“Can you believe this weather? The sun is …” she stopped cold, her jaw frozen in mid-sentence. Her heart thundered, threatening to escape the confines of her chest.
Eric’s voice sounded as if filtered through molasses. Someplace in her stunned mind she noted to herself that she finally understood why cartoonists slurred speech and movement into agonizing slow-motion during moments of high-drama. It was as if the world itself spun differently. Time simultaneously lingered and lost all definition.
Her finger labored against a suddenly-too-heavy gravity. She pointed at the gravestone.
“The swirls,” she managed, her tongue was a parched brick in a desert.
She forced herself to breathe and swallow. Paradoxically the motion released some moisture back into her arid mouth.
“It is the mark of my ancestors,” she whispered. “A sacred, secret, rarely-used Sentry Sign. I’d only seen it once. I didn’t even know they’d been to this land.”