Prologue; book ii
Working chapter title: outside influences
*author note: this chapter is a direct continuation of the previous chapter (intellectual property and weak hearts). Just some useful information. :)
In the distance, separated from her by murky awareness and a vast absence of existence, Eden could feel a slight pinching somewhere along her flesh; she was able to recognize that much, if only she could concentrate on it. She could remember what her body felt like, what each nerve ending could relay to her consciousness. If she could only focus hard enough, she was sure she could figure out where the pinching was.
No, not pinching, she realized. Puncturing.
Understanding was a slow experience, gradual and patient against the constant waves of nausea and terror that had managed to penetrate her disconnection of mind and body. The coalescing of the two was unnerving. As her consciousness refitted itself into her skin, it occurred to Eden that whatever had inserted itself into her flesh was still there, pressing harder until it found muscle.
Then, another realization: it wasn’t a single perforation. There were two, an inch apart, and they were asserting yet more force as to pierce the muscle tissue of her nape. A tugging sensation tingled along the delicate tissue beneath her skin. This foreign insertion into her body not only pushed, it was beginning to pull. The nausea in the pit of her stomach rose up into her throat.
As suddenly as the violation occurred, it ceased. Cool air slid across the wounds on her neck and a frost crept into her skin. It sank further, going much deeper than the punctures had, and encompassed her entire neck in under a second. The crisp chill moved swiftly, engulfing her skull, chest and arms before she had any grasp on its presence. It dripped its way down her spine and swallowed her hips, nipping a path down both of her legs until even her heels were frigid and tense. Her fingertips had never before been in such pain as they were now, her entire body feeling as if she had been locked inside of a glacier without a stitch of clothing. She could practically feel her veins being coated in ice.
And then the bitter sharpness of it deepened, burrowed further into her body until it wrapped wintry fingers around her very bones. A sharp intake of breath tore through her throat and lungs, parted her lips and filled her with the briefest heat. Then it faded, swallowed up by the frore tentacles, and no matter how many breaths followed, the frigidity of her body never lessened. She was so raw with the polar temperatures, her veins filling with such arctic blood, she couldn’t remember what warmth was.
It felt as if the blood rushing through her body was freezing, slowing down and thickening until it was slush, moving the way water beneath a thick layer of ice in a riverbed would move. Her skin was cracking, one layer at a time, starting from the inside and rising out. It was when her bones began splintering as they expanded with the cold that a single, devastated scream rode the desperate wave of breath escaping from Eden’s chapping mouth.