XCIII | Someone Else

Someone’s replaced my blood
with lead.

I can’t move.

My lips part

a mammoth exertion.


I blink,

My vision is

with light.

I squeeze my eyes shut

I don’t want

to see



A hand brushes
my cheek.

Nails scrape
across my skin.

I recognise this touch.

The stench
of rotting flesh,
of smoke,

is gone.

Only the familiar smell of vomit

Very slowly,

I come back
to the world.

I’m staring straight
at a flat surface—

a ceiling, i think

—of LED lights.

I turn my head,
the movement

compounded because I don’t know

if I have a neck anymore.

(Apparently, I still do.)

It turns
and I’m looking at
a white window.


in a white room.

The person sitting by my head,
caressing my face,

is Tammie.

She gives me

an apologetic smile.
Her grey eyes

are anxious.

Not glowing,
not luminous.

But maybe that’s because

there are no shadows
in this room.

Everything’s brightly lit.

I struggle
into a sitting position

but a gloved hand

holds me down.

There’s a masked nurse
sitting on a chair,

beside me.

I’m horrified
for a moment,

thinking I’ll be stuffed
into a cupboard

with leotards.

I’m going to be another corpse
in the studio room.

I thrash
but I have no legs.

I rip the blanket off my body.

My legs
are there.

One foot bandaged.

The other leg
in a full cast.

I’m wearing
a paper dress.

I feel under my pillow

for a
plastic knife

but this isn’t my usual bed.

My hand closes
around thin air.


Lie still, Fiona.


The voice is muffled
either by the mask

or because of my ruined eardrums.

Tammie looks sad.

I stop struggling
and the nurse replaces

the blanket over me.

My arms are heavy too.

They’re also
bandaged at several

I’m wrapped up like a mummy.

Everything is sore.

A machine beeps violently.

The glowing green line
across it wobbles,

an infant on two feet.

I’m searching for Tammie,
afraid she’ll be gone.

(She’s still here.)

She smiles down at me,

The nurse speaks,


You were badly injured
in the fire.


He/She picks something
off a metal tray.

A needle.

A tear slips out
the tip of it.


Everything’s okay now.


He/She leans closer.
I shrink away.


A vitamin shot.
You’ve been out for
two days.


Two days?

The needle sinks
into my arm

with no resistance.

No pain.

I guess there’s
too much of it

for me to feel this prick.

The nurse
restrains my arms
by my sides.

He/She leaves the room.
and I notice

there’s only
my bed

in this white room.
There are
no cupboards.

The air reeks of

Machines tell me how I’m feeling.

I whisper again.

She lays her head
on top of my chest,

grey eyes wary.

I was so scared.

She’s unhurt,
no trace of having gone

anywhere close

to the fire.

She was
in the studio room
the whole time

after all.

She shakes her head.


You’re an idiot, Fifi.
Why did you run

into the fire?


I was trying to save you.

Tammie’s eyes
light up
with laughter.

She giggles.

It’s a different sound

to the one in the
dark studio.

She shakes her head,

lips pursed,


I don’t need you
to save me, Fifi.

I wasn’t even there.




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