Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Wednesday Snippet - Through Fire

It begins! Oh God. Okay. I have to admit, I've had the first line of this book in my head for months, but I didn't really expect it to lead here...Poor Tris...

An eternity in torment.
That was what Tristesse experienced as the hounds dragged her through the veil back to their master. Searing flames that fried and split her skin, boiled her brain, rendered her down to nothing but shards of bone. And then she would heal, her body stubbornly rebuilding itself from the ashes, a phoenix cursed to rise…and burn again, again, again. The only refuge was madness, and she embraced it eagerly in the scant seconds of awareness she had. She plunged into insanity over and over, each fall shorter and shorter, and every time she resurrected herself, she had the clear and dreadful realisation that eventually she’d stop falling at all. She’d be broken, permanently.

Of course, she didn’t have the sanity to care.

She didn't realize that it was over, not at first. The pain was so absolute she had no way to register anything else. She was half-made when the hounds dragged her before the Fourth Prince of Gehenna, a skeleton lacking skin, a stringless puppet. Muscle was slowly knitting itself together over her ashy bones. Her heart didn't beat, it stuttered and shuddered, desperately pumping for blood that wasn't there yet. It was amazing, incomprehensible, how much pain you could feel when you lacked nerves. Her very bone marrow hurt. Awareness was a bitter gift. If she'd been capable of thought, she would have wished to be dead.

But she couldn't die. And so slowly her body remade itself once more, and slowly she realized she was no longer burning, no longer in the jaws of the hounds. She was still blind when they dropped her at their master's feet, but she had skin, raw and tender, and she could feel the blissfully cool marble she lay on. She stroked it, sending icy knives of pain through her reborn nerves. It was nothing compared to the agony of the journey through worlds. It was almost beautiful in comparison.

Tristesse laughed. Or tried to. A croaking caw was all she could manage, like a dying raven. She touched her head gingerly, found herself bald as a newborn, her skull dangerously fragile. The effort of raising her hand tore the newly-grown skin along her forearm and she let it drop with a sigh, feeling a hot gush of blood pour forth. She wanted to scream. Screams were still too much.

Her hearing returned. The hounds' hot, heavy breathing muffled almost everything, but she thought she heard soft footsteps as someone paced around her. Waiting for her to heal enough to start hurting her again.

A flash of dazzling stars in the darkness of her own head, and she knew her eyes had returned. She didn't dare open them. She knew what she'd see and she had no desire to see him.

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