Claire didn't even acknowledge them leaving, head down and focused on the tasks at hand. Documentation. Claire reached across the desk and picked up a silver pen. Her eyes narrowed the instant her hand clasped the cool metallic object. Something. It reminded her of something. She tried to place it. A feeling more than a thought. Almost a memory. Like the memory of a sent.


Clair gasped as pain ran through her like a fire. The woman cried out and staggered blindly backwards. Tripping over her chair and falling unceremoniously to the floor backing up until her back found the solid comfort of the wall. Hands tracing her scars as if they were fresh. Felling out their pattern as if they were new. Carefully, tear blinded she assessed her hands. There should be blood. Drowning in it. Claire could feel the warm fluid. Feel the cool, sharp, surgical precision of soulless blades as they cut away at her.

Let Echo be number one. The words weren't just in her mind but everywhere. Just as real as the blood. So much blood everywhere and pain. Like a knife. But it wasn't right. This wasn't how the story went. But why…did it feel so much realer. There was something wrong. Something wrong with Claire. A bonsai and a smiling face. Claire let out a whimper and covered her face, trying to stop the pain, the constant slashing.

Claire shuddered. The wave of pain had somewhat passed for the moment, and for a second the woman became aware of her surroundings. No scissors or trees or smiling faces of dead men. Claire wrapped her arms around herself in vein attempt at comfort. Knees tucked tightly before her. Vaguely, the doctor took note that she'd somehow lost a shoe. She stared vacantly at the desk, her mind too exhausted to make sense of what was happening. Let Echo be number one. But Echo was number one. Echo had always been number one. Since Echo arrived she had been number one. Claire's breaths were short and sharp. Close to panic. The doctor shut her eyes and took in some deep breaths.

You're being ridiculous. She scolded herself. Reaching out for a nearby shelf for some support as she made a shaky attempt at standing. Alfa is dead. Alfa is dead. You're being ridiculous. The mantra was something she often repeated to herself and those around her when the compost event was mentioned. It made her feel slightly better….slightly…more in control.

Once she got her balance she reached out gingerly for her other shoe. Having to grab twice before pulling it back and sliding it back on. She could still feel the cuts deep and weeping. Alfa is dead. You're being ridiculous. But it wasn't ringing true. Not anymore. She could see him right in front of her. Across the table and the tiny trees smiling so serenely 'Let Echo be number one'. Claire did the only thing she could do. She screamed.

And screamed.

And screamed.

Author's Note: Sorry for the delay in posting, my computer was wiped and I am having to re-locate or in the case of this story rewrite a lot of my old work.

Author's Other Note: Please REVIEW! I can't improve my skills unless directed!