Most of everybody was asleep at this time, having gotten into our normal sleeping arrangements- a crapload of blankets and pillows flung about everywhere, otherlings sleeping curled up next to or piled on each other in groups of two to four. Calum and I were in the corner; we were settled right next to each other, not for reasons of physical intimacy, but for conserving body heat in the slowly chilling atmosphere that comes with autumn.
“Calum?” I pulled my blanket closer to me, the thin pajamas and undergarments that had been given to us not providing any respite to the fifty-degree temperatures they kept us in at night. “Are we going to be getting Emma out of here anytime soon?”
“Ophelia, why do you always assume that I have the answers to everything?”
“I don’t know. It..  it’s something with the way that you carry yourself, like you’ve been things crappier than this and you have a handle on the situation. For most of my existence, I’ve been in this minimally conscious state, just passively aware of what’s been going on, and you’ve been… well, I don’t know. Probably more aware of your own existence than I have been.” I paused, not having expected myself to have gone on a mini monologue. Why was I so verbal when most of the otherlings could barely understand what was going on, let alone comprehend anything the instructors said? “What was it like back at your home?”
Even with the single shred of light that came from the air vent in the door, I could see a pained expression cross his face, suggesting that there were some negative memories attached to the memory of home. “I don’t want to talk about Gehenna-Altaris right now. Maybe someday, but not now.”

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