They ran, laughing, through the dunes. The sun so hot it bleached the colour out of everything.

They should have been in sunblock. They should have had been in glasses, but they were young. What did it matter.

Steven fell into the sun – but it didn’t burn, it held him – warm and comforting. He rolled over, smiling, squinting in the sunlight.

“Come on, slow coach. We’ll never get there if you’re sleeping on the job.” His sister ran past, stumbling as the sand sucked at her feet.

He turned and scrambled after her.

The woman with the pink hair stood at the crest of a dune and looked down at him. He blinked. There was no one there.

“Steven. Come on.”

Steven turned, slowly, slower than he wanted. “Mona.” His voice was so quiet. He couldn’t find the breath to call out louder. “Mona. Wait!”

***

He stood on the beach in front of the lighthouse. It was as he always remembered – so bright it hurt the eyes.

He didn’t remember how he got there.

He was in the Dunes. He was with Mona. “Ramona!” He looked around. “Ramona. Where are you?”

There was giggling from behind him and his sister stepped out.

“I’m always near, silly. Come on. Let’s go up!”

“Are you sure?” He was suddenly scared.

“We always do! Come on!” She walked towards the door. “It’s time, Steven. Come on.”

He tried to move, but his feet were stuck. He looked down, grabbed a leg, tried to move it. He looked up, “Wait. Mona. I’m stuck.”

She should never have been able to get that far in the short time he had turned away. He stumbled forward and fell to his knees. From there, he managed to crawl forward, slowly, towards his sister.

“Mona! Wait!”

At the door, she turned and waved. He wasn’t sure if it was to tell him to hurry up, or if it was goodbye.

***

He reached the door, and started up the stairs. “Ramona! Are you up there?”

Her voice answered, high above. “Hurry, Steven. Look at this!”

He ran up, two stairs at a time.

Something…wasn’t right. He hadn’t spoken to Ramona for years.

He stumbled on the stairs.

“Stop it, Steven! You have to come up here.”

This – was this…

“Steven. Don’t make me come and get you.”

This –

The stairs fell away and Steven found himself standing next to the light at the top of the lighthouse.

– was –

Ramona was standing there. She was young. But he wasn’t anymore. “Ramona.” His voice was deeper.

– a –

From behind her, a woman with pink hair stepped out, placing her hands, protectively, on his younger sister’s shoulders.

“Don’t you touch her.” He was sure he said the words, but all he heard was the roar of the wind in his ears.

The woman with pink hair spoke. “Talk to your sister.”

– drea—

Steven sat up, sweat pouring from his body.

“Whaeesih, aybee?” His wife was still half asleep.

“I have to call Ramona.”

***

Today’s photo was supplied by Lorna Harley Andrikopoulos

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