It all started with the dark. It was warm and suppressive, wrapping a mother in it's cloudy haze, but, she bravely fought off the wisps of panic that seemed to bore their way into her brain. She wrapped the ragged scarf three times around her neck, then over her head, and tucked it under her chin. Then, grasping her silent newborn to her side, she ran off down the winding passageway before her.

Soon, though, her breathing slacked and her eyelids drooped, and she thought to herself that she might rest a while here as she slid from her feet. Oh, by the Goddess, the baby, she remembered and leant roughly over the icy form. Cold clammy hands ran over stiff dead skin and almost immediately, she began breathing into the child's mouth. In and out, in and out she breathed for her child. Hot tears fell onto cold skin unchecked and slowly, ever so slowly the good clean air inside the cavern was replaced by the thick, unbreathable stuff from inside the woman's lungs. Instead of lulling her into a mute and deep sleep, the lack of air woke some sort of maternal desperateness inside of her, and as she clawed herself up from off the floor, clinging to the lifeless bundle that seemed to be ever so heavy in her arms, voices flew at her from all around.

"Enough," they said. "Enough. Your child is dead, a stillborn, and you are dead already."

NO, she thought, shaking the rough sounds from her pulsating ears, and she ran. She ran for eternities at a time, through deep evil memories, and sparkling fantasies of childhood. Through worlds she had just come to know, and worlds she had never seen. She ran and ran, further than she had ever imagined she could go. A gasping, hopeless run that clawed at her from the insides and beckoned her from the outsides.

Oh, Goddess... Goddess, please help me through this... please... please.... WHAM!!

She fell heavily to the floor, baby clutched to her breast, blood streaming from her nose, and as she opened one cautious cloudy eye, a stream of white light blinded her and she shut it again. In a wave of ecstatic relief, both of them shot open and she began to claw viciously at the tiny hole that let in a stream of brilliance, and as the soft ground yielded to her in large clumps of rich soil, she felt the little flicker of hope inside her heart burst into a fireball of triumph and burning pleasure.

Quickly, the tiny ray became larger and larger, as she gulped down loads of clean, fresh air. The hole was now large enough for her to see out upon the green fields of somewhere and the bright warm sun, high up in the sky. Now it was big enough for her to bring her shoulders through with the baby, and now her hips, and now she was sprawled face up in the tall green grass, staring dazed, up at the big blue sky.

She unwrapped the scarf wearily from her head, and tears pooling up in her eyes, turned to see her baby for the first time.

The child's eyes were whirling with happy ecstacy and her mouth caught in a childish giggle that sent the mother's head reeling. The mother felt her own forehead,checking to see if she was feverish. She shut her eyes and opened them again. The baby was still alive, as the sun kissed her cheeks breathing life into her.

Snatching up the baby, she brought her to her heart and covered it's head with soft kisses. She rocked back and forth on her knees, glaring hatefully at the hole where they had just emerged. Nothing else seemed to exist anymore. Only the gentle cooing of her baby, the violent beating of her own heart, and the awful darkness that had lost it's grip on them.

A gentle voice in her mind asked it's own question. Is this enough?

"Enough?" she cried."Enough?... enough..." She stayed there, gently rocking back and forth until darkness fell and she was found by the owner of the field she was in.