Jane pulled the thick wool blanket up higher. She was exhausted from her day and restless at the same time. She turned her face into her pillow and determinedly rushed to her dreams.
Jane was a mountain with a woman’s face in a short range of mountains. She overlooked a wide flat brown and yellow desert. It shimmered in the heat, but she was a mountain. She was cold.
She stepped forward and was a woman.
She knew that she was in the wide deserts of Sardina in the wild sea. There was a tug on the string that came out of her chest. She ran her fingers along the string and touched where her clock heart ticked. She stood there for a year with the thread cupped in the curve where her thumb met her hand while her index finger slid back and forth along the blue thread that stretched out from her clock heart to where Edward was. The thread sent the beat of her heart to him. She slid her finger back and forth and felt the pulse of his heart.
Her heart melted. She felt it melt away. Moths flew from the place where it had been and the thread broke free and floated away on the breeze.
She cried out. She ran up a stone ramp full of stone figures with dandelion heads that offered her tea and tasks. She jumped over a mound of eyes that blinked at her. Her fingers almost reached the floating thread, but she stumbled. She fell into the pink conch that sat in her uncle’s study and echoed with the sound of the sea.
She slid down the conch and tumbled into the waves. The water blew away on a sharp breeze and took her clothing with it. She stood in the vast brown desert naked. The ants that crawled in a line across the sand turned to look at her. They became men in the suits of bankers and lawyers. They each had a loaf of bread on their heads.
She turned away from them. She looked up at the sky, but she could not see the thread.
In distance, she saw a bell tower that cast a sharp shadow on the sand. She stepped into the shadow and was dressed in a yellow silk dress. It was the sort of dress that Edward had wished to give her. It was the very embodiment of those dresses. She swayed right and left and her thoughts became dandelion seeds that blew on the breeze.
Her thoughts drifted on the breeze and came to the yellow mountain where Edward was trapped inside the clock embedded in the stone. Her dandelion thoughts softly beat at the moving arms. They worked at the numbers until the puzzle was solved. Edward stumbled out.
They looked at each other across the wide desert. She took a step toward him, but the ruined city of Genoa grew up between them. She knew it was Genoa, although she had never been there. Edward had spoken of taking her there, but she could not remember when he’d whispered it.
It didn’t matter. She ran through the city with its brick walls. She climbed to the top of a tower. Below, she saw the turtles of carnival wearing their masks inch down the paved street. She slid down the slide and walked down the streets.
She walked for twenty years in through the empty ruined city. She reached the last wall and she heard Edward call her name. “Jane. Jane.” She put her hand to the wall and she felt him do the same.
She reached into the space where her melted heart had been and called on the birds that lived there. They flew over the wall. They flew to Edward and led him through the city streets.
They flew and the shadow pattern of their wing beats cast a tunnel through the wall.
Edward ran to her and caught her up. He held her in his arms and lifted her. He spun her in a circle and the soft silk of her dress floated up and away. “Jane, my pale little elf. My mustard seed. Is it you, Jane? Is this Jane Eyre.”
“Yes. Yes. Yes.” She stood in his circle of arms bare and unafraid. She should not. She knew that she should turn away for some reason and melt into the sand. But the thought drifted away on a dandelion seed to sprout far away. Instead she pressed herself to him and whispered, “You are mine and I am yours.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck as he rained down kisses on her face. “Jane. Jane. Tell me that you’re not dead.” She answered him with her lips on his. His hands framed her face and they were a picture.
An oil painting of a great black sailed ship that strove through the night across a stormy ocean. He was the wooden ship and she was the watery sea. They were going to a new shore together. She reached up a pale arm wrapped in jewels. She knew that these were the gems that Edward had wished to shower on her. The drops of them melted away as she melted into him.
Her long hair was loose and it moved of its own will in the wind. He brushed it back and said, “I will find you.”
“I’m right here.” She kissed him with her lips to let him know that it was true.
He sighed. “Oh, Jane.”
The words echoed in Edward’s room. It was the sound of his own voice that woke him up. He blinked at the darkness, but that was nothing new. His sight was gone. In that moment of waking, he reached out with the wreck of his arm to where Jane should be, but, of course, she was not there.
“A dream. Just a dream.” He blinked back at the tears that threatened him. But it was dark and night and there was no one to see. He let them fall. He whispered into the dark of his room, “Wherever you are Jane, I wish that you are well.”
He put felt his heart beat and as he again fell into his dream, he felt the string tied to his heart tremble as Jane’s heart ticked far away.