He seemed to be rising, but he could be falling. There was no direction. It might have been that the sleep was simply sloughing from him like snakeskin, revealing consciousness. He didn’t remember falling asleep. He didn’t remember….
Sand. Now he remembered sand so fine it was like smoke when the wind picked it up in every footfall, every movement. It was in everything to the point that “not sand” was abnormal and almost uncomfortable. Breathing was a filtered sucking in of still finer sand and heat. He’d never known heat like that. Sand and heat. Try to spit out the sand and it was like spitting dirtballs.
Tentatively he took a breath to taste his new awareness. They were both gone, the sand and the heat. A new smell, too, was there. Not his smell—dried sweat and fear and blood and sulfurous smoke. The breath became a gasp at the tail of memory. Then the new smell reared up and sank long venomous fangs deep into the back of his mind.
He screamed, or tried to scream, but his mouth was full; he couldn’t even swallow. He reached at his face to pull out the scream, but there were no hands. He opened his eyes to find his hands, and there were no eyes.
Then pain returned…and memory. The earth itself rose up to him, a great, concussive wave that blew away breath and sound and sight and smell and hands, and he did not remember falling until now. And he fell and didn’t wake for the trumpet or twenty-one guns.
My apologies to those who know too well the sand and heat. My imagination is no match for your reality.