A Short Walk in Elysium

A beeping. Voices. A clang of metal on metal. A heartbeat, her heartbeat.

Her heartbeat keeps time with the beeping; over and over, short beep, short beep, long...

Voices louder now, the rustle of fabric, rustle of clothing and people moving around her body...

She is dying and everything is noise. Her eyes open, take in bright light, and close as short beep short beep becomes long, and breathing, heartbeat stops.

Loud voices, rustle of fabric, the long beep goes on and on. Rustle, rustle...

...rustle, rustle, rustle of grass. All around her, grass sighs.

Her eyes focus. She takes in the hospital room, sees the doctors working, hears the rustle of fabric as they move around her body on the other side of the room. Still she hears grass. She listens, closes her eyes, and turns toward the sound.

Rustle of grass...

She opens her eyes and finds herself on a hill, in the middle of a vast plain. The sun shines down on wheaten grass that tickles her waist and dances around her. A warm breeze teases her hair, soothes her skin, whispers to sit, relax for a little while. The supple grass conforms to her body as she lies down.

Time passes, though she's not sure how long.

The sun remains high in the sky and no sound reaches her ears save the murmur of windblown grass. She closes her eyes and feels as though she's floating on a cloud. Worries and memories of pain diminish to the hypnotizing sound of the meadow.

The breeze shifts.

The sunshine dims and time returns. She opens her eyes and watches the sun set on the edge of the plain. Foreign stars come out, offering little light or guidance; she is unfrightened but night brings the knowledge that she can't stay here for long.

The breeze shifts.

From the east, the wind speaks of beeps and heartbeats, the rustle of fabric and loud voices. She turns and finds light on the eastern horizon, bright, sterile light. A heart beats a familiar tune...

The breeze shifts.

A star falls. She follows its light to the western horizon as a new breeze swirls around her.

From the west, the wind speaks only of heartbeats. A loud, steady beat, a boom of a constant drum, keeping time with a smaller beat, a faster constant. Two hearts deliver an exotic duet.

On the hill, the grass swirls around her. The wind whispers it's time to stand and make a choice. She is in the middle of two lives, one old, one new. There is no life on the plain, only a soothing intermission between life sets.

Deep inside, she knows there is time for either journey. Return to the familiar heartbeat and life melody, or move on to the next song? Light glows on the horizons and the breeze shifts from beep to beat. She dances, tests, feels the rhythms.

East or west?

Her feet carry her down the hill and she dances toward the horizon.


Note: Written for the Review Game's July Writing Challenge Contest. This month's prompt was "Without music, life would be a mistake." by Friedrich Nietzsche. Admittedly this is a looser prompt interpretation than I usually write. Let me know what you think! Also, check out the other entries and vote for your favorite July 8th -14th. Re: the title, while I like the allusion to Elysium, this is in no way representative of a Greek view of the afterlife and I'm well aware of that. Sorry if that disappointed anyone.