Deep in the cave's chamber, he stood overlooking the ocean of this strange world. It went on forever, beyond the reach of the atmosphere and all the powers of mortal men, with the sounds of water dripping off stalactites and the whispers of unseen creatures as the cosmos illuminated their dance.
A nest formed at some point over thousands of years as eggs drift into the sea, carried by currents and tides. Birds with broken feet but wings spread wide, fleeing in flight from dying hearts filled with the obsidian of its inhabitants and the unforgiven, mutating and breaking down within the lethal darkness from which it grows, blinded and ignorant.
He must be on his guard in the warm calm of dawn. Similar to the nights when he sensed the fragile awakening of what is. Sometimes Harland forgets the one thing he should never forget: everything is hungry.
His heartbeat quickened. The heavens appeared as they had in the dream, but no light seemed to touch the horizon. It was as if the moon had turned to stone, changing ever so slightly from a gibbous to a crescent.
Perhaps the knowledge of it affected his perception of the earth, perpetually entangled in each other's orbits, continuously succumbing to the allure of roving magnetism, provoking tidal surges through time. They progress through the phases as months turn into years with the cyclical precession of the ages, only to begin once more though the spring of life breaks with the winter of death, existing simultaneously with the passage of eternity.
There was a small polarizing space between the two surfaces, so they would always be close to touching but never be able to share their gifts. Bodies would dance with each other in the night, whispering words in their ears and drawing hearts with their touch. The sky would open up, and beauty would emerge, both great and fierce. It would last for eternity, always less than perfect.
And yet there would be no bitterness or regret.
As the light above faded, Harland fell onto the warm, granular sand; it was an inexplicable feeling as the beach moulded itself around the contours of his body, each coarse grain—a kiss upon his skin.
And if this new world was indeed born of an eclipse—a sign that great things were yet to come in the domain of man's consciousness—then he could only hope that his work was successful.
People who found their souls while in it would have a rare kind of peace, and everything would be as it should be. The dunes' euphoric embrace enveloped him, and he knew he had finally come home.