Chapter 13: Under My Umbrella

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Kim wandered miserably around KKHollywood all night. She got on and off the Metro so many times that eventually she wasn't sure where she even was anymore, and honestly she didn't care. Everywhere she went, the cityscape looked like she felt: wasted and broken and ruined.

She was walking aimlessly down some street while a storm beat down all around her when she noticed a shop up ahead with lights on and movement inside. Since when were there even storms in this world? She was soaked through to her skin but she hardly noticed. If anything being wet and freezing and miserable was a blessing, in that it gave her something else to feel besides hurt. Without even realizing what she was doing, she wandered over and looked through the window. She saw a familiar figure moving around inside. It all felt a little symbolic but she pushed her way through the door anyway.

Kim stood inside the shop, shaking with chills and dripping all over the floor.

The shop manager heard the jingling bells of the door and stopped when he saw her. He pushed his pageboy cap back and stared at her, for what seemed like an eternity.

"I don't know where else to go," Kim began, her teeth chattering. "I didn't even realize where I was. I'm-everything is broken and I'm so lost."

"I need you to lock up," Luther said.

"Willow doesn't remember me," Kim continued. "I missed her so, so much, and she doesn't even remember me. I just... I'm sorry but I really want to go home. I really need you to please send me back home."

"I need you to lock up," Luther said, "and then refold those shirts over there."

"Luther. Please," Kim said. She thought she had cried herself out hours ago, but now she broke down again. "I'm sorry if you're mad at me for leaving, like everyone else apparently is. But I can't be here any more. I'll show you which emoji to use. It's simple, I just need someone else to do it for me. I can't end my own game."

"I need you to lock up," Luther said.

Kim opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out. She collapsed to the floor. She had nothing left.

"Why don't you remember me? I can't do this all over again! I can't take this anymore! Please someone just send me home! Please!"

Luther came over and crouched down by Kim.

"Kim," Luther said, his voice calm and even. "Get up on your feet and refold some shirts, right now."

Kim lost it. "FINE!" she screamed in Luther's face as she climbed to her feet and began stomping around the store. "I'M LOCKING UP! I CAN'T WAIT TO CRAWL AROUND ON THE STUPID FLOOR COLLECTING A STUPID DOLLAR. HERE WE GO, I'M REFOLDING A STUPID SHIRT, WHICH IS GROSS AND WRINKLY AND SMELLS BAD, BY THE WAY, VERY TYPICAL WITH HOW CRAPPY EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD IS. WHAT ELSE? WANT ME TO STRAIGHTEN THE STUPID SHIRT ON THE STUPID MANNEQUIN? I'M STRAIGHTENING THE STUPID SHIRT ON THE STUPID MANNEQUIN. WOW WHAT A GREAT GAME THIS. IT'S SO FUN IT'S ALMOST MAKING ME FORGET THAT THE WOMAN I LOVE TORE MY HEART OUT OF MY CHEST AND STOMPED ALL OVER IT IN HER TOM FORDS. WHAT'S NEXT? I'M-"

Kim whipped around the room, not recalling what she was supposed to do next.

"Lock the regist-" Luther prompted.

"I'M LOCKING THE STUPID REGISTER," Kim yelled. "NOT SURE WHY IT MATTERS, WHO WOULD BOTHER ROBBING A STORE WHEN YOU GET MONEY FROM TOUCHING DOGS, BUT WHAT-FREAKING-EVER!" Kim stomped over to the register and turned the lock. The register bounced and a lightning bolt shot out into her arm, flooding her body with energy, warm and sweet and delicious. Kim's knees buckled and she sank down to the floor.

"Whoaaa, damn," Kim said, deliriously. "Mama like."

She sat there on the floor for a minute letting the energy wash over her. When she drowsily opened her eyes Luther was crouched over her, smiling.

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