Overhead the clouds swirl, heavy drops of rain plummet onto his upturned face. Eyes closed he savours each tiny impact, each one reaffirming one thing, he is still alive and, as the rain washes away the dust and grime, he smiles.
He lowers his head and looks around, noticing each blade of grass anew, the slick leaves on the trees, springing back and forth as the rain continues to fall. His head is light and the disconnect remains, he is floating just outside this reality despite the cold damp of his sodden clothes.
He turns full circle, unsure of what he is looking for and as the first shiver of the evening passes through him he intuitively sets out to find shelter. Instinct and survival are simple thoughts and he focusses on them, exploring their raw straight edges, simple and primitive in design. He sees an old shack, a dull light flickering in the window and heads toward it, picking his way through the fresh puddles.
Sheltered in the porch he shakes what water he can from his clothes and knocks on the door. Three sharp unanswered raps. Then again. A third time with no response, he knocks once more before trying the door handle. The cool metal turns easily in his hand and the door slides open silently. Stepping inside he calls out and soon realises he is alone.
Embers flicker and glow in the fireplace, nearby a friendly old armchair basks in the glow. He suddenly realises how cold he is and pulling a fresh log from the stack next to the fire, starts to kindle the fire back to life, watching the edges of the rough bark glow and burn off into the air, the subtle darkening of the log until the light blue yellow of an emerging flame takes hold.
He pulls the armchair closer and huddles over as the fire grows, his rough hands outstretched as he embraces the heat. All the while he tries to remember how he got here, tries to retrace his steps. He knows this place. He is certain of the familiarity, just as he feels the sense of deja vu, the notion off a path once trodden. He knows this place, is unsurprised by the candles on the table, the tapestry hanging over the door, yet he can’t recall any detail.
He closes his eyes once more and tries to remember where this all began.
A sharp stabbing pain slashes across his forehead, his eyes fly open as he cries out. The pain subsides as quickly as it came. He sits there, stunned at the sudden viciousness, wary and wounded. He feels his forehead but there is no scar, no wound to heal there. He wonders if this is where he has always been, this place of warmth and comfort, scattered and scarred with pain, the same shivering, broken man. Unrepaired and untended, slowly wandering round in circles with no memory of where he has been.