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In the desert, the sky spread out to blanket the earth. Each star was a dart on the quilt of night. Bria had snuck out here alone. Jana, in the excitement over Elric’s awakening, had a blind spot to Bria. Bria expanded it with a weave she had stumbled over when trying to shield herself from Elric’s overjoyed prying. He now returned Bria’s bond, too. While it was beautiful to feel so close to him, to understand him in a way she never could before, it was overwhelming. She was already sharing her mind with so many, except Helene, and she wanted Helene open to her. Helene needed to know someone cared for her, even though her knotted was a statue in a basement. A statue shuffled from room to room.
Perhaps it was foolish to be out here alone. No, it was absolutely foolish to be in the Dunes at night, alone. Utterly insane. Especially after the visit she’d had two weeks back. But here she was, seeking comfort and certainty. And solitude.
She lay back in the sand. It slipped down the neck of her shirt. She didn’t care. “Love,” she said, and she didn’t know why. “Alone,” she whispered to herself. Then she sat up and thought of when the Docks had led to water, and whether there was a beast of the elements that dozed in the sand.
“Are you there?” She surprised herself by shouting. She lowered her voice.“If you are, you don’t need me to yell.” She walked along, dragging trails in the dirt. There was no breeze tonight. All was still. Suddenly, she was sure she was missed. “Better get back,” she mumbled to the air. To the beast if it was listening. At her Jeep, she mumbled over her shoulder, “I’d love to see you again.” She felt stupid for saying it, and shrugged. “If there’s a way, let me know and I’ll be back.”
The sand shifted behind her. She turned slowly, unsure what to expect. Nothing. An empty desert. A twinkling night sky. She asked the air, “Are you there? Is there . . . anything you need?”
A breeze played with the sand. Little dunes formed and blew away. Larger dunes lifted and shifted toward her, serpent-like. She was afraid. She was not afraid.
Afterward, she realized she’d been holding her breath. “Water,” she whispered as she blew it out. And where better to find water than a flooded fishbowl? She climbed into her Jeep laughing because the thought was so ridiculous.