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Keep your eyes shut, he had said. It'll be best not to see. If you wish to keep your sanity, keep your eyes shut.

Sophie's heartbeat thudded in her ears.




She was weightless. Her limbs were leaden. 

She was suspended in empty space. Her body was being compressed from all sides. 

She couldn't breathe. 

Lights flashed behind closed lids.

Every limb of her body felt distant, detached. Just her mind, wandering through this darkness and white noise.



Sophie tentatively moved her arms. She wrapped them around herself. They had lost feeling, but she vaguely knew they were there.

Remember why you're doing this.

They're counting on you.

They were counting on her. Thousands. Most, dead. And a few, barely alive. Clinging to hope.

She felt a dull ache in her heart, her chest compressing into a knot. She had run out of tears a long time ago. Now, her heart just hurt.

Sophie took a deep breath.

She needed to do this.

For all of them.

And if she failed, she failed everyone. If she failed, she failed all those she had ever loved.

She wrapped her arms closer around her.

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