A field of stars, infinite, encompassing. Up and down and all around, the expanse, horizonless.
And yet, earth below. Soft, loamy soil, wet with fate. The ground itself weeping possibility.
Of all the things she’s seen in this place of stars, loam, and fate, none remain with her for long. In memory or otherwise. Sometimes she feels a sense of climbing hills in the otherwise invisible ground, other times descending into valleys. Forever she walks. Her name is lost to her, like everything which comes before her infinite present.
The sound of rippling fabric–a flag, perhaps–draws her attention. She begins to tread towards the sound, the distance closing timelessly.
She may not remember, but she’s seen many things. A man of gilded robes. A woman draped in a snow-white serpent. But this is new.
The rippling of fabric is not of a flag, but of a large, ice-hewn robe. A figure, head down, limp, the robes about them flapping violently and rippling in a nonexistent breeze.
It’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen.
She is drawn to touch it, examine its every surface. Every surface of the woman before her, in an eternal, limp dive. She touches all over, spending her own eternity examining and willing herself to commit this strange visitor to memory. The robe, crusted with ice which melts on her fingers. Gold rings and eyelets are set into the outer canvas portion, but the interior is velvety soft, and radiates warmth.
Ceremonial trinkets, memorabilia. Offerings, perhaps. Glass beads of blue and green and purple, feathers from owls and eagles and the raptors of the frost, attached by their ends to the edges of the robe.
The olive flesh beneath. Impossibly warm against the cold of the robes, and yet entirely normal for a human. Black hair, tied by another’s hand into a beautiful, thick braid. The end of the three-foot length is tied to a wide, gold ring. Beads are threaded in like mites dug into flesh, tight like stones in ice.
She spends an infinite presence touching this strange figure, murmuring to herself her musings about the living, unresponsive mannequin hovering before her.
At once, the body grows cold. Blood seeps from the mouth and nose and drips, rippling the fate-wet loam as the body exsanguinates, still locked eternally in its hovering pose.
She shakes the diving mannequin, refusing its change, defying its death.
Her protests grow frantic, teary-eyed, as she violently shoves at the diving woman, bolstered in place by some invisible force.
Finally, with a painful, rending cry, the mannequin disappears, and she falls to her hands and knees, kneading the fate-and-tears dampened loam between her fingers.
Already, she cannot remember the beads in the figure’s hair. It all slips away, like a dream. An infinite present amongst the stars, and the earth wet with fate.