When she heard it for the first time, it burnt.
Soft silence. Light, delicate and warm, like the whisper of a familiar voice drifting in on long-awaited sunbeams. It was so quiet that tears rush to her eyes. She quickly wiped them away and shook her head. She was not that naïve. She had missed the sound of nothing but it could not yet be trusted. Squinting, she heaved her burnt body up off from floor, yelping as her fingers touched the stone. Everything seemed so cold now.
Most of her scars had healed except for one, a single pink line running from her lower lip down to her left nipple. It pulsated with the pain of a thousand punches, relentlessly emitting a thin river of blood, the only moisture her skin had felt in days.
The moment was short-lived. The sudden sound of a gun being shot sliced through the flow of silence and she ran towards the window.
Has she imagined it?
Was this it? Would her new existence be nothing more than one single moment replaying itself in her mind, over and over again?
She could consider such things later, now there was no time. She began to drag herself towards the glowing exit, trying to navigate the rubble along the way. All she could see beyond the doorway was sun, blinding the shape of anything else that lay outside. This walk towards the light seemed to take forever – is this what it felt like to die?
As fresh air and warmth hit her freckles for the first time in years, she heard it again, and the thud of a new heartbeat in her chest confirmed it. It was not the sun. They had finally come for her.