Strangely, she was in a garden. It seemed familiar and yet she couldn’t recall why. A soothing breeze caressed her face and tugged gently on her hair. Golden rays of light stretched lazily from the horizon as the sun began to rise, providing a comforting warmth. Somewhere far off, a brook babbled as only brooks can. The indifferent chirping of birds and occasional buzzing of bees formed a perfect soundscape for the scene before her. Flowers surrounded her; their heads dotted like dabs of paint on a canvas. A colourful array of bright blues, deep reds, dazzling yellows and lush green melded to form a picturesque scene, too beautiful to possibly exist. It was then she realised; it didn’t.
The scene started to shift and distort. The colour drained down from the flowers and ran like blood across the floor, before dissolving into nothingness. The soothing sounds became a dull echo, throbbing painfully inside her head. Before long the scene had turned to darkness and she was falling once more. This time falling up; rushing to meet the ground above. She became aware of a familiar pain in her wrists and felt the cold touch of steel. Thick steel rings bound her hands. In a single moment that fact triggered a flood of memories and she gasped as it shook her back into reality.
Her wrists burned. Her head was spinning. Her breathing was panicked and ragged. There was nothing to be seen. Only darkness. Isolation. It stank of filth and abandonment. It was cold. Wherever she was seemed small. The echo of her breathing didn’t travel far. She knew there were walls nearby, for they belonged to her. The floor was dirt and stone which dug into her exposed skin. Her left leg was numb. She tried to move, but lacked the energy and willpower. She ached all over. Her throat was so dry that even her short breaths pained her. She couldn’t call for help and even if she could, who would hear her? No one was coming to save her. No one would ever find her. It was just her. She was alone. Somewhere far off and remote, there was a sunset she would never see.
Once more she lost consciousness. She drifted uneasily through dark images and sharp voices until awakening back to reality. Time had passed, but nothing had changed. Her body was almost entirely numb though, leaving little pain to be felt. This brief respite allowed her to begin to think clearly.
I am going to die soon. Her first clear thought. It is too late now. All I can do is wait. And she did. With each minute that went by, the pain became more distant; the darkness more welcoming. It wasn’t long before she was ready to leave; resigned to her fate. She had made her choice and would have to live with it, or die from it.
A distant chill crept over her, beckoning with icy fingers and promises of eternal respite as the last semblance of distant light faded beyond the horizon. After one last breath and one final thought, she let go and drifted off into the night.
As she left, the world swept away beneath her and she caught a glimpse of the other side of the coin. She saw herself. Strangely, she was in a garden.