The same silence that surrounds me when I open my eyes in the dark room. My mouth and nostrils feel clogged. The air is solid. I slice through it with my scream, push against it with my hands. The liquefied air fills my lungs. I gulp it down, thirsty, and kneel on the carpet, next to my bed.
Warm arms wrap themselves around me, and a hot whisper caresses my ear. “It’s OK. You’re safe.” I let the arms pull me back under the soft blanket.