As the details of the scene became clear, my grogginess fell away, leaving behind a strange sense of unfamiliarity with my own body. My arm seemed to throb in time with the ebb and flow of the fire gripping the yellow coals. I tried to clasp my hand to the hot wetness, to apply pressure, but succeeded only in slapping the wound with my wrist, causing a spike of pain that shook through my entire body and made my head ache. Frustrated, I tried again. This time I got the upper half of my palm over the puckered flesh but I couldn’t tighten my fingers to grab on to my arm.
“Grandmother!” I called. All that came out of my mouth was a choking cough. My throat was raw and my mouth tasted of blood. I tried to stand and realized that I was standing up already, swaying on my feet. I forced myself to take a step towards my mentor. I kept my eyes on her as I inched across the uneven ground. I didn’t want to see anything else.
I wasn’t sure what had happened but I was sure of one thing—this was somehow all my fault.