Chapter 64Of Flames and Flares

Flames, flames everywhere. Flames as far as the eye could see. Burning. Not burning anything in particular, just burning. Flames of all shapes and sizes. Behemoth ones that would consume a mountain, puny ones that would only consume no more than a wick. There was a sound too, a lot of sound. A combined rush of low and high noise, emanating from all the flames. The air was fairly clear though. Flames in the distance could be seen with ease, despite the heat-haze at the horizon.

A sea of fire.

No smoke.

I didn't feel hot.

It was very odd. I knew that I probably should be screaming of pain and agony, but I didn't. The flames touched my skin, but didn't scald me. My clothes had long since ceased to exist. I was naked. Walking through the flames. Feeling them tickling beneath my feet like a thousand feathers. I wasn't worried at all, the flames felt safe. They felt welcome.

They felt like friends.

I wasn't sure where to go, but by now I realized this was another element. Fire. I just walked on and hoped it wouldn't take too long. It was hard to see anything though. Flames flickered so fast, shapes only existing as images burned in my eyes for fragments of a second. There was nowhere to aim for, the horizon as changing as the flames in front of me.

But I kept on walking.

Not entirely to my surprise, I could see a lack of fire in the distance after a while. As I got closer I saw it was a wide circle where the flames were pushed outwards as if someone was blowing air very hard from above. In the middle of a circle, almost obscured by the high flames around, was a girl. I immediately noticed her hair didn't move.

Self-conscious, I touched my own head and was glad to find my hair still present.

I was slightly worried about being naked though. The girl looked very young but, somehow, less frail than the other four. It was hard to define why, because she looked lighter at the same time. But there was an aura around her that gave the impression she was untouchable. It made me feel more at ease at least.

I stepped through the edge of the flames, feeling the wind rush by only there. As soon as I got past the edge it was quiet. The sound of the fire no longer present. The heat far away and only by light. It wasn't cold, but definitely cooler. I shivered once as my body adjusted. The ground was different too, smoother. However, it was impossible to see or feel what it really was. It eluded all senses. I could only say that it supported me, even if I didn't know how.

"Hello, Dreamer." Her voice was quite peculiar. A strong accent that I couldn't quite place.

I walked closer to her. "Hello, what is your name then?"

"Ilma." She blinked once after she said it, her clear voice telling me that she wouldn't give long answers.

"I'm Taran. Are you the last sister?"

She shrugged.

A strange thought from the first dream made me ask something interesting. "Do you meet dreamers often?"

She shrugged again, but added; "Sometimes."

I took a deep breath, surprised by the sudden coolness of the air. "Will I die here?"

She giggled a little, her cute accent quite obvious. "Maybe."

The wind flared up, extinguishing more of the fire around us. The clear area growing as I looked. The wind was actually starting to be felt where I was standing as well now. She still looked as still as before. Calm, peaceful, untouchable. I wanted to walk towards her, seeing it as a safe area to prevent getting blown away. But as I moved towards her, the wind pressed hard against my chest.

And pushed me back.

It pushed me further back than I had expected, actually back to the flames. But I never reached it. I was lifted up in the air, wind coursing all around me. Swirling faster than I'd ever felt. My skin felt as if sand was brushing past it, grating it slowly. When I looked down most of my skin was irritated, red. And the wind only got faster.

When I managed to open my eyes for a fraction of a second, I noticed how the flames were now pushed back to the horizon. The wind, however, made it impossible to keep looking. I felt as if I was getting torn apart by something pulling on every hair of my body. I couldn't even feel my fingers anymore, just a stinging sensation.

My feet were hardly different. I couldn't look because of the wind but it probably wasn't something that I wanted to see anyway. It felt like my skin, my muscles, everything of me was slowly being grated away by the wind. It was sharp as a knife, cutting my senses, my body in pieces.

Screaming didn't have any effect. My breath was like a piece of straw in a storm. Swept away in the blink of an eye. If I could even blink.

Soon I was reduced to nothing.

Just a lingering spirit that faded away like dust on the wind.

And I woke.