When we awake we praise our dreams; we should praise our nightmares even more so. For awaking from sleep that makes us bleed tells us we are still alive.I wish I had never fallen asleep. I slept soundly and no noise awoke me. I woke up and it was still dark.

I couldn't see anything. I tried to move: I couldn't. I realised I was lying, trapped inside a box. I started to hyperventilate. Every rational part of me wanted to keep calm, but everything else wanted to be free, begged to be free, demanded freedom. I kicked and screamed. My kicks made a hollow sound – it was made of wood. Fucking wood! I stopped screaming and just kicked, and kicked, and kicked. Eventually my foot crashed through the wood. It became caught in the jagged edges of the hole. The remains hooked into my flesh. Great lumps of flesh came away as I wrenched it free.

I couldn't go on kicking, but the lid had been weakened. I used my hands instead. I thrashed my fists against the lid and then started to push. I forced the warm air down into my lungs and pushed as hard as I could. I heard 'crack' in the dark air; I was ecstatic: the wood was splitting. I pressed even harder. A small crack of light began to flow up the wood. It looked like a river, slowly quenching the darkness. It rose higher and higher, until the lid snapped open and light flooded in. I let my limbs go limp and refreshed myself with the air.

*

A few minutes passed. The walls of the box blocked my vision to the left and right. I could only look up at the sky. It was the first sky after the darkness. It looked so beautiful to me. The sky was a perfect blue hue, infused with the rays of the midday sun. No clouds or birds disturbed its blueness. The sun painted everything white bright and scorched the air.

This heat was too much for me and I decided to look for shelter. As I raised myself up, sand dunes came into vision: nothing but dunes from horizon to horizon. A desert. Plain and empty and silent. I was the only thing here.

I tried to put my foot on the sand. It recoiled from the heat. It was only now I realised I was naked. In my hurry to escape the box, I hadn't noticed I was naked from head to toe. Not only that, I was completely clean: my skin was blemishless, my nails were trim and dirtless, my hair was washed. I looked down at my foot – it had healed. I felt at it distrustfully: was there no cut? No dead skin? Clotted blood? Irregular touch? Nothing. I suddenly felt terrified. I stood up and started to run.

I ran up the slopes of the sand dunes. I could feel the sand moving beneath my feet, scarring the white slope. I was looking for someone – anyone – to help me. I would have accepted something. Even a rock would tell me something. But the sun just shone; the dunes just rose and fell. I ran until my chest dripped with sweat, until my muscles ached and my lungs choked on the dry air. I think I ran for ten or twenty minutes. I stopped and rested with my head on my knees. I looked forward: only more dunes ahead. I looked behind: my footprints were gone.

No wind has blown, I told myself. Where have they gone? The record of my trek has disappeared. Have I run miles or meters? I can't tell.

I considered I might be delirious, but everything remained so clear. Everything I saw, felt and touched was there. I could feel it; I could see it. The desert looked just as had before: the dunes remained the same; the midday sun still shone. I stood there and realised I couldn't remember anything. I didn't know were I was, where I came from or who I was.

'Why?' I said to the sky.

There was no answer.

'Why?' I shouted. 'Tell me why. Please.'

I fell down on my knees and began to beat the sand. 'Why? Why-why-WHY?' I started to cry.

But the midday sun did not care, nor the empty dunes. The desert saw him, rejected him, and left him alone.

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