Darkness was all she knew.
Once, long ago, in another time and another place, she had known light. Light and laughter. Now that light had been extinguished. The laughter silenced. Now all she knew was darkness. Darkness and fear. Darkness and fear and pain. Her whole world had become a hot pulsating mass of darkness and fear and pain. She no longer knew who she was, where she was, or how she had got here. For a long while pain was her constant companion: faithful and true; enfolding her body in its tight searing embrace. Then, somewhere deep within her a door had swung open, revealing a room where pain and fear could not enter. She had slipped soundlessly inside and ran the bolt.
Here she could hide.
Here she was safe.
Here she could drift.
And she did.
For a while.
But pain was determined. It followed her tracks. Hunted her down. And, like the Big Bad Wolf came knocking at her door:
- Little Alison. Little Alison. Let me come in.
- No. Not by the acne on my chinny chin chin. I'll not let you in.
- Then I'll rant and I'll rave, and I'll smash your door in.
Pain had charged at her door with a battering ram.
Just seconds before the wood exploded in a rain of shards and splinters, the bolt holding it fast buckled and snapped in two.