedly rose.

Odd, the way this sun has suddenly bleached the surrounding scenery, definitions run like pigment on soggy parchment… blurred… displaced by a virgin white... growing ever more intense at the nigh horizon… brightening… ground beyond it sloughing off… reclaimed as by the sea… come closer… Earth itself about to dematerialize… up I soar… my arms outstretched… released at last to…

"SIMON!"

Brandy’s cry stood out above the canyon's constant tumult. Simon, plummeting from the waterfall, reached earth with shocking speed…

"Oh my God!"

Brandy rushed to the spot where his trajectory should have carried him, and, indeed the castle bore a telltale impression; most of it lay crushed. Yet whatever had flattened walls and turrets, pulverized moat and mound, demolished arches, bridges, and quaintly crafted passageways, collided with such a sickening "THUD" that Brandy dared not verify what her ears perhaps had imagined but what her eyes, for sure, saw plunge, was nowhere—inexplicably nowhere—to be found.

‘This can’t be happening.’

"SIMON!"

Once more Brandy’s frantic cry competed with the uproar, triggering shrill if hollow, futile reverberations, their decrescendo drowned in the all-pervasive din.

Numb with shock and grief she commenced a desperate search.

*

*

Brandy had been spared...

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