Mara slept for hours after crying herself to sleep. When she woke up, she was still lying on
the mattress in the main cavern. Kaze and Joshua could not be seen. Mara sat up, and
sat on the edge of the mattress, trying to regain her bearings after being away for so long.
No. I don't think I was gone for very long, but it feels like I've lived a whole other lifetime.
I didn't live it as myself either. Or was it me? Mara got up unsteadily, then slowly walked
towards the back of the cavern, heading for the hot spring. A bath felt long overdue,
though she wasn't sure why. Mara managed to stumble into the steamy chamber without
a problem, and slowly coaxed her fingers into removing the clothing that she had been
wearing on the hilltop. Mara was fumbling with the buttons, staring at them, like she had
almost forgotten how to remove buttons, or what it was like to wear clothing at all. It feels odd wearing clothes. I haven't worn them in so long... And were those buttons always
so tricky to undo?
Finally Mara freed herself from the clothing, and stepped into the warm waters that were
always waiting for her. That feels so much better now. Where did the soap go, I need to
scrub myself clean. A quick glance around gave Mara her answer, and she grabbed the
soap and a washcloth that was sitting near it. Mara quickly lathered, then began
scrubbing off dirt, mattress dust, and confusion from her skin, working her way down.
She stopped for a moment, contemplating her body. I really am a woman, huh? I thought
I was a man for so long, it almost doesn't feel right being back in this body. Actually,
I'm not sure I ever left this body. But, really, thinking that I lived a whole other life
as a man - that's not like me at all. I wonder what's going on, maybe Joshua can tell me.