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The Empty

Somewhere along the way to the end of nowhere, I stopped to look around. Here, I thought. Here is where I am and where you are not. The landscape was barren, flat and endless, the sun pale and searing, clouds but a memory long vaporized.

I squinted. Sat for a time. Burned beneath the bright bowl. Dripped sweat and split at the seams. Walked in circles. Screamed at the empty horizon. Wept over the bleached remains of my life. Our life. This life. Who I was, or thought I was, and what I was meant to do. Who I thought I was meant to be.

I dug a bed in silt and sorrow, and then I dreamed a dream. Minutes or years later, I awoke, all raw skin and cracked lips, hair four inches longer and as dark as a winter's night. Once, I had been moonlight and shadow. Once, I had been powerful. Ichor and stars. A woman with an ache to unfold and expand, with defiant disregard for the boundaries of flesh.

I remembered that once, long ago, I had been myself.

So I stood. Stretched. And I painted the sky. Lavender dawn and sprinkled night. Streaks of orange, pink, and azure. A sun rising soft and gold. Then I built trees. As many as I had strength for. Gnarled and wise, arms bent from carrying memory, and just as many sleek and new, hopeful and yawning. I made leaves and vines from my hair and wished them green and veined with life. A million facets of green.

To my knees I went, embracing the sting of rock as I sunk bleeding hands into the dry earth. I pulled water up, up, up. Welcomed the eager rush and roar. I bathed my world in sweet moisture, fashioned moss and loam. Lifted peaks, sunk valleys. Finally, I shaped a monument of crystal - dark and bright and beautiful, filled with you - and sunk it in the deepest lake to catch the dance of rainbows forever.

I rebuilt myself.

Then I journeyed on.

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