This is fiction; I hope you'll indulge me. This is fiction: don't look for any hidden meanings, except for the obvious hidden ones.

Also, I should warn you, some may find this disturbing. There is blood, and hair, and dead bees. If you can't stomach either graphic images or poetic license, you might want to skip this one.

I made it! It's been a long trip, and it's really not over now that I'm here, but I said I'd write when I got here. We were separated before I could get your address, so I'm afraid this will stay in my notebook for now. Maybe I'll come home again and see you some day—I can give it to you then.

I set out on this trip to find something. To find somewhere my reaction turns to openness and I don't spend every moment closed behind the temporary walls that seem so hard. At first, though, I glided along in a bubble, and with nothing and no one to break the skin, I rode like a white ghost through village after village, never resting, so that city behind told city ahead that I slept in graveyards, and people avoided me for fear I would take them from their families and bury them in shallow graves far from home. I didn't want to suck their blood, but after so many hungry nights I found myself craving first the blood of cattle, then family dogs, and finally small children.

For months I rode alone, sometimes for hundreds of miles at a stretch. I climbed mountains along with cars, then floated down the opposite side as light and airy as the butterflies wafting from flower to flower by the side of the road.

The people that did not run when they saw me were fellow travelers. They too had taken to sucking blood; though they were ashamed, they felt they had no other option. We had killed no one, we all agreed. For some reason, the bees flew around our heads when we sat next to the campfire, but we paid no attention, and they left when we retired to our tents for sleep.

But I met one man, a traveler, who did not suck blood. He listened politely to the others' tales of blood in barns, on porches, in parks of far-flung cities. I watched him the whole night, but he didn't speak a word until the others gradually dropped off to sleep.

With the others gone, he finally engaged me. I no longer understand why he chose me, but at the time it struck me as appropriate. He didn't dwell on his own past but told me immediately he had given up sucking blood. He said he found that giving up on blood, at first the pangs were unforgiving, but finally, after several days, he did not need the blood anymore. He said his dreams sustained him.

I laughed at the thought of surviving on dreams and took up my bike again the next day after many days of rest. My fellow travelers and I had raided the nearby city so much that the people had all evacuated, so we were rich with vigor.

But soon I was once again alone for days at a time, and I found my energy sapped as the long miles between cities supported nothing. The buzzing of the bees became unbearable. They had built a hive in my flesh, and the blood I sucked went now not to push me up hills, but to their growing children. I slept on my stomach as a hive grew first on the back of my leg, then another on my neck. All the while they buzzed, until I grew frantic.

At last I could no longer move. I lay in my tent as the bees flew wildly around my head; they grew angry because I had no more blood. I was so weak I could not say I was sorry, and they stung me.

I was near death. I felt suddenly the horror of those poor little bees as they died deep in my flesh. The hives grew stiff and cracked, then one day they shriveled and blew away. The bees buzzed no longer.

That night I dreamt of you. So long ago, another life. You posed with your back to me, your beautiful hair curling up around your shoulders, I surprised you framed in the doorway, waiting. Waiting for me.

I awoke and remembered the history of that image. I was wandering in a labyrinth, my head down. The labyrinth wound around and around, and though there were no walls, I could follow nothing but the black line ahead of me as it curved. Through interlocking labyrinths I found I could always reach my destination... or, well, I found I always reached a destination, even if I did not at first recognize where I was.

And there you were, your hair shining in the sun so that the black line of the labyrinth grew fuzzy and dissipated and I could see the door. Then even the door disappeared and it was just you and me and the warm light of the sun.

Remembering that moment I felt a new life inside me. My flesh wounded by the bees still hurt, but I soon could move again, and a month later, after dreaming every night of warmth and light, I could push, and then could pedal my bike again.

I was no longer feared. In towns the people welcomed me, and we danced and sang. We shared the stories of our dreams, but when I began to speak of the bees they grew quiet, so I told a story of my home and we sang once again, of home, and of lightning, and fireflies. Then it rained and the beauty washed away to be replaced by beauty.

And so I reached this place! Unlike the people of the cities and villages by the road, I do not shun the travelers who suck blood, because I am a traveler, too.

I hope life is treating you well. All the best.