Grace floated in darkness. Phantasms of wispy blues and greens moved beyond her reach. If she concentrated hard enough, she saw shapes. She watched a green frog, but it rippled and she realized she was looking at a clam through green water.
A horse splashed in the water and she couldn’t delve beneath the surface. She’d have to tie that horse up. It shouldn’t be running around.
She was in a lift with a man in a lab coat like Raj. They stood for a moment, like strangers in a lift will do. She asked him, “Which floor?” and the man, vaguely familiar, began barking like a dog. Grace heard the barking, but there was no doubt, he was meant to be a man.
The floor disappeared and they fell into blackness. She held the man to her and he held her back, calling her Simone.
“I’m Grace,” she kept saying.
Every so often, Grace regained reality. Reality was dark: she saw nothing. Reality was pain in her torso and limbs. Constricted in a medical pod.
Between the realm of darkness and the sphere of pain, she knew that Tim talked to her. Sometimes she understood him. He told her that Maud had tried to cripple her. Reassured her that this medical pod would heal her.
But she still felt pain. If they were healing her, why wasn’t she getting a painkiller? She needed a doctor, not a dog.
But Raj was not there. Only the voice of the man who controlled the dog.
“There is no pain,” Tim said. “What you feel is the memory of pain.”
The memory? It was very real. She felt the spasms in her hands as they curled in on themselves.
“The pod reports one last procedure, Grace.” Tim’s voice flooded her mind. “I’ll see you after you wake.”
Maybe she fell asleep. The pain shrank upon itself. Her senses contracted.
She hoped the damn horse had left the puddle alone this time.