The feeling of something rough and hard pressing into my cheek and something cool and wet lapping at my ankles slowly wakes me and forces me to open my eyes. Bright sunlight blinds me, and I lift my hand to try and block the yellow-white light.
After my eyes adjust to the light, I look around, trying to gather where I am. Crystal shards and columns all around reflect the sunlight until it looks like everything around me is glowing. I slowly get up to my knees, small shards of crystal embedding themselves in my palms as I push off the ground. I wince as a new wave of pain washes over my body. I feel like I was trampled by a deck of card soldiers.
I turn and look at my reflection in the still waters of the Crystal Pond. Small scrapes and shallow cuts cover the right side of my face, along with the bruise that my mother left from slapping me, and a new one from her hitting me with a chunk of crystal last night. The club-shaped birthmark around my right eye is now much darker and more defined, a definite black mark that completely surrounds my right eye and covers my eyelid when I close my eyes, showing a full club on the side of my face. This will be very hard to try and hide from the Red Guard, the Red Queen’s personal guard for finding any rebels, which my newly defined birthmark now marks me as.
The white on my housecoat has been dyed a vibrant shade of turquoise, thanks to the sparkling waters of the Crystal Pond. Between the cuts, scrapes, bruises, and changed appearance, it’ll be very hard to hide this from anyone until I can get home and try to hide this. Home. Where is my home from here?
I look around, trying to see if I can find any familiar landmarks, but find none. All that I see are the crystal sand and soft grass at the edges of the sand. I’m still debating on which direction to go when I hear a the snorting of horses and the creak of carriage wheels. I turn and look in the direction of the noise and see an ornately decorated heart-shaped carriage pulled by two white horses with a red heart on their flanks. The carriage of the Red Queen.