No matter how much Charlotte tried, she couldn't stop replaying the vision in her head. Somewhere deep in the back of her mind, it was reminding her of a zoetrope - one of those toys that Victorian children played with, the one where you span the cylinder and looked through the slots and saw moving pictures. It was exactly like that. It was making her dizzy.
Her father's voice brought her back, and she faked a smile for him. It wasn't in her eyes, though, and she could tell. She knew that he'd realise. Whether he'd say anything or not, she didn't know.
"Hi Dad," she said. "How was your day?"
"Oh, fine." He said, gently setting the bread down on the counter. "Just - fine." He took his coat off and hung it up.
Charlotte was having trouble focussing, her eyes kept blurring out her surroundings, as if they simply couldn't be bothered.
"Good," she said, monotonously, and stood up and walked to the bathroom.
She locked the door and walked straight towards the sink, feeling like a zombie. She splashed her face with cold water from the tap but didn't bother to wipe it afterwards. As she sat down on the tiles, she let the water droplets fall from her lashes, down her cheeks, off her chin. Leaning up against the bathtub, she stopped attempting to focus and faded out into the background, feeling not too dissimilar from a chameleon.
I can feel the cold night breeze whipping up against my cheeks as I run across the dirty ground. There is no end. The horizon blends straight into the sky and the stars are dim, dim, dim. All the way. There isn't a moon. Of course there isn't a moon.
I hear it. I hear the bang. I don't know where from though, it was everywhere, all around me, this panorama of sound, reverberating off of my eardrums, echoing in my chest.
I felt the adrenaline kick in.
Please, no. Oh God, no.
Then I see it. I can see them, running silhouettes, over to the east. It's hard to make out against the black sky. So I run even faster, faster than I ever have before. My skin is being pulled back over my skull. My arms look like goose skin. I don't care. I don't care. I am angry. No. I am more than angry. I am fuming. I am so ready to explode. Into this giant supernova. If the noise is what I think it is, that's what I'll do. I vow to myself. I'll be a supernova.
There he is. Lying. On the floor. Alone. Where is everyone? Where could they have gone? His face is cold. I grab his wrist. No. No, no. Nothing.
I feel his heart. Faint flutters. Very vague. Stilling. No. I lean down to his ear.
"Dad." No response.
"Dad." The tears are hot down my face. Like someone's pouring a kettle right over my cheeks.
"Dad, no, please." My eyes adjust. I can see the blood on his shirt. His blue check shirt. The one I bought him all those Christmases ago, with the money I'd saved.
"My girl." He strokes my hair. My long, stupid, knotted, blonde, dirty hair.
I inhale so sharply I think I'm going to choke on my own breath.
"Stay, stay. Don't go. Please."
"No longer-" he says, then gasps, then stills completely.
She stood up and nearly fell to the ground again when she heard him.
"Yeah?" She said, but she was all choked up, and it sounded like someone had put dry leaves in the back of her throat.
"You okay?" He says. That same panic. Always there. "You've been in there a while."
"Yeah - I was just - um. Trying to find something."
"Oh - okay."
The zoetrope was back. Spinning, spinning, spinning. It would spin forever, now that it had started. A million glass shards being thrown into the mix. Bouncing off the sides. And as much as she hated it, she couldn't look away. She wanted to. But she couldn't. And it was going to kill her, eventually. It was going to kill her and didn't she know it. Because how was she meant to carry on being cut by these shards, now that the biggest one had almost ripped her apart?