Golden

Oct. 28th, 2009 02:10 am
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Title: Golden
Author: Devo79
Characters: Xander, Jesse

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“How does it feel to die?“ he asks Jesse and the dead teenager frowns as if he wasn’t expecting the question.

“Well,” he mumbles and looks around.

The desert is golden. Not brown, not grey but golden. Like liquefied sunshine stretching on and on. Not as far as the eye can see, there’s the shocking blue of the sky floating above the sea of grainy sunshine, but far enough for Xander to wonder if this is the world. To wonder if the golden has bleed out over the entire planet.

There’s a little bit of red there as well staining the perfection of the golden sand.

“It’s…” Jesse continues, “It’s hard to explain,” he scratches the tiny scar just over his left eyebrow and hums quietly, “It feels like…Have you ever played in the snow? I don’t remember if you’ve ever been out of Sunnydale before coming here,” and Jesse makes a swiping movement with his hand indicating everything from the desert to the whole continent of Africa.

“Was in Russia for a few months before coming here,” Xander says and looks up at Jesse. The dead teenager is eclipsing the sun and it shrouds him in a halo of white-hot brightness.

“That feeling you get when you’ve been outside in the snow for too long and then come inside?” Jesse kicks at the sand and a small cloud of dust settles on his sneakers, “The prickling in the fingers and toes? How your cheeks go numb?”

“Yeah?” Xander lifts one hand and holds it up, shielding his eye.

“That’s how it feels…well, that’s how it felt to be drained anyway,” Jesse shrugs and shuffles his feet for a second, “Just cold, you know, like standing still too long outside in a blizzard.”

Xander stretches his legs out, his back resting against the small dune behind him. It’s scorching hot. Every minuscule grain a furnace burning through the clammy sweat-soaked cotton of his dark green t-shirt.

The sun is slowly moving across the sky as if it is in no hurry to get where it’s going. Nothing to do and forever to do it in. He swallows and closes his eye, tilts his head back and isn’t the least bit surprised when he feels Jesse slump down next to him.

“Beautiful isn’t it?” the dead teenager asks.

“Hmmm,” Xander mumbles and squints up at the relentless sun, “Hot,” he manages to mumble.

“Well, yeah,” Jesse agrees.

“So,” Xander turns his head just enough to catch a glimpse of his old friend out of the corner of his eye, “What brings you to Africa? I mean, being dead and all I’m sure you could have gone wherever you’d want.”

“You’d think that, wouldn’t you,” Jesse moves slightly and the sun makes the outline of his body blurry with heat, “But it’s hard…with the traveling.”

Xander scratches the tip of his skin-peeling nose with a warm suntanned finger. He looks up at the sky and frowns when he sees the silhouette of a large bird above them, “Being dead. What’s that like?”

“Remember Mrs. Schmidt?” Jesse asks and Xander turns his head and stares at him, “Okay, yeah. Just listen, right,” he continues, “So remember how her classes seemed to stretch the fabric of time and space? How the more she yammered on about grammatical rules the smaller the classroom seemed and the longer the minutes ended up stretching? Remember how that felt? How you’d look at the clock hanging over the door and then, when it felt like a century had passed, you’d look again and it’d only been a minute?”

“That’s what it’s like,” Jesse leans forward and starts drawing little circles in the sand with his index finger.

“Being dead is boring?” Xander asks disbelievingly and presses his hand harder against the red spot spreading across the green t-shirt, “Guess I’ll be making my own experiences soon.”

“That?” Jesse pokes at the red damp stain on the t-shirt and Xander flinches, “That’s nothing, man.”

“The demon that ripped out one of my ribs might disagree,” Xander swallows, attempting to moisten his dry mouth and shivers suddenly despite the scorching heat.

“Starting to feel cold?” Jesse asks and puts his arm around Xander’s shoulder.

“Uh huh,” he manages to nod and squints his eye when the world starts precariously tilting to the left.

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