[This post is from David O’Credne Miller’s point of view.]
There were voices at the very edge of his consciousness, but they were muffled, far away, lost in the midst of a thousand images that flickered behind his eyelids, though his mind’s eye. It was the same jarring kaleidoscope that he’d been dealing with since he was a boy—if he were honest, since he was young enough to barely remember the shape of his mother’s face.
That was something he didn’t talk about, though. It was a secret that was his and his alone—how long these images had been coming. It didn’t make sense to worry anyone more than they already did.
Only sometimes did he think that perhaps knowing how long he’d been wrestling with them, how used he’d become to it, might be reassuring to the people who loved him.
Another step on the journey. Another road. A signpost. This is it—X marks the spot.
He shivered despite himself, tried to curl up. His body didn’t listen, responding instead with the same bone-deep ache he’d been feeling since they’d run afoul of raiders on the road. How long ago had it been?
It could be months, for all I know.
But could it? Months?
If he had been awake, he would have frowned. Clawing his way back to consciousness was too great an effort, though, especially when the deluge was still crashing over him, threatening to sweep him away with the wash of images that swirled around him.
No, not yet. Not until he could make sense—
—make sense of what, exactly?
He couldn’t remember, but it was something important—something beyond finding the place called the Valley, the place he’d seen in whispers of dreams and flickered images, the place he’d seen in a thousand visions of the past and the future and the now over the course of his admittedly short life. But there was something there, something like the voices he could just barely hear, muffled and indistinct, just beyond his ability to hear. There was something that hovered just beyond his reach, beyond his knowing.
He needed to know. He needed to find out.
Time, he feared, was running out.