Written by Kate Diller.
Graphic by Quynhmai Tran.
I can’t think. I’m not sure I can feel any part of my body. Nothing is solid around me. I can’t feel the world. Where did it go? And then suddenly, there it all is. The air surrounds me again; I can feel the gases slide past my skin like water as you slip into a bath. I look over to the stranger, her face bright, with a grin spread across it.
“Neat, isn’t it? There and then nowhere and then there again? It never gets old.” The ocean eyes flash with mischief. She’s magnificent, soft and radiant, and yet I can tell she’s dangerous. It’s perplexing, almost imperceptible.
“Who are you? Where am I? What’s happening?” The words spill from my lips before I can get my brain together. She laughs.
“I’m a friend, lucky for you. You’re somewhere. We’re just hanging out.” A slim finger checks off each answer from an invisible list in the air.
“Yes. Is that not the truth?”
“Not the whole truth.”
“Ah yes, well, I can’t give you that.”
“My boss said no.”
“Who’s your boss?”
She raises one thick eyebrow, her silence as enthralling as her words. I throw my hands in the air, taking a step around her. She reaches a hand out, the fingers meet my wrist. The world stops, the air is gone again. My eyes are open this time; I can see the black surrounding us. I can’t see her, but I can feel those cold digits against my skin.
“Your mother gave her orders; I must obey them.” The words echo in my mind, bouncing around, almost exploring.
“I don’t have a mother.” I breathe.
“Now who’s skirting the truth?”