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From 'A Flower In The Desert' 

by David Lang

I am lying in bed, slowly waking. I don't know the time, but I can tell by the two pale rectangles of light glimmering in the darkness that dawn is near. In the distance, I hear the sound of a train.

Distance? An assumption. The rolling, rumbling sound, small and faint, vibrates in the silence of this room.

Lying in bed? A convenient lie. For in the darkness, among these warm and comfortable sensations, no bed or body appears. Beyond these thoughts, no mind governs.

I reach out my hand, searching for my watch on the floor. By its battery light, I see it is six o'clock. I have an hour before my family wakes—time to write these words.

At this moment, three paths are crossing. Three? Yes, three. For besides your path, which beyond the pages of this book forks into your past and future, unknown to me, and besides my path, selected bits of which glimmer in the darkness between the pages ahead, there is a third, broad path upon which we can travel together. It stretches from this book in front of you to You and from my computer screen in front of me to Me. Not such a long path, eh? And not particularly interesting, either, you might think. Butforgive me—you would be wrong. For here is a path showered with more magic than the most fantastic fairytale. Step onto this one-foot-long path, and you can walk all the way to infinity. Pass through this mild countryside, and you will encounter such dangers as will challenge you to risk, and lose, your life. Arrive, both dead and alive, at your destination, and you will find that your end is your beginning, and that you have never left, since even before you were born, this marvelous home.

What end? What beginning?

The answers fork into paradox and vanish below the horizon of words.

“But look,” I say, “over here. How clear the sky! How beautiful the view!”

But I am getting ahead of myself. Come. Let us go together. The door is open.

(All books presented in our Book Extracts are available via Amazon or our website shop.)
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