NaNoWriMo novel: an excerpt

The desert sand is warm and comforting on the soles of my feet. The small rocks that usually cut and bruise bare skin are barely noticeable as I run past the cacti and thistle. I have to be somewhere. Someone is looking for me. I'm dressed in a night dress of pure white. The fabric is thin against my skin letting in the chill of the night air and rising moon. I have the urge to lay against the canyon rocks to let the sun's heat that they hold push away the chill that is creeping up my skin. The pressing cold and darkness is falling fast, spreading from the east horizon over the landscape and finding its way to me. I am suddenly aware of my body beneath the fabric. The curves of my form are too noticeable. I feel naked and alone. I am not alone. There is someone else out there in the night. I see movement among the still cacti that dot the barely lighted western horizon. They rise like blackened hands reaching towards the sky and are met with the massive, sparkling blanket of stars. The beauty of it startles my breath and I feel a tear fall down my cheek. Dreams are always filled with a stronger sense of beauty than real life. There are no worries or obligations, no rituals of the day that must be completed. No rules. No black. No white. The sound of my tear hitting the sand draws my attention downward. Time has ceased to exist. Two steps in front of me. A left foot, then a right. The boots blowing a dusting of sand into the air. The particles swiring on the wind and getting carried away. I raise my face to meet his eyes. It takes a slow deliberation to bring my gaze to his. Even in the complete darkness that now engulfs us I can see a fire in his eyes. I feel warmth blush in my cheeks. The feeling emenates down my body, tingling my naked skin. I tell myself that it's only a dream. I can do whatever I want. Running away seems like a viable option but so does stepping closer. One step, then two. The feel of the dirt between my toes is shockingly real, but the manner of our locked gaze is nothing of the known world. As the distance between us lessens the sky draws inward, the ground slopes up to cradle us. The world tightens and holds it's breath. An eternity passes between us and I fear that I will wake and never see him again. I will myself deeper in sleep, consciously thankful that the day exhausted me so completely. I'm here. My words sound breathy and distant as they pass my lips. It's as if I am watching him through my own eyes and simultaneously watching our meeting from above. I seem small beneath his gaze, a frail creature that needs his guidance and warmth. He reaches a hand towards me, palm up, slowly. The way one would reach toward a wild horse when unsure of their temperament. His knuckles slowly skim down the buttons of my nightdress and stop just below my ribs. My heart is racing and I exhale, not realizing that I had stopped breathing the moment his hand had left his side. His palm turns and presses warm against me. There is an object between us. A metal, warmed by it's close presence to my skin. He clutches it tightly, stumbling me forward. A cord pulls at the back of my neck, willing me closer to him. His eyes hold me still and keep me from losing my balance. I desperately want to reach my hands out to steady myself. Not from the tug of gravity but from the weakness that seems to have taken over my legs. Somehow I know that if I dare to touch him he will disappear and be left in the dream while I will be taken awake. With his hand still clutching the charm at my chest, his other hand caresses my hair with a gentleness I never imagined a man capable of. I am no longer grounded to any type of reality. I give myself over to the dream for better or worse. I can't speak or breathe. His hand tightens against the back of my neck and he pulls me forward, tilting my head up as he leans down to keep our eyes locked while the warmth of our individual bodies encircle eachother and become one light in the darkness. I see the vapor of his breath so close to my face and my body feels weightless, yet my heartbeat heavy and fast. His lips meet mine with an unexpected fierceness. All at once time catches up, our lips part and he slips the cord over my head. He mouths one word. Sorry. I startle awake with one single image burned in my mind. A key, shinning and silver with spots tarnished from age. It was the object of his desire, not me.

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