My head hangs down as I lean forward, white-knuckling the edge of the bathroom sink. I feel my stomach twist and turn, and I grimace, struggling to hold my breakfast down.
I lift my head and open my eyes. I look rough. My eyes are dark pits in my skull, my mouth a crooked red slash across the bottom of my face. When I blink, my eyelids are like sandpaper, the grit scraping the surface of my eyeballs.
I close my eyes and drop my head.
When I open my eyes again I stagger, the sink somehow escaping my grip, and I stand on the rocky shore of an unknown lake in the middle of the night. The stars spill across the sky, and I know why it’s called the Milky Way.
The air is so still around me, but I see the trees on the other side of the lake wave their branches in a slight breeze. The breeze ripples the surface of the water and makes its way to me, riffling the hair that lies across my forehead. It’s cool and clean and crisp, and I breathe it in greedily.
I turn to my right, and the moon hangs full in the sky.
I blink, and I’m standing in front of the mirror again, away from the sink. The urge to sit in the bathtub and slit my wrists is gone, for now, and the smell of that nighttime breeze still fills my nostrils with hope.
Salina paused by her living room window, the one facing the lake. She put her hands on her hips and stared. The tiny island in the middle of the water didn’t have any buildings on it before, but there it was.
It looked like a storage building. Far too small for someone to live in, but the island wasn’t nearly big enough for an actual home anyway. And it would be such a pain to have to take the boat any time you wanted to go to the library, she thought.
Salina didn’t spend much time on the water; she much preferred to be simply near the water. She couldn’t fathom the motivations of her neighbors who were constantly swimming or boating or skiing. Someone living on an island was too far beyond her ken.
Still, better safe than sorry. She made a mental note to call the sheriff in the morning to ask about it as she pulled her curtains closed and made her nightly loop around the cottage, turning off the lights and making sure everything was in its place.
The image returned to her mind as she was cozying up in bed with her newest book. She closed the book on her finger and wondered. When did that building get there? And how? She sighed, and nestled into her pillow, cracking her book back open and picking up where she’d left off.
Maybe there would be answers in the morning.