Serenity in the Face of Corrosion

SUMMARY: Why do things only make sense when you are nearly dead? If Sleeping Beauty doesn’t wake up does that mean you don’t get a ‘Happy Ever After’?
POSTED: 30 Dec 2003
WARNINGS: None Listed
STATUS: Complete

Terentia tiptoed along the hall, resting all her weight on the balls of feet, subconsciously making herself as quiet as possible. Her breath got shallower with each intake of air, her chest hardly moving. She hunched over slightly, instinctively keeping to the walls and whatever shadows they provide, which wasn’t much considering that the walls were almost white. She wasn’t even aware of the change in her normally confident yet somewhat cautious strides, just as she didn’t take note of the dead cameras, failing to track her progress. Truthfully she didn’t even know what she was doing down here at all.

She was sure that this place was forbidden, she didn’t know why though, there’d been no sign anywhere. The building wasn’t splayed with the familiar lobster like symbol of ‘Angel and Associates – Attorneys at Law’. Like many other children born after 2010 Terentia had grown up accepting and yet still hating that symbol. It was widely accepted that A+A ran things- Canada, funnily enough had been the last country to ‘realise the beauty and inevitability of the New World Order’ or in other words- they were the only country left and had every single other country sitting there with weapons trained on them.

It was a strange corridor actually; she’d explored the top floors of the building already. Terentia stopped as an unexplainable chill crawled up her back and turned her head to look in the direction she had come from, she had to admit, there was something a little creepy about seeing a corridor this long- without any doors. Well she supposed there was one door, she could see it down the end, but usually there would be at least one more somewhere along the walls. She shrugged and continued.

Reaching the door, she wrinkled her nose slightly at the amount of cobwebs that had gathered around the door and paused peering into musty grey mass of sticky tendrils, it certainly didn’t look like there were any spiders in there. In fact if she looked closer the cobwebs didn’t look disturbed by anything. Again she shrugged and grimace firmly planted on her face screwed her eyes shut and reached out quickly, waving her hands around breaking up the thin grey curtain covering the door like some kind of impromptu shroud.

Terentia reached out and lightly tapped the door, immensely surprised when it sprung open effortlessly. She poked her head around the edge of the door and gasped in awe. She’d never seen so many colours in one place before. AS far as she knew, people had been executed for far lesser crimes- especially here in LA, where the New Order was the strongest.

She looked around again; cream walls not bare white, a blue antique lamp, and actual coloured painting hung on the walls. Then her attention was drawn to the large bed in the middle- the bedspread was a faded crimson, like it had been there a while. It was only then she noticed the other occupant of the room, laying there on the bed.

Terentia jerked backwards and bolted, the door slamming shut loudly, echoing through the silence she hadn’t even realised was so complete here. She was halfway down the corridor before she realised nobody was chasing her and she slowed. Natural curiosity got the better of her and she turned heading back towards the room.

This time when she opened the door she crept into the room, but left the escape open as she approached the bed. She was almost floored by the beauty of the figure in the bed. She had silky dark brown hair, and skin like porcelain. Her clothes though beautiful, looked aged, as if they were ready to fall apart. Terentia stood back from the bed, and gazed at her- not seeing any really obvious sign s of life. She leaned in and placed her hand lightly on the woman’s throat inexplicably relieved to find a slow but steady pulse, and calming her own heart she was able to clearly hear the woman’s steady breaths. She stood for about half an hour- just staring, wondering who she was Terentia didn’t bother trying to figure out why she was asleep. Some things just were.

Months later, Terentia still spent at least half an hour every day staring at the face- wondering who she was. She’d moved in about a week after she’d discovered the place. The woman on the bed somehow seemed comforting, familiar, like someone she would just want to hug. That wasn’t why she’d moved in though- she’d moved in because she knew what it was like to wake up alone in the world.

She still remembered the day that she’d woken up to an empty house, there was an A+A notice pinned on the door, they’d taken her mother away. Even at her young age then she’d still been able to understand that her mother was never coming back, that it was more than likely that they’d killed her.

For some reason she couldn’t bring herself to let Beauty wake up like that, yes she’d named the woman, named her in honour of a half remembered storybook. Terentia settled back onto her mattress and closed hers eyes. The sound of her roommates breathing always sending her to sleep, it was comforting and ever-present. It never changed. So naturally that night when it did- just slightly, Terentia was up in a flash- panicked.

She watched from just above as Beauty’s eyes twitched, as if dreaming. But she didn’t get her hopes up- the woman had shown movement before. Then her head moved though, and Terntia was like a little child again, bouncing on the balls of her feet, waiting to see what would happen.

Long lashes fluttered and dazed hazel eyes opened, blinking before they focused on her. Terentia coughed a tiny bit to clear her throat and opened her mouth suddenly very nervous…




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