CHAPTER ONE

part V

Roe dreamt of the cold. A gray snow covered the rusted plains stretched out before her. Crunched beneath her feet. Or was it ash? She saw her breath, as she called out to Bell. To W0RM. To anyone. But there was no one to be found. A void gathered above her, its black consuming the sky. Out of the emptiness floated the ashen snow. Its flakes drifted onto her skin and began to burn. She frantically brushed the flakes from her arms. The ice melted, smearing into crimson blood across her skin. She screamed. Her voice cracked. She tried to breathe but couldn’t. She gasped for air, but none came. She was afraid. She was alone. She was dying.

But she was alive. Hunched over her desk, asleep, her head resting on her arms, as Bell called from across the garage.

Roe sat up. Reoriented herself. Looked to her arms. Found only the marks of sleep and took a relieved breath, shaking the dream’s remnants from her mind.

She looked to the garage’s small window to her right and found the glow of morning beyond it, then turned to find Bell smirking in the doorway, holding a plate of food. “Morning?” Roe greeted and half-wondered.

“You know that room in the house with all your clothes and a bed to sleep on?” Bell inquired.

Roe gestured to a pile of dirty clothes on the bottom of a shelf near the workbench, “I have clothes out here.”

Bell shook her head and put the plate the down on the desk, “I made us a late breakfast. So eat up and come inside. We have a... visitor.”

Through a yawn and a stretch, Roe questioned, “Visitor?”

Bell nodded with a sense of uncertainty. “Yeah... a friend of your grandfather’s.”

Roe frowned, “What?”

“You’ll--well... you’ll just have to see for yourself.”

“Is everything okay?” Roe asked, her confusion quickly shifting into anger, “We don’t have any freaking money, so he better not be asking for--“

“--No no, everything’s fine. It’s not that. She’s actually here to see you.”

“Me?”


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