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     A wash of faces hovered above me like a crudely painted ceiling fresco. Eyes, some filled with hope, others relief, bore into me like burrowing beetles. Beyond them an antiseptic ocean of white stretched as far as my own eyes could see; but I was prone, lying like a whale slowly exhaling its last on a beach the colour of gold.

     There were voices; voices which swirled over me like bees returning to the hive, heavy with nectar. Their sweet words bounced between my ears futile in their attempt to make sense of themselves. The sounds meant nothing to me, and neither did the tones which were targeted in my direction. Did the faces expect a response? Part of me guessed that they did, but I could not fathom the reason.

     The expectation behind the staring eyes was palpable, and even my forgotten, deadened senses could taste it. As for why, well, I could find no explanation. I looked back up at the waves as they crashed and dispersed before my eyes and realised, at last, that not one of them meant anything to me.