by Nikki Rae
Dawn's memories have been Wiped. To restore her life she'll have to team up with a hacker & take down the CEO who owns her. #pitprom #scifi
Dawn Glass doesn’t know her name. After waking in a hospital, not knowing how she got there, she must trust the man who claims to be her husband. Despite promises that she’ll get better, she begins to doubt she’ll ever be the woman she once was. Then by chance, she meets a stranger on a train—a stranger who claims not only to know her, but to know what really happened…a stranger who claims that she isn’t human at all.
Now, Dawn is beginning to remember, but she doesn't know why she decided to be Wiped: have her memories erased and her mind uploaded onto a machine-replica of herself. And while her true body sleeps somewhere unknown, she must find out who she was and who her enemies are before the Mori Corporation collects on their contract—a contract she signed herself, a contract that says they own her. In a not-so-distant future in Japan, As She Slept is a story of holding on, learning to let go, and fighting for who you are.
Complete at 89,000 words, my adult science fiction novel, As She Slept, would appeal to readers of Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson and And Again by Jessica Chiarella.
First Ten Pages:
The light that shone through the tunnel was dim, not what she’d expected. It jarred her, made her question her choice for the thousandth time. Still, the weight of her human shell lifting was enough. She’d felt this before, but couldn’t remember where. It didn’t matter now. She rushed towards the light, through the tunnel. If she stretched out her arms, she would feel the cold tile, the damp concrete. Even now, she could smell the gasoline, dirt, rain.
What happened after wasn’t as they had described. The train had hit her with an alarming force, taking all sound and sensation. No voice calling her, no rapid flashing of life behind the eyelids. The only thought that comforted her was that finally, it would stop. It would end. She would never again wake.
The smell of something clean and the words failing on her tongue. Why was it so dark?
Sound came next. Murmuring. A low hum of bustling bodies around her. One was closer, saying something to the larger group she assumed was farther away. She tried lifting a hand, but found it secured in place, something resistant against her skin when she struggled. Then something soft against her fingers.
A voice. Garbled, yet she could tell it was a different language. One that was familiar, but she couldn’t understand. The more she strained to listen, to dissect the code’s meaning, the harder it became to focus.
“Vitals stabilizing,” someone said in English. It was mechanical, yet human. A voice that had said things like this many times. “Blood pressure normal.”
She took a breath and tried to open her eyes only to be met with a blinding white light. She tightly closed them once more. She was shaking. Wherever she was, it was cold. Had she somehow gotten outside? Where had she come from and where was she going? Where was she? Who was she?
A small sound escaped her lips. A plea of some kind, though she did not know what she was asking.
“Shh, darling,” said an accented voice. She knew it was British, but she could not match anything else to that fact. It was just one more sound in the cacophony around her. A soft red glow behind her lids told her the bright light was still there and she did not want to open her eyes again until it was removed. “You’re just waking up, that’s all.”
Yes. Waking up. This was something she knew. You go to sleep and dream. You wake up and...then what? Her thoughts were coated in a dark fog, one she could not see through for more than a few meaningless inches.
Again, she tried to move her arms and legs but found them still held in place around the ankles and wrists. She moved her head from side to side, her cheeks rubbing against a soft material. Bed. Was she in a bed? Not outside, then. But inside where, and with whom?
“Can we move this, please?” said the same voice. “I think it’s too much right now.”
Some distorted noise. Some language she had heard before but could not understand, and then the redness went away, leaving small bursts of color behind her eyes before they disappeared. She tried to open them again.
White walls and white curtains. White sheets draped over her chest. An arm shrouded in a dark blue sweater stretched towards her, a hand on her shoulder. A face smiled.
She moved away as far as she could.
“It’s alright, love,” said the English voice. The one wearing the blue sweater. “You’re safe. No one is going to hurt you.”
She was so thirsty. She wanted to close her eyes again. Other people milled about, dressed in white coats and white gloves. They did not look at her. Instead, they spoke to each other in that same cold, foreign language, to the machines she did not recognize in the room.
“Who are you?” she whispered. Her voice was deep and scratchy.
The man in front of her had dirty blond hair, an angular face with some stubble etched around his chin and cheeks. His eyes were a deep brown and though there was something familiar about them. “My name is Bryce,” he said, his voice soft. “We know each other very well.”
She swallowed, her throat unbearably dry.
“Would you like some water?”
One of the men in white coats came to the bed and handed a paper cup to the man named Bryce. He lifted her head and tipped it to her mouth. She drank slowly as the cool liquid slipped down her throat. When the cup was emptied, he placed a pillow behind her head, propping her up.
“Better?” he asked.
She could now see an assortment of tubes and wires coming from her body, slipping under the white sheet as she trembled underneath. She looked to the only one speaking to her. “Where are we?”
He rested his hand on the guardrail of the bed. “Hospital,” he said gently. “You have been asleep a long while and now you’re waking up.”
Her head hurt. Especially behind her eyes. She blinked and leaned her head against the back of the pillow. She decided she would leave her eyes closed. It was better that way.
“I think she’s in pain,” Bryce said. “Please give her something.”
She tried moving her hands again and this time, when she met the same resistance, she started crying.
Bryce said something in a foreign language and no one answered him. When he next spoke, it was in English again. “She doesn’t like being restrained.”
“It’s for her safety, sir,” someone said. “And yours.”
The sheets around her were lifted and she only then realized that she was naked underneath. She was horrified when she looked down to see her pale bare skin, small pieces of metal sticking out of her abdomen. It hurt there, too, she realized. The man named Bryce quickly said something to one of them and the sheet came back down. She was grateful for that.
“What’s...wrong with me?”
“Nothing,” He smiled, but he did not look happy. “We aren’t supposed to talk about it just yet.”
“I—” She struggled against whatever held her to the bed once more. “Please.”
“Take the restraints off,” he said to someone that was not her. “She’s not a danger to anyone. They’re upsetting her.”
She leaned her head to one side, too tired to look at anything. The fabric around her arms and legs loosened and then came away completely. She did not have the strength to move her limbs, but she decided being without the confinement was enough.
The sheet lifted only over her right thigh, a needle inserted into the thick flesh. She made a whimpering sound and then the warmth of numbness washed through her veins. She looked up at the man who was talking to her. “I don’t...I don’t understand.”
One of the men in white coats came to the side of the bed. He stood behind the man in the blue sweater, studying her face as her eyelids became heavy. She did not want to go back to sleep. She knew that much. Sleep meant darkness. Darkness meant being lost.
“Mrs. Glass,” he said. “How are we feeling?”
It took her a long time to realize that he was addressing her. “I—” but she couldn’t finish. Her tongue was thick in her mouth; it left no room for words to get through.
“She seems rather confused,” Bryce said. “And...agitated. Quite agitated.”
When she opened her eyes again, the man in the white coat had dark hair, head bent as he recorded something on the tablet in front of him. He wore glasses over his almond shaped eyes with frames so thin that one could barely notice them at all. He also looked too young to be wearing such clothes in such a place, writing important things about her health down on important paper. Through the fog, she thought she didn’t like doctors. She didn’t like them at all.
“Completely normal,” he said. “It’s only normal there be a little lagging this time.”
Bryce looked to the doctor, his jaw clenched. “Is she stable now?”
“Yes. She is very strong.”
He turned his attention back to her, his hand returning to her hair. “I’d like to take her home, then.”
Home. She knew this word, but she could not attach any images to it. What was her home? Where was it? How had she gotten here? She shook her head to clear her thoughts; it only sent a dull ache through the back of her skull. “It’s alright,” he said again, his hand keeping her head still.
“There are still tests to run,” the other man she guessed was the doctor in charge.
“You’ve run enough,” Bryce dismissed. “You can get more information later. I want to take her home. Now.”
The doctor sighed and tucked his tablet under his arm. “I’ll have a nurse come and take her off the machines,” he said. “You’ll need to sign a release form.”
The rest of the white coats followed him out of the small white room with its too-bright lights. A nurse came in a few moments later, her dark hair in a high ponytail on her head, and she wore a cheery expression. “Mr. Glass,” she said. “Nice to see you again.”
She tried not to focus on how his last name and her last name were identical. “Fine, Yuna,” he said. “Glad you’re on duty tonight.”
“You look tired, sir,” she said. “Why don’t you step outside while I get her all settled?”
She did not want this. Holding onto his hand like she was on a sinking ship, she stared into his eyes. “Please.” The word came out slurred. “Don’t go.” There were many strange faces and strange things happening, but for whatever reason, his man made her feel safe. More tears welled behind her eyes as her aching fingers pulled on the wool of his shirt.
He looked to the nurse, who smiled. “Of course you can stay,” she said. “It’s a big day.”
“Yes.” He smiled down at her in the bed. “We’re going home.”
Home. That word. “Where…?”
“Oh,” he said, as if suddenly realizing something. “Here I am making decisions for you.” He took her hand. “You could stay here if you’d like. I just know you don’t like hospitals.”
She swallowed. She was so, so tired.
The nurse set to work turning off machines and unhooking tubes that were attached in various places to her skin. Some of them merely came away, leaving a sticky residue on her chest and abdomen, while some pinched and bled, having to be covered up by clean white bandages.
The blanket was abrasive against her sensitive skin. The pillow was too cold. The rails on the bed held dark leather straps with contrasting cotton lining them. They made her feel sick.
“You,” she whispered after a long time. “I want to leave with you.”
He seemed pleased with this, moving slightly out of the way as the nurse came closer on the opposite end of the bed. She took something thin from under her nose, the smell of her rubber gloves lingering in her nostrils.
“I bet that’s better.” The nurse smiled again, and though she did not know her, it seemed genuine. She wiggled her nose to take the itch away and found that yes, it did feel better.
“Yuna,” Bryce said, “do we have some clothing she could change into?”
The nurse nodded to herself. “Of course.” She slipped back out of the room, only gone a moment before she returned, a bundled green material under her arm.
She looked warily from her lap to Bryce, unsure of what to do next. Too weak to dress herself, one of them had to help.
“Alright,” said the nurse, pulling the white curtain around the bed, enclosing them. “Mr. Glass is right out there. Okay?”
The nurse helped her sit upright, slipped the stiff, thin green pants over her legs and up her hips. Then she threaded her arms through the shirt, covering her naked torso in more of the same color. Yuna rolled socks onto her feet and then clean white tennis shoes, which she tied a little too tightly.
“That’s better, huh?” The nurse spoke as if to a child, but it was a welcomed tone, softer than the harsh lights and brightness of the room. Softer than whatever was going on and why she couldn’t remember anything.
She heard Bryce clear his throat and the curtain slid back into the wall so there was no longer a barrier between him and the two women.
A knock on the door and another white-coated man entered, handing another tablet to Bryce, which he signed with a thin, black stylus. The nurse and the man in the white coat left.
“Well then,” he said, glancing around the room before smiling at her. “Would you like to go home now?”
She was too weak to pay much mind to the space between being in the hospital and the place she was to call home. There was a wheelchair, help from the bed, more help from the wheelchair into a vehicle. There was cold, the smoothness of leather against her back as she wore a too-big coat and the man—his name had since slipped away—came back to sit beside her as the car began to move, no coat to be seen. The white world swirled around them; snowflakes floated lazily down from the sky. She closed her eyes and. one moment they were in front of the hospital and its vast sterility and then they’d arrived to their destination.
The outside of the building was bulky, both stories were long, rectangular shapes and the roof more or less flat. Many windows peeked out from the main floor, the top floor only housing a few, but they were all covered in drapes, hiding any view of the inside.
He wrapped his arm around her and led her gently to the door, where he keyed in a code on a pad with his finger before guiding her in. The interior was bare and open, everything was made out of a wood so dark it was almost black except for the beige walls and a few colorful accents. She could see through her blurry vision what looked like a living room and a couch across from an open kitchen and dining room area, but that was all her eyes would allow.
“You’re probably tired,” he said in the quiet.
She looked around the room once more. It seemed too big to remember. Too big to even begin.
“I’ll help you upstairs,” he said.
She wrapped the big coat around herself more as he placed a hand on the small of her back and helped her heavy legs move with ease up the bare wooden staircase.
Opening a door to his left, he led her into a large bedroom. The window that took up most of the far wall was covered in off-white curtains that, while they blocked out the light, cast the rest of the room in an orange glow. They paused at the queen bed covered in white and brown sheets and blankets. He helped her sit on the soft comforter, her muscles aching and head spinning. She inhaled as deeply as she could, the oxygen in her lungs thick and cold. He took the coat from around her, unlaced the sneakers, and helped her into bed, covering her with the layers of blankets that made her feel heavier than before. She closed her eyes as she curled up against the pillow, letting her head sink into the clean smelling fabric.
When she opened them again, this man took her borrowed tennis shoes and placed them in what she thought was a closet. This man that she had woken up to; this man who had taken her here, and she couldn’t form a single memory of him.
“What it is it, love?” he asked. “Is everything okay?”
“I…” She hadn’t realized she had been staring at him for some time. “I think I forgot your name.”
She wasn’t sure why, but admitting this made her unbearably sad.
He sat on the bed by her curled legs and took her hand. He stared at the white tape the doctors had placed there. His eyes trailed upward to her wrist, which she just now noticed had also been bandaged. “It’s okay,” he said in a low voice, like it was hard to speak. “It’s Bryce.”
She shut her eyes against the recognition. “Bryce.” He had already told her this. “Bryce.”
He tucked some hair behind her ear. She wasn’t sure what color it was because she couldn’t see.
“And…” she said, searching for the words. “What’s my name...Bryce?”
An expression passed over his features that said he could not believe he had forgotten to tell her as of yet. “Of course,” he said under his breath. “Your name is Dawn.” His hand lingered just behind her ear.
“Dawn.” She repeated the word in the hope that she would have some connection to it, but found none.
“Yes.” He took his hand from her face and placed it on top of their already clasped fingers over the blanket.
“And…” Her words stuck in her throat. Any thoughts she tried to form clogged her head so not a single one could be released at a time. “We’re...home?”
“Yes,” he said. “Our home.”
“Our.” She knew this word. What it meant. Together. They had this home together. Not his or hers, but theirs.
Seeming to sense her confusion, he reached behind the folded clothes on the nightstand and took out a small black picture frame. She scanned it with tired eyes. The couple in the picture stood somewhere outside, bright green trees and grass behind them as a warm orange sun played on their skin. He had his arm behind her and she hugged him as he kissed her forehead. She recognized the man in the picture as Bryce. His smile, the grey eyes. His build and height. But the woman standing next to him was unrecognizable. She had chin-length dark hair, red lipstick, bright blue eyes that popped as the sun hit them. Her teeth were straight and white, a small dimple on the left side of her cheek. She wore a thin sundress painted with blue flowers.
Dawn brought her own hand up to the left side of her face.
“This is you,” Bryce pointed out when too much time had elapsed without either of them speaking. “And this is me. We’re married.”
She didn’t take her eyes off the framed photograph; the sun, the green, the blue.
“This was the last picture we took together,” he said. “Before…”
“Before I went to sleep?” Her voice was hoarse.
He nodded, unable to finish the sentence himself. Placing the photograph back on the nightstand, he slowly stood like it was the last possible thing he wanted to do. “I’ll let you rest,” he said quietly. “You need to.”
Hadn’t she been asleep this whole time? She wanted to protest, to ask him to stay and tell her more about the life she could not remember, but she found that the more she tried, the more exhausted she became. The more the words would not fully form on her tongue.
“I’ll get you something to eat too,” he said. “You must be hungry.”
Bryce seemed far away as her eyes closed. She didn’t know if she was hungry. She didn’t know if she was scared. She simply closed her eyes and let the dark take her again, so soon after she had left it.
Dawn remembered falling, traveling through a tunnel in which she did not know the destination. She was afraid of hitting the bottom, what would be there when she made impact, but then suddenly, everything turned dark and before she could think about it, she found herself aware of her body, stationary and still in the bed. Lying on her side, her face throbbed, the pain radiating to the back of her head and slightly down her spine. When she blinked, she found the world around her had blurred and she could not move from her current position. She squeezed her eyes shut and opened them multiple times, trying to clear away the fog.
The sun shone through the tightly drawn curtains at her back, rays dancing on the vacant pillow next to hers.
Dawn sat up, carefully checking her body for pain or discomfort, taking inventory of each separate part. Some areas were more painful when she moved certain ways, so she tried to remember which positions to avoid. Pushing her hair out of her face, she turned her body until her legs swung over the bed. She had to pull up her pants when her socks met the plush carpet and she slowly righted herself, her knees only protesting for a moment.
The soft glow of the window drew her in, and she took a few steps forward until she stood beside it, touching the fabric that covered the glass. It was warm against her fingers and smelled like Bryce. His scent permeated the entire room. It wasn’t something she could connect to any memory, but still familiar. The smell of a place that was lived in, that had history. A faint buzzing began in her ears, some form of white noise as she stared blankly at the material clutched in her hand. She wanted to be outside, the sun on her face, even dirt between her toes. So far everything she had experienced was so cold and sterile. Not Bryce, but everything else. Every other room and every other person. As though they were made of metal, painted faces and artificial skin stretched over their frames to make them look authentic.
She was about to open the shades when she heard Bryce clear his throat behind her. Letting go of the drapes, Dawn turned.
Fully dressed in dark corduroy pants and a mahogany sweater, a collared shirt underneath, Bryce held a tray in his hands with some form of food, but it was out of her line of vision.
“I thought you might be hungry,” he said, balancing the tray in one hand.
Dawn came back to the bed, suddenly tired as she sat down, not yet ready to swing her legs back up and cover herself with the sheet again.
Bryce picked up a fork and handed it to her. “Do you…?” he asked, indicating the silverware.
She stared down at the tray in her lap as he placed it over her knees; steaming yellow eggs, a glass of orange juice, toast, and a bowl of fruit. The mixture of smells made her stomach uneasy. “I know how,” she said, taking the fork from him and tentatively poking at the eggs.
He smiled a little as he stood and stretched. “Did you sleep well?”
The eggs were buttery and light in her mouth, but it made her nauseous. She didn’t want to make Bryce worry, so she tried the toast, finding it easier to stomach. “Good,” she said. “I don’t remember much of it.”
Bryce laughed. “You’re not supposed to remember your sleep. You’re asleep for it.”
The toast made her mouth dry so she gulped down some of the juice, its acidic taste sticking to the back of her throat. “Oh,” was all she could think to say, feeling stupid.
“I’m sorry,” Bryce said. “I didn’t mean to make you feel bad. It was just…”
She looked up at him, willing herself not to cry. “What?”
“I thought it was cute.” He shrugged. “I’m sorry. I should be more sensitive about...things like this.”
Dawn decided she was done eating. If she forced anything else down, it would just come back out. Pushing the tray aside, Bryce took it from her.
“I got some clothes from our room for you,” he said. “So you don’t have to keep pulling up your pants.”
She looked around. “This isn’t our room?”
He stared at the carpet for a moment. “No,” he said. “This is our guestroom. I thought it would be too jarring to bring you there straight away.”
Dawn studied the fabric next to her, picking up a cream-colored sweater, jeans, plain underwear, and socks. “These are from before?” she asked. “From our room?” She felt like the more she said these things, the easier they would be to grasp.
He nodded. “I...I try not to go in there much,” he said. “Or at least I used to, while you were asleep.”
She rubbed the shirt between her fingers, liking the soft feel of it. “I’d like to see it sometime.”
He nodded to himself, his eyes concentrated on her hand as it moved over the sweater. “Maybe in a day or so. I don’t want to overwhelm you.”
“I feel alright,” she said, her voice hollow. She wasn’t sure how she felt.
“I know.” The bed dipped in beside her as he sat. “I just want to make sure we do things slowly. The doctors told me to make sure of that.”
She looked at him, his eyes, his hands. “Would something bad happen if you...overwhelmed me?”
Bryce shrugged. “I’m fairly certain, yes.”
“How will I know when I’m ready for more?”
His hand reached out and grabbed hers, stilling it on top of the sweater. “We’ll know,” he said.
It was strange, but his answer comforted her. Although she didn’t know when she would be able to gain certain information, knowing that it would eventually happen reassured her.
“Am I supposed to stay in bed?” she asked, hating the idea.
He laughed a little, but stopped himself, probably because he was afraid of offending her again. “At least your personality is intact.”
The statement made her eyes wide and her heart flutter. “Oh?”
His hand grazed hers as he picked a piece of lint from the sweater between them. “You don’t like sitting still. Always have to be doing something.”
“Is that bad?”
“Of course not, love.” He stood once more and gestured toward the clothing on the bed. “Get dressed and I’ll see what we can do.”
Dawn liked the sound of that, and as soon as he shut the door behind him, she nearly ripped off the borrowed scrubs she had slept in. The jeans were tight and restrictive, much more confining. Was this what she used to wear?
The places that had been covered in metal and thread were now meticulously concealed in white bandages. Part of her wanted to lift them up, see the wounds and make sure they were real, but another, bigger part of her didn’t want to know.
A slight throb in her shoulders traveled up her neck and to her left temple before it disappeared. It caught her so off guard that she had to lean against the nightstand for a moment to collect herself.
But it was gone within seconds and Dawn was determined not to let it bother her. She shouldn’t dwell on pain.
She met Bryce in the hall and he offered a hand. “Would you like to see the house?” he asked.
Dawn couldn’t help the smile that spread across her face. “I’d love to.”
Even though the thought of something new that should have been familiar scared her, she was excited to see where she had once lived and perhaps gather some clue as to who she had been. She was awake now. It was time to rebuild her life.
His hand warm in hers, she could see the deep veins in his knuckles as he gently tugged her forward. “I want you to tell me if you get disoriented,” he said. “If anything feels strange, you need to tell me.”
Dawn nodded in agreement and after a second’s more hesitation, he led her down the hall and they descended the stairs together.
Their steps were soft on the wood beneath their feet. He wore shoes; she wore socks. She had to hold onto the crook of his elbow for support—her legs felt unsteady, like they couldn’t be trusted. Even dressed, she felt like a patient being shown the hospital grounds. But no, she was not in a hospital. She was home.
“You covered them,” Dawn said when they were safely at the bottom.
Bryce let his arm fall to his side and she clasped her hands in front of her, staring at the bandage there.
“Covered?” he asked.
Suddenly, Dawn felt the topic wasn’t worth talking about.
“Oh,” Bryce said after a little while. Dawn looked up at him and he was staring at her arm as well. “Yes,” he said. “I did.” When Dawn didn’t say anything, he said, “There was a…setback to your healing.”
Dawn blinked a few times. “Setback?”
The lightness of their short morning became weighty, and it all stemmed from Bryce’s expression. Like a crack spreading across glass. “You should have healed as you slept,” he said very quietly, “but you didn’t. Not everything. We’re supposed to keep everything clean. At the hospital, they didn’t bandage things because it was sterile. Here, there are more risks of infection.”
He seemed so much smaller, talking about this, as if the house she did not remember had grown around them. He would have to climb to sit in the chair; he could get stuck between the plush maroon area rug and hardwood. Dawn didn’t like it, and in some capacity, she had done this to him. Made him small in a world where he was supposed to be big.
She took his hand, almost surprised how well it fit in hers. “What are you going to show me first?”
This seemed to put him at ease; he stood at his full height as he showed a small smile. “How about the living room?”
Dawn tried to mimic his enthusiasm so she pushed the pain in her temples away and nodded.
Bryce led her short way from the staircase. “Well, this is it.” He slowly maneuvered around her. “There’re couches, books, TV.” He pointed to the spot in front of the couch above a fireplace.
Dawn stood by the stairs, taking everything in from afar.
“You can come closer,” Bryce said from the window. “This is your home too.”
When Dawn looked up, she could see the room was illuminated by the large square windows set low in the walls. Her feet slid across the cherry wood floor until she was in front of the just as square, charcoal sofa, rich wooden end tables and shelves surrounding her. She scanned the area and found that while it looked modern, the colors made it feel comfortable. Like a home. Her home.
Another stretch of silence passed between them before Bryce spoke again. “The house is pretty open.” He indicated a space behind her that she previously guessed was the kitchen, the only thing separating it from the living space a wooden island with stools. There was a large metal structure in the center, which she guessed was some kind of stove, an equally silver refrigerator, and then small table and chairs done in the same wood as the rest of the living room.
When Dawn had taken all of this in, she looked to Bryce for some sort of direction. He moved closer so he was standing right next to her. “You liked the open floor plan,” he said softly, “when we were looking at places to live.”
It made sense to Dawn. She really did like this space, and although she did not remember any of it, it felt decidedly familiar, like she had been there before.
“Where do we live?” she asked, suddenly realizing that there was a whole world outside of Bryce and her.
“Well,” Bryce said, taking her hand and leading her to the couch. He waited until she was seated before he did the same. “We met in America,” he said. “A place called New York.” He seemed to be thinking, calculating how much information was too much. “Then we moved here, to Karuizawa.”
“Karui-zawa.” She said the word slowly, trying to place it.
“Japan,” Bryce explained.
Dawn blinked a few times, trying to connect what this place meant and how it related to the images she could gather. “A city?” was all she could think of.
“We’re a little out of the way from the city, but you liked New York a lot and wanted to be close to one. Tokyo isn’t far. We live more towards the mountains.”
She caught herself staring out one of the square windows, the sun and trees outside.
“Though you liked the city, we decided a while ago that you needed the quiet,” he said. “I also need the city for work.”
She wanted to know what he did for a living, but somewhere she knew that if he wanted her to know right now, he would have given her that information. “Do I have a job?” she asked instead.
Bryce stared down at their knees, which were touching. “You did.”
“Before I went to sleep?”
“Why…was I asleep?” It seemed a logical question, one that she probably should have asked earlier, but she hadn’t thought of it until now.
Bryce’s eyebrows knitted together as his gaze darted away. “There was…” He paused, most likely thinking whether he should tell her. “There was an accident.”
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