There is nothing but passing earth below and the mirrored light from a river like a snake of silver and glass.
A soft chime in the recycled air and she turns. Her lips move. Familiar thoughts given voice. A smile. "Good to get home."
Oddly--sunlight metal-bright arcing rapidly across the narrow ceiling.
It begins like this. Now. Here.
Intrusive--shadows form through sunlight and reach like flexing fingers. Her smile, her familiar thoughts, halt in a skidding slide.
Something wrong. A hot coal dropped into her belly. There's a distant dim rumble--a far horizon storm--and the dead-of-night restlessness of unfamiliar animals beneath her feet.
A slow turning in a dream, then—
In the eaves of this storm, comprehension flees with the sun's ripping of the earth and the earth's betrayal of the sky. She is cut cruelly at the waist, though her head is oddly proud and her fingers are claws seeking balance and the tangibility of dreamless cloth and plastic.
The world becomes a small tempest-filled room and even the woman next to her is locked beyond its door-less walls.
And in this place of storms, her husband appears and he smiles with compassion and tenderness.
"It'll be all right, honey," he whispers. "It'll be over soon."
And then light turns to darkness. Returns to light.
And she tells him, "I love you," until—
the earth takes away her breath.