Enveloped in darkness for an indeterminate amount of time, her body numbed while a druggish haze invaded her mind. She lapsed between complete states of unconsciousness and a fuzzy cognizance of some semblance of awakening. With no ability to determine the length of this condition, or mental capacity to remember how it was induced, there was nothing to do but wait; anxiety’s creeping intensity ever growing within.
A new sensation begins, a slight warmth in what she believes is her face, centered primarily on her lips. Like a burning ember devouring a fresh piece of kindling, this slow burn washes over her body. The area of initiations heat intensifies as the fire envelopes every inch of her. Still was unable to move or speak, the sensation’s suffocating effects make her fear that this is how she would spend her last moments.
At last, now able to feel her every limb licked by the flames and seeping into her very core, she inhales deeply. Her chest rises and falls in a way that is strangely familiar, and with each intake the fire seemingly begins to extinguish. Her nostrils fill with a mixture of something sweet and musky at the same time, like one she would encounter during a walk through the woods after a heavy summer storm.
“She wakes,” a hushed voice whispers.
The first sounds to reach her ears in who knows how long. A familiar voice, yet one which she is unable to immediately place. As she begins to open her eyes, they struggle to adjust and make sense of the scene before her. Blurred images of several people gather around her, and then suddenly she is aware of one person in particular, seated by her side as she lay, his hand clasping her own. His? With this realization she blinks hard and tries to sit up, but he wraps a strong, warm arm around the back of her head to support her, his body close that she can feel his breath when he says, “Easy now, Snow. I’ve got you.” The heat from his body emulates the burn which just devoured every inch of her.
Her vision clears and for the first time she beholds his face, the chiseled jaw with a cleft, a slight day’s worth of stubble slightly reddish in tint, soft pink lips and deep gray-green eyes that look upon her intensely, protectively. She feels safe, awakened in a way with which she is unfamiliar, and she allows him to support her.