Broken - Part 2
A rush of sound. That was the first thing that Melody noticed. It was as if someone had taken every shrill note ever made, and amplified it tenfold. The noise didn’t just surround her, it rocked Melody to her core. Melody’s head pounded, and her vision swam. It was impossible to focus on anything but the din all around her. Melody noticed her breathing had become a series of ragged, gasping sobs. The world tumbled and spun all around her. It was all Melody could do to keep from screaming.
Melody could feel the madness brought on by the relentless noise pulling at her. It was as if someone had tied a lead weight to her feet, and thrown her into the ocean. Melody knew her mind would be lost if she didn’t regain control of herself. She visualized the chaos as a mighty storm swirling all around her. Melody stood at the center of the vortex-a lonely island of sanity in a world gone mad. Once she was centered, she began the monumental task of regaining her faculties.
Melody’s first step was her breathing. She forced herself to slow down and take deep, cleansing breaths. In and out. In and out. Melody’s lungs burned fiercely with the effort, and her eyes began to water. Darkness nibbled around the edges of Melody’s impaired vision, and she struggled to keep from blacking out. Gradually, however, breathing became easier. Melody’s chest ached less and less with each breath, and the darkness that had threatened to overwhelm her retreated. The storm around her slowed.
The only thing Melody could hear since opening her eyes was the cacophony around her. It was as if trumpets were constantly blaring in her ears. Her head felt like it was splitting open like a ripe melon, and the entire world tumbled end over end. Melody pictured the sound as the mighty winds of the hurricane roaring all around her. She visualized the winds slowing and quieting. Melody noticed the din quieting as she did so. The winds of the storm died down, and the noise around her gradually subsided. The world ceased its tumbling, and the pain relaxed its vise-like grip around Melody’s head.
The storm around Melody had almost abated, but darkness still clouded her vision. Melody imagined the blue sky that was hidden by the clouds. She focused on the sun that was obscured by them. Melody visualized thin strands of blue interwoven with the rapidly clearing clouds. Her mind’s eye saw the sun shining through the breaks in the clouds. Gradually, the clouds cleared completely. Melody could see the blue sky and feel the sun shine on her face. She had stepped back from the abyss, and regained control of herself. Melody opened her eyes.
Darkness was the first thing Melody noticed. Not the darkness that had threatened her sanity moments before, but darkness nonetheless. There were pinpricks of light shining through her vision. She could hear sounds as well, though they seemed distant. She heard her own breathing, steady and constant. Melody heard voices as well; two women-one older, one younger. She also heard a constant, high pitched cry, almost like...a baby.
A sudden realization hit Melody with all the force of a sledgehammer. She was still in the paper sack; she was still in the room. The old woman must have set her down somewhere. The screaming she was hearing was the baby. They were all still alive. How could that be? Melody vividly remembered killing the two women. She could still hear their cries of terror as she butchered them. She still felt the splash of their warm blood on her fur. Melody recalled with horror the hatred she had felt for the little baby. Melody had stabbed her through the heart. How was it possible they were all still alive?
With a start Melody noticed something that she hadn’t before. The sickness that had overcome her earlier had disappeared. Melody knew then exactly what had happened-she had touched the beast’s mind. She had felt its hatred and bloodlust-had nearly been overwhelmed by it. The slaughter of the family had been a vision of the beast’s desires projected into Melody’s mind, and her subconscious had put her in place of the beast. That she had been so profoundly affected spoke to the sheer power of this particular beast. Melody knew that the baby could sense the beast’s presence, and she suspected that the parents were being affected by its aura as well-although they would have no idea what was going on. She shuddered when she thought of the psychic pain that poor little person had to endure.
Blinding light suddenly flooded Melody’s vision as the old woman opened the bag. Melody was still recovering from the havoc the beast had wrought on her psyche, and she found herself screwing her eyes shut as tightly as possible to keep the pain at bay. She felt the sensation of being picked up and carried. Melody attempted to open her eyes again, but winced as the light set her head to pounding once more.
Melody didn’t remember being set down anywhere, but the next sensation she had was that of lying down on a cushion. Strangely enough the pounding headache she had developed had all but disappeared. Melody had also noticed that the ever-present crying had stopped. Melody opened her eyes, and found herself face to face with the source of the unholy racket.
The baby was small-smaller than Melody, in fact-yet for Melody she was the biggest thing in the room. The little one had a presence, an energy that seemed to fill every corner of the room. Melody found herself completely unable to look away from the little pink bundle. The most striking feature, however, were the baby’s eyes. Bluer than the deepest blue, brighter than the brightest day, Melody was completely transfixed. The baby, for her part, stared unblinking into Melody’s eyes. Melody felt as if the little one was peering straight into her very soul. She saw none of the pain or anguish that had caused the little one to screech so loudly, only a deep, unabashed curiosity. Love as well was there, Melody noticed. A deep, unabiding love; unafraid and unashamed, it was unconditional. Melody felt like she was drowning. The crazy part was she never wanted it to end.
Melody felt something gently, but firmly grasp her paw. She tore herself away from the baby’s gaze and saw that the little one had taken hold of her. There was a sudden jolt of electricity at the contact, almost as if a spark had passed between the bear and the child. Melody noticed a wave of warmth that started at her paw, and moved rapidly upward. The warmth exploded in her chest. Melody was shocked at the sudden intensity of the sensation.
Melody looked back into Lily’s eyes. Lily. That was the child’s name. Melody didn’t know how she knew, only that she did. In that moment Melody felt a bond forming between the two of them. As Melody gazed into Lily’s eyes she knew that she loved this child absolutely. Melody would always be there for Lily. She would always pick Lily up when she was down. She would always comfort her when she was scared or heartbroken. More importantly, Melody would always protect Lily. Never again would Lily know the terror that she had lived with since birth. Never again would she need to fear for her body or soul. Not while Melody was around. The instant that bond was formed Melody knew that she would fight for Lily. She would always fight for Lily. She would kill for Lily. As Lily smiled sleepily at Melody and closed her eyes, Melody knew one thing with absolute and complete certainty.
She would die for Lily.