Off Script

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From Dust to Dust

I dreamt of walking a pathway through the clouds in my wedding dress, a grand altar hung high in the sky. My father sat high above, my mother just beside him, seated on the empty air. They seemed flat as wood, and expressionless as stone. At the altar, was Auggy, he was in his undergarments carrying a mighty sword. He watched me with a frown, his parents watching on, sneering.

The moment the priest came into sight, he had transformed into a scorpion twice as tall as any living man. It pushed past my husband-to-be and it came up the aisle of clouds in pursuit. I did not run, I did not hide.

My mother and my father seemed to fade, so did Auggy, and so even the sky and clouds I walked upon. Then, it was just me and the beast. It's claws snapped and its tail aimed, but still I did not flee. And at that moment I wondered, still dreaming, why I was not running, why I was not hiding. The answer came quick: because it's not real. It's a dream, the scorpion cannot harm you.

I felt a warmth wash over my body and my skin glowed golden. The scorpion stood still, and then it retreated a few steps. I stepped toward it. There was a buzzing, an electric sensation all about me. It was stifled, but not totally. The glow of my skin was now shining bright, it cast onto the scorpion and formed a shadow. I stepped forward again. But this time the scorpion did not retreat. This time it approached. My demeanor stayed the same. And then something strange happened as both I and the scorpion changed places and I was now seeing through the creature's vision, watching myself standing. It seemed the nothingness surrounding my golden body was the backdrop and I was the subject. For a moment, as I saw myself from the perspective of another, I saw eternity. I saw everything. And her name was Faeah. That's when I awoke, finding myself on a handily-crafted bench outside the castle. I heard church bells in the distance. I followed their call.

In through the churchdoors and down the hall, I ran. I saw the masses plowing through in search of seats, they took no notice of the girl running in a wedding dress. A girl who looked mysteriously similar to the king's daughter, the bride.

My father presided over the ceremony from a balcony high above, my mother only on the balcony lower. I pushed through the crowd in search of a seat. No one regarded my presence as I shoved them left and right. A group of bride's maids stood in the corner of the hall, talking to an empty chair. The answers to their questions fought for attention in the back of my mind, but I forced them away. I took my seat and waited. And then I proceeded to watch my own wedding from the crowd.

Auggy stood front and center, though I was at least pleased to see he was wearing formal clothing and had possibly bathed. His mother watched on, looking as though she were desperately eager to jump up and comb his hair once more before her boy, her middle-aged boy, was a man.

Augustus the first stood behind him, looking as though his clothing was fill to busting with a more than ample stomach and his collar button seemed to be ready to fly off at any moment, urged on by the power of his fattened neck.

Harsh tremors shook underfoot. I seemed to be the only person that noticed them. They reminded me of the tremors of when Oliver had first unveiled himself as a dragon. But, the second set of tremors were double anything a dragon of any size could manage. The explosive shocks knocked Amethyst's wig ashtray from her head, but she went on as though this were not so.

The third set of tremors lifted me off of my seat and onto my feet. I ran past the commotion and went to the stain glass windows at the back of the hall. Outside, I could see the harpies fliying overhead. They seemed panicked and promptly landed to the ground. They hugged the Earth tight as the tremors continued to shake. Small pieces of stone fell from above me and landed on the smooth stone floor.

“We have to get out!” I shouted, forgetting it would do no good. Not a soul could hear me. They were watching on as the invisible bride strode down the aisle. Large chunks of rock were now falling, and the tremors were enough to send me falling on to my knees twice in only a few seconds. I looked back once before retreating from the castle. There was a scorpion, black, sitting on the shoulder of the priest.

I had seen enough. There was never going to be another time. There was only that moment and in that moment I knew that I could wait no longer. I watched the sky and saw the dustlink breaking apart, chunk by chunk. And with each chunk the Earth shook greater. The sun seemed to wobble in the sky.

I found Oliver calmly carving a figure into the front of his ship, one arm supported by his crutch, and the other steadily crafting out of sand. “I was not expecting you back so early,” he said, “you have not awoken, but you are trying.” He sidestepped a tall wave that splashed from the disturbed river.

“I don't care. It doesn't matter if I'm ready, we've got to go. The castle is crumbling!”

“What castle?” he said.

“My castle! The one I live in!”

“There is no castle, not really. Just an illusion of a castle.”

“Well, then the illusion of the castle is crumbling and there are people inside!”

“But, they aren't awakened. Why does it matter?”

“I shouldn't have said that, I know. For all I know, they could be awakened.”

“Oh no, they certainly aren't.” he said, “but they could be.”

“Not if we they get crushed in the castle!”

“Indeed,” said Oliver, finishing his final brushstroke, “shall we?”

“You think I'm ready?”

“No,” he said, “but you will be, we just need a bit more time. The ship can afford us more of that than the Earth. Come.”

I climbed the step-ladder onto the ship.

“With all this dust raining down from the sky, we shouldn't have much trouble getting started. We just need a good jump start. Take the helm,” he instructed, pointing to the steering. In a flash, he became the dragon I had known him as first. He nudged up against the ship and beat his wings as hard as he could. One budge after the other, I had to hang tight onto the steering to keep myself standing. And then finally, with one final budge, the ship left the ground. Oliver, now again human, hung tight to a rope hanging off the side of the ship as I steered it toward the sky.

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