Sunshine is away while Olivia gets her hair done, and when she returns she is shocked.
“Livvy!” she says. “What have you done to your hair?” Olivia laughs. The two of them are always laughing. They are far more cheerful than me, because they do not think about the future while the present is still going well.
“Mai wouldn’t let me Change to a spider permanently, so I took the next best option,” Olivia explains. Sunny shudders.
“A spider? Permanently? Livvy, are you serious?” And then she laughs. “That looks great, Liv. It really suits you.” Olivia smiles. She has always been a one for shocking Sunny - it’s just so easy!
Like that time, when I was fifteen. I can remember that now - it is so clear in my mind, my memory always cursedly brilliant for bad memories.
I am having a bad day. Well, it is a bad month, really. A bad year, even. I am so depressed that I wanted to die - and that is not an over-exaggeration. I try to kill myself. Drowning. Cutting.
A month or two later, of course, I am over it, and my scars are to me a joke. I show them proudly to Sunny, watching with glee as her expressive face shows disgust, then horror, then sympathy.
“Mai!” she says, shocked. “Mai, what’s wrong? Why didn’t you tell us you felt like that?”
Her concern moves me, but it was just so simple to horrify her that we carry on doing so all the same. From tattoos to hair and back again - her sheltered upbringing has left her as innocent as a child.
We regret it, of course. Now that Sunny’s innocence is spoiled, we wish that we had given her a few more years. But it is too late now. Too late for everything.
The present returns with a shock. I almost see my mind return to my body like a pale green ghost, and as my eyes open I realise that something is different.
The room looks the same. The colours that have ever swirled behind my eyelids are faded, perhaps driven from the scene with the red-hot of the pain. The only thing that is different is that I am now conscious of the people.
Of course! This is a Port, after all. They could not have kept it empty all of this time, and the customers must have returned after a while. What has opened my eyes to this?
I see the plate of food beside me and that answers my questions. I must have eaten it. No one is here - my guards have gone. They must have gone back Home, with Jed, and Moon. After all, they cannot hang around for ever.
The room is locked, and there are no signs of any feeding apparatus.