(0) What’s Yours Is Mine (Prologue)
She doesn’t know what happened to make it all so wrong. When her eyes finally open, it’s as if the light shining down on them is a claw. Her nerves scream and she snaps her eyes closed again. Groping for the switch, her hand instead finds something that pinches, that draws a line of fire across delicate flesh. She yelps and withdraws her hand, shaking suddenly, afraid in the darkness, the cage her own eyelids force on her.
What’s yours is mine.
She shudders, slowly opens her eyes. The light stings now, but doesn’t blind her the way it had a moment ago. She steels herself and draws in a breath, into a chest that aches, that feels as though it’s been eons since it last held air. The dirt floor beneath her naked body feels wrong as well, as if it’s sticking to her, in her, dirtying her blood and making her feel grossly aware of how small and useless she is. The light- there is no switch now, she remembers. How could there be a switch? She’s outside.
Now that she can see, she remembers much more.
What’s yours is mine. Always and forever, we’re together.
She feels her heart thump in her chest, and pushes herself upright, feels something slippery running down her fingers. Slippery and sticky and warm. The ground beneath her is dirt. All around her there are walls of thorns, bushes- rose bushes?- no, briars, that extend up all around her, up into the sky.
Like a movie- what movie? – Sleeping Beauty, except she fell into the black briars instead of hacked through them like the Prince, except she bleeds now, watches red, the liquid, slide down her hand and wet her fingers.
The droplets form drops, drip onto the hungry ground, soaking sand and grit.
The blood is hers.
What’s yours is mine. Always and forever, we’re together. It’s been like that since you were born, and we were born together.
A peculiar scar- she sees it only because of the weird light- glows on her thigh. She can feel its luminescence. The light isn’t so bright as midday, somehow it seems now to be more like evening, and when she looks up to the limit of the thornwalls, she can see that they are growing still, slowly sliding over, covering the light.
A low hum seems to grow in power and intensity, cover her, surround her from the air. Who am I?
Even that has been forgotten. Only scattered memory remains.
She was in a fight, in a struggle. She lost. Or did she win? What happened?
She’s still trying to fathom it, when the light flares and fills up her dark sanctuary once more, piercing down, biting into her eyes, tender as they are. The pain is searing, but her eyes widen in shock when she sees and understands what causes it.
Heat flares around her- it had been cold!- and burns, torches the briars above her with vicious efficiency. Even as far above her as the walls extend, the heat is falling towards her- illogical, really, seeing as heat rises on the air.
But it falls nonetheless, gathering speed- she can see the heat torching stone as well, blackening it on its way down towards her. Stone?
Yes, she’s in a circle of briar near a stone wall, a yard distant at most. A voice in her mind’s ear screams at her to stand and fight, but she can’t imagine how she would, and the voice is irrational, shouting invective and curse, making her want to just curl up and die. The heat is so intense now as it races down the wall. What’s going on?
She reaches out and slaps a hand against the stone of the wall, panicking, scrabbling. No way out around the briars, but maybe if she can somehow take the stone away she could hide from that unbearable, vicious flame!
In a moment, she’s pressed her entire form against the wall, desperate, pushing, demanding the earth to yield.
Which, rather surprisingly and suddenly, it does. The wall parts for her, the rock breaking and closing about her slim form and swallowing her up. Moments later, the heat slams into the ground where she once was, burning everything to a crisp.
What’s mine is yours, you stupid bitch! Use it- what’s the matter with you?