The ticking filled her ears, she kept her eyes closed in hopes that it would stop, but no matter how long she tried to ignore it the sound just continued. Instead of going away the ticking noise seemed to get louder, as if every few minutes a clock would be added to the ticking, giving it another layer of depth and yet another addition to the tick tick she opened her eyes, narrowing them against the white sun. She brought a hand up, feeling the exhaustion roll through her lips like water washing down over her fingers, wrist, and elbow. It didn't end at her shoulder, instead continuing onward. She could feel it in her heart, as if all the water was collected within her body. Where was she? She turned her head, feeling her cheek press against dozens of little grains of sand. As her eyes adjusted further to the light she saw her long black hair, like a river of oil, spilling across the bleached sands. Slowly she moved a hand up to her neck, but felt nothing strange, her neck was smooth and without decoration. She stopped, her hand squeezing tight around her throat. She quickly sat up, she did not have her necklace.
Twisting around onto her knees, she started to push her hands through the sand, trying to see if it had fallen off somewhere around her, but the deeper she pushed all she found was more sand, and the ticking noise got louder. She had to stop as the sound became all she could hear, not even her own thoughts could be louder then the sound now. Instead she stood up, putting her hands over her ears, her black hair falling over her hands. Where was she? Last she remembered she was nowhere near the desert. She looked back up, her confusion growing as she realized that despite the sun being unhindered, she felt no heat.
"What was going on here?" she whispered, unable to hear her own voice as it ran away from her, over the sands. Finally she started to walk, putting one foot in front of the other and watching pale skin meld with the sand, sinking a few inches in, before she again pulled it up to take another step forward. The sands looked like they went on forever, but she continued onward. The only way out was to find a way to get free of this sand. Yet no matter how far she walked, she did not feel as if she was moving any further. Perhaps it would be better if she turned back? She turned around, intending to walk back to where she had come, but found no footprints behind her. She took to steps and quickly turned around, seeing no footprints behind her. Yet as she put her foot back down, watching as she lifted it once more, she certainly saw the outline of her toes. Turning her head so she could look behind her, she began to walk forward. That's when she saw it. As she walked forward her steps were absorbed into the sand and vanished before her eyes.
She looked forward again, looking down at her feet. She stepped again. Her footprint did not vanish. Instead of moving forward again she raised her knee and moved backward, taking a large step and sliding backward. She kept an eye on her footprints. They did not vanish this time. She took another step, and another. As she walked backwards her footsteps remained in the sand. That seemed to be the trick. So she continued to walk backward. Her footsteps came closer together as she moved faster. Being able to see her footsteps made her feel as if she was actually moving. She was so overjoyed that she nearly did not notice the ticking, slowly fading with each step, only noticing it when she could finally hear her own breathing again, and the ticking noise was gone. She looked up from the sand and gasped loudly, removing her hands from her ears. It was nearly silent, save for a soft gurgling sound, and a cough from behind her. She felt the hair on her arms bristle. She had been in the desert alone. She looked at her footprints, she felt that if she looked away from those footprints she would never see them again and she would again be lost, but the fear of whatever was behind her was growing by the second. An archaic creaking started, as if the tip of an iron nail was being pulled down a rusty bar. She had to look behind her. She had to.
She could no longer take it anymore. She squeezed her eyes shut and turned around. Then nothing. She heard nothing. Slowly opening one of her eyes, she jolted in surprise. It was nothing frightening. It was just an old woman sitting next to a waterpump, holding out a glass of water.
"Drink" The old woman's voice was calm, giving her a comforting feel. Slowly she took the glass and nodded her head, about to drink when it hit her. Why was this woman in the middle of the desert?
"Last time it took you much longer to figure things out." the woman said. She looked down at the water, it shimmered with a light green hue. Like clear oil. She dropped the glass and took a step back.
"Wont you drink today?" She looked at the woman as she spoke, and shook her head, opening her mouth as if to respond, but she could not "but, if you don't, you can't go back."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"You do not remember?" She shook her head. No, she did not remember. Save for her neck. Her necklace was not with her.
"What do I need to remember?" she asked, and the old woman chuckled. Her silver eyes darting down to the dropped glass
"Drink." she ordered, her calm voice turning stern. She slowly picked up the glass of water. Only a few drops remained. Her eyes looked up at the old woman again before tilting her head back, the few drops fell into her mouth and lit her mouth on fire. A painful choke came from her throat, her tongue became heavy, she could not could not scream despite her desire to wail at the woman.
"It would be less painful if you had the full glass, but. Only one per person." The Old woman said, shaking her head full of white hair. She slowly moved down, her body trembling as her knees fell onto the sand. She grasped at her throat, and stopped. Despite her pain she could tell the difference. No longer was her neck bare, but a choker had curled around her throat. She could tell by the delicately shaped leafs and the raised square at the center that this was her choker. The one she had lost. She raised her eyes to the old woman, she stood tall, hovering over her. Now dressed in a long black skirt, silver embroidery along the hem that caressed the sand. Her midsection was exposed, but her ribs and chest were covered by a crossed section of black fabric. Her long white hair spilled onto the desert, blending with the sand. No longer did the woman's skin look old, instead taking on an even and smooth tone without a single blemish or hue that would give away weariness. Only her eyes managed to show any form of age. They were darker than the night sky, as if they could swallow up the heavens, the stars, the sun, and the moon. Like this woman could leave us in a darkness just as deep and endless as her eyes. She reached out a hand, her fingers curled like hooks. The now youthful woman grabbed her hair and shoved her into the sand.
She could feel every grain that entered her mouth, that she breathed up her nose, and scraped at her eyes. It burned at her skin. She felt as if the woman was trying to bury her in the desert. She screamed as loud as she could, feeling the sand grains scrape against her throat and fill her mouth. It did not stop. Not until she could no longer feel her limbs, and her throat had stopped moving. There was nothing forward for her. Nothing she could do to fight against the desert. From drowning, but she had to try. She had to do something. She moved her arms, feeling light she was fighting against being buried alive. She felt the sand starting to pull away from her back, peeling away at her skin. She tried to scream. As she felt more of the sand pull away from her skin she finally felt the scream come. It ripped through her and finally she opened her eyes.
It was dark.