GIRL ON FIRE, A NOVEL – PROLOGUE

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

When she first plunged into that dark womb, she could still hear them – singing through the stars to her. She was a sphere of throbbing light, radiating. Silver sparks flew off her and filled the cave of her new home. The imprint of her life was already graven, she could see it unfurl before her, helpless now to change anything. But still she trusted, even as the black wetness smeared her being, even as the heaving rains of Ireland crowded round that vessel carrying her. She tasted her first bite of loneliness. This mother walking through the world with her in tow; all she could do was follow. And still they sang, messengers from her true home, filling the void with beauty, with a soft light if she could just keep her attention on it. 

 

Voices rose and fell beyond the walls of her room, heavy, hard syllables she could barely understand. It seemed a strange language, devoid of the brimming heart of love she knew she was. How had she ended up here? Had she chosen this? 

 

Sometimes she felt a light tapping outside the mother’s body. 

 

“She’s there, Missus!”

“I heard her move!”

 

Yes, she was restless, rocking her tiny limbs in the gray fluid, to ease the new feelings passing through her. From where did they come? Whose were they? Foreign they felt, and she an alien sprouting arms and legs in this new country. Who was the mother to her? Or she to the mother?

 

Sometimes it felt hard to breathe – a kind of smoke billowing around the tissues of her home. She imbibed slight breaths and followed the mother’s movements, the singing floating from further off, she who had never known distance or time. 

 

Let love be my home, she thought, let all that unfolds melt into that. She consoled herself, made it her mission to always hold close the truth that was her familiar. To let this life wash through her like a pure river, and breathe, simply breathe. 

 

Never forget who you are, they sang to her from afar.

 

And as she inched painfully through that barrier of flesh into another kind of darkness, she made her covenant.

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