He felt heat, and blinding light.
Light, and heat, and searing pain.
And then suddenly, nothing more.
Utter and complete.
It seemed that hours drifted by, days even, before his eyes were able to open even a little. But when they did, the dazzling colour of the sky and his surroundings blinded him for a good while longer. The landscape around him was barren, but the vibrancy and beauty of it astounded him. Lifting his head, he brought his hands up to steady himself before rising to his knees.
Where was he?
Some lonely place that was certain. Not a single house or car or road in sight, and only the soft gentle whisper of a dry wind in the air, stroking his face. High above his head a bird called, a wild lonely sound that soared like a single perfect note drawn from a string and, shading his eyes, he looked up to see it. Watched it wheel and float on the air like a great black kite.
A long while passed before he moved again. Pushing himself easily up and onto his feet, his dusted his clothes down with the flats of his hands, reached behind him to slap the sand from his behind. Frowned. The clothes he was wearing seemed a little dark and heavy for a midday walk, and with a small stir of surprise his fingers closed on something thick and flat jammed down into his back pocket.
An envelope. Smooth, thick cream cloured paper, and on it's surface two words written in neat scrolling copperplate hand;
Pushing a finger under the flap he tore into it, and was only slightly more surprised to find what it contained. A neat fold of bills, six maybe seven hundred dollars in total, and an airline ticket and passport. Frowning again, this time with amusement, he studied the cover, dark red with a small golden harp, flipped it open easily with one hand and then smiled when he saw the picture inside. A pale face with short dark hair, and underneath, a name: Liam Kilpatrick.
Liam. Did he feel like a Liam?
Touched his face just to make sure, but knew instinctively that, yes. The man in the photograph was him. And the ticket's destination, did that seem familiar too? The name had a lyrical quality to it: 'Waterford', and somehow he knew that the place was green and lush, rolling hills and streams and small villages nestled like jewels in it's valleys.
It suddenly struck him that this was all a little odd. Odd, but strangely exciting. Like a game he was playing. An adventure that he himself had planned and shaking his head he laughed out loud, and then looked around him to see if anyone was watching, anyone in on the big joke. But there was no one and nothing. Only the faint soft cry of the bird high overhead, and the sound of the desert wind gently lifting the sand. Nothing but perfect peace and, whistling softly to himself, he turned and started walking east.