A cold darkness...

A cold darkness was about her and within her, and at the end of that darkness the high vision of instruction and fair companionship was fading also in the night. Despairingly she called to it; despairingly with all her soul she answered: "I will go on, I will, but tell me how." The phantom did not linger gently to mock or comfort her; it was gone, and around her was an absolute desolation which she supposed must be death. All the pain of heart-ache she had ever known, all negligences, desertions, and betrayals, were gathered here, and were shutting themselves up with her alone. Beyond any memory of a hurt and lonely youth, beyond any imagination of an unwanted and miserable age, this pain fed on itself and abolished time. She lay stupefied in anguish.

From somewhere a voice spoke to her, an outer voice, increasing in clearness; she heard it through the night. "Child," Lord Arglay was saying with a restrained anxiety, and then, still carefully, "Chloe! Chloe, child!" She made a small effort towards him, and suddenly the pain passed from her and the outer world began to appear. But in the less than second in which that change took place she saw, away beyond her, glowing  between the darkness and the returning day...

Charles Williams
Many Dimensions (1931)
(Ch.9 - The Action of Lord Arglay)

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