Mako's Dream, and Ari

Mako shifted restlessly in his sleep. He knew he was dreaming, but he couldn’t pluck himself out of the petrifying, pressing visions springing across his vision. It was as if his eyes were forcefully transfixed to stare straight ahead and witness the terrifying goings-on of the scene before him.


First he saw the gathering clouds, then the particles of air pick up into a growling thunderstorm, then the village burn, the heat washing over his face and charring his skin till he was all black, emerging from the fire like a demon from the underground. Mako shuddered as he observed himself, in third person now, walking through the flames, black as coal, surveying the desolate sights. Yet this black, charred, demon-Mako was not crying. He shed not a single tear. His eyes were yellow, his teeth sharp, his skin rough and burnt by the merciless flames. This Mako shared no love for the natural world, no sympathy for those whose homes had burnt down, whose children had been carried away…


Mako woke up to the early rays of the dawn sun, shivering though his forehead felt hot, as if it was on the brink of bursting.


His village hadn’t burnt – it had been swept away by the storm! And what was he supposed to make of the demon-like creature he had become or that had become him in his foolish, but terrifying nightmare?


Ari and Mako had spent the second night of their voyage through the valley in a little deserted shed on the outskirts of a little group of birch trees that sagged slightly under the mounds of snow covering their branches. Mako had insisted they walk all the way through the first night, to cover as much ground as possible before taking a longer break. They had walked for a whole day and a night and another day before both children’s knees finally gave out and they stumbled into the shed they had caught sight of in the near distance.


From the corner of his eye, Mako could make out Ari sitting huddled in the broken down doorway of the shed. She was shivering, rubbing her hands together in every way and then hugging herself around the body to keep the heat in. He could hear the increasingly frequent rumblings of her belly as it pleaded hungrily for food, begging its feeder to let it have at least a tiny morsel, a fruit, a berry, a tiny piece of something to feel in all of its emptiness.


But there was nothing all around. The landscape was deserted. And they were eating as little of their supplies as they could. No one knew how long they would have to keep on this journey… No one knew how long they would last at this rate either, Mako realised.


“We need to keep moving.” Mako sat down for a moment beside Ari, hugging her around the shoulders. As he did so, he realised hopelessly how cold she was. Colder than he had ever seen her. Colder than she had been when she was sick.


“What if we don’t find him, Mako?” Ari turned her face to his, her eyes bloodshot. She had been crying. Or not sleeping. Or both. Either way, there was suddenly a frightening feeling in the pit of Mako’s stomach as he looked into Ari’s scared – no, not scared, dull – eyes, and found no trace of the humorous, strong Ari he had always known. Where was the fire that always played around those big pupils? Where was the little hazel tinge in all the brownness, where was…?


“We will find him.”


Ari looked like she was about to utter something, but then her lips tightened in a thin seal. The conversation was over as swiftly as it had begun. Mako hoped he had reassured her, but when he headed out of the doorway and into the white wilderness of the seemingly never-ending valley that led to God-knows-where, the cough that resounded behind him jolted the realisation that maybe he had just made everything worse… Ari was giving up the fight, and there was not much more he could do. Confident words could not erase the feeling of uncertainty Mako faced at every step, the feeling of uncertainty he knew perceptive Ari was catching and latching onto perhaps involuntarily at every breath he took and every syllable he uttered. 

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There is some beautiful word crafting here. The last paragraph in particular. It was timely that you reminded me that they were searching for Mako's father as I was beginning to forget why they were enduring such hardship. Not a bad idea to occasionally allude to the object of the a dreamscape perhaps....something to drive them on. You can have a journey with no apparent destination as in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but the reader still needs to know why they are pushing forward so they can travel with them. Perhaps a hope, a dream something mirage like that keeps them going. These are just thoughts.

Thank you, Suraya!  I will work with those suggestions!!!