24 0 0

The first thing that hits Loya as she comes awake isn't that she's naked -- slit free and open to the world -- it's that the room is really fucking cold.

The sheets rustle under her as she sits up and the blood crowds to her head, bringing with it the glacier of a dull, thick ache.Her breath forms a cloud in front of her mouth then dissipates.

The pain stabs her skull far too fast, with the familiar throb in the upper-right quadrant of her brain from whatever lingering elements of whatever she did last night now chewing viciously.

Already up, skull screaming -- sleep wouldn't be back. Even if it's only a scant few hours again, it wouldn't be for a while. Likely not today.

Her concern for warmth more than modesty compels her to pull over a blanket, only to find it wet and crusty, from the cold or whatever substance came on to it or both. She pushes the cover away and moves to her silk robe, conveniently slung over the chair next to the bed. The stitch on the sleeve has come undone again, the threadbare hem leaving it hanging longer than the other one. She pulls on the robe then uses the bottom of it to wipe herself off, almost not leaving the task to habit.

A heavy, glass bottle rolls off the bed and plunks to the rug, saved from breaking but spilling half its contents with glug-glug-glugs. She doesn't move to pick it up.

She touches a toe to the rug, then a foot, and it goes into the fresh puddle. A lean forward to rise becomes a lurch to fall but she catches herself and finds enough balance to stand, mostly, one foot on the cold, moist rug.

Her stomach follows suit, lurching fully forward but not coming to a halt. Its contents would be on the floor if she had had anything that did not betray her to become the throbbing space in her brain or if she had eaten much of anything since Christmas.

Her legs shake but she wills them down to only shiver, from the cold. She puts out a hand to balance herself and becomes fully upright with another heave, after swallowing back down a throat-full of sweet, familiar bile.

The rug squishes when she shifts her weight, then she takes a step toward the door and across the floor that has become ice. With the bed empty, she could assume that no one else is left behind in the room.

The doorway is an exit from the icebox and into the embrace of warmth. The delineation between sections and temperatures of the house is as clear as it is abrupt, and her shoulders relax with each barefooted step.

Before she moves fully into the hallway her foot knocks another bottle, this one empty, sending it spinning to bounce off a wall and slide into a scattered pile of confetti.

While her eyes adjust from the day's blinding brightness left behind she narrowly avoids stumbling upon the assorted detritus in her path, then doesn't bother to go around more confetti, then, past the doorways on each side, stepping right onto a pair of damp, black panties.

Rubbing her eyes, a glance barely misses the prone body in the room on the left. She keeps moving and kicks over another bottle.

The only sound in the hallway is of her steps sticking weakly to the floor. The bottoms of her feet are already sticky with sweat; the floor is sticky with substances known or unknown, still wet or still drying, vaguely identifiable or best forgotten.

The hallway swims around her, walking into darkness; the bile has coated the rear of her throat and sinks back down too slowly; there would be concern if her head wasn't throbbing at this time of day; smell is blocked by (what is probably) snot; getting out of the cold has stopped her scars from itching.

She sighs. "Goddamned," she breathes.

She lifts her wrist above her head and the implant vibrates.

You've reached the end of published parts.

⏰ Last updated: Aug 29, 2019 ⏰

Add this story to your Library to get notified about new parts!

_damaged_in_ice_Where stories live. Discover now