"Ah, Mr. Heinland. Good to see you awake."


"Mn, yes, I would think that those razors that the doctor implanted in your face are making you have a difficult time speaking. Waking up must have been quite a shock for you, Mr. Heinland- oh dear, please don't thrash around like that; the needles located in your temples might break...theeeere there, that's better, Mr. Heinland. See? Doesn't that feel better?"


"Yes indeed, Mr. Heinland, much better. Now that you're awake, I feel that I should introduce myself. I am your nurse; right now you're in Novakowski Hospital. The good doctor should be with you shortly; in the meantime I'm just going to put you back into a state of unconsciousness until he arives. We'll see you in a minute, Mr. Heinland...alright, I'm just going to put you on back to sleep now-"


UUUUUNNNNNNNEVER HAPPENED DUMB BITCHIIIITCHITCHIN inside Charlotte pulled her eyes apart as the the

-as the sunburn that tainted the youth's eyes was uncovered.
Laid bare for the world to see.

But since the world wasn't there back in the tiny, humid space with her, the ceiling was the only witness to such an event.

The few shards of dream left in her head, noticing that she was awake, felt that they were no longer needed; they quietly slipped off her mind and fell away into space. She drowsily imagined them digging into her brain and ripping out huge chunks of it on their way down.

Then she noticed that she was on her back, that she was spread out on the aged linoleum floor in the manner of a fairly disoriented Christ.
The ceiling mentioned previously had already noticed such a thing, but Charlotte had not up until now.

"…peculiar," said a voice that belonged to her.

Sitting up slowly – pop pop pop! said the spine – the girl slid a finger or three through the thin, rusty-dusty strands of hair that had twisted their way free of the original loose ponytail and touched her temple, half expecting the tips to slip inside a hole of some sort-

"There's no hole," she spoke aloud to no one in particular, her tone of voice making her sound like she was chiding a small boy, "Why would there be a hole?"
Attempting to utilize a pile of old cardboard boxes for support, then abandoning that idea and pushing her hands against the floor, she shakily rose to her feet, half of her mind wondering how she got on the ground in the first place while the other half scolded her for thinking such stupid things like, 'why isn't there a hole in my head, it should be there, oh oh oh.'
Stupid stupid stupid.

Pop pop pop.

Charlotte looked around
A table the color of the floor. A switchblade and a stapler were laying neatly side-by-side on the left of it; maybe they were buddies! The now sagging boxes from before; she didn't know what was in them and she didn't particularly care. A white fractured clock on a white fractured wall; the second hand was sluggishly making its way around the face. 12:46 and ten seconds. Eleven seconds. Twelve. Either a little past lunchtime or far too late for her to be out; Charlotte couldn't tell.

Think now, dear.

"I'm in a…storage room," she was talking to herself again, "Okay."
"Shut up," the boy she had been rebating before said. Charlotte hurriedly turned her head towards the sound and was greeted with nobody.

Silence then.

Our Charlotte glanced at the clock on the wall again - 12:47 - and decided it was time to go. The timepiece watched her open the door and leave before promptly falling off the wall and breaking neatly in half once it met the floor.

"-thaaatz better miztrr heinluuuuuuund-"

The door clicked shut behind her and Charlotte found herself on one of the upper floors of a very quiet mall.
She looked up at the ceiling, thinking part of it might be glass; she was right. The sky outside was a darker shade of black than the thin skirt covering the thighs of her jeans. Almost one in the morning would have to do. Oh she was in trouble now.
Charlotte turned her head towards the earth once more – "Why's it so quiet in here?" – and was welcome by the same person she met back in the storage room. Nobody.
Look to the left.
Why, it's nobody.
Look to the right.
Oh and look, there's nobody again! A quick one you are, nobody, to be able to run from here to there so swiftly. Have you ever considered trying out for track?

A sigh.

This is a dream, of course, Charlotte. You're having a dream. You're asleep in your room at home, all twisted up in the sheet like a caterpillar in its cocoon. Knowing you, you've probably fallen asleep in your clothes. You're also probably drooling all over the sweater you're wearing; that's disgusting, Shar. A shower first thing in the morning and a change of sheets sound wonderful at this point. Good God, I hope you at least took your sneakers off before you turned in; I think you stepped in dog shit yesterday-

Shut up. God. First things first, please.


CHARLOTTE steps into the hallway of the mall and looks around.

BRAIN (long, slightly frustrated sigh) : Uhg. The ceiling is made of glass, genius. Can we try looking up?

Charlotte looks up at the transparent ceiling and sees that the sky is dark.


BRAIN: Good girl.

CHARLOTTE: Where're all the stars?

BRAIN: What?

CHARLOTTE: There aren't any stars in the sky.

BRAIN: You live near a city. You're not going to see any stars.

CHARLOTTE: There's no moon either.

BRAIN: Then there's a new moon today.

CHARLOTTE: It was almost full yesterday.

BRAIN: Who're you talking to?