“No one gives a shit what you want to say.”
GM: Amelie sinks into darkness. It sinks into her first. She screams past the molasses in her throat, weeps shadows, and vomits tears.
She is watched.
She is watched.
Her limbs cannot move. Her fingers cannot move. Would she like a sword?
Amelie: Amelie knows, and so does the body she inhabits. Years in a bed could not push out the instincts wired into the fibers that run from her spine to the tips of her fingers.
She wants a sword, needs a sword. Should she have no arms, she will take it in her teeth to rise up and challenge whoever comes. Should her teeth break she will spit the shards to keep fighting.
For honor? Pride? No. Because she knows she must keep moving forward.
She would like a sword.
GM: Her stern-faced mother does not smile, but simply nods. Figures seize and throw her into the flames as she screams and thrashes. The great smith’s hammers come pounding down, smashing her skull apart like a melon, but her voice still screams. Human flesh hisses and crackles as it cooks in the forge-fires. Abigail Savard’s strong limbs and stronger will are good material. The hammers clang, or perhaps squelch, and sizzling blood and viscera fly from the forge like sparks. Raw and warbling screams, barely even human-sounding, ring in Amelie’s ears.
They pry Amelie’s fingers open and press the blade into her hands, still red-hot from the forge. The sword that used to be her mother would cry, but it has no eyes to weep. It has no mouth through which to scream.
All it can do is moan.
Amelie: Amelie knows. This can’t be her mother. She’s too young, it’s how she remembers her, and the visceral attack attack attack response that comes to her in her dreams when she sees that face doesn’t come up…
But it’s still a little girl’s mother, and those are the eyes that watch her be pulled and smashed apart. Watch her get chewed up by the falling of tempered steel onto bone and flesh. Those strong arms that once held her and rocked her when she was hurting fly apart off her torso, chewed up and amalgamated into the billet. The lips that kissed her so rarely on the head as she was forged herself, from bruises and fractures.
Her mother dies. Screams. Sacrifices her body so that Amelie may fight. Even as it burns her palm, that’s not what hurts the most. She knows burns. What hurts is the grief.
Amelie wails, feeling a decade of tears not shed suddenly all bubble up from the well she’d boarded shut all those years ago, wood splintering her dam down as she grieves over the sword. Enough grief and loss over what she wanted her stern mother to be to flood cities.
Enough to quench red-hot steel.
It’s the first time she’s cried over her mother. The first time she’s been able to. The first time she’s let herself.
GM: Amelie’s tears fall, and become steam as they hiss against the sword’s flesh-and-bone surface.
The eyeballs on each side of the ricasso are bloodshot and their pupils hugely dilated as they madly swivel in place. Still the blade screams and throbs in Amelie’s hand, as if trying to contort its flesh back into what it once was, but may never again be.
Her hand burns. The smoke mingles with the steam of her tears. Relief does not come. Only pain. The heat travels up Amelie’s arm, then through her whole body. She’s burning up. She screams and thrashes, but her limbs clink without moving. She’s burning. Burning. BURNING-
Day ? Week ? Month ?
The darkness recedes.
Amelie’s head feels light. So does the rest of her. She feels weightless, like she could simply drift up away—were it not for the cramps, aches, and stiffness anchoring her to earth. Her throat feels dry as sandpaper—and like there’s something caught in it. A steady beeping noise shrilly pummels her ears. All around her is darkness.
Amelie: Amelie feels her entire body start, looking down at her hand and grabbing at air before the sensations grab at her, and her little weak frame collapses back onto the bed.
Everything feels so awful. Like she’s been beaten and thrown into the deepest darkest dungeon. But then she hears it—almost feels it.
Steady. Beeping. Familiar.
Amelie’s eyes carefully look through the darkness, and her left hand slowly fumbles around, to find her lifeline.
She presses the call nurse button.
GM: Amelie’s thoughts come together like spilled molasses spreading across the lawn at McGehee. Yet, as the sluggish impulse from her brain signals for her hand to grope for the call button that must be there, that she prays is there, somewhere in the dark, there is no physical response.
Searing, burning, blistering pain.
Day ? Month ? Year ?
GM: The light burns.
Amelie’s feels weightless, like her body is—was?—no more than a passing fancy precursing her astral sojourn. It seems trivially easy to cast off, to throw aside.
But its manifold aches, pains, and hurts chain her down to the realm of gross physicality. Chain her, like the handcuffs she remembers secured at each of her wrists and ankles.
Amelie: Amelie takes the lesson, she doesn’t struggle against anything. She carefully tries to make the the lowest effort sound she can muster in her throat, listening for anyone around her.
GM: A hoarse, whisper-loud moan sounds in her ears. It’s parched and weak. More a whimper than a moan.
Amelie: Amelie takes a slow breath, and keeps it up as she does the same for her body. The smallest possible movements in her toes, and only her toes. She remembers her physical therapy from her accident all those years ago. Baby steps. Brick by brick, not topwers at a time.
GM: The thought-impulse spreads through her neurons with all the speed of molasses. Her surroundings remain an inchoate white blur. It’s almost an entire four, five seconds later she feels what she hopes is a twitch. There’s another sensation. Something lodged inside her parched-dry throat.
Amelie: Right. Feeding tube. She stops the sound almost immediately for fear of dislodging it, and instead concentrates on those important twitches. Kill Bill comes to mind, thanks to poor Emmett, and she keeps demanding action from that toe, trying to ramp up movement for a few seconds, before taking a break for twice as many, and going again. This is her body, the one she’s worked with every day, she takes it slow and feels out her new limitations.
GM: Her efforts are rewarded with further, molasses-slow twitching sensations from her big toe.
Everything hurts. Everything seems to come so slowly.
In the background, the steady beeping of medical equipment is perceivable—as is the sensation of cold steel against her sore limbs.
Amelie: Everything hurts. She’s becoming used to the sensation, but not this sensation. Before this it was the numbness of limited corporeality, and now the weakness of her physical form. Even now, she’s going through memories of shaky arms and sobs of pain as a trainer yells for her to keep moving. If she manages to get noticed, it’s another long road to recovery.
Amelie stops moving her toes, giving legs a break as she starts on her fingers. One at a time, she starts with where she remembers the nurse button. Her left index finger, carefully sending weak clumsy signals through her shaky form to make it twitch. The reality of the situation starts to dawn on her. Days of sitting awake in this bed slowly tensing and un-tensing to repair herself just enough to find that button.
She starts the process without a moments hesitation. The barest minimum, working through her fingers and toes, taking her time and taking breaks. Maybe it’ll be enough to get attention. From a nurse, a doctor…a rapist, a vampire. Amelie just keeps working it out.
GM: Sluggish movement registers from her right fingers.
Her left hand and leg remain nonresponsive.
Amelie: After a few minutes, the young woman slows to a stop, letting her body rest. She still has something else however. Even with the lights on, she starts to try to move her eyes, even with them closed rolling them around behind her lids.
GM: Phosphenes blossom and drift across her vision. Her head swims. Everything aches.
Amelie: She stops again. The lack of progress doesn’t frustrate her, or discourage her, she lets her head right itself.
Meanwhile, she wonders how much time has passed since she was fed on by that long haired ‘thing’, and how much time has passed since her being in the ‘other place’.
Amelie wonders about Emmett. She hopes that he’s safe, feeling a pang of guilt through her at leaving him, hoping and made it somewhere safe.
Once she feels her head settle a little bit, she decides to take a small plunge, carefully trying to open an eye. Slowly.
GM: Her vision swims in and out of focus, but there is little to see. A body. Her bed. An empty white room with a closed door.
Amelie: She slowly tries to spot her hands. Either hand. Where she might find the nurse button, or even the finger clip that dictates the beeps on the machine.
GM: The too-thin wrists of her too-pale hands rest limply against the bed, restrained by the same double pairs of handcuffs she “saw” earlier. The clip is attached to one of her left fingers. The call button lies a short ways off towards her right.
Amelie: Amelie looks at them both. Two routes. She can either find a way to pull off the clip. Or she can stretch her fingers to press the button somehow.
She starts with the button, watching her fingers as she tries to will them to life once again. Just a short ways and a nurse can notice her. Slow. Careful. She tries her best to be gentle with herself.
GM: The steel handcuff pulls her wrist taut before she can reach it.
Amelie: Cursing in the back of her head, she slowly searches for a cord she can reach, hoping to pull it closer.
GM: The handcuff softly clinks as it pulls her wrist taut again.
Amelie: Words will be had about this. Keeping handcuffs on someone five months deep into a coma seems unnecessary. Still slowly, she carefully moves her hand over to the other end of this cuff, seeing if she can rattle it with any volume.
GM: The awkward movement proves impossible to execute, but simply waving her sore-feeling arm causes the oh-so-heavy handcuffs to rattle. Her light head swims with the exertion.
Amelie: Amelie lets herself go limp again, to get her head together, taking the chance to scan the room again. She can feel her instincts avoid the window entirely, looking for a clock, sunlight, her IV bag. Anything that might give her idea of when a nurse would come in.
GM: Amelie observes that she is hooked up to an IV bag adjacent to her bed. Sunlight dimly filters in through her window’s closed curtains. The room’s lights are off, giving her surroundings a depressingly gray and lifeless cast.
She remembers back to something Mrs. Flores said during one of her classes.
“There’s a reason we’re dancing here, y’all, in this big windowed room with the lights on. People need light. Sun’s what gives us our Vitamin D. It’s a psychological and physiological need. So if you’re ever feelin’ blue around home, if your boyfriend dumped you or you got a rotten grade on a test, or whatever else, be sure you at least keep the lights on. Plants wither in the dark, and so do people.”
Amelie: Compared to the last months of darkness, it’s a welcome change to be in just this room here. She can tell there is a sun here. Breathing has the same effect. Even with the tube her throat, the reassurance of the steady breaths she takes through the nose are grounding, every one savored as she turns her attention now to the left.
Amelie tries again to move her left, confident that if she can get that hand working she can pull off the clip and summon a nurse.
GM: Her hand remains unresponsive.
Amelie: Amelie catches herself reassuring the hand that it can take its time. The only option she sees now is to keep awake until a nurse comes in to check on her, patiently waiting, enjoying the feeling of the sun. Even if it’s held back by the curtains.
GM: The barely perceptible feeling is drowned out in a sea of so very many others. The sores, aches, and pains that cover every inch of her skin, inside and out. Her empty stomach feels like a folded-in pit, too exhausted to even rumble. Her head vacillates between a splitting migraine and being so light she wonders if it’s about to detach from her shoulders and float away. Her skin is greasy and unwashed. There’s something lodged not just in her parched-dry throat, but all the way through it, like a great invasive finger that she can just picture ending in Dr. Brown’s smiling face. Her conversation with Emmett cannot help but replay endlessly through her feverish mind.
Would you happen to know which doctor was taking care of you?
I didn’t even know I was in the hospital until I woke up over my own body. Did not see any doctors.
Huh, that’s… huh.
Well, the guy’s name is Brown. Dude’s supposed to like girls who are drugged up. Sometimes he takes cases, allegedly, just so he can take advantage. Nasty shit.
I’m freaking out enough. Stop talking about this.
And look, just check your, ah… don’t worry, it’s probably nothing. Seriously.
Five months is a long time.
Amelie: If there was any stomach to flip, it’d be doing flips. That doctor set alarm bells off the moment she was alone with him. If that long-haired monster can get in here so easily, that doctor could too, couldn’t he. She’s even tied down like this.
She feels like she should vomit at the thought of anyone touching her body, but bites it back. Emmett was trying to just… get responses out of her, wasn’t he? That line of questioning about her being gay. Even dead people laugh at her.
But the line of thought does nothing to wash away the disgust. All she can do is wait until she is found, and get an examination. She’ll scream and cry when she has the energy. If she has the energy.
GM: Time crawls by.
Its passage is not felt so much as endured. Dark possibilities stew and ferment in her head like a slow-simmering pot of gumbo. One fact, however, remains as cold, hard, and inescapably clear as the fetters chaining her to the hospital bed: she is a prisoner here. Whether to the law, the lusts of men and monsters, or all three, however, remains terrifyingly unclear.
It is as her troubled psyche gnaws over such dark thoughts that she becomes conscious of the unmistakable stench of fecal matter.
Amelie: Endured is the right word, at least. The young woman lists off the horrors she’s seen in the last conscious day of her life. The loss five months, the confirmed existence of ghosts and possibility of demons, vampires not only being real but using her once proud body as livestock. The entirety of New Orleans being a dark smoking husk, and the horrific tower of suffering and pain coming out of… she forces her mind back away from that horrific obelisk.
Luckily, she finally notices she’s soiled herself. She wonders how long she’s been stewing in it. She cannot feel anything but at the lowest point of her life. Even feeling a twinge of regret for coming here. What forces it down, however, are also those same memories of her last conscious day.
She remembers the nice man who sold her the fish statues. The smell and taste of treats and pastries. The warm breeze of the harbor. Hannah taking her side and warning her how she did. Amelie even remembers the statue, Joan of Arc, and wonders how she felt when she was in this situation. Chained. Captured. Stewing in shit amidst fear of rape. History once again becomes a comfort for Amelie. She remembers the conviction and the heart that young woman had, mouthing off and standing firm until the moment they lit the fires.
Fire. If there’s a fire in her room, she can’t escape. She knows that it’s irrational to. But she looks up anyway, and spots it. Brown sticking out from between plastic in the smoke detector. Sabotaged by what Amelie suspects are socks or pantyhose. Her private room must be getting used for smoke breaks. It brings a bit of hope and a bit of disgust. She pictures Brown smoking a cigarette when he’s… done.
GM: The stench of shit grows riper. Holding her jaw open hurts and make the tube in her throat feel funny. She breathes through her nose. And waits.
Amelie cannot say how long it is before the door to her room opens. A white-uniformed nurse enters and removes a cigarette pack from her pockets. She pauses, sniffs, and wrinkles her nose.
Amelie: Amelie hates this. The humiliation makes her wonder if she shouldn’t just try to pass out again. But patience pays off when the door opens. She looks over at the woman with both eyes open, and pushes her vocal cords to vibrate when the beeps of her machine lay silent. She pushes the volume up to where she can stand, where she thinks is safe, and locks eyes with the nurse.
GM: The nurse gives an annoyed-sounding sigh.
Amelie: Amelie cannot tell if the woman notices. She starts with toes and moves the blankets around as best she can, still trying to adhere to her limits.
GM: The nurse walks over to Amelie’s bed and hits the call button. “He’s awake and just shat his tube. Your problem now.”
There’s noise from the speaker that abruptly cuts off.
Amelie: Joy. Amelie feels joy race through her system. If she had the fluids she is sure that she would cry. She looks up at the nurse like the woman is an angel. She’s been discovered again after this day of hell.
GM: The nurse turns and walks out of the room without glancing at Amelie. She closes the door. It clicks as it locks.
Amelie: The young woman just lays there. Even with the handcuffs locking her to the bed, she feels free again. Even stewing in her own shit with tubes in every orifice.
GM: Time ticks by. The stench of shit does not dissipate. Eventually, her door opens again. Two more women in nurse’s uniforms walk in. One of them pulls off Amelie’s blanket, then pulls her hospital gown up past her pelvis, exposing her privates for the two’s viewing.
“Turns out it’s a girl,” the first nurse drawls.
The second nurse snickers.
Amelie: Turns out it’s a bunch of cunts. How unusual for the South, she snaps back in her head. She just eyes them as they work, eager to see what comes next.
GM: Amelie doesn’t see anything, but feels a sudden yanking pain from her nether regions.
It’s too much. She’s so weak. Her head swims like a flushed toilet, and sight and sound are sucked away.
Day ? Month ? Year?
GM: Amelie comes to in her bed. Everything still hurts, especially her groin, which something soft presses against. She is still chained to the bed. The room’s lighting is slightly darker.
Amelie: She curses as consciousness returns. She hoped it would be enough if some nurses noticed her. But they were so rough with her that she’s back where she started. With what she assumes is an adult diaper over where they pulled her catheter from.
She just rests now, looking carefully around the room, any sign that a doctor was here and they’d come for her soon.
GM: The bare and empty room looks the same as when she was last awake to perceive it. She wonders if anyone has tried to send her cards or balloons, and the hospital wouldn’t allow it—or if no one simply sent any.
Amelie: She assumes the latter. Her family isn’t the type, not that her father would or her mother…
Thoughts of her mom hitch in her mind. She looks slowly down at her right hand. She’s seen blades with handles made of bones, like Maori paddles fastened with animal teeth. She never considered one made completely out of a person. Amelie can only imagine a blade sprouting from a spine, in place a fuller, skeletal hands forming a basket guard, and a pommel with a familiar green eye. It’s sickening, but all she feels is the sadness coming back up her chest. She keeps her eyes on that hand and checks if they’ve moved the button closer.
GM: Sickening it might be, but a sword is a sword. Beggars cannot be choosers.
Yet for all of Amelie’s hopes, her hand remains empty—and her nurses have not done so.
Amelie: Fine. Amelie slowly closes her eyes and just rests, letting her mind wander. This peace, she’s realized, is the time she needs to unpack the last two conscious days of her life. From finding out her aunt is a madam to the realization of the world behind the curtain, and what it means for her sanity and well-being. Now that her chances at McGehee and college are dashed, what does she do? Is this what happened to her mother? Did she discover something and leave her family?
All the young woman can do is lay there with her eyes closed, mediate on her existence, and wait for the door to open.
GM: Time ticks by as Amelie contemplates her future.
She supposes it’s something she hadn’t planned on college anyway. That was all her aunt’s idea. But her aunt isn’t her.
No one re-enters her room. Eventually, night falls.
Amelie: Rest. It’s well needed, and she wonders how well deserved it is. It’s been difficult, but she knows a lot more pain is ahead. She eyes the shadow of the button by her finger and almost looks forward to it.
She gives one last slow careful breath and pushes her hand forward, straining it against the handcuffs and her own lack of muscle.
Almost there. She’s told herself that from the very beginning.
GM: Amelie feels her head swim. Her body screams aches and pains of protest.
But she feels the button.
Amelie: That’s all she needs. She pushes it down. She keeps it there as long as she can, carefully curling her fingers around the button and bringing it in closer until she goes slack again. She hears her heart pounding in her ears. Her brain throbs in time with it as she waits. She hopes they don’t ignore her.
GM: A tired-sounding woman’s voice crackles to life over the speaker. “What is it?”
Amelie: Amelie knows she cannot answer, but doesn’t let there be any dead air. She taps her nail against the button, hoping it makes enough sound for the woman to pick up. As long as she has the button in her hand, she’ll be okay.
GM: There’s a clicking noise from the intercom followed by silence.
Amelie: Good. She rests her head back and cups the button under her hand, as if trying to tell the inanimate object how precious it is to her. All she can do is wait for whoever the tired nurse sends.
GM: Time passes. Amelie waits in the dark.
Her room’s lights abruptly glare on. An unfamiliar middle-aged woman in a nurse’s uniform looks her over.
Amelie: The sudden lights make the young woman wince and keep one eye shut. With this tube, and her body the way it is, she doesn’t know what the nurse expects. She wants her aunt. She wants to see a doctor. She wants a lot of things. But the only thing she can think to communicate is a gentle tug, showing the nurse her handcuffed wrist, trying to ask why she’s locked up.
GM: The nurse walks up to Amelie, pulls away her blanket, and pulls her hospital gown up from her legs. She stares at what’s there, pulls Amelie’s blanket and gown back, then looks over the rest of her body. She brusquely pulls up one of the bedridden patient’s wrists and pulls the handcuff slightly downwards as if inspecting the skin for sores.
“You stupid patients mash those things like Xbox controllers,” she mutters after inspecting Amelie’s ankles and other wrist.
Amelie: Amelie carefully pushes the button towards the bed’s head, trying to keep it in reach as her hands shift. Clumsily, carefully, she starts the hand motions. First, a small snap, trying to get the nurse to look over. Should this succeed, she moves on to pointing at her own head. There’s a quick shift from that to a pantomime. She holds up a phantom pen writing on a phantom paper. Her eyes plead for this request, but it’s the best she can do. She’ll apologize for snapping at a nurse of all people later.
GM: The nurse stares at Amelie as she tries to communicate. But the woman’s eyes are pitiless.
She walks away and turns off the lights. The click of the door’s lock sounds behind her as she leaves.
Amelie: That’s unfortunate, but to be expected. Amelie sighs internally and slowly cups the call button back into her hand before relaxing again. She’ll have no luck until the morning shift. Maybe the next nurse will be better-rested.
Until then, Amelie settles in and closes her eyes.
Day ? Month ? Year?
GM: Amelie awakens from uneasy dreams that her heart pounding and her skin sweating. She has soiled her diaper and is coated in cold piss and half-dried runny stool. The room itself is again. Medical equipment by her bedside steadily chirps away.
Amelie: She slowly opens her eyes and just stews for a moment, taking stock of her disgusting form before she gropes for her button. She hopes today will be better. She thanks her empty stomach that she can’t vomit right now. There has to be a doctor here. She hopes they’ll call one as she tries to press the call button.
GM: “What is it?” sounds a woman’s voice over the speaker.
Amelie: Amelie repeats what she did last time, tapping her nail and trying to get their attention to her room. She still doesn’t know what these people want to hear from someone with a tube in their throat.
GM: There’s a sigh followed by the speaker clicking off.
Some minutes later, another nurse enters the room. She does not speak to Amelie as she unlocks one of the handcuffs from her bed railing, then moves Amelie’s arm so she can re-fasten the cuff to the other railing.
Amelie: Amelie marvels for just a moment. They know she can’t walk or muster any strength from a withered arm, yet they still lock her up. Her left side is limp either way, and she lets the nurse do what she needs to. Asking for a pen and paper coated while covered in shit doesn’t seem like a way to engender sympathy.
GM: The nurse repeats the process of moving the handcuff around Amelie’s ankle to the opposite railing. She removes Amelie’s diaper, roughly cleans her, applies what smells like baby powder to her buttocks, and then fastens on another diaper. She leaves the invalid woman in her new position, with all of her limbs chained to the same bed railing, and turns to leave.
Amelie: The new position is unexpected. Amelie thinks fast and uses her right hand to bang the plastic nurse button against the railing. She needs some form of communication after so long.
GM: The intercom crackles to life again. There’s another sigh from it. “This had better be a real emergency.”
Amelie: Amelie realizes soon she’s hit the button by accident and wishes she could apologize. But she takes the chance and tries to communicate through a low gag that she wants the tube out.
GM: The speaker clicks off.
The same nurse re-enters. She re-performs the same actions from earlier, re-fastening Amelie’s left arm and leg to opposite rails of the bed again. She pulls up Amelie’s gown to see if she’s soiled her diaper, then inspects various other areas of her body with an increasingly annoyed look.
She finally picks up the call button and drops it on the floor. Well out of the handcuffed Amelie’s reach.
Amelie: Amelie snaps her fingers this time as well, trying to lock eyes with the nurse and get her attention. She desperately makes writing motions with her hand. It’s all very clumsy and harried as she makes little grunts and tries to communicate.
GM: The nurse stares at her. “No one gives a shit what you want to say.”
Amelie: Amelie’s heart sinks ever so slightly. She keeps her eyes on the nurse’s and tries to convey her grief. Five months lost, scared and alone in a bed she’s soiled. She makes a motion with her hand towards her face. She grabs and pulls like a rope and makes a small gag, all trying to convey she desperately wants the tube out, to be able to speak. Just that little bit of power back.
GM: The nurse sighs and pulls out Amelie’s tube.
Amelie: Amelie doesn’t know whether talking right off the bat is possible, but she hopes the look of hope and thanks in her eyes is well-conveyed.
GM: The nurse turns and leaves without waiting to see what the young woman says, then re-locks the door behind her.
Amelie: Amelie slowly clears her throat, trying to wet her mouth and chew her tongue around until there’s enough moisture to swallow.
Finally, she tries to whisper her name.
GM: A barely audible “Amelie” croaks in her ears.
Amelie: There’s another jolt of joy. Her own voice. That one little ounce of power feels like such a gift. She keeps trying to swallow enough spittle to clear her throat and revive her voice.
GM: A few more dry “Amelies” sound in her ears. Her equally dry throat feels sore.
Amelie: The soreness almost feels good. It’s a testament to her progress. But as she savors the small victory, it slowly sinks in that the nurse tossed away the button. Still, it’s fine. She knows the poor nurses will eventually come here to smoke or check on her.
For now Amelie just rests her body and voice. She smiles at the wall.
GM: The wall stares back at her. Time stretches. And stretches.
Amelie: Amelie finds it bittersweet to have another stretch of time where she can consider things, to unpack her new world without the tube cutting off her precious voice. Muttering names to herself feels as though it helps to click things into place. But she makes no attempt to grab at the button, not this shift. She knows she need to pace herself to keep the nurses from hating her.
GM: Time passes. She doesn’t know how much. It crawls at a snail’s pace. The sun doesn’t set yet, but the light seems to shift a bit, perhaps from passing clouds.
Amelie: Amelie uses the time, still emotionally unpacking everything and trying to wrap her head around all that’s happened. She wonders about what happened in the house, about was real and what was the rich girls trying to hurt her.
GM: The door to her room eventually opens without any preface or warning. Yvette Devillers walks in. She’s dressed in a casual top and skirt, and smiles as she sees her former classmate.
Amelie: Amelie has since moved on to meditating over other things when the past walks through the door. Yvette. The second-last person she’d hoped to see. All the newly-awake girl can offer is a small nod of recognition.
GM: Yvette walks up to her bed. “Ah see someone’s been cutting your ’air.” Her smile grows just a bit. “Very butch.”
Amelie: Amelie cracks a smile and pointedly rolls her eyes, as if to say ‘of course they did.’
If ‘butch’ is an attempt at an insult, it falls flat at the woman’s feet. She shifts her hand slightly to motion Yvette closer so she can speak in her hoarse little voice.
“Less. Muscle. Now.”
She lets out a self-depreciating chuckle in her weak chest. It probably seems like an awkward wheeze.
GM: “Yes, no more of those bulging things.” Yvette’s eyes sweep across Amelie’s spread-eagled body. “Ah suppose you won’t be climbing any more gates for a while.”
Amelie: Amelie simply nods, her eyes betraying her happiness. Yvette is safe. She was able to get out okay. Now she is here, visiting. Even if her intentions are bad, it feels nice.
Amelie grimaces as she gives a painful swallow, but goes on.
GM: “Depends ’oo you ask,” Yvette remarks. “’Annah dropped out of McGehee, sadly for ’er.”
“Or ’im, Ah suppose, if you ask the ’eadmistress.”
Amelie: Amelie just gives Yvette a confused look. She tilts her head to the side slightly, trying to get the other girl to elaborate.
GM: Yvette looks back at Amelie, holds a hand over her mouth, and starts giggling. “Oh mah… you didn’t know? Ah mean, Ah’d figured if anyone would…”
Amelie: Amelie looks off towards the wall for a moment. She remembers when she first met Hannah. The dehydration seemed off. She remembers assuming bulimia. Body image issues often go hand in hand with being transgender. She hung out with the alliance club troublemaker, and then there’s that sense they had something in common. The trans student even pegged Amelie as gay.
Amelie nods her head and gives Yvette a sad look and another grimace as she swallows, then motions her head. “Sisters?”
GM: “She’s dead too, bah the way,” Yvette mentions off-handedly.
Amelie: Amelie freezes, her eyes widening for a moment. Hannah is dead? Statistics run through the young woman’s mind and fix on the 40% suicide rate among transgender people.
She doesn’t say anything and simply stares at Yvette. She wonders if her former classmate is only saying these things to torment her.
GM: “Pills,” Yvette goes on. “Not sleeping pills, a doctor Ah talked to said you actually can’t commit suicide with those anymore. You ‘ave to mix them with other meds. So she took some antidepressants too, Ah suppose it’s no surprise she ’ad a prescription for those, went to bed, and never woke up.”
Amelie: Amelie’s eyes remain steady on Yvette. She is no longer seeking answers, just looking through Yvette for a moment before she motions the girl in closer again.
GM: “Oh. Ah’m sorry, Ah don’t ’ave any on me,” Yvette replies. “Ah could go and get some if you’d like, though.”
Amelie: “Please. I’d like… to talk more,” Amelie winces. It’s too much all at once and she has to hold back a wheezing cough until she can swallow it.
GM: “Of course, Ah can get some for you when Ah leave,” Yvette smiles.
Amelie: Amelie meant now. Yvette will probably just leave and forget the water, but she drops it and nods thankfully.
GM: “It was very sad about ’Annah,” Yvette continues. “The school didn’t even ‘ave any kind of memorial for ’er, though Ah suppose she wasn’t a student anymore.”
Amelie: Yvette’s usual grace has been replaced by a blunt hammer by this point, she’s just trying her best to steer her towards Hannah’s death. Towards guilt. If the girls were caught breaking rules, it’s their fault for playing with Amelie.
But the young woman still looks down at the scar on her hand, and knows she never should have even gone into that house. Amelie settles on looking up and locking eyes with Yvette, just seeing if she has anything left to say on the matter.
GM: “’Er mother took it terribly,” Amelie’s former classmate remarks. “She was like a walking zombie, like you’d see in one of those voodoo museums. Just totally dead.”
Amelie: Yvette might as well be trying to carve stone with a wooden chisel. The news is horrifically awful, but tainted by its use as a blunt instrument to hurt her. It meets the stony resilience of a woman who lost five months of her life because she wanted to protect the people who tried to drug and torment her. Her bright gray-blue eyes just pierce into Yvette’s as she lets the teenager have her fun.
GM: “Believe it or not, though, she wasn’t the only person to die,” Yvette simply goes on. “The first was actually one of the Whitneys’ lawyers.”
Amelie: Finally, a fastball. Amelie cocks a brow and wonders why an attorney would be in the LaLaurie House. Why would they have a legal meeting there?
GM: “‘E wasn’t killed bah any ghosts, so far as Ah know,” her ex-classmate smirks faintly before continuing, “Some policeman went crazy, the same naht as all that… business at the ’ouse, and started shooting everyone.”
Yvette pulls out her phone and starts tapping into it.
“Really does make you wonder if it’s cursed, doesn’t it? Ah wonder if all those people would ‘ave died if you ’adn’t wanted to do that little project. And Ah suppose Ms. Perry would still ’ave ’er job.”
Amelie: Amelie lets her eyes drift for a few moments. It’s a pity that Ms. Perry got caught in the crossfire. But she re-affixes her stonewall expression and just locks eyes back with Yvette. The cool girl’s decided to torture the unpopular girl and this is the fallout of her plans. Things feel clearer now. The excitement from getting into that mansion is gone. Amelie feels a hot little coal in her gut, a slow-stoking contempt for the whole being of Yvette’s person.
She gives another painful swallow.
“Who. Was. Shot.”
GM: “‘Is name was Mitchel Lowenstein, not that Ah’d expect you to ’ave known ’im,” Yvette answers. “’E ’ad a wife and son, though Ah think ’e left them with an all right bit of money.”
Amelie: “Only. Person?”
GM: “Are you ’aving trouble talking, Amelie?” Yvette asks concernedly. “Should Ah call the nurse?”
Amelie: Amelie shakes her head. She repeats herself, straining and clearing her throat. “Only. Person?”
GM: “You know, Ah mentioned that already… you seem like you’re very confused,” her ex-classmate frowns thoughtfully.
Amelie: Amelie pauses for a moment. She’s not focused on Yvette, but herself.
Before all of this, she wonders if she would have lost her temper by now. Yvette seems so petty. She’s nearly panting over Amelie’s broken form in her attempts to poison the other girl’s recovery. It’s difficult to get angry. Amelie simply gives her ex-classmate a thoughtful nod and casually tries to steer the conversation elsewhere, despite knowing how sore her throat will be after Yvette leaves.
GM: “Ah yes, your aunt, Ah always did always mean to ask… why do you live with ’er?” Yvette asks thoughtfully. “Are your parents dead, or just… not around?”
Amelie: “How’d you… know?”
GM: Her ex-classmate looks down at her phone. “Well, Ah’ve got somewhere to be… Ah’ve already been accepted into mah dream college, but Maman is so insistent Ah still need to make something of mahself this year. Don’t worry, though, Ah’ll be right back.”
Amelie: Amelie just smiles. Little victories.
GM: Yvette turns and leaves the room. Time passes. True to her word, though, she comes back. Amelie cannot say after how much longer, but she’s carrying a clear glass of water.
“There you are, Amelie, Ah’m sure you must be very thirsty,” she remarks as she approaches her former classmate’s bed.
Amelie: Amelie motions her head to the nearest surface, giving Yvette a small smile.
GM: Yvette tilts the glass slightly and holds it to Amelie’s lips, letting her take measured gulps at her own pace.
Amelie: Amelie does not drink. She turns her face carefully away so the water doesn’t spill and speaks through the side of her mouth. “Leave it.”
GM: “You maht ’ave an easier time with ’elp,” Yvette suggests mildly to the handcuffed woman.
Amelie: Amelie doesn’t relent and motions her head to a table where Yvette can leave it. The nurse can help her drink it. She will actually know what to do if Amelie starts to choke or otherwise reacts badly. Five months is a long time to go without real food and water.
Plus Yvette has already tried to drug her once.
GM: Yvette sets the glass down on the bedside table, then holds her phone up over Amelie.
“Smile for the camera.”
Amelie: Amelie looks to the camera confidently, keeping her eyes half-lidded for that extra groggy effect.
GM: There are several clicks. Yvette pulls off Amelie’s blanket and gets in some shots of her diapered pelvis.
Amelie: Now she’s just being far too obvious. Amelie wonders if this is legal but leaves her legs limp. There is nothing she can do but tell her aunt and make herself known.
“Yvette,” Amelie calls, motioning for her to come in closer.
GM: Yvette smiles and leans in as several pings go up from her phone.
Amelie: Amelie strains her voice. She needs this to be a clear message. “I pity you. Forgive you.”
GM: Her ex-classmate lets out a giggle. “Oh mah. Could you repeat that, on three, for the camera?”
She taps her Solaris again and holds it up.
Amelie: Amelie just closes her eyes and smiles peacefully. She really does pity Yvette. Everything is so beautiful, New Orleans especially so. But Yvette still feels the need to spend her time being vindictive. Amelie just remembers the tower, the cosmic horror and soul-crushing sorrow. Yvette feels so small.
GM: “Ah well, this part will go a’ead just as well.”
Amelie hears a spitting noise, but doesn’t feel any sensation against her skin.
Amelie: She assumes it’s Yvette spitting into her hand, and opens an eye just slightly to see what’s happening.
GM: She catches Yvette rubbing her hand over her eye and smearing her makeup. “Mm, once or twice…” She seems to think. “Twice, you ’ave ad a lot to drink.” She spits into her palm a second time and rubs it over her eye.
She picks up the glass of water, leans in close over Amelie’s face, and then spills it at an angle over her own top. Excess water splashes over Amelie’s bedding and hospital gown. Yvette wrinkles her nose, then walks around Amelie’s bed to pick up the call button.
“NURSE! SHE ATTACKED ME!” her former classmate shrieks into the speaker.
“Get away from her, we’ll be right over!” sounds a nurse’s urgent reply, followed by the sound of footsteps.
Yvette offers Amelie a winsome smile and leans in close. “Ah was saving this for last.”
“If you’re wondering why you aunt isn’t ‘ere… Ah’m afraid it’s because she doesn’t want to be. She thinks you’re a burden ’oo ruins everything.”
“And she thinks… good riddance.”
Amelie: Amelie just watches as it al happens. Yvette is here because of her privileged status in this city. Outside of it, she is nothing. Like a débutante whose ball was outside of the Waldorf Astoria. Once you leave New Orleans, who cares? Yet here she stands smiling like she’s won such a victory, saying things made ineffective by her own obvious bias against their target. The world’s so much bigger than her now, bigger than McGehee or their patrons. So much scarier than some pale inbred, no matter what power she has over a half-dead girl chained to a bed.
Amelie just grins and whispers to the nearby girl,
She rests back and keeps her mouth closed and dry, looking like the same vegetable she was earlier. She waits for the aftermath.
GM: “You ’ave no idea,” she hears Yvette smile.
It’s not much longer before Amelie hears the door fly open. Footsteps thump against floor. She feels rough hands grabbing her, hears the faint squirt of a hypodermic needle, and then a quick sting in her arm.
Amelie: Amelie just looks at Yvette with a tired smile as it happens. The drink, the spying, the motive behind coming to the house. It’s not hard to think through. But she feels the needle hit her arm and just closes her eyes, silently knowing.
GM: With her eyes already closed, Amelie can’t tell if anything goes black. Yvette’s words echo as if from a great a distance.
“Enjoy the rest of your life, Amelie. With all the charges you’re facing, Ah’m afraid it’s quite over…”