[SHORT STORY] Snake’s Bite

Of all the memories of my time in the desert, when I, younger and bolder, worked in the African north, it is a weird dream to occupy the first place and rule all over the rest of my experiences. But this story, although developing in the realm of Morpheus, starts in the waking world, under the scorching sun of the Sahara.

As I said, I was working in the desert (the nature of my job is entirely useless to the means of this tale and altogether boring). How draining is that land, and how exhausting, but how fierce and fascinating to the human soul. The yellow dunes awaken something within you, that makes you feel what ancient men have felt when facing their primeval dangers in the first age of mankind. Despite the many warnings (and the somnolent security meetings), that place made me too distracted and rarely weary of my surroundings. Or maybe, my primordial instinct reborn sought the risk of death.

And as I had provoked Death, he struck in no time, brutal and unmerciful against his challengers. I was walking near an amass of rocks when suddenly I had him coiled around my left leg. Once I had noticed him, my convulsive reaction was followed by a strong bite on my ankle.

I cried help, and, luckily, I was near my colleagues and the local security agents, because that snake’s bite was poisonous and, as I discovered, potentially mortal. They instantly rushed to my rescue, killed the serpent, and brought me to our place where I was put into medication, already very feverish and debilitated. After treating me, the doctors assured that the fever would pass in a day and told me to just rest and relax.

However, I spent a hell of a night. Both fever and medicines made me feel sluggish and foggy; a weird, weak restlessness took over me, in which I could not fall asleep but had no strength to do anything else, either.

I had to wait until complete exhaustion, as my head started spinning and I began sweating profusely in spite of the colder climate of the desert night. My eyes rolled up like my irises were entering inside my head, and I fell into oblivion.

The fire of a luxurious hearth was the first thing catching my attention. I found myself in an extremely rich chamber from a time long past, which my consciousness recognized, but was unable to tell me. It was like it had been cut out from the rest of my perception, and even now, if I try to remember, I seem unable to connect the dots.

Suddenly, though, I felt another thing: that I was slithering above soft flesh… above the bosom of a woman!

Nay, it was not that kind of dream. I felt no desire for her, nor she did for me, however sensual her abandonment above her cushions, her parted lips through which her breath flew nervously, her heavy eyelids talking of sadness and despair.

Something made my guts clench, and that was the peculiar way I slid above her: not like a man, but like a snake, describing a S as I climbed upon her chest. She sighed, trying to hold her fear, but she could not prevent herself from trembling a bit.

I ignored her, yet once I was on her shoulder her resistance crumbled. She cried and raised her arms as to throw me away, but I was faster: as she had made the slightest, abrupt movement, my fangs were on her neck. Her spirit left her body as the cry died on her lips in a ghostly groan. And the dream died with her in a flash of light.

The bright white persisted, and my point of view changed. I was amorphous, and everything around me was heavy liquid. That sensation lasted for I do not know how much time, until a spark of energy and strength traversed my whole body. Just later, that white prison became suffocating and intolerable, and I began struggling with all my strength to break it down. I literally threw myself against the white walls surrounding me, which cracked and then broke. I was free!

I jumped raising a splash of liquid all around me until I landed onto the ground, realizing that I was a snake again. The furniture of the infirmary surrounded me, and I slid under the door on my way back to the desert. My desert, my land.

Abruptly, I came back to the waking world, just in time to see a reptile tail disappear beyond the narrow space between the door and the ground.  My fever had passed.

I never told this anyone, the reason being a certain shame the event left on me. The next day, I was fine and had no sign of complications, so there was no need to report my dream and be called a madman as result. Afterwards, I suffered no ill which I can relate to that event, yet sometimes in my sleep I can swear to see the desert again, and to slither above it, and to contemplate the daily lives of men and women, as a predator would lust upon a pray, already tasting my next rebirth.

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