rating: +20+x

It was a hallway, corridor, somewhat familiar, but dark. Clean. Cold. Sterile. Emergency lights flickered, but it was dark. Rosalind wondered where she could possibly be.

She walked down the hall, looking at the doorways, trying to figure out why it seemed so familiar. It wasn't Area 354, was it? The Biology department from University? Maybe…there's a door. Rosalind opened the door and…

It is the Biology department of her university. No, it's a high school chemistry lab. All the Bunsen burners light at once.

She starts running, as the room behind her catches fire. There's a staircase. There's a staircase? It only goes up. She climbs the stairs.

She's running from a room on fire down a hallway. There are stairs. She can only go up. She climbs the stairs.

She's in Joseph's room. There are no stairs to Joseph's room. The stairs are gone. The persistent ticking of a clock is in the background. Rosalind turns around. Why is she in Joseph's room? She's alone…no, there he is, lying on his bed, asleep. His tattoos twist strangely on his body, changing shape, slithering like snakes. She goes to touch him.

She's running from a room on fire. There are stairs. She climbs the stairs. To outside. It is cold.

Snow and ice are everywhere. She feels all of it. Every individual shard of ice, the seeds sleeping underground, the trees pulling sustenance from the ground and changing sunlight in their leaves. The creatures there, she feels them huddling together for warmth as IT comes. Coming to devour everything, and there is nothing but pain.

Pain…pain…pain. Rosalind is in a chair, strapped down, in so much pain. She opens her eyes and finds her arm is open, right where that kid cut her. But it's being kept open; the skin stretched and pinned like something on a dissection table. She realizes other parts of her body are open the same way. She starts screaming.

A hunched figure at a nearby table says, “Oh, come on, it doesn't hurt that much.” The figure comes over, dressed in a leather apron, gloves, surgical mask, safety goggles, wielding a scalpel.

“Lass, are you there?” It's Joseph's voice. He comes down a staircase, looking happy and cocky. The figure puts down the scalpel, takes off the mask and goggles. It's a woman. Joseph picks her up and kisses her. “My Rosie,” he says to the woman. Rosalind watches, tied to the chair. She looks again at the woman, some kind of surgeon/butcher. It's her. She's the surgeon/butcher. Surgeon/butcher Rosalind has tattoos?

She hears herself say, “What do you think of my latest masterpiece?” Rosalind feels herself gesturing to the chair she's no longer tied to. She really is the surgeon/butcher.

“It's grand,” Joseph says, beaming. Rosalind turns to look at the chair, expecting to see herself. It's Spencer, displayed out like a live dissected frog, heart still beating, blood oozing and melting into ichor as the head raises and it's Lisa in her containment cell. “It's not fair! I want to go home!” the plant child says.

“I'm sorry sweetie, I'll get you home as soon as..”

“Not good enough!” Lisa twists into thorny vines, tearing at Rosalind's arms, legs, everything. She notices a body on the ground, already dismembered. It's…she's not sure.

The lab is on fire. She needs to run. There are stairs. They go up. Rosalind runs up the stairs, but something is calling her back.

She's in bed. Joseph's bed. He's right there, next to her, sleeping. Rosalind hugs him, but there's a warm breeze. A woman hovers over Joseph, made of air or smoke, almost invisible. Rosalind can barely see her, but she knows this phantom's shape is perfect. Joseph begins to stir, his tattoos shimmering, like they're dancing on his skin. The phantom moves closer to him, and Rosalind wraps herself around him protectively, yelling, “No!”

The lab is on fire. She needs to run up the stairs. Did she leave something in the lab? She turns around.

Cold, snow, ice. But the massive thorn plant…that doesn't belong here. A voice calls out, “I want to go home! It's too cold!” The voice rocks the world. It rocks so hard, Rosalind is thrown off her feet, her world drifting away. She scrambles for it.

“Let me go! Please. Let me go…” The man strapped down in front of her is almost crying. She can't see his face. The voice is familiar, but she can't place it. She hears herself say, “No. You used me. You hurt me. Now, I'll make you suffer.” The man screams as she feels herself slicing him open with her scalpel. She feels calm and meditative as he begs for mercy. The most horrifying thing is feeling how much she enjoys it.

The lab is on fire. She left something important in it, but she needs to run up the stairs.

She's face-to-face with herself. The other Rosalind has almost as many tattoos as Joseph. Every time she tries to look at them, they become indistinct. The tattooed Rosalind looks disgusted. “Did you really think he'd stay with you? Boring, wimpy girl? Pathetic.” Wisps of smoke seem to curl around her tattooed doppelganger. “I…I…” “And stop stuttering!”

The lab is on fire. Something important is in the lab. She needs to get it.

The lab is on fire. She needs to run. There are stairs.

The lab is on fire. Joseph is in the lab. He isn't running.

Rosalind runs to the lab. All the Bunsen burners are on, and there is smoke. There is no fire. There are figures in the smoke. One is Joseph, lying about eight feet in the air. The smoke woman is over him, surrounding him. Rosalind tries to get him down. There's a blast of hot air. She's blown away. She needs to help Joseph! There's a blast of hot air. She's blown away. She needs to help Joseph! There's a blast of hot air…

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