Reads: 180


A faint rustling of paper starts to fill the silence. My mouth is damp and the air is a little cooler here. I turn my head slightly and I sense a man. I lean in, curious but I accidentally fall off the ledge that I am lying on, into the hot sand.

“Hey.” I can feel the old man's hand touch me softly as he speaks, “are you alright?” I reach out my hand to him. But I quickly widthdraw it, “Don't be afraid, I want to help you. You look scared”. Look? What does he mean, look? “Are you hurt?” I stand and turn to leave.

“Where are you going?” I'm drawn to a stop. There's something about him. Something that's different to others I've met before, “I'm not going to hurt you, I want to help.” his voice is soft and soothing.

How can you help me? How can anyone help me? How could you possibly help, when you don't even understand! I step out of the hut and turn away from him.


But maybe. Maybe you're like me. Maybe you sense things that others can never understand.


No! I cover my face with my hands keeping him away.

“You act very strangely.” I hear him say, “The way you move your lips like that and the way you move sharply, with unease” I take my hands away and he moves towards me. “Can you see me?” See? What does he mean see?

I shake my head as a faint chuckle reaches my ears,

“Sorry, living in the desert generally disconnects you from people.” He starts to move around and move his hands, “Sight. It's being able to look around and see things. It's a fifth sense that allows you to pick out your surroundings. In music you have things like pop, rock, classical and folk. Then in sight you have colours like red, green, blue, yellow, white and black.” he turns back towards me,

“Red is overflowing with pain and anger but yet is filled with love and passion, green is nature and life that's all around us, blue is sadness yet beautiful in every way, yellow is joy and happiness, white is pure and plain then black is full of fear and excitement. It's like hearing when there's no sound, it's like feeling the air that surrounds us, it's like tasting when there's nothing to taste. So. Can you see?” Sight. Is that what this disorder's called? Can I?




Is this what it is to hear in complete silence? Is this what it is to feel emotions outside as well as inside? Is this part of nature? Am I a natural part of nature? Is this the naked world? Is this how it's meant to be perceived? And is this monstrous pain that twists and gurgles inside me, is it evil? Was it ever evil? Was it ever here? Why is it here now?


This strange man in the desert. This old man. Is he like me? Is he like me?!


I reach out my hand to him, shaking it in offering. Urging him to take my diary and. Diary. Where's my diary? I run back into the man's hut. I hear things fall onto the floor as I search frantically. I'm tapped on the shoulder and I jerk back.

“Here.” The old man hands me my diary and bouler, quickly adding “I haven't read it.” A smile forms across my lips as I hand it back to him opened at the page dated:


15th June 114P.R.


I'm hoping he'll know I mean for him to read it. He nods at me, gets up, goes outside and starts reading. I bound after him and lie in the sand. It's warm, no it's hot. No. It's boiling but I don't care. Red? Is sand Red? No. Sand's not angry, it makes me feel happy and alive. Alive? Green then. No it's not alive,. Blue? No. Yellow? No. Wait. Yellow? Yellow's joyous and happy. Yes the sand's yellow!

My fingers flow over the yellow sand. Writing out in braille my heart's delight.


“Kai...” The man's voice is stern. He turns to. See. What I have written in the sand, “The sand is yellow!” he reads out loud, “Yes, yes the sand is yellow.” His smile fades as I stand and turn towards the old man. “You can't talk.” his voice is soft as I shake my head in reply.

His words reach out like hands, surrounding me, entangling me and holding me. They flow through my body as easily as wind over the sand. He holds me there and soothes me, calming my every nerve. My eyes close and the silence enfolds me.


I remember a moment from when I was little. It was the day that my parents found out about what I had. I was in bed, with mum and dad standing in the doorway.

“What do we do? What do we do?” mum's voice is scared and urgent, “I don't want our

little girl to be hunted in the streets Tim. I don't want her to be murdered and people to celebrate her death.”

“Shhh, Melissa. She won't be. She won't be.” Dad was scared as well, I could hear it in his voice, “we are the only people who know. And nothing bad will come of that.”

“But how long do you think it'll take. One day, sooner or later it will come out. And people will know what she can do.”

“She won't he hunted like the monarchs. She has never done any evil.”

“Do you think they will know that!” They were gradually getting louder as I curl up in my bed shaking, “there are people still around who hold the revolution very strong in their minds.”

“It doesn't mean they'll murder her.”

“Your great grandfather was in the revolution. Wasn't he?” I hear the slight snide in my mothers voice.

“Doesn't mean I remember it or still thirst for revenge.”

“But some do. The Blackwood's are known for being strong minded about the revolution.”

“That's one extreme family and not even them believe there are any monarchs still walking the streets.”

“Even so, Kai thinks that what she has is a gift and that makes her more likely to say something.”

“Then we need to teach her to fear it, for her sake.”

“It's a curse on her and if it comes out it will strike at not only her but us and anyone who's close to her.”


My mind switches back to the train crash, the old man's embrace grips me tightly as my body threatens to start shaking. I remember the smoke and the screaming, the banging and the attack. The escape from the pain and the suffering. But. What got us out? What got us away?


I did.





Sight did.










I gasp. I search again and my mind threatens me with voices saying I'm the devil. I helped with Ffion, I got everyone away. I found a way out,


I saved. 15 people.


It's not a curse.


It was never a curse.


It was never evil.


I saved lives.


Sight saved lives.


The devil does not rule me!


All the fear I brought upon myself!


“I am free!”


“What did you say?” I turn to the man. He's fixed on me.

“I'm free.” I hear it too, a voice struggling to speak over the silence. Like a faint brush of wind by my ear, “I can speak!” the mousy voice squeaks as I run and knock over the old man. I start laughing and giggling like a 6 year old, “I can speak. I can speak. I can speak. I can speak.” My feet start dancing in the sand and the rhythm of my words becomes faster, “I can speak. I can speak. I can speak. I can speak.” I hear the old man laughing. My arms are spread wide and the words bounce around my head joyously, “I can speak. I can speak. I can speak. I can speak. I can speak. I can speak. I can speak. I can speak. I can speak!”

“Kai!” I stop. Matt? The voice comes again, louder this time, “Kai! Where are you?” I turn and catch sight of them. Matt is stumbling forwards in-front of the group with, from what I can make out, Ffion's body hanging from his arms. I start running.

“Matt!” my mousy voice wines as it struggles to my ear. I clasp onto his arm as I reach him.

“Kai?” For a moment I look behind him. The others are slow, stumbling and being supported by each other. I see Megan leaning against Emily and Christian being held by Kier as they trudge forwards. “Is that you?” my attention turns back to Matt.

Yes. I tap,

“Where have you been?” Matt’s voice rocks me but I hold my nerve.

Thinking. I feel Matt start to fall as the old man lifts Ffion out of Matt's arms.

“What are you doing?” comes Matt's weakening voice as I hold him up, “what's happening?” I find out I can't support his weight as I lower Matt onto the sand.

“Everyone! If you want to survive follow me!” The old man’s voice echoes around the group. With all my strength I heave Matt up and put his arm round my shoulder and I took now join the stumbling group.

“Kai?” I turn and am immediately aware of tears starting to form in my eyes as Megan's pain-stricken face greets me.

“I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.” My voice manages to conjurer up. Tears roll down my cheeks as I realise what I've done to them. My voice didn't register to her.

“Who is that? The old voice?” Her voice was strangely calm as she joined my pace.

“I don't know.” I attempt to reply. Could Megan even hear me?


With Matt getting heavier by the second. I follow the old man and my classmates back to the hut.

Submitted: May 31, 2015

© Copyright 2022 SE Howie. All rights reserved.


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