Metastasis, Part I



Scene Title Metastasis, Part I
Synopsis I am—yet what I am none cares or knows
Date November 8, 2020

Late at night, the Childs’ house is silent.

The dim glow of city lights come filtered through the curtains of Gillian’s bedroom, a place where — for the time being — is her solitary shelter. Blankets are tossed and tangled, pillow damp with sweat. Sitting on the edge of her bed, Gillian has awoken from a nightmare she cannot remember, save for the panic clenching at the middle of her chest. Her right hand will not steady, for all that the dream has passed.

On the opposite wall, a dressing mirror shows a dark reflection of the bedroom and the way moonlight reflects off of her pale skin. She is alone, though only just. The other rooms of her house are occupied, she is only a phone call away from even more people. Yet more so than ever Gillian feels a sinking sense of loneliness and emptiness, as if she just lost a part of herself… but she can’t remember what it was.

The Childs’ Residence
Elmhurst, NYC Safe Zone

November 8th
3:33 am

It dawns on Gillian what day it is. Perhaps that’s why she’s been having so many bad dreams.

The numbers that shone on the clock near the nightstand sparked a memory from a long time ago, one she couldn’t help but think of every time she happened to catch a glimpse of the clock on those numbers. Only could happen twice a day, but it happened far more often than Gillian might have expected it would have. But that was probably because she noticed when it did. Rubbing on her wrist, she flexes her right hand, trying to get it to steady, but it still shook. She couldn’t even remember the dream to know why— just the feeling that still hung in her.

That was the way of dreams, though, wasn't it?

A glance toward the door has her calculating risks— how difficult it would be to get downstairs to get a drink of water without waking anyone— or should she just fill up the glass in the bathroom and go with that— that seemed like an easier plan, even if the water from the tap wasn’t quite as good as bottled water from the fridge. At least it wasn’t unhealthy anymore—

With a sigh, she starts to get to her feet, glancing toward the mirror as she does to make sure she’s halfway presentable— in case she happens to wake up someone. It wouldn’t be the first time Jac or Jolene were wandering around in the late hours.

And she at least hopes she would hear Peter if he were trying to make his way up the stairs.

That’s when Gillian notices she’s bleeding. There’s a smudge of blood on her upper lip, glistening and wet. A line of it is tracked down her cheek and pools in the folds of her ear, blood that likely started running down her face at some point while she was sleeping. The immediate stomach-turning reaction to the sight of herself with an injury is a jolt to Gillian’s heart. She’s never suffered from nosebleeds outside of over-extending her ability.

Something is wrong.

Something… is definitely wrong.

Looking down at her fingers, Gillian tries to think of all the times she ever heard of people having nosebleeds that didn’t involve ability use— and most of them were either really bad— or drug related. No, maybe she had heard one about the humidity being really low, but she was pretty sure that wasn’t what the problem was, even with winter coming on.

Grabbing a tissue from the bedside, she holds it to her nose to keep from dripping all over the floor and her nightgown and slowly starts to go through her post-war mental exercises once again, to keep from seeing the war all over again in her head.

There’s little detail in the dark of Gillian’s bedroom, just the ambient glow of her alarm clock face and a little bit of street light refraction coming through the gaps between blinds and window. It’s enough to see by, even if only just. Once Gillian has dabbed at her nose, it doesn’t feel like the blood is still flowing, though she can tell much of her face is a sticky mess from it.

Someone saying “Are you alright?” nearly causes Gillian to jump out of her own skin. She can feel the bed move behind her, and over her shoulder she can see Peter’s silhouette laying there, propping himself up on one elbow with his brows furrowed and hair flopped to one side. His face is softly lit by the red light of the alarm clock’s digital numbers, enough so that she can see the very real concern in his eyes.

Except… Peter hasn’t stayed in her bed yet. That was still a difficult, awkward place. But there is his, shirtless and concerned partly under the covers. Right where he wasn’t a moment ago.

For a moment, Gillian stands there wondering if maybe she was still asleep. Surely she would have remembered him getting into bed with her— surely she would have remembered him being in bed with her when she had gotten out— The amount of times that bed had anyone in it that wasn’t her lately she could count on one hand. She should have noticed. The hand falls away from her face, looking down at the blood on the tissue and the remnants of stickiness that she feels and— no, she’s pretty sure this wasn’t a dream.


“How— how long have you been here?” She spends a long moment trying to remember the last time she drank more than she was supposed to, or the last time she lost time. It had been one of the questions that sweet old man and the british woman had been asking about, and she had dismissed it at the time, but maybe she had fallen asleep under some odd circumstances.

“I don’t— when— is it still November?”

Please tell her she hasn’t lost complete track of everything.

Peter’s brows furrow together, the scar on his face long and pronounced. That’s when it hits Gillian that something is dreadfully wrong.

Peter doesn’t have that scar anymore.

The moment that realization hits her brain like a stroke of lightning, Gillian feels her pulse race and the world swims. Sweat collects on her palms and brows, her stomach twists in knots and her knees shake. But what truly sends that moment into a haze of panic is when the lightning in the room changes in an instant, when it goes from night to day and then back again and Peter is simply gone. There’s not even a disturbance of the blankets. It’s like he was never there.

An icepick needling hits behind Gillian’s right eye, the sudden stabbing sensation of a migraine and a blue-black blindspot forming in her vision. She feels her right arm and leg start to tingle, her heart races faster and it feels like she can’t catch her breath.

That was the Peter she’d known originally… Not the one she knew now. He was never here. He was gone.

It was strange how that realization stabbed in a completely different way than the pain in her head and body, shooting down her nerves and ripping a sound from her throat that didn’t quite manage an actual yell. Gillian didn’t really have the breath to yell, but she did fall to her knees against the hardwood floor and curl up against the pain. She’d felt pain before— more often than she would like to remember, but somehow this

It took a few moments for her to move, to reach toward her nightstand, trying to reach for it, to get some leverage to get to her feet again, but she can’t quite get there. She can’t get her hands high enough, her arm is too weak. She can’t even get up on her knees all the way.

Her fingers find a cord, the cord of her lamp, wrap around it and pull, it crashes to the floor with a thud, much louder than when she hit the ground going down to her knees, the sound of the lampshade and metal framework breaking with a crystalline shattering sound.

Thrown back into the dark, Gillian can still see the fragments of the lamp on the floor, catching ambient light from below her bedroom door. Scintillating edges of broken glass, shining against the dark like cracks.

Her heart skips a beat, then another, and a stabbing pain shoots into the back of her head. She screams, this time, involuntarily…

…and now the whole house knows.

Something is wrong.

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