There was a shape that looked kind of like Alex, if you squinted. It had an aura of color around it.

“Veilleux?” It’s Process’ voice. I think he’s crying? “You … you’re alive?”

It’s so bright. I’m squinting, trying to pull him into my view, but he’s still just a vague mass of shapes. “Am I?”

“What?” He doesn’t wait for an answer and starts lifting me out of the drawer. You’re shocked by how effortlessly he seems to lift us, his arms wrapped around our back and clutching our torso. His hand slips upward – he doesn’t even seem to notice, but you immediately get flustered, and I can’t help but laugh. He doesn’t pay any mind of that, either.

He lowers me to the ground. I slowly twist myself to face him. All of my joints pop.

“Are you okay?” he asks.

Something happens in our head, some sort of horrific loud bolt of lightning that severs us apart. I am in the middle of trying to come up with any possible response (“I watched Shrek”) when you suddenly pick me up and rip me out of our body, tossing me to the side. I land with a thud against the wall and skitter to watch what happens next.

“I don’t deserve to be here,” you choke out. Your voice sounds like it’s twisting in your throat, contorting itself. You will probably swear later that you didn’t mean to sound angry. But you do, and you probably are. “I don’t deserve to be here. Put me back.”

“What? What are you talking about?” He puts his hand on your shoulder, squeezes it. “Of course you deserve to be here.”

“I’m not alive. I never was. God damn it!” You slap his hand away.

He looks at it, shocked, and rubs his fingertips. “Veilleux…”

“And why aren’t we even on a first-name basis?!”

His mouth closes. He watches as you get up and begin to pace around the room, but he now chooses to say nothing.

“I was never alive – god damn it, I died a long time ago! I’m just a rotting corpse!” You grab your hair and pull at it. I wince and rub my scalp.

He is sitting cross-legged on the floor, looking up at you. His hands move to his lap.

“Stop looking at me like that! Stop looking at me!” You punch the wall; I have to scramble to get out of the way. The sound makes him flinch. “Stop looking! Stop looking! Stop looking!”

He looks away – he looks to the wall. It almost feels like he’s looking at me. I wave, but he doesn’t react.

“And stop being so fucking nice!” The pain catches up and ripples through your body. Your calves aren’t strong enough for you right now. “Just stop!”

He sits quietly.