They say that just before death, each person is given a moment of perfect clarity. Itís a cruel gift; because this instant of complete comprehension comes only at the very second the body loses all ability to act.
I wished for that type of clarity when I found myself on that plain, naked and utterly alone. Sheer ridges bounded me an all sides. The earth was black and strangely waxy. Above, the sky glared with a whiteness that hurt the eyes, but gave no heat. In that entire barren, scentless place, there was nothing but me and the wind.
From the first, I knew the wind was my enemy. It prodded and pushed me, running cold fingers over my skin. Furious, I shook my fist at the invader I couldnít see.
It clamped my wrist like a vice. As I gaped, it uncurled my fingers one by one and spread them apart. I had one vision of my hand spread winglike against that blazing sky, before the pain began.
It started at the base of my wrist, an invisible knife sliding its tip under my skin. Like a childís crayon tracing of their hand, an impossibly thin line burned upward, delicately outlining each finger. Torment blazed behind. Part of me began to scream. Another part watched in analytical horror as the line completed its journey, wondering at the lack of blood. With tender precision, my invisible tormenter stripped the skin and flesh from my bones -- [End of Preview.]