The world is thin here. Matter's thin. Ley line, fault line; Egypt's no better than California. No place to build a ziggurat, but no-one asked me.
I noticed when we were walking through the market. I had stopped to watch the hashish-man making bricks, squeezing the oil out, and my mother and her new husband continued walking. The doctors say without the influence of mother to ground me I hallucinate. I say doctors don't know sleeping from walking. The young brown people around me chittered and swam. Rough, ecstatic fabrics brushed my hands and knees. I watched the collapse of stalls reeking with spices all colors of earth. The hash-maker twists his press. Stars eke out.
Some time later I am in the desert, my clothing torn, my wrists raw, my lips and the skin on my face raw. I stumble better than I walk. The influence of sand on unfamiliar feet. Beneath the grit I hear stars shifting. There are pyramids on the horizon. There are always pyramids on the horizon, but this one is so close that I stumble into it, collapse on its bottom step, barking my knees. I rap the stone to make sure that it's real, put my ear to it. It sounds black inside, with little glimmers; the knocks echo infinitely. Thin. I decide to climb.
The steps take forever with my untimely gait. The sun falls toward the west in intervals. Stop action. Shutter time. Never before have stairs felt so much like climbing. The sky has gone storm-dark, and the surrounding sands are filled with sparks. The only improvement is the wind, but the air it moves is unfit for breathing. Thick. The clouds come to a curious funnel atop the ziggurat. The higher I walk, the thinner my skin becomes. My hands and feet become as transparent and glimmer-filled as the stones beneath. I look toward the peak and see a dog-faced man walking down the steps toward me. We meet in the middle and embrace.
Mother found me where I was left, stock still in the center of the market, my face directed at the stagger step of sky between awnings, grinning, crying. She scolded me for frightening the locals. I scolded her for calling them natives. Might as well call them savages. The world is too thin for such pettiness, and after all, I wasn't the one that got lost.