Ephemeral

* * *

Dulora was sleeping underneath her favorite crazy quilt. She was dreaming again. Outside her floating room, snow was quietly falling. On her nightstand, the seconds were melting away. Sooner or later, she would have to wake up again, closer and yet so further away. . .

* * *

* * *

Moments before she closed her eyes and fell to sleep every night, Dulora would always force herself to think of impossible tomorrows, because of what her parents told her when she was really young, “better to hope for impossible tomorrows than to reminisce with ghosts about the past.”

* * *

And every morning she would wake up like all the times before with the warm sun on her face.

* * *

But eventually, one toil after the other, the days soon become insurmountable. The more she stayed awake, the more she remembered before falling asleep, and the less she believed in impossible tomorrows. Until at long last, last night, she stopped believing in them all together.

* * *

Dulora’s clock was seconds away from alarming when it suddenly stopped. Not long after, cracks started appearing everywhere, while Dulora disappeared from her room. And then, and all of the sudden,

* * *

* * *

the moon and earth broke free from the sun as mad and wild tornadoes touched the horizon. Waterfalls reversed, and melted snow slowly started dripping up from broken window panes. Under endless aurora skies, clouds burst into fire, and everyone and everything merged and changed into what they were not.

* * *

* * *

Finding herself standing in a meadow of violet flowers after a moment of forgotten reverie, Dulora saw Black Mountain far off in the distance. For a moment her mind was blank. She was beginning to panic, until she remembered Farrah telling her she was going to wait for her.

Worrying, Dulora turned around and felt the rays of the perpetual sunrise on her face. She thought of her life back home. If she left now toward the perpetual light, she could still make it back home to wake up another day, but if she went to Black Mountain to meet up with Farrah, she knew she might never wake again.

* * *

Surrounded by an eerie silence and shadows of the perpetual sunrise, she closed her eyes and concentrated on her memories of Farrah. She remembered the time Farrah cheered her up one sad and lonely day. Opening up her tired eyes again, Dulora decided to leave for Black Mountain.

* * *

As she walked past silent ghosts caught forever in endless merry-go-rounds, Dulora thought about Farrah and her decision to meet her on the other side of Black Mountain. Farrah knew about the dangers. “Why would Farrah risk going to Black Mountain when she knew she wasn’t supposed to,” Dulora questioned herself. Frustrated from the impasse, Dulora began questioning why she was having such a hard time remembering Farrah at all.

After a while of being lost in her thoughts, Dulora noticed that she was walking past the same strange tree time and time again. She stopped and stared at the massive tree, which was covered in grotesque entangled webs and upside down rain drops. A frayed noose a thousand feet high was dancing from one of its branches.

* * *

* * *

“Hello! Why do I keep seeing you,” Dulora finally asked, hesitantly.

Ueoia didn’t reply.

* * *

“If you don’t answer me, I’ll climb on you to get a better view.” Dulora said angrily.

Slowly, Dulora noticed sounds coming from out yonder, crashing waves, creaking and cracking, a nor’easter.

Startled with curiosity, Dulora approached closer.

* * *

“You better not go to Black Mountain. You forgotten more than you remember,” Uioea whispered. “Long-lost, you’ll never find her again.”

“What are you talking about,” Dulora said with her hands on her hips.

Starting to tremble and break, with red rain drops whirling off into the sky, Eiauooo screamed, “Go home before it’s too late!

* *  *

Becoming frightened and dizzy with vertigo, Dulora stumbled back into a puddle. She looked down at the interference and saw violent ripples. When they stopped she saw one of many forgotten reflections. She felt her heart sink.

“Surprise? Why don’t you jump before it’s too late!”

She turned around and ran with tears in her eyes. Dulora ran and ran past the erratics until she collapsed near a raging river.

* * *

* * *

Exhausted, Dulora cried herself to sleep thinking about the reflections. She wished she had never met Farrah.

* * *

Dulora noticed an unusual change in the light above her when she woke up.

“Answer my riddle my dear, and I’ll help you to the other side of the river.”

Dulora stood up and brushed the autumn leaves off her gray dress. She turned around and instantly cried out in fear.

* * *

* * *

“Answer my riddle or I’ll slowly eat you alive until there’s nothing left of you but wrinkled skin and broken bones.”

* * *

“Get away from me,” she screamed out hysterically. The creature did the exact opposite. Dulora felt its fiery breath.

“If you were truly free, truly brave, why don’t you cross over on your own?”

* * *

Dulora didn’t answer. Instead she fainted, as these words were whispered in her ear, “Sleep my dearest Dulora and dream no more.”

* * *

Moments later, Dulora sat up and rubbed her eyes.

“Where am I?,” Dulora asked herself, as she stood up.

* * *

* * *

Dulora found herself in a derelict keep high above a painted desert. Snow-capped mountains were so far away. The air was heavy with smoke. She heard thunder and angry voices outside. They were all getting closer. Afraid and with nowhere else to go, she wanted to jump out of the window before it was too late.

* * *

Instead, Dulora closed her eyes and concentrated on her only friend. While more bombs fell from the sky and the vaulted ceiling above her began ripping open with fire, she imagined Farrah waiting for her on the other side of Black Mountain.

* * *

“You’re awake again, my dear!”

Dulora didn’t reply. Thick smoke still surrounded her.

“Answer my riddle and I’ll help you get past the river over to the precipice.”

* * *

“After being away a really long long time, why did Dulora start out to visit with Farrah when she knew in her heart of hearts, they would never meet again?”

* * *

“Why,” Dulora said puzzled, hazily remembering Ursus.

“Do you remember me Dulora?”

Dulora slightly nodded her head and turned around. The smoke was beginning to clear.

* * *

* * *

Realizing too late, she turned around onto a tight wire that was suspended high above the river, Dulora soon lost her balance and fell. As the river carried her away, she held her breath and thought about the first time she meet Farrah: on the snowy meadow, as they were both walking around crumbling and eroding circles. And gently, like a cool summer breeze, she blacked out back to the keep.

* * *

When she woke up again, she was covered in seaweed, the capita mortua. Dulora was floating in the Merced. The clouds above her were covered with electricity. She tingled and glowed all over while hearing a menacing hissing sound.

* * *

* * *

She held her breath, as a violent wave crashed over her. She somersaulted a couple of times before another wave hit, leaving her gasping for air. And just as her heart was about to explode out of her chest, she blacked out again, and Ursus kindly reached for her and carried her to the end.

* * *

* * *

Waking up sore and finding herself covered all over in verglas, Dulora stared out from the precipice. “How long have I been here?”

* * *

* * *

Dulora shook the ice off herself, as she tilted her head towards the sky. Ash and red embers were falling. Dulora’s heart suddenly stopped because she could see the Ephemeral. Black Mountain was suspended high above her in the starry sky.

* * *

Dulora looked down and thought about her life back home. She didn’t want to return without Farrah. She bent over and picked up a handful of sand. The sand glittered in the perpetual sunlight.

* * *

* * *

The sand slowly fell from her hand as she began to rise.

* * *

One by one, the stars around Dulora began to disappear. She watched them slowly recede until there was only one. Feeling her feet touch the ground, Dulora started walking up toward the light. Her memories began to return with every step.

* * *

Finding herself on the other side of Black Mountain, she approached the light, and slowly, a figure appeared out of nowhere.

Dulora rushed over to Farrah and hugged her.

* * *

They both visited with each other for what seemed a recurring eternity.

 *  *  *

They hugged again and then began to collapse and disappear into one another, both remembering their friendship and the perpetual sunrises of impossible tomorrows. Light began to emanate, clearer and clearer, until the past, present, and future were finally complete.

* * *

* * *

The sun slowly rising across the endless horizon, suddenly stopped, as Farrah opened up the stuck window and called out to Dulora. Dulora woke up and jumped out of bed.

They both ran over to the edge and felt the warm sun. Dulora and Farrah smiled at each other.