Pain sears through her body, a jagged knife to the flesh, trying to split her conscious self from the real world. And would that it could, for maybe then her fear would lessen.
She closes her eyes and pictures a different time, a different place. A sprawling meadow, a snow-white gazebo resting at the foot of a grassy hill. A friendly fall breeze spirits through towering trees that hold tight to leaves of red and and yellow and gold. She hears wind whistle through branches–a sprightly tune. She feels it sweep across her face and–
The pain consumes her head to toe. Her body petrifies. She cannot move, and yet she can writhe. She feels herself slipping into the throat of a furnace, flames licking her limbs. She slowly incinerates. Pieces of her sizzle and flake off into a pit. She knows she won’t get them back.
Eyes shut and she’s back with the autumn air caressing her cheek. Now it’s the gentle hand of her grandmother, and she sees her face, piercing indigo eyes set in soft, pale flesh. Her heartbeat amplifies at the sight. She longs to hold that face. Now she does with child’s hands, kneading the doughy cheeks between pudgy fingers. Gran’s tender laugh soothes her like a lullaby that–
Pain crescendos, then cuts to her core, whittles the last of her sanity to a tiny nub. Thoughts slip away, so swiftly that she cannot catch them, like a gallon of water poured into a thimble. She’s losing her mind. It’s just too much.
Then a sudden cry, different from her own. Separate yet still part of her whole.
Numbness washes over, and she hears, “It’s a girl, Frannie! You did it! Welcome to the club!”
For the TRIFECTA CHALLENGE, week 82
This week’s word is club, the third definition, of course.
3. a : an association of persons for some common object usually jointly supported and meeting periodically; also : a group identified by some common characteristic <nations in the nuclear club>
b : the meeting place of a club <lunch at the club>
c : an association of persons participating in a plan by which they agree to make regular payments or purchases in order to secure some advantage
d : nightclub
e : an athletic association or team
I chose 3(a), specifically, “a group identified by some common characteristic.”