I can’t. I can’t take this. I don’t want to be here. I- I like not being proper dead. But this is- This is worse.
You might be dead. Stop wondering if there’s a way to kill yourself.
Tears slipped down her cheeks, then through her cheeks, her body still unsure of where the hard edges where, making every moment one huge clipping error.
I did it once. I can-
It’s not like I’ve got pills anywhere handy.
She raised her hands to her face, feeling the disconcerting sensation of fingers slipping into her skull, but it was comforting all the same. Almost comforting. Not really comforting at all.
She looked up.
Something was different.
She blinked rapidly – the small bubble world around her was the same as it had been, except it was darker.
She looked up, and saw faint impressions on the “roof” – small patches like raindrops that immediately dried on a hot footpath.
She turned her head, the action taking a moment to catch up to her body – giving her the madness-inducing feeling that she had turned her head within her own head – and saw the “raindrops” rushing down the sides of her small world – finally giving some kind of definition to the side of the place, which had always seemed functionally boundless.
And below her floating feet, the “rain” was pooling, sucking away the light of the world, the too-bright light fading away.
What did you do?!
‘Don’t yell at me!’
She flipped upside down, her knees bent like she was hanging from the monkey bars – just as they had been when Ryan had taken her flying, and reached down towards the dark spot.
‘Yeah, yeah, she said, pre-empting herself, ‘I know, great idea Spyder, touch the evil goop!’
I’m not even going to comment.
‘I want it to be over, one way or the other.’
She forced her hand downwards, and touched the dark patch.
She lifted her hand away, then reached it down again.
The rest of the light slipped away, leaving her in darkness.
She started to cry.
For an eternity, there was nothing but darkness.
The last time, there had been darkness, and the feeling of a precipice. There’d been nothing, no reason to live, nothing to go back to.
And it hadn’t been until-
A voice that wasn’t hers. A voice that wasn’t some kind of unintelligible anger. A real voice.
Oh god, I’m hallucinating again.
There was a hand on her shoulder, and the world around her shattered.
The hand on her shoulder turned her, and she spun, feeling like she weighed nothing.
She could see an arm, but nothing more – just a fuzzy shape where Ryan, as it surely had to be Ryan, should have been.
Stef forced herself to concentrate on the fuzzy black patch in front of her, and slowly the form of a man in a suit took shape.
Everything went black.
She felt herself breathing.
Slowly, the rest of the world took shape – a rooftop and a tumbling mirror, tumbling slower than it ever had been in reality.
A figure took shape – herself, in her dusty and bloody uniform. The explosion had been bad, but she’d still made it out better than the other two Stefs she’d seen – the peek into universes that were different by the decision of a single second.
One dead Stef, crushed beneath rubble – and given her positioning, it had been a reality far too close for comfort. There’d been nothing but sheer luck separating life, and death by heavy chunks of masonry.
The third Stef, at least, had lived – and surely the Agency could fix whatever trauma had happened to her legs.
‘They can rebuild you,’ she muttered, ‘they have the technology.’
One dead. One injured. One stupid enough to get herself killed.
The Stef in front of her raised her gun.
Her body lurched forward of its own accord, movement before thought.
If she was seeing this, if there was the most remote possibility that she could save herself, then she had to take it.
Put right what once went wrong.
Stef took a flying leap at herself, went through the figure like one or both of them were no more than ghosts, and face planted on the rough roof.
‘Ow, ow, ow, ow.’
There was the sound of a shot, and she quickly sat up, resting back on her hands to watch herself die.
Please…I don’t want to die.
She saw Ryan behind the her-with-a-gun, his face a picture of fear, of anguish.
There was a crack of thunder – which she knew had to be the mirror exploding.
She blinked, and suddenly she was standing, the gun in her hand, the mirror exploding before her eyes.
‘Oh god no.’
The chunk of mirror tore into her chest, and everything went black again.
[table id=15 /]