Twenty-Four

I was on a mountain, riding a horse. It was almost dark, foggy, the air was damp and cold. I felt sad. The horse was slowly moving ahead on an invisible path.

My hands were in my lap, and a glowing ball started to grow there, it gave warmth, and its light was cloudy and soft. It reminded me of the Moon. There was something comforting about it.

My horse went on steadily. I thought we were descending. It was getting darker and darker. We were in the night forest I already knew from other journeys. I could see the bee coming out of the glowing sphere, it cheered me up a bit to see him/her. It flew a bit ahead, as if trying to light the way.

I suddenly had a memory of my father pulling me on a sleigh. It was dark, we were in one of the neighbouring small streets. It had just snowed, but people were inside, it was just the two of us. The streetlights were on, snowflakes were whirling, floating, glimmering everywhere. All I could see from my father was his coat and his boots. I could smell the fresh snow. He sped up until I started to laugh. It suddenly hurt to remember him. I missed him so much.

Next, we were in the living room, it was dark, the shutters were closed. My father had taken a white bed sheet and fixed it on the doors of the wardrobe. We were watching filmstrips. All afternoon long, he was holding me in his arms, reading the words written under the pictures. When the projector got too hot, we took a break, brought some food and hot tea. As I came out of the room, I could smell his shoes on the shelf, they really stank. I told him, and he laughed. I suddenly didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to miss him. It hurt. I wanted to get away.

Then I was in the dark forest, again. The bee was in front of me, leading me somewhere. His light was very feeble, but I could see something like a wooden statue. I went to it, it looked like my father. I wanted to stroke his face but I was too small, I couldn’t reach it. I was a child. I wanted to grow so that I could touch his face, and I did. I was stroking him and suddenly the left side of my head started to go numb.

“Don’t let it go, keep it together” – the bee said.
And I tried. I tried not to go numb, but it hurt. I was chasing after the numbness, trying to catch it within my head.

Suddenly I was in a snowstorm, at night, in the middle of endless plains, chasing a figure wearing a white fur coat.

“Stop, please stop” – I shouted after him.

Running hurt, my head felt like it would explode, but I kept on running, faster and faster. I reached him, touched his fur coat. He turned and I realized it was a large polar bear. He went for my neck, grabbed it with a single move and held it tight. I could feel its teeth in my flesh, my blood flooding my throat, I couldn’t breathe, I was suffocating. I could see myself and the bear from the outside. He finally let me go.

My throat was a bloody piece of unrecognizable flesh, and I was choking in my own blood. I sounded just like my father after he drank the acid. But there was no blood then, and I did not see him, I could only hear him from the next room, I was frozen to my chair.

I was still looking at myself, but I didn’t make sounds anymore. maybe I was dead. I was staring at the dark red pool in the snow.

Suddenly, the bear transformed into the Siberian man. He gently put his hands on my tattered throat. I wasn’t outside anymore, I could feel the warmth of his hand, and pain. Then I saw ourselves from the outside again. The Siberian man let his hands go, and my neck was completely healed. He was kneeling in the snow, lifted me up. He held me in his arms, stroking my head, gently rocking me, softly murmuring, full of love.

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