Standing in an open, colorless field, I looked out onto the horizon and saw three skinny funnel clouds dip down from the grey sky. They danced around, taunting the few people who were scattered about, seeking cover to avoid Oya’s wrath. A fourth funnel – a brown dust devil – touched ground and shifted into a stocky, turbulent man in a bowler hat, and as he floated toward me, I looked into his winds. The bright, bursting stars that swirled around in his face turned black, swallowing all light. He blew past me as I ran into the entrance of a building just ahead.
I crossed the threshold, then turned back around to look out onto the field. Color was restored to the world and I walked down the dark hall, following the sound of whimpering dog. Inside a sanitarium-white room, a naked man lie trapped under a blue shipping container, his ear stuck to the frozen ground. He saw me and his whimpering turned to sobs. He attempted to raise his head, and the sound of flesh ripping from his face filled the room. “Please help me,” he begged. “I’m a musician, I can’t lose my ear!”
I didn’t know what to do, if I could help him, if I should even trust him. I walked toward him and a scream filled with anger and the promise of revenge exploded from the pit of his stomach. I fell back and as I picked myself up, I turned to see a middle-aged, red-haired woman in the corner of the room, smiling peacefully at him. She turned to look at me and the corners of her mouth turned down in disgust. I moved to escape the room and found myself inside the shipping container, mid-air, freeing the man underneath. My freedom for his. I looked up through the open space, the blue sky above me littered with thick shape-shifting clouds. The woman’s voice rained down from above: “Just as I’d hoped.” Her voice was sandpaper across my skin.
The shipping container began to fall. As it crashed through the floor, I kept my eyes on the retreating clouds, and stretched my arms and legs, bracing myself against the walls of the container. My body slammed against the container wall as I landed on a frozen pond. The ice began to crack and I reached through the open slit and grabbed a black bar that appeared out of nowhere. I pulled myself through the slit, my skin tearing on the opening. I swung from the bar and landed in a lush green field, just as the icy abyss swallowed the box whole. The field overflowed with light and dark green broccoli, the bunched mini trees covered in enough blood to satisfy a nest of starved baby vampires. I ran back toward the building, and found the naked man standing at the entrance. Fully dressed in an unbuttoned white shirt, slate grey pants and a matching vest, he was exquisite. Appetizing. A diamond earring shone in his once-threatened ear. Smiling, he reached his hand out to me. As I placed my hand in his, I turned back and looked at the field, longing for something I could not name…