“Child,” her voice follows me, “Do as you’re told.”

“Yes, mama.” I reply. I put down my book and go outside. I stare at the sky, blank in its blue expanse–no birds, no clouds, no sun, no stars. There’s only atmosphere for as far as the eye can see. There’s nothing between the ground and the blackness of space.

I feel my heart tick against my sternum, a staccato, as my breath quickens. Everything feels far away and too close. My feet tilt over my head and back down again, though I haven’t moved.

I close my eyes and place my hand against the sturdy brick of our home. I try to keep my feet steady, but everything is spinning around me. A piercing tone fills my ears until all other noises are drowned out. Vaguely, I sense a tear drop off the bottom of my chin.

When I open my eyes, I’m lying on the floor inside our door. Mama’s face is peering above mine and her mouth is forming words.

It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.

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