Cold halls, set deep within the sands. Slithering, whithering, over time. A lone voice, apparent to those who have not suffered enough. Columns like spines or fingers reaching for the ceilings that cover the darkness beneath. Shield your ears, child ere the calling rises, or you will never forget the senseless clamour of the spirits.
The child holds on tightly to the hand of the wanderer. They are both searching for the answer to a question that they weren’t taught to answer in school. Regardless, they ended up in a place called “school of life”. To learn, or perhaps, to find an answer.
We don’t know why the little girl found the grown woman in the desert. We’re only glad that she did. Who knows what could’ve happened.
Their steps echo through the ancient void. The halls wind endlessly through the school. An old school that supposedly lived and breathed. For the woman it is incomparably harder to imagine.
“Where does it end?”
“I’ve never been here.”
A life barely started, scarred from a love not received and a lust not deserved. Unfair wounds etched into the tablet of her consciousness.
Another life barely used, to draw figures in the sand on the lookout for a father and mother never to be found.
The hall turns up, turns down, stops and turns and twists. The woman counts the turnt corners. A desert wind hisses around them and they feel an unwelcome unlike their personal experiences. It doesn’t discriminate.
“You don’t hear it?”
“What is it?”
“I can hear someone screaming, but far away.”
“Lead the way.”
Oh, they’re in it now, following the voice with a blind determination, forgetting to remember the way back. Leaving not only their cares at the turns and corners, but also the cautions whispered by merchants in busy markets.
“Child, the school is long dead. But even the dead stir sometimes in their sleep.”
Panting now echoes in the streets, lit by ancient lamps. The ceiling has removed itself to a height invisible. Wind is a distant memory. The air hasn’t breathed freshly in here since the school stopped living.
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
Cowering child, covering ears, quivering tears, scared to run down the cheeks. It awakens a memory in the woman. A tale from her childhood.
“They told me, when I was young, that I could hear things adults cannot.”
“It hurts so bad, please make it stop.”
“They told me, that it’s the spirits asking their last will.”
“Why are you telling me, please, can we go now?”
“If you listen to what they say, we can help them.”
She doesn’t want to, she’s scared to death, doesn’t have a home to return to but wishes she had one and were there. Slowly, hands lift from ears that behold in full capacity a scream so terrible and sad.
“What does it say?”
A G O D W A S M Y D E M I S E,
T H E I R L O V E W A S M Y U N D O I N G.
E A T F R O M T H E F L E S H,
T O K N O W Y O U R S E L V E S.
She runs, as soon as it’s done. Before it starts over. Her ears are bleeding. They feel sorry for the head having to carry the pain and the weight of these words. Having to repeat them was worse.
“The Gods have been dead for ages. What can we do about that? And what flesh?”
“I don’t know, i don’t know i dont know idontknow idunno idk dont want to no no”
She cradles the child close. Sand is wafting through the whispering walls. Aroma of a taste long lost to time.
He has lain there all this time. Ripe for the harvest. A body so huge it’d feed a hundred villages. How did they miss it. She leads the child and tells her:
“Come, take a bite.”