Darkness and warmth and low sounds.
The carpet beneath me is soft against my cheek, but even then, it cannot calm me.
I know where I am.
What I am.
What has happened to me. To him. To all of us.
I shift minutely to ease the strain in my limbs and I can feel the warmth of the metal against my wrists and ankles.
And in the depths of darkness, heat and my own sure knowledge of my destiny, my minds eye conjures a picture, a memory, for me.
Stars in the sky against the gentle sprinkling of moondust across the horizon.
The crash of waves on the beaches far below.
The gentle, misting breeze, soft on my cheek, trailing icy, but not unpleasant, fingers through my hair as I gaze up, watching him as he stands on the cliff below, gazing into the sea.
I've loved him from the moment I first saw him. He, however, has no idea.
If I could replay this one image over and over in my mind, it might give me solace enough to face what I know is coming.
Movement in the dark and the toe of a boot nudges me hard in the ribs.
"I know you're awake, red-head," a soft, almost musically low voice purrs above me. "Slave."
I cling to the starlit image in my mind even as a thick, heated miasma threatens to overwhelm it.