Something…dark and painful was happening. Cory blinked, finding himself in bed, laced gray boots propped on the bed frame. He rubbed his temples and slowly bent his legs, sitting up.
Something dark and painful was happening. He’d just been somewhere… Something about butter. But the memory of it was fading like a pond draining. He blinked repeatedly, slowly comprehending the window, and the pots of plants on the shaded floor and in the bright windowsill.
Knocking echoed through the room. He glanced up. “What?”
“What is going on?” a clipped, even voice said. From the trunk.
Cory shot from the bed and yanked the trunk open. “Jasmine?” he asked. “What are you doing outside your cave?”
Jasmine slowly blinked round, dark eyes, standing perfectly still on the fourth step down. “You were fronting,” she stated.
“Yes,” he hesitantly nodded, still gripping the edge of the trunk, smoothed by time, despite it only having been there for a few years. “We were trapped somewhere, and a weird lady talked to me.”
“And then you left,” Jasmine pursed her lips.
“Yes, clearly, because I’m here now.” He mentally prodded the pond memory, but it only drained faster.
“So who’s fronting?” Jasmine asked.
“I don’t know. I just showed up here.”
“Cory, your memory split. I was watching the globe, as Ripple and Ani and then you fronted in rapid succession.”
He frowned. “You can do that?”
“I am learning.”
“I’m pretty sure something happened after we got trapped, because it seems like I should have remembered something, but I don’t…” he trailed off, trying to locate the pond memory again. Something to do with… “Wait, where did it go?”
Jasmine’s face remained impassive. “That is what I am asking you. Where did it go?”
Cory let go of the trunk and left it leaning against his bedframe. He sat creakily on the wood floor. “A new alter?” he suggested.
“Likely. Unless you know who is fronting right now?”
“I don’t know,” he repeated. “Was this really important enough for you to leave your cave and come up here?”
She carefully tilted her head. “Yes. Each time we become aware of a new alter forming, it is important. But I must leave, now. I do not like leaving the cave unguarded.”
Cory rubbed his eyes. “Alright. Thanks for telling me, Jasmine.”
“I did not do it for you. Whatever is happening, it is bad.”
“Of course it’s bad,” he scoffed. “If it’s a new alter.”
“No. Not always,” Jasmine carefully began walking down the steps, narrow boots silent on the stone. “For Flora, it was not. For you, or me, it was not.” she turned and stared at Cory, eyes locked on his. “But this one, it is bad.”
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