The wind whistled in her ears; she was cold and her jaw hurt, but she didn’t care. It was nice to stand in the sun. She closed her eyes. Behind her eyelids she saw something block out the light.
“Do you like this?” Someone said in an indescribable voice. It had not clear gender.
“It’s nice,” she answered. Her eyes stayed closed. The cold touch of the stranger’s hand caressed her cheek.
“Would you like to stay with me then?” There was a hint of hopefulness.
For a few minutes she remained silent, not knowing how to best answer the question. “We don’t really know each other very well,” she began. “I think we should take it slow.”
The wind picked up again, howling past the pair.
There was a long silence, broken only by the wind. Her eyes were still closed. In truth she didn’t want to look at the stranger, had not wanted to look at them ever since they had brought her here. I’m afraid, she finally admitted to herself. I am so afraid of . . . Of this place . . . And this–stranger. Or this person? What constituted a person? She didn’t truly know. Philosophy was always a sore point for her: there was always too much humming and hawing, which inevitably resulted in nothing being done. I feel the same way about religion, too. If they could see where I was now, see who I was with, what would those vultures think of me?
“Do others live here?” she asked at last. Her eyes opened by a small fraction. Vultures indeed. What would they say if they could see her?
Two hands rested on her shoulders. “Yes and no,” was the reply. And then: “is something wrong?”
“No, why do you ask?” She opened her eyes to look at the other. Their appearance had been a shock the first time they had met in that dungeon . . . That felt like it had happened eons ago. Perhaps it had. Time was strange in limbo.
“Your eyes were shut. I worried–”
“They were like that before you were here,” she added. “I was enjoying the sunshine.”
“Oh,” was the reply. “I’m sorry.” They moved to stand beside her.
“Thank you,” she said quietly. “You weren’t bothering me, if you thought that.” Her hand reached for theirs. Her cheeks flushed. What was she doing? And who was she kidding? Am I kidding anyone but myself? A cold hand circled her own; she could feel every bone (covered in a thin layer of skin) against the palm of her hand. It didn’t really bother her that much. “So, who else is here?”
For a while there was silence again. Not even the wind was stirring. This time she began to worry, but when she looked at the strange other she found that they too were enjoying the sun. Eventually they replied with a: “You’ll see.”
“Fair enough.” The wind picked up again, wailing past the pair as they gazed at the sky.