Countdown

What if it isn’t really her?

It doesn’t matter.

What if it isn’t really him? It doesn’t matter, she tells herself. It never matters. It’s never mattered. It is him.

She can feel it.

Five…

I don’t know if you can hear me, but–

Burn everything you love

–I’m here. I’m coming. I’m coming home.

then burn the ashes.

She runs. She runs like a deer, like a blazing fire, like a river over shining stones. She runs for him. Those navy eyes light up amidst the dead gray of the world, the fuzzing dissolution of the edges fraying.

She’s pretty as a picture; she is like a golden dream…

Invisible hands reach out to touch, to catch. No warmth, but a pressure that is beyond familiar. The touch of a ghost, without the chill of the dead. I’m here. I’m right here. She is everything bright and radiant, and the world is alight with flame.

Four…

Something’s not quite right. He’s not looking at her — he’s looking at someone else, but she knows it’s him. She knows it’s him, no matter what. He’s still got his back to her; he’s looking at something, someone else. Someone else entirely. Something else entirely. Some. Thing. She can’t quite make it out, but she knows it’s wrong, and it could mean the end of everything.

I am calling, calling, from a place of longing…

The girl in front of him looks at him, blank and dead. There’s nothing inside her; she was emptied out, long ago. She doesn’t wear any accusation, but he can see the scars across her features as she regards him with burned-out eyes and a cut-out smile.

Three…

Behind you. Oh god, behind you, please. He’s looking at someone else, and she has to move harder, move faster. Turn around. Turn around and look at me. “Turn around and look at me!” she cries, finding her voice, a shriek of insistent notes, because she was always words and song.

This is how you remind me of what I really am

Even if it was fucking Nickleback.

Reaching out for him with her real hands, fingerless gloves, reaching through.

Reaching in.

The girl in front of him reaches, too. With cold fingers. People are giving her a wide berth. Can he see that? She is little more than shadow, a debt unpaid.

Her mouth opens wide.

Cheap shot; cheap fucking shot —

Wider.

Two…

He is standing within filament on the edge; there is a tear here.

Sugar we’re goin down swingin’.

She knows if she’s fast enough — here, he’s here, it has to be him here! “Open your fucking eyes!” she shouts, her teeth bared.

Now and again, it seems worse than it is.

Too wide.

But mostly the view is… accurate.

He is the mirror, a woman on each side of him, reaching.

NOW!”

One…

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