Isaiah?” My mom's voice wakes me up. I didn't even take the time to put music on before passing out. “Isaiah, baby, where are you? Are you alright?” Her voice becomes more shrill, and it's clear she's seen my cane.

Her footsteps echo as they increase, and the floor creaks as she steps into my room.

Baby, are you okay? Your cane was on the floor in the middle of the living room, so I was worried...”

I'm fine.” My words are muffled by my pillow, so I flip over and repeat myself.

Oh thank the Lord.” She sighs, and my mattress dips as she sits next to me. The back of her palm is on my forehead, my cheek. “You're a little warm, honey.”

I'm fine, Mom. Just tired.”

It's only just past six, Isaiah.”

Kind of hard to tell what time it is, Ma. Plus the whole constant darkness thing makes time not really matter.” The encounter with Jessamine has a storm cloud over my head, and I feel bad for taking it out on Mom. But there isn't anyone else.

Her breath hitches, and I regret my words. “I-I understand, baby. Is there anything you want for dinner? You might be tired but you still need to eat. You're getting far too thin as it is.”

Not really, Mom. Just make whatever sounds good to you. I promise I'll eat. I'm just going to go to bed early tonight, okay?” I say.

Okay, baby.” She smooths away my hair and kisses my forehead. “I'll come and get you when it's ready. I love you.”

Love you too, Ma.”

Her footsteps fade back down the hall, and I throw my legs over the side of my mattress. My fingers trace my nightstand over to my turntable and records. I flip through the covers, one two three four five, until I get to the one I want.

The vinyl is cool and smooth in my hands as I slip it out of its cover. I used to brag that I could find and play any record from my collection with my eyes closed faster than another person could with their eyes wide open. Those words came back to bite me. But at least I was still able to indulge in one thing without having to ask for help or taking years to complete a simple task. I don't realize how tense my shoulders are until I turn the player on and music pours out from the speakers around my room. At the sound of the first guitar riff, my shoulders fall, and I automatically roll my neck.

I'm trying as hard as I can not to think about the events of the afternoon, but I'm failing. I can still see her face in my mind's eye. I can picture her facial expressions through every moment, from the crash to the escape, and it kills me. 

The End

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