I find myself standing in the middle of a square, holding a black orchid.

I am reminded of a place I have visited in my dreams. Crumbling stone walls form a circle around me and two huge lion statues, cast from shiny black metal, stand guard beside the entrance. Colorful pennants hang regularly in stark contrast to the dark gray walls. They swirl violently as if being attacked by a storm, yet I feel no breeze.

The air is hot and thick. It is hard to breathe. The sun beats down oppressively and I am dazzled by the brilliant colors surrounding me. Closing my eyes, I listen. Can I hear anything other than my own heartbeat?

Something overhead. Slowly I open my eyes to see doves flying by, but in slow motion. I watch until they disappear. The sun is setting.

There is no one else. I am utterly alone in this place and there is no sound, not even from the banners flapping furiously.

Excerpt from the short story “Orchid” by Kara Pomeroy(C)

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