Prologue: My Uncompleted Novel, unnamed

I awake to the sound of water. Trickling quietly, as if humming a melody of its own accord. Strangely, it is a melody I recognize, which I dig out from the far recesses of my memory, from the banks of my previous life. I think I have lived here a number of years. But I do not remember those years. I remember only my present, I breathe and live the orange-scented air around me, swirling as a cloud of dust does when a gush of wind sweeps its motes gently off the ground.

My lashes are thick with sleep and sweat. They stick to my cheeks.

It is hot and quiet around me.

Dust. Smoke. Water on my skin. I imagine that these water droplets suck the life from within me.

I make a slight move to lift myself off the forest floor. I scrape my hands on the rotten, evil-smelling leaves, some wet, some dry. A bug scuttles on the branch of a small tree across me. My legs are plastered with leaves and mud. There is pollen in my tangled hair.

A fly settles on my forehead.  I make as if to swipe it away, and when I touch my skin, my fingers are coloured red.

I am fascinated. The red flashes before my eyes. I have forgotten when and where I had hurt myself. I touch my forehead. I feel a shallow gash, about two inches long, and as I thoughtfully touch the scabs of blood which have begun to harden. I am inexplicably filled with a sense of peace and a wave of quietude washing over me.

I stand up. A dizzying sensation comes over me, and although I am slightly nauseated, I am resolute. I see more gashes on my arms, my legs. My slippers lie a few feet away from me, sadly neglected.

This is true life.

Your lungs working, pumping air and oxygen into you, your blood coursing through your veins with a sense of oneness.

The smell of a wet forest, full of promise.

The salty taste of sweat on your skin.