They say dying is tough, but it isn't. Not really. Maybe it comes
down to practice, and maybe I'm just a little too well-versed;
dying is just like falling asleep. Just make sure you know where
you're going to wake up.
I remember the first time it happened. It was the earliest life I
lead, when I had a mother, a home and a whole world to explore.
The world of sun, sand and heat; a land of no water, and endless
war with other tribes, each fighting for ownership of the
remaining pools, the remnants of a time awash with life. It is
ironic, really. I died of a time so overwrought with the taxes of
existence, that in the end, it was more like being born again.
I remember her face. My mother was a soft soul, a tender sort,
and bless her, she did love me. I was nothing like the other
children, and although the fact did very little to perturb me, it
seemed to unsettle her slightly. I often used to think that had I
looked different, things would have been changed. They seemed to
sense that I wasn't in the right place; if only I had had the
inherent wisdom to do the same. On the day that I died, one
particularly unspectacular girl ran from me as I offered her a
leather flask, as dull as her weathered skin. I didn't offer it
twice - stupidity never deserves a second chance.
We had packed in the morning for an especially long journey, with
some of the elders saying it was seventy miles at least. I
listened from the backs of the last tents, the others since
dismantled, whilst my mother rolled the fleeces. Their husky
voices, a product of lives endured in the desert, reverberated
through the sheets…words of a last hope, a final oasis.
I knew of many evil things, but nothing more evil than hope.
I think I knew I was going to die that day.
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