Alice found herself so, so lucky that this was one of the single-occupant bathrooms that she could just lock herself into and comfortably dissociate in.

Because she was not here to piss. She was here to get the hell away from Joseph and his insipid fucking… bell music, for five minutes.

First order of business: she walked up to the mirror and stared at her reflection.

“Am I balding?” she asked herself.

Her reflection stared back at her, unblinking. A surge of rage bubbled up through her. The other her had some nerve, she thought to herself, for just looking vacantly at her and not replying.

Still, was she balding? She studied her hairline, ran her fingers over her scalp. Part of her thought it was exactly the same it had always been, but then that other part was ready to convince her it had moved up… oh, a centimeter? Really? In just a week?

She moved her fingers down to her eyes. Were the bags under her eyes getting darker?

And… wait, what was up with that little line under her eye? Had that always been there?

“What the fuck…” It was all routine at this point, to poke and prod at the various parts of her that had been changing over the years. But that little line was definitely new.

Her fingers moved over it, and she could feel her fingertips snag on the edge, peeling it open just a crack. What the hell? There was no pain with this sensation, just the totally painless feeling of pulling skin apart, like separating two sweaty fingers.

All of her movements slowed to a crawl. She wasn’t sure if she was actually slowing her motions, or if she was starting to enter a panic attack.

What was in there?