Chapter XL: Demure

An excerpt from
Diary of the Demure
Entry 15: 53
Date 78 of 7499 SC


This morning, I woke up in the halls. I was standing upright, halfway between the Plaza and the former Worship Hall. I have no memory of how I got there, and I do not remember going to bed last night.

And yet, I remember dreaming. Perhaps because I've had the dream before. It's always the same. And though I have no body in it, I feel awake.

In this dream, I am in the Worship Hall. Not on the floor, no. I am floating. Always floating. It's like waking up, and even more bizarre than waking up in the halls, at a full stand-still. My sight, in my dream, is multi-faceted, as if I have dreamed this so many times that I am doing more than seeing.

Below me, there is a chair. My body is sitting in the chair. It has arm rests, where my arms do more than rest. They die. Wrists shackled. Always. I can see my face turning pale. This is not my body, this is my corpse.

Beside my corpse, there is a pod. It has glowing lights, and a diagnostic panel showing life signs. The glass is dark.

I squint, every time, though I have no eyes to squint with. I float down, close enough.

Two life signs on the panel. One stable. The other - recently dead, systems failing. And I can tell that it's the person chained to the chair that is dead.

But when I look through the dark glass of the pod, I see my own face again. Not pale, but dark. Not dead, but alive. Obsidian.

Nostrils flare. Nostrils recede. My body, she frowns.

Her hair is in disarray, yet I recognize that style. Ponytail coming loose with two thin strands hanging in my face, down my cheeks. That was how I wore it the day before my amnesia set in. And I find that detail frightening, for my mind to have conjured up and then observed.

Nostrils flare. Nostrils recede. Eyes open!

"Dung!" I see my black lips curse.

Anxious keeps a civil tongue. Always. And so do I.

And as I realize that it is neither her nor me, I am sucked through the glass. I wake up then. In the pod and in my bed. Always. I always wake up.

Even the first time, there was an overwhelming sense of déja vu.

That's an ancient pair of words originating from another language.

Another language.

Do the Interlopers speak another language or dialect?

What about the Cold Gods?

Well, anyways, it means 'already seen'. But I'm more worried about what I haven't seen even once. Eight days, and then periods of hours at a time.

I don't want to tell anyone. Not even Mother.

I fear the stigma of a medflask, and of a mental illness.

Early this morning, late last night, and yesterday mid-morning. All blank. And whenever I come back to my senses, I am exhausted. It is as if I have been doing a strenuous workout. I don't feel sweaty, but I feel tired, hungry and happy. It's that high you get from exercise. From running in the morning. From winning a game of kick-ball or bounce-ball against the other Children.

I think if I go for a run, I might remember something.

The End

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