Clare blinks and pats at the back of her head. Warmth. She looks down at her fingertips, red with her own blood.
Strange, she thinks. I feel no pain.
The room takes shape. She sits in an empty bathtub, clothes on. The bathtub is in the center of the room. This bathroom: airy, too big, everything white, an open shower. The window over the vanity looks out to a sharp blue sky. Too bright. Clare shifts her position and cranes to check behind her. The pain comes, her skull throbbing.
Yes, Clare thinks. This place. Of course. I know where I am.
The bathroom door is closed. Clare leans back against the tub and closes her eyes to stave off the dizzy spell. She remembers. It was a strike to the head.
Voices outside the bathroom door. Clare can’t decipher how many. She works to pull herself up so she is sitting on the edge of the bathtub. Two. A man and a woman. The man’s voice is so acutely familiar that it brings a stabbing pain to Clare’s chest. He is here. Of course he is here. Of course they are here together. A small laugh escapes her. This is what you get, Clare thinks. After everything that’s happened, everything you’ve done, this is how it ends.
The bathroom door cracks open. Clare stands, still in the bathtub. She must steady herself. She must hold straight.
Clare, he says, pressing through the half-open door. Clare?
Clare squeezes her eyes closed, then pops them open to regain her focus. He is smiling too kindly. He holds a gun loose in one hand.
Are you hurt? he asks. I didn’t mean to hurt you.
Does he look different? He’s grown a beard, put on some weight. There’s a deadness in his gaze. He steps forward and reaches out to take her by the arm. When Clare recoils, he frowns playfully.
Don’t do that, Clare. You’ve got nowhere to go. This is finally over. I’m here.
It comes back to Clare now. This morning, dawn. She was alone. And then he was there.
Oh wow, he says, reaching this time for her hair. You’re still bleeding.
Don’t touch me, Clare says, a hiss.
Come on, he says. This doesn’t have to end terribly, does it?
Who else is here? Clare asks. Who’s here with you?
But she need not ask. She knows. The blood drips from her hair and travels in a stream down her spine. It takes all her effort not to sway. Clare closes her eyes again. She must find a way out.
You owe me the truth, he says. Don’t I deserve the truth?
The truth? Clare doesn’t answer him. She knows she is in danger. They will not let her out of here alive. She needs to focus. Focus. But she is dizzy. Her thoughts churn too quickly. The truth. He smiles at her expectantly. Anger roils in her instead of fear. Anger that she didn’t grasp the lies she was told, for trusting those she should never have trusted. Anger at herself for opening that door when she did.