Remember

In a hall of jade (and then it is subway tile and then it is sandstone and then it is glass) there are rooms (and then there are none and then there is one and then there are multitudes) and in at least one of those rooms there lies a woman, young (and then old and then young and then younger and then ancient and then ageless) and motionless.

For the moment, she has kaleidoscope hair and navy eyes.

For the moment, she is alone (and then she is not, and when she is not, there is one man (and then there are two) with her) on the faded, stained, beaten sofa where she lies sprawled.

There comes a knock (and then it is three knocks and then it is a light rapping and then it is a policepound and then it is a bell) at the door.

When she wakes, everything about her jerks to life with a start, including her hair, each braid Medusa-ing to life, her spiderlimbs stretching, folding, seeking boundary and purchase. She pushes herself up and flicks her hair from her eyes, looking around at the place that is unfamiliar, except for the couch, (and then it is familiar, the look on her face says so, that dawning recognition that is both relief and resignation) and then she is up on her feet, cat-like-quick and nimble until she trips over the corner of the couch and falls behind it with a squawk.

The knock comes again.

She gets herself up and runs to the door, pure delight softening her sharp features and undoes the locks.

As the last bolt slides out of its catch, the door is pushed open, and he comes in.

Navy eyes widen (and then one of them is full of blood and then in one of them the pupil is a but a pinprick while the other is blown wide and then they are glassy and unseeing) as she takes in the visitor.

“You’re not–” she begins, and then shuts her mouth, because it is not her own voice. She tries again, “What did you–”

He comes in, and he looks at her with tenderness (and then it is disdain and then it is love and then it is pity) as he advances, to make her retreat. She backs away, her eyes wide and wild (and then they are narrowed and then they are shrewd and then they are panicked and then they are shut) as she lifts her hands up, her heart in her throat, and she is pushed backwards down the hall, big boots (and then bare feet) navigating the floor until she can feel the bed and its rumpled sheets against the back of her knees.

She stops, baring her teeth, and grits out the words, “Where am–” but the word is choked off.

She recoils as he reaches out a hand, but she can only lean back so far.

His hand slides over her jaw, and cups her cheek, and his fingers are feverhot (and then ice cold and then they are bone and then they are dust) against her skin as he says softly, “Remember.”

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