Abia gently traces the door’s outline with her fingertip. She’s tall enough to reach its entire perimeter: stretching on her toes to cover the top, squatting low to the ground for the bottom. As she does so, her eyes adjust to the darkness, and find it incomplete. A soft yellow light leaks through tiny cracks in the frame where the ancient door was hewn.
The light reveals her companions’ respective joy, cut off from one another, cut off from reality. Though it pains her to interrupt their happiness, reconnecting with the things they love, she knows it must be done. This cave life cannot be sustained, she feels. At the thought, the creaky voice rattles in her head, chuckling. Abia hurries to wake Shyan.
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