Log:Hiding in Plain Sight
She didn't bother to dress when she woke, in spite of the recent measure of a civilized manner she'd managed to recover; she could almost pass for human, now, in short doses. It was something.
A hand strayed to the nightstand, reaching for her ashtray and cigarettes, only to half-recall they had found a new home in the midst of conversation the night before. Her nostrils flared with a dull snort, and a soft and humorless laugh chased the sound. Fishing blindly along the floor, she eventually recovered the torn-open pack of cloves, the ashtray, and, ultimately, the lighter. For the first time, she stared blankly at the room while she lit the first clove of the day; there was only one place she kept from looking at all but obliquely.
"You're not looking closely enough."
"Good morning, asshole," she told the voice in her head, speaking aloud around a sharp exhale of blue-tinged smoke. Kolvek, still. He wouldn't stay gone, and remained a passenger riding the tides of her stranger moods. "I don't have to listen to you any more. Even she didn't, and I'm not her. Not any more."
"That doesn't make me wrong."
"Of all the company I could have in my head?" A pinch to the bridge of her nose did nothing to clear it, or dispel the tension. "Pardon me if I'm not really inclined to take advice from a suicidal, self-righteous prick."
"Who doesn't even exist," she added pointedly as she rolled out of bed, trailing smoke toward the bathroom.
"When that starts to make any bloody difference at all, you won't be plagued by me any more, I suppose. Poor prison warden. I'm still locked up, just inside your head."
"Not my fancy. Never was."
She set the clove on the edge of the sink to snuff itself out. "Then get out of my fucking shower," came with a slam to the shower door, and a firmer than necessary yank to the lever that turned on the jets. She didn't have to adjust the temperature; she never had. The place just knew, even adapted without her interference. For long moments, she leaned against the mosaic tiles on the wall against forehead and forearms, letting the water scald her neck and plaster her hair flat along her back.
To whatever extent a hallucination could respect her wishes, it did, and there was only the sound of the water pattering against her skin until she felt her skin pruning painfully against the tile. Only then did she turn off the water, and venture out again, feeling no more clean than she had when she went in.
She had scrubbed herself dry and retaken the unlit clove before he piped up again. "You miss the obvious more often than I might have imagined you would. There is more irony to that than you realize."
"Enlighten me, then, drunken sage," she groused as she approached the nightstand where the lighter sat waiting for her.
"Just look up! Christ, woman."
She didn't, or at least she didn't exactly. Rolling her eyes instead, she caught it regardless, and stopped dead, staring. In the whorls of sky and stars, she recognized the constellation they picked out with the sudden sensation of a punch to the gut. "Oh, fuck you," she whispered, the breath knocked from her lungs as her knees buckled her back to an awkward seat on the edge of the bed.
Each protest grew louder as she started to her feet, standing on the mattress all the more unsteadily for the shaking of her legs.
"Fuck you, room," was a whisper of shaking words and ache.
"Fuck you, Kolvek," she spat out with a snarl.
"And fuck you, stars!" The slam of her fist into the wall disintegrated the clove still tucked, forgotten, between her fingers into a shower of tobacco and ash. She pulled back her hand to find her knuckles grazed and red against the thick texture of the paint in a single strike, and the wince to follow wasn't for the pain, but for the promise broken.
How long did they sleep in this place? She had no way of knowing. It could have been seconds or decades, but she'd been awake less than an hour. Not a great record.
She was too busy staring at her knuckles and collapsing back down onto the bed in a tobacco-flecked heap, already a mess, to notice the change in the wall above her. It was only the quiet creak a moment later that drew her eyes upward as the cabinet door opened just in time to spill a tube of cerulean paint into her lap with a dull thump. A jar of brushes toppled over within to let them drop, one by one, like so many pick-up-sticks beside her.
Just as slowly, she turned her head to look up, wholly lost in confusion. " ...the fuck?"