I woke up in the middle of the night by a scratching outside my window. Initially, I thought that maybe the window latch had come undone and a particularly strong breeze had been blowing it about, but no-
I jolted upright and looked behind me, expecting there to maybe be a thief getting ready to shoot me, or an operative from Miralay finally found me and ready to haul my family back to be tried and executed for escaping-
It was the girl. The girl from the pod, her red hair falling softly down her shoulders, wearing a ragged sweatshirt with a faded and illegible logo and a pair of leggings with a rip down the side. She was crouching outside my window, knocking on the glass.
I opened the window, and she leaped onto me, hurling us onto the bed and knocking the wind out of my chest. I squirmed, trying to get free, but the girl just pressed herself tighter and tighter against me.
I gasped for air. “What-”
She tore herself away, studying my face in the dim light as she hovered above. Her voice was light and soft like a child’s as she finally spoke, “It’s you. A Miralayan.”
Well, of course it was me. Who else would I be? What kind of stupid observation is that?
She pushed herself off of me and rolled onto the ground, landing with a thunk. Her delicate hands brushed out the wrinkles in her sweatshirt as she sat up. I flicked on the bedside lamp to get a better look at her- the dark circles under her eyes were still there, and she was still pale, but a vitality had returned to her skin from what I had remembered.
Like a reanimated corpse.
She squeezed her eyes shut, disturbed by the sudden brightness.
“Who are you?” I whispered, the questions coming faster than I could verbalize them. “What’s your name? Why are you here? What are you doing in my house? Where’s Boney-”
The girl covered her ears, wincing. I didn’t blame her. All that time spent in the sleeping pod must not have made for much stimuli. I waited a few minutes for her to respond, contemplating calling the local Heavestone police as her breath shuddered, and then she opened her hands a crack to peer at me.
“My name?” she squeaked. “I… I don’t have a name. Not, like, a human name. I have a few dozen screennames- they made me pick out a different one for each place- but I don’t know if that’s what you mean.”
“Or usernames. Or nicknames. I would show you, but they’re all in my head.” She cringed, one of her hands flying to the back of her neck, massaging the skin. “What’s your wifi password?”
“Hand over your phone and I’ll type it in.”
“I can’t… I can’t really do that. Just tell me.”
I sighed, which turned into a yawn. “It’s ‘three children’. But the three is the number three. You happy?”
The girl scrunched up her face all of a sudden like she was thinking hard, and then relaxed just as quickly. She returned her hand to her face, the crack a little wider now so I could see more of her eyes.
Her deep brown eyes.
“I’m sorry for intruding. Who is Boney?”
So she didn’t know where Boney went, and she didn’t remember any of us. I didn’t blame her, after all- she was unconscious.
But then how did she find me?
“Boney? My friend? Wasn’t he the one who freed you?”
“Oh. That person.” She shivered. “He was unconscious in the basement of the dollar store the last time I saw him. He was assaulting me, putting his hands everywhere… I knocked him out on accident.”
She shook her head. “You ask too many questions.” She closed her eyes and curled up on the floor, tucking her head in her arms. She looked so serene, so peaceful…
Or maybe it was all an act and I was about to meet the same fate as Boney had.
“My favorite username is Living Wasteland. You can call me that, I guess. An anonymous person suggested it to me one day quite a few years ago.” A pendant flopped out of her shirt; she began to toy with it, rolling it between her fingers. “I never got a response back from them. But the message also had the coordinates to this place, so I guess you must be important somehow.”
I flicked off the lamp, laying down so I could face her in case she decided to try to pull a trick on me.
Diary, why do I do these things? Why did I let an unknown girl into my house? I could have just as easily kept her outside until morning came and let the adults deal with her.
Mom gave me a giant speech about chastity when I was fifteen. I don’t think she would be real happy walking in when morning comes and finding a girl on my floor. And it probably sounds really pathetic, diary, but I’ve never had a girlfriend.
And I sure as hell ain’t dating the Providence.