Chapter 3:

The Dream


It was a darkness beyond sleep. She could not open her eyes, but she was not afraid. Encased in warmth and comfort, she heard someone humming, but could not place the direction, nor the distance. At once she laid within the silken embrace of the cocoon, and drifted untethered in infinite space.

She had no eyes to open. She had no mind to fear. She had no body to be. Mayfly waited to wake.

“Ah,” came the gentle and unfamiliar voice of a woman from the void. It echoed in a way that mad her unself shudder pleasantly. “How curious. Who walks this lonely path? And after so long, I’d thought it forgotten. Hoped it forgotten. Hmm…little pilgrim, you are new to me, but I would know you. Come hither.”

The walls of the cocoon shifted in the dark, and though she could not see, Mayfly felt hands close around her, cradling her like she herself had held the moonbloom. It was utterly peaceful. The weight of eyes settled upon her like a blanket, unladen with judgement, but rather a soft consideration.

“Sweet Valley blossom, yet unsown but so eager to bloom. If you only knew the dirt you seek, you may not wish to grow there. Myself, I hardly wish to plant you.” The woman sounded troubled. The hands around Mayfly were tender, but solicitous. “But I see your intent. I see what drives you. Yes. Your goals are dear to me, too, though I am powerless to reach them. Very well, if I must break a promise, let it be one I made to myself, instead. I will do my part, as I pray you will do yours.”

In the quiet hollow of hands, Mayfly heard a heartbeat. It was hers, she realized, and once she did she began to feel it, too. Not in her chest, for she still had no body, and in fact no heart at all. Rather, with every thump she felt herself grow, filling the woman’s grasp like water in a cup, or molten steel in a crucible. She was warm, and glowing with potential. The cusp was near—would she spill? Could one’s self overflow? Still without fear, she only wished to know the answer.

“Farewell, little pilgrim. I will see you at journey’s end.”

With all the care and grace mama gave to watering their garden, the woman poured Mayfly out of her hands. She didn’t fall far, or for long; it was as though a vessel was already waiting for her. Mayfly filled it, felt its bounds. It was small, and round, and it fit her exactly without a breadth remaining.

When her heartbeat continued, it was deeper, more thrum than beat, but also more heart than glow. The pulsing revealed she had a chest again, then a head, and arms and legs and so on. She couldn’t feel them, but she knew they were there in the same way she sensed the woman’s hands, or the walls of her new heart.

Once more she had a body. She had a mind.

And she opened her eyes. 

Steward McOy