Much further away, miles from a battle that would alter the world, a woman opened her eyes slowly as pain lanced through her head like lightning bolts stabbing at her skull. She did not like what she saw. Or more correctly she did not like what she didn’t see.
Blackness. Absolute blackness.
Her first reaction was one of panic. It flooded through her; pulse quickening; and breathing speeding up so that any coherent thoughts were swept from her mind.
And then, when nothing happened, her mind started to calm. Sitting up she tried to peer around her, but the blackness would not go away and no shape could be made out. Perhaps she had lost her sight?
Trying to remember what had last happened she found it difficult. The drum still pounded inside her head and the last thing she could remember was being with her father, tending to the animals. After that, all memory had been swept away and it was like a fuzzy blur.
A shiver ran down her spine.
What made it even scarier was the deathly hush: an endless silence that refused to break. It almost felt as if it pressed down on her, smothering her in a deathly cloak.
Her call was unanswered. No voice to reply, not even an echo bounding back to her ears. Its sound was almost muffled, as if she was enclosed in a small space. Once again she could feel adrenaline entering her veins as claustrophobia made its first call, entwining and twisting around her, but she shook her head at the nonsense she was imagining.
Enough was enough. Perhaps she was just in a hovel with no light to creep under the doors or she was shut in some sort of container. Both seemed like stupid ideas. Realising she would actually have to get up without means of illumination, why she hadn’t tried yet was beyond her, she pushed herself up off the ground.
The blow to her head knocked her back to the floor and the pain that shot through her forehead to squeeze at her temples made her shriek and clamp her eyes tight shut. A hand automatically came up to grasp her head where she had hit it and she could feel the dampness of blood on her palm.
Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!
This time the terror overtook her as her fear of being in some enclosed space rang true.
No way out! Barely any room! Trapped! Dead!
Throat tightening it felt like someone was pushing her windpipe closed and her breathing came in ever more ragged gasps. Finding it harder and harder to breath she tried to fight it off but madness had filled her mind and her body responded in craziness. Each breath was harder and harder to draw, sounding like the rasp of a saw biting into wood.
She had to be calm.
It was no good. Dancing lights started to appear before her eyes as the lack of air in her lungs took its toll. It became even more difficult to wrestle with the insanity overtaking her body and her eyelids started to droop as she suddenly felt like she had been drugged: sluggish and sleepy.
As she passed out, she was finally rid of the swirling madness.