The woman jolted and looked about the black room, unable to see anything. She reached out to feel her way about, and felt nothing against her hands. The alter was gone.
The woman's eyes strained to see as she wildly swung her arms about feeling for anything.
Only empty blackness slipped through her fingers as her breath came faster and faster, on the
verge of panic. The woman stopped swinging suddenly and let her hands fall as she began to
lean forward to rest on the floor. With a short, quick hiss her breath stopped. No floor greeted
her hands. The voice spoke again.
The woman screamed and curled up, hiding her face in her knees and wrapping her arms
about her head. She floated there, quivering, and she heard the voice once more.
"Come here, Mara."
With those words came a light that enveloped everything, much brighter than anything
the woman Mara had ever seen. It was not a warm light, and she felt no heat from it. But
she felt the light as it pushed against her with a physical presence that felt more solid than
her own. Mara curled up more tightly, trying to escaped the light and became dimly aware
of a solid ground beneath her, cold and hard like metal. Mara couldn't stop her body from
shaking, and a cold knot began worming about in her stomach. Her breath was rapid and
irregular, and she was too afraid to move. The voice spoke again, and felt much nearer and
much louder now.
"Look up, Mara."
The voice was low, and it spoke gently, but each word seared itself inside Mara, as if each
word was something tangible. Mara had felt herself flinch when she heard each word, and
the words felt hot. Mara cringed, terrified of the voice, but not understanding why. She
shook her head every so slightly, and with a whisper that just barely qualified as spoken,
replied to the voice.
"I can't." she said.