Set in the world of DF.
Ittara knows that she is falling.
One moment she feels her eyes flutter close.
Her breath evens out.
Her arms rooted at her side.
Her breathing slow and steady.
Then her eyes open.
As if she merely dozed off, rested her eyes for a few minutes and something jostled her awake.
Ittara opens her eyes. She blinks back against the white light, vision blurring.
Before her is a long, white-walled corridor. Her steps are heavy, like her legs are fighting against gravity and the crimson carpet is quicksand.
“Turn right once you’re in front of the elevators, left at the first turn and straight forward until you reach a white, unmarked door,” a voice says next to her. Ittara turns around in surprise. It is Kai, voice reassuring.
His blue eyes wander toward somewhere behind Ittara like he heard someone call his name.
Ittara knows only the white walls are behind her.
She mumbles a soft “thank you”, wonders at the fleeting thought, and wonders at how quickly that thought disappeared.
Ittara knows she has no choice but to follow the instructions.
It’s always how these things go.
Soon she finds herself standing in front of the white, unmarked door.
It is numberless. And it is nothing like the other doors that line the corridor behind her like soldiers bearing their golden plaques, proudly announcing their numbers on scratched gold. They are numbered strangely, occasionally skipping a number or two, at times skipping illogical hundreds.
The door to her right blinks back with number eleven, but Ittara knows the one on her left smiles a three-hundred and fifty-two.
Some of the doors remain quiet, while behind others Ittara hears the tell-tale signs of life. The muffled murmurs of a conversation behind number forty-five, the clatter and scraping of something wooden against the floor in number one-hundred and eleven, the rattle and rumble of what sounded like a train in number eight-hundred and twenty-eight.
Behind the door in front of her, Ittara hears the faint sounds of a piano. The notes slip past the gaps, pirouettes around the yellow lamps attached to the walls and disappears into one of the doors – whispers a song Ittara had heard before but can’t quite name. A slow melody that reminded Ittara of early spring and cherry blossoms. When Ittara presses a cheek against the door to listen, she can hear a faint rhythm; the choreographed click of heels and the muffled dance of leather soles.
stillness, frozen mid-rhyme, caught in the silence, the un-sound
we, dancing in an island of hosts, fragments of glass and ghosts.
waiting – for who? the sinews of memory stretches unbound,
andante to the light of the moon
past fluttering curtains (peeks)
at the dance of chaos within. the sun runs and weaves webs of
glass into a song. it sighs, blossoms drown in winding corridors,
spectral butterflies separated by Orion, and star-trails from the
chandelier dances in falling flames, withered roses and broken glass.
fractal phantoms, they smile with faces of shades and shadows
or shards – the brush of lace and silk spin, spin, spinning with
the godless – the notes slows, waits for a guest, another set of
fingers to complete the missing melody, instead silence leaves
Ittara wakes up with a start.
She clutches at her throat as if to dislodge something. Fear maybe. Cold sweat clings to her skin like unfamiliar raindrops spilling down her spine.
Fear stays, and she cannot breathe.
She knows this is another in-between.
Will someone come for her?
She takes a deep breath –
how many nights, how many days, for how long –
Ittara keeps her eyes closed, waits for her breathing to slow down.
When she opens her eyes, the stars look back.