There was not a single fragment of my memory that I could recall, nor had I any idea about where I was. I just had to keep on walking, and so I did.
The leaves that blocked my way rustled as I brushed past them. What a strange color they were, too – blood red. It was as if they were going to devour me. I made my way through the forest, uncertainty multiplying with every moment, as I did so. Besides the whistling of the wind and the splashes of the puddles, there was not a single sound to accompany me. I was a lone wanderer, just me and my thoughts.
“Is anybody there?” I feebly called out.
I was answered by a cold breeze.
I wrapped my arms around myself and tried to get most of the warmth that my thin cotton dress could diffuse. An odd sense of helplessness, or maybe loneliness shrouded me and I had this intense desire to stop going wherever I was going. Kneeling down on the wet ground, I let out a strangled sob, then another, and another and kept on doing it, drowning in my own tears.
Suddenly, a flash of gold caught my eyes. I cautiously looked up and saw a fiery phoenix perched on one of the branches of the trees. Its feathers were so dazzling, so divine; I could not turn my eyes away from them! The leaves of the tree which the phoenix resided in lit up, blazed in an orange gleam first and then cooled to a shade of lime green. As I crept towards the bird, immediately, warmth surged through my pale and weakened body.
I tried to get a hold of the phoenix but it flew away.
“Please don’t leave me!”, I called out to it.
The winking light before me slowed down and dropped to the ground. My lips formed into a smile as I carefully picked it up.
“Good little phoenix,” a giggle escaped my throat
Suddenly, the blazing phoenix’s feathers began to fall out and its glow began to weaken; along with it, my health as well.
The phoenix blackened and grew in size. Its body sizzled like a burning lump of coal. I let out a shriek and dropped it. The swelling creature looked at me hungrily with its beetle like eyes. Its mouth grew wide and a set of spiky teeth greeted me.
Heart thumping violently against my chest, I ran. I did not know where I was heading; I did not even bother to see where I was heading. I just had to run. But all the running was in vain because the thing continued to chase me. All the while, it was growing in size, just like a disease. As it grew, my vision was becoming blurrier and the oxygen flowing through my blood was dwindling in supply.
Eventually, I was caught.
My neck burned and blood trickled down from where the creature bore its fangs into my skin. It then let go and stretched its mouth until it was a big gaping hole twice my size. I closed my eyes and let it devour me.
I was back in the forest, but now all its leaves had already fallen. Memories cascaded into my mind. I could remember my families and friends faces shimmering with tears, the stone like faces of the doctors, the acidic taste of the hospital, the last few breaths I took before being wrecked by my disease.
I started walking and made my way through the forest. This time, I knew exactly what to do.
I just had to keep on walking, and so I did.