The following is the first-draft prologue of my novel, ‘A Cat’s World.’ Still lots of changes to be made, but since I sent it out to my writing group, I figure I would put it up here too.
Tanya felt as if she was waking up from a long strange dream. She was sure there was pain, but now there was only a deep coldness. Some rational part of her mind decided that she was dead. She floated in this new world, this heaven in her mind. She allowed herself to be drawn into this world. A freedom from the pain. An escape from the nothingness. Within her imagination, this world began to take shape. She lay on grassy hills overlooking the ocean. The sun warmed her from above while a soft breeze tickled her cheek.
A barrage of sound ripped her away from her heaven. The soft whistle of someone breathing, the gentle thud of a heartbeat, small shifts in movement, a buzzing from the lights, some people talking a little distance away. All sounds much more amplified than they should be. They hurt her head and she tried to squirm but her body wouldn’t obey her. Her eyes fluttered open but it was too bright and she tried to close them. Something was happening to her, but she didn’t know what. She heard a voice, but it was too loud to be comprehensible.
The world danced before her eyes drunkenly. She felt her stomach knot up and tried to close her eyes again. Panic started to well up within her, deep and feral. “Calm down.” The voice, despite being a whisper, boomed in her ears. She recognized that voice. Her vision began to stabilize and she saw the doctor hovering above her. Her panic sharpened to a knife’s edge. She tried to move but was still trapped within the confines of her own body.
She focused and pulled her powers, drawing heat out of the air and throwing fire at the doctor’s face. He fell back out of her field of vision with a small scream. She continued to throw fire, using wind to push it out where the doctor might be. She felt a hand on her leg and redirected the fire, receiving a curse from the doctor, but her satisfaction faded away quickly as she felt consciousness being ripped away from her.
This time there was no paradise waiting for her. The world she now occupied was black and morose. Horrors visited her. Horrid thoughts of beasts and vile promises. She tried to run away, but they surrounded her. From the darkest shadows of the demons that danced around her, a new figure formed. A panther walked toward her, its fur pulled at what little light surrounding her. It sat before her, eyes shining, questioning. She looked back, not afraid of the wildcat itself, but she was terrified of what it represented. It didn’t move. It just sat there, staring at her. She stared back and eventually the demons left, leaving only the two of them to sit alone within the terror of the nightmare.
She felt herself awaken once again. Sounds surrounded her, but they didn’t bother her this time. Aside from the cold metal table she laid on, she felt comfortable. She felt a hand press against her forehead and another against her cheek. Soft words were whispered in her ear.
“Awaken, young kitten. Look at me. Do you remember me?”
She knew the voice and her eyes snapped open. Memories began to flood her mind of the night before and the horrors of the doctor. She began to pull on her magic once again to use against… someone. Confusion began to replace the panic and anger. She needed to attack someone, but who. Why? She looked at the man before her. He looked gentle and he caressed her forehead lovingly. He seemed nice. She wondered who he was.
“Think of your family. Your father.” She thought of her father. He was kind as well. He was too overprotective of her, but she understood. How he watched over her, taught her to defend herself, how to be a member of the family. She remembered the lessons that… someone taught her. Someone. She couldn’t bring the person’s face to her mind.
“Your Mother. Do you remember your brother? Your friends?” What was this man talking about? Of course she remembered her brother. He was… he… who was he talking about? Family? She knew she had one. Did she?
“Remember your house, your neighborhood, your favorite places to go.” Places flashed in her mind and vanished as quickly. Fear spread to pure terror as she realized what was happening. “Your childhood, your school, your birthdays, your boyfriends, your pains, your regrets…” This went on for hours. She tried not to think, but the moment he mentioned something, she felt something flash and vanish from her thoughts. She tried to attack him with her power, but even that was lost to her. She eventually didn’t have anything left to forget. She couldn’t remember anything, despite how she tried. Despite the knowledge that anything she remembered would be taken from her, the terror that gripped her mind kept her searching for some idea of who she was. Eventually, she didn’t think she had anything to forget, but she was wrong.
“Think of your name.” Jennifer. “Such a pretty name. Such a pretty body.” Her name? He just said it. She didn’t understand. Why was this happening? “Good, good. Now sleep, my daughter, you have a new destiny awaiting you.” Again, her consciousness was ripped from her as her memories had been. She floated in a new world of her creation; grassy hills, bright sun, cool breeze. She thought it felt familiar, but couldn’t remember it. She remembered feeling fear, yet could not remember why. She laid on her back in the grass and looked at the sky. A large panther walked up and lay down beside her. She petted the cat, unaware of the fear she should feel. The sky was bright and clear. Empty as her mind. She smiled. This was paradise.