Stepping through the front door of my apartment... I wasn't sure what I expected. Maybe part of me was hopeful that crossing that threshold would somehow wake me up from this seemingly endless nightmare I had found myself a slave to. That all of this really had just been some twisted vision I'd conjured up as I lay on a surgery table in my death throes. I had been assured, no matter my insistence, that it wasn't a dream, and that it was a miracle in fact, for me to have survived as I did. And yet with each step I dared deeper into the space that used to feel like mine, I found myself questioning if that was truly the case. I was a soldier, never had I been more.
Why... had they gone and felt the need to make me into something more?
The dull thud of my bag striking the wooden floor with all of its weight disturbed the somber air, reminding me how empty the space still was. Boxes were still stacked up on the fringes of the living space, barely opened with haphazard labels scrawled across their faces and upside down 'FRAGILE' stickers slapped on the tops. Months ago I had moved in. That time felt like a blur, more than anything, yet it was still there in the edges of my recollections where many things had been lost. The passage of time could not seduce me into unpacking my meager belongings- the total of which could not come close to filling this generous of a space- and collectively I was unbothered by that fact.
No arguing with it. I didn't have the strength to. The discipline, sure. But the strength? No. Not right now. I pulled a slow breath of the musty, stale air through my nose, acknowledging the fact that those who were supposed to come and open the window every once in awhile had obviously failed in that task. Maybe they had assumed what everyone else had assumed. I wasn't mad about it, I decided quickly as I hoisted my bag lazily by its strap and stepped beyond the living room and kitchen, listening to the heavy toll of my boots and the faint whir which accompanied each motion. Every step. Every reach of my arms. Every turn of my head. I had grown used to it, mostly, tuning it out and allowing it to just melt into the background of the soundscape that churned around my life.
A hand reached out, pushing the door to the bedroom open with all its whiny groan of protest.
Rays of dusk-kissed light spewed through the angled, steel shutters, casting a faint glow to the room which I had forgotten was one of my favorite things about it. I hesitated in the doorway, lingering there as if I had intruded in my own home. As if I expected someone else to come walking through the heavy door. A turn of my head cast eyes in that direction, paranoia serving to fuel the glance into reality. I cleared my throat, focusing back on the stacks of boxes by the door and the unmade bed stationed against the far wall. The black and grey blankets. The clock on the nightstand. The holocom beside it.
It was an interesting thing, to glimpse back at my reality before Bastion. How simple things were. I crept inside the bedroom and dropped my duffel bag on the foot of the bed, glancing towards the empty food containers scattered among papers and lesser boxes along the desk of my terminal. "What a few months it's been..." I breathed into the silence, unnerved by it here when it never bothered me elsewhere. Perhaps it was the thought that I had, by all accounts, died and come back from the dead that made my presence here feel so perverse.
Metal hands reached for my face, twisting and rubbing at my eyes with the heels of harsh palms and I found myself sighing, "And a longer night ahead, yet still."
Uncertain strides carried me back out into the lonely hall.
I had only just gotten here and I was already pacing.