A Bloody Mess Pt. 1: Shower

"Guess insomnia finally caught up," Sy said aloud, glancing at the analog clock on the wall. The hands indicated 4 AM. She sat up and ran a hand across her face. The ground was cold beneath her feet as she walked towards the bathroom. A warm shower usually helped her sleep.

She sighed deeply as she closed the door behind her. The day had been downright exhausting. It seemed as if life in the Spire was either all or nothing; either life went entirely haywire all around you, or nothing happened for days on end. The tension of the meeting, preceded by the protests outside the door, had fried her nerves, and she’d be lying to herself if she tried to argue that standing up to someone of Takeshi’s calibre wasn’t mentally draining. In retrospect, she wasn’t even sure she’d needed to in the first place. The man seemed pretty amiable, even malleable. She had to continue to stress to herself that being a softie was not how one got a high position in any of the Corps.

She shrugged off the loose shirt she was wearing as pyjamas while she mused about her day. She thought about her new job, new house, new citizenship. She had tried for so long to remain under Sevo's radar. Now she was going to return to the official registry, under her new name. It would be hiding out in the open. But she had been paranoid about Sevo hunting her down for a long time, and despite everything that had happened recently, there was no trace of them. She’d always presumed that whatever evils the company had wrought were dark enough that they’d be hunting her down, and after what happened with her father, who could blame her? But during all these years of hiding and running, she’d never stopped to consider: what if they simply didn’t care? After all, what damage could one scared girl do, right?

The thoughts disturbed her. Had those hellish first years of homelessness in the slums been for nothing? She shivered as she pulled off her panties. The bathroom seemed chillier now. She thought of Sirius. He probably thinks I’m dead. And after the bloodbath in her apartment, who could blame him? The thought weighed heavy on her heart. Despite their emotional disconnect, Sirius had been the closest she’d had to a true friend during her life in the slims. But she could not risk contacting him directly. He would not thank her for putting OSEC on his trail. She resolved to acquire a burner phone to drop him a message that she was alive at the first opportunity. Right now she had no usable money, but with the She’Ying contract, that might change soon.

She stepped out of her panties, leaving a crumpled heap on the floor. She inspected herself in the mirror. She was still largely skin and bones, her ribcage clearly visible underneath her diminutive chest, but considering the food in the Spire, she wondered absently how much longer that would last. Her mind went back to Piper and Romeo and she snickered quietly as she recalled their tale of Orlok’s return. There was a pang of premature loneliness as she thought about leaving the Spire behind for a home of her own. Those two would be what she’d miss the most.

She stepped into the shower and opened the tap. She closed her eyes as the water begun cascading down her body. The sensation was one she always relished, as she recalled more than one instance of her father chastising her as a child for using too much water. She smiled melancholically as she reached up to wash her dreadlocks as best she could.

Something was wrong. The water felt thick, sticky. Her hands came away from her hair with a soft squelching sound.

She opened her eyes.

It was as if a legion of people had been slaughtered in the shower cabin. Everything was drenched in what looked like blood. Thick, violently red liquid seeped down the panes and walls, red streaks running along the white tiles all around her. She was covered in it from head to toe, thick streams of the crimson liquid flowing from the strands of her hair, her dark skin coated in a deluge of red.

For a moment, she could only wordlessly stare in sheer eldritch horror. Then she opened her mouth, and screamed.

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