“Hava? Can you hear me?” A bell-like voice asks.
“Hava? Can you hear me?” an echo returns.
Hava tries to open her eyes. A strangled groan comes from two different directions at once and Hava is shocked to realise that the noise is coming from deep in her own throat. She tastes something strange and salty, like week old sushi, and breathes deeply as nausea rises in response.
“help me with her!” The bell whispers.
Hava heaves and rolls sideways as gentle hands steady her, holding her across her upper body as she retches and relieves her stomach of its contents. More hands apply a warm wet cloth to her face, wiping away traces of brackish odour.
The world comes into focus.
She sees that she’s inside a vast hall or pavillion – every surface of glassy black stone, and that its night.
Taking an inventory of herself, feeling for injury, Hava moves to dislodge the heaviness from her arms and legs. Smooth fabric against her skin tells her she isn’t wearing much clothing, but that she’s covered in a way that preserves her dignity.
“Where am I?” The words burn a trail from her belly to her lips. Hava gasps at the pain, sending another rip through her body.
“Calm. Heal.” another voice washes over Hava, sending a wave of warmth through her. The burning fades.
Breathing carefully through her nose now, she turns her head in the direction of movement and sound. The room tilts slightly and rights itself as Hava battles her disorientation and wins.
“Hava, you’re home again” comes from the bell voice, drawing Hava’s attention to rest on a face so perfect she wonders for a moment if she has died and is now in the presence of god.