Mareijke’s arms were spread across the open sky in suspended animation. She was flying with the eagle yet fighting to stay grounded. She wasn’t alone. Sensing another presence in the room, Mareijke frantically tried to open her eyes, but her body was paralyzed to sleep. She was a guest in her own unresponsive body.
She willed herself to move, if only her fingers. Nothing happened. From somewhere there seemed to be an enormous vacuum sucking the air out of the room as breathing became more and more difficult for her. The force pressing against her lungs made her panic. Was she dying?
Lost in a dream, she was running down a winding path within a maze of giant green hedges with the most intricate walls she had ever seen. Mareijke was listening to the gentle poetic rhythm of her English teacher’s voice. It seemed to fall like a feather from the puffy clouds above her:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light …
She couldn’t see her teacher, but she could hear her voice until it was drowned out by the shrill noise of the cicadas.
The buzzing noise became louder and louder. Feeling light years away from the dirty little town without a name, Mareijke was silently screaming for things to be normal. She would certainly rage against death. She was far too young to die.
“Mareijke,” a voice called softly.
The voice sounded familiar. It was pulling her out from deep space. Her mind was a spiral of disoriented thoughts as she anxiously tried to speak. Her muscles were weak. Again she tried to open her eyes only to have the heavy lids fall shut.
The room was dark and cool. She faded in and out of consciousness for what seemed to be an eternity. She was swimming in the swirling water of a dark and murky whirlpool. From the centre of the vortex, she could hear the voice calling her:
It was a slow, arduous process trying to wake up and still she had no idea where she was.
She recognized the voice. Opening her eyes slowly, she blinked a few times to clear her blurred vision. He wasn’t a dream. He was real.

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