“Sometimes fate is like a sandstorm that keeps changing directions”, Crow says. Sometimes fate is like a sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.
The boy called Crow softly rests a hand on my shoulder, and with that the storm vanishes.
“From now on–no matter what–you’ve got to be the world’s toughest fifteen year-old. That’s the only way you’re going to survive. And in order to do that, you’ve got to figure out what it means to be tough. You following me?”
I keep my eyes closed and don’t reply. I just want to sink off into sleep like this, his hand on my shoulder. I hear the faint flutter of wings.
“You’re going to be the world’s toughest fifteen-year-old,” Crow whispers as I try to fall asleep. Like he was carving the words in a deep blue tattoo on my heart.
“And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed, too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others. And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”