Esta Brown in the Bardo of Becoming... Teaser chapter.
Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Book 2 in the 'Legends of the East' series is launching soon. Here is a sneak peek at the first chapter!
Epigraph It’s the past who tells us who we are. Without it we lose our identity. —Stephen Hawking, 21st-Century Physicist *** To see where you were born before, look at what you are now. To see where you are going to be born next, look at what you do now. —Patrul Rinpoche, 19th-Century Buddhist master
1. The Desert of Forever
I hovered over an endless desert. A blazing evening sun scorched the land brown; hot winds whipped it into twisting clouds of dust.
‘Please, not here.’
The clouds engulfed me. Tugged at me. Dragged me down.
Shapes emerged out of the sand: half-buried skeletons, bleached white by the sun.
Please, not here.
Something moved on the peak of one of the dunes. My heartbeat quickened.
A dog. Not much more than skin and bones. Hind legs folded uselessly beneath its body, fur hanging off its back in patches. It was gnawing at a limb that poked out from the sand like the waving arm of a drowning sailor.
I landed softly. My feet sinking in the burning sand. How could it still be alive? How could anything live here?
The creature must have sensed me, because it dropped the limb and growled, the remaining fur on its back raised to points. It sniffed the air and turned to face me.
It had no eyes. Just empty sockets.
I backed away from it, partly in fear, partly in disgust.
The thing dragged itself towards me, back legs trailing behind, toothless jaws opening and shutting, tongue hanging limply out of the side of its mouth.
It came to a stop just a few feet away from me, a sudden hacking cough making its body tremble.
I watched, horrified. Expecting the thing just to keel over right there.
When the coughing finally stopped, the dog raised its head, opened its mouth...
... and spoke.
The sound it made was as dry and grating as rusted iron.
I know... it seemed to say.
I stepped closer.
I know who...
'What?' I asked. 'What did you say?'
I know who you are.
'You know who I-'
The wind howled. The dog pounced
I was hovering again. Floating through an empty sky.
Below me, the dog was just a speck. Its rasping barks swallowed up by the vastness of the desert.
The nonsense whispering of the wind at first. Then words… recognisable ones. Words like: ‘immediately’ and ‘fever’ and ‘Doctor Edwards’.
The solid feeling of wall against my back.
Faces hovered over me.
I blinked again.
Cold empty windows.
I turned my head. A single bed; hard, shiny floor. A man in a white coat. Glasses. Pencil hovering over a file he held in the crook of an arm. He opened his mouth to speak:
I know, he barked. I know who you are...