Spoiler Alert: Major spoilers for Recluse in the Recliner are included. Although for the moment I am only incorporating the events at the very 'end' of the episode (and that includes the opening flash-forward scene), those scenes contain huge spoilers for anyone who doesn't want to know what happened.
** Mega-Angst Warning **
This episode was so emotionally intense that I needed to process it and I do that through writing. This was me getting it out of my system. It's actually worse than the episode in some ways, especially because there's no easy 'fix.' I plan to continue the story so I've given it a title that suggests the direction it will go. (I have ideas...) Updates are going to be very slow for now, while classes are still in session.
An ornamental design consisting of intertwined flowing lines, originally found in Arabic or Moorish decoration.
...The trouble with nightmares is that they seem so real when you're locked inside them. Everything feels real, even the craziest, most nonsensical things such as handing over your beloved into someone else's care knowing you're leaving her, knowing that you're doing something that might get you killed. Knowing she may never see you again...
"Dad, take Christine. I've got to go."
The rushed words tangled and tumbled out of her mouth as she shoved her precocious preschooler into her grandfather's arms.
"Mama!" Christine protested, leaning out of Max Keenan's grasp and trying to snag her mother's neck.
She had been quiet in the car, but perhaps that was due to the lateness of the hour (from a young child's point of view). Christine had spoken very little since Brennan woke her from sleep and then rushed around the bright, yellow bedroom, scooping up precious stuffed animals and books, clothes and a blanket, gathering them and stuffing them all frantically into a large duffel bag. Rubbing her sleepy eyes, the little girl watched the process of her entire existence being packed up with mostly quiet confusion. Too young to tell time, still the fact that it was past bedtime (because she'd been asleep and was still wearing pajamas) and that all her favorite things seemed to be disappearing into the large bag, signaled her that something unusual was occurring. Her mother's hasty activity, unnatural silence and unspoken terror made the little girl whimper. "Mama? We goin' sumwhere?"
"Yes, Sweetheart. We're going to Grampa Max."
"No. Daddy's staying here."
Her favorite question, of late. (Brennan's too, right up until now, when she couldn't possibly explain what was about to befall them all. Not to a two year old, no matter how brilliant.)
"Because..." Her heart and voice breaking, Brennan drew a breath, tried to sound calm. "There's a problem with our house so Daddy's going to stay here and try to fix it. Okay?"
"Okay." Christine accepted the explanation with complete trust, as any dearly beloved child would.
But someday, she would question it. Christine would grow up and someday, she would wonder if she should forgive her parents for the mistakes they'd made. That is, if she still had two parents to question.
Stifling another sob Brennan looked around the room with tear-stained terror, knowing Booth was planning to damage it. With the C-4. With showers of bullets. And he wanted her gone, so she wouldn't be there when their life was torn down to the very foundation. She bundled their innocent daughter into a light jacket, carrying her and the huge bag swiftly down the hall, down the stairs, finding Booth at the kitchen island with his knife trimming C-4 into putty for shaping.
"Play doh," Christine murmured longingly.
"Hi, baby girl." Booth turned, his eyes bright and hard as they met his wife's but they softened when he looked at Christine. "I love you."
"Daddy, you comin'?"
"No, baby." He glanced away, his gaze drifting to a cabinet in the corner of the living room. "Bones, get the video."
She knew exactly which video he meant. Shuddering, she could only beg him to leave with her and yet the words wouldn't emerge. "Booth."
"Bones..." The harshness was coming back. "Thirty minutes. Please."
"I love you." She darted toward him, pressing frantic kisses on his lips and cheek because she didn't hate him and the thought of those being the last words she ever said was unbearable. "I love you, Seeley Booth."
And then he was pushing her back. Begging, harshly. "Go!"
"I hate you for making me walk away." She'd said it just minutes ago, having come to understand in the final moments that he'd brought this about, somehow, and he wouldn't let her help him. He wanted her safe in another man's care. Turning until Booth was behind her, she heard the knife cutting through the explosive putty again as she walked blindly through her beautiful home for the last time and retrieved the recordings they'd each made for Christine.
Their last messages to her.
Just like Brennan's own mother had done, so many years ago.
Now at her father's door Brennan was doing the same thing, pushing her daughter away for her own good, forcing the child into a state of abandonment with nothing but a pair of video recordings to explain that they'd loved her. Just like her own parents had done, now twenty three years ago. And also, once before then ... when Temperance Brennan herself was only two years old and still named Joy.
Max helped her by shushing Christine, his own level of alertness strained by the fear driving his daughter. He knew, almost didn't need to ask but did anyway. "Tempe, what's happening."
"They're coming after Bo—" She broke off, mindful of Christine's frightened ears. "He's alone. I have information that could help him, I've gotta go."
"Call him," Max urged.
"No, he won't answer because his phone is probably tapped. He's alone." Terror stopped up the words again; she was wasting precious seconds standing here.
Shifting Christine's weight as well as his own so he could cradle her closer, Max reached up a hand automatically to soothe one of his girls. Christine snuggled into his warm arms, but Temperance stepped back, her jaw set in rigid lines of resolve. She wouldn't be comforted. "Sweetheart, you have no idea what you're up against."
"They're going to kill him." She whispered it, trying not to let her fear infect their daughter.
"They'll kill you, too. Tempe, stay here. I'll keep you safe."
Fiercely, she resisted. "I love him, Dad. I can't. No, just ... take Christine. What we talked about." Was it only a couple of hours ago, when she'd stopped by to tell him what happened at the confirmation hearing? And he'd warned her then, offered her a secure meeting location. Told her where and told her when, if it was needed and how certain he was that it might be. Very soon.
"You know where to meet us."
"Yes." She wiped tears from her eyes, leaning over to kiss Christine. "I love you, sweetheart. I'm going to help Daddy. Okay? Daddy needs my help tonight."
Sorrow deepened the lines on his face as a choking Max ground out his own worst nightmare. "We didn't want this for you, but I should have known."
Sharply, she questioned him. "We? Known what?"
"Your mother and I learned it the hard way. You cut off the head of a hydra, two more grow back in its place."
...Recurring nightmares, the ones that play over and over, are inescapable. You awaken from it thinking it's finally over, only to find yourself right back in it the next time you fall asleep...
All she has is a pistol when Temperance Brennan arrives at her own house to find a war in progress. Shattering wood and glass, rattling roars of gunfire penetrate the night and she sees lights on in her neighbor's clean and tidy houses, figures huddling in terror near windows, eyes peeking out to fearfully watch the flashes flaring in the windows of the Booth/Brennan residence. Speculating that someone has probably already called the Metro police on shots fired in their upscale suburban neighborhood, she takes a moment to bind up her hair before dashing carefully from her car to enter the fray through her shattered front door.
Her right hand is steady as she leads with the gun, but her little 9 mm semi-automatic only holds nine bullets plus a single extra clip. Eighteen shots total. It won't be enough against an assault rifle that can spray eighteen bullets in less than a second. She knows she's got nothing but surprise on her side but the fact that they are still shooting tells her Booth is still holding his own. That means there's hope, that possibly her unexpected entry will give her desperate mate a more secure advantage against three heavily armed and well-trained expert soldiers.
She rounds the entry hall into the living room and sees a black-garbed man, helmeted and vested, weapon up as he tracks away from her. By his stature and gait she can tell he isn't Booth and that's all she needs to know. His back to her, he doesn't know she's there. Beyond him is Booth, on the ground and rolling away out of sight. Aiming for the intruder's only vulnerable spot Brennan squeezes the trigger, watching a spray of arterial blood announce her target's penetration as the metal missile slams into his cervical spine and rips open one of his carotids on its way out. The soldier drops, his weapon clattering, and the only stop she makes on his account is to kick the rifle away from his outreached hand. Just in case he lives, but she's sure he won't.
It's quiet and acrid, the scent of blood, charring and burnt C-4 assaulting her nose. From Booth she hears labored breathing. Though she tries to be cautious and wary, the pull of him brings her to his side in a reckless blur because all she can hear is that he's hurt. He's on the ground, rising weakly, exhausted, and even more tense now that he's seen her.
"Uh, I'm all right," he gasps. But he doesn't sound sure, his body pumping so much adrenaline that he knows only of his wounds in an intellectual way. He thinks he's fine because there's no pain yet to tell him otherwise. "Think I'm all right," he amends. Because he can't get up.
"You're hit!" Left leg. Right abdomen, very low and near the anterior superior iliac spine. Just inside his hip, which appears uninjured: behind that might be some intestinal involvement (descending colon, high risk of infection). Her eyes shift back to his thigh, noting the wound looks oblique, a clean pass through the vastis lateralis muscle that would cause some difficulty walking in the short term but bone and major vessels all seem intact.
His breathing is harsh, gasping more than he should be as he tries to warn her. "There's another one in the house."
Glancing around, listening to Booth and trying to decipher if he has a hidden chest injury she hasn't spotted yet, Brennan asks the question that brought her here. "Are these two right-handed?"
He gives her a quizzical look, even winded as he is. "Why?" It's a gasp, bringing to mind another fight years ago when she tried to instruct Booth to strike his opponent in the weakest area, a kidney the man couldn't guard. Booth had gasped a question instead of an answer then, too, just as battered and bewildered. But they've both come a long way together since then and even though he doesn't understand her reasons, he answers without further hesitation. "Yes."
"'Cause there's one that's left-handed," she explains quickly. "That's what I came here to tell you."
It's an excuse, they both know it. He looks up at his partner (long before she was his wife, she has always been his back-up, his ace-in-the-hole, his fiercest champion), and knows there's no use in trying to send her away. He's too weak, anyway. And she's too loyal. "Just get me over there, in the back."
"Come on." With a grunt of effort, his powerful partner grabs his arms and begins to drag all 200 pounds of pure muscled man around the island until he's more safely tucked out of sight. He grunts, too. From pain.
She knows he's hit somewhere else but it's not visible and he seems stable. But she knows. And he knows she does.
For the moment Booth is still alert enough to be tactical. As he props himself up, he groans another command. "Hand me the gun, right there."
Brennan lunges for the pistol spun just out of reach, passing it to him and in the blink of an eye their respite is over. Bullets spatter just overhead, shattering more glass and splintering the walls, chipping the polished granite counter-top just above them. This is what fear tastes like, Brennan notes in a burst of clarity.
Her tongue is nearly glued to the top of her mouth in a hot, tacky mass that she can't move to form words. Every sound fractures into constituent parts of trigger clicks and bullet hits, Booth's answering shots and her unthinking lunge over crunching chunks of glass and plaster for the shotgun she sees laying two feet away behind what's left of her octagonal maple end table.
This nightmare has to end.
Fingers closing, she is rising to defend her mate like she always has and she always will. The double-barrel blast knocks the assailant backwards. (Delta Force commando or not, no one can defy physics.) A pause for a second, to note he seems still.
So she's back at Booth, determined to make him tell her. "How bad is it?"
"It's just a scratch," he insists, still belied by half breathlessness. "Behind you!"
She turns again, ready to shoot, but this time the shotgun fails her. The Delta has a knife, whipped out into his left hand, and he sees her as an obstacle to be dispatched. He spares no mercy for her gender, sweeping the shotgun from her hands with a violent pair of roundhouse kicks that disarm and then destroy her balance in rapid succession. Brennan feels herself flung across the room in a tangle and knows a knife is coming to cut her up but before she can turn and right herself she hears a thud and a tumble.
Then a grunt, as she's turning over.
A crackle of violently twisting vertebrae, like shearing open a head of crisp iceberg lettuce.
And another soft sound of total collapse.
Dazed, she finds her footing just in time to note Booth's prone form is slumped over her would-be killer. It's not Booth's neck that has been shattered but he's not moving. Why isn't he moving?! "Oh, Booth."
The last intruder is flat on the floor under Booth, his head flopped sideways into a horrific state of bonelessness. She rolls Booth over and away, trying to control the movement as he flips over his left shoulder and falls onto his back. No sound, no movement, but there's blood covering his right shoulder rapidly now. Blood that wasn't there before.
God, what has he done? He moved! Oh God, he moved when he shouldn't have.
To get in the way.
Risking his own life to kill that man.
To save her...
"Booth!" No no no, not this! Not again!
This is what horror tastes like: a surge of gastric fluid climbing up the back of her throat with ragged talons.
She's been in this nightmare before, lived it, watched him die in it...
The scent of blood and the pungent punch of gunpowder brings it back just as surely as the slick black spot spreading across his chest and the warm wet pressed under her palm. Too familiar, too much a nightmare she has often repeated in her sleep. Lately he is the one who wakes her and reminds her it was all in the past, that now he is here beside her in the night (alive, whole, wholly hers) and she would lay back down in his strong arms.
God, please, I want to wake up. Please, Booth, wake me up!
"Booth!" He can't wake her because she's not dreaming. She's trying to wake him, instead. "No."
There's a dent in the vest that protected his chest. Unzipping the Kevlar vest, she pulls it apart to reveal the blood and the injury she couldn't see before, now made obvious with a freshly broken rib stabbing into his lung. It was just a crease and a cracked rib before, but then he'd moved and the exertion broke it. And drove the broken shards deeply into his lung.
"Oh my God," she sobs. All for her, he's done it again and he is dying again because he loves her. "Oh my God. Don't you die."
Don't do this to me, Booth!
This time his arms are slack and his eyes closed, while her eyes are open and the nightmare is so much worse. Her life and home are in ashes and her husband (the very thought of him, of husband, makes him so much more precious now and this moment all the more terrifying because he) is dying all over again.
And she's angry that he put himself at risk but knows she would have done the same. Love is irrational. "Don't you die."
The ruined house, she doesn't care. Such cruel destruction she has witnessed in the past and though it is a setback, most things can be replaced. Yes, even his great-grandfather's Bavarian cuckoo clock and even her 7th century Moche vessels. (Well, not really. Moche ceramics are priceless but in the end they were only mud, made precious by the mold of human hands and the passage of time.)
Under her hands, her precious partner is so still and nothing can ever replace him. She sobs, trying to call him back to her. "Don't you die!"
A command, an order, a plea. She can't bear to live this twice and yet she has no choice. He needs help, she needs help.
Taking her hands off his bleeding wounds, she scrambles to find one of the phones that might still be functioning. In her unthinking haste she forgets both the cell phone in her own pocket and her assumption just minutes ago that the neighbors have probably already called. Instead, she wastes precious seconds in a frantic search through the wreckage of her kitchen to locate a land line, only to find the line is dead. No dial tone means they'd cut the line before entering. The intruders clad in tactical gear had come into her home with fatal intentions.
With a sudden surge of chaotic noise, the DC Metro police were now arriving and bursting through the door, responding to a sudden rash of shots-fired calls from the frantic neighbors. What they find is mayhem, a man down and his bloodstained, tearstained wife begging them for help. They're on their radios and fanning out over the devastated room, taking in the scene and discussing it with garbled whispers she can't hear.
An ambulance is dispatched already and as emergency responders swarm the scene Brennan dares to hope this will turn out better than that night at the Checkerbox. They run their IV lines and prep him rapidly for transport. It's going to be fine, he'll be okay. She holds on to that hope as long as it takes for them to load Seeley Booth's gurney into the ambulance and shut the door in her face.
"No!" Her fists slam into the metal shutting her out, demanding entrance despite the rumble of the engine starting and exhaust fumes covering her in petroleum soot. Not again, not again. "He needs me, let me in!"
This is how it happened the last time.
A uniformed officer, silver badge glinting in the streetlights, takes her arm and pulls her back. "You can't go with him."
"Why not? I'm his wife!"
"Ma'am, we need you to stay here and answer some questions."
That's why it happened the last time. They held her for questions because she'd shot Pam Noonan and by the time she finally reached the hospital... Panic subsumes into fury because the last time... The last time, someone hid Booth away and told her he was dead. The last time, they were both betrayed. Horror at the separation, at the repetition of an FBI that can't be trusted and life-threatening injuries and—
Not again! No, she will not permit anything to keep her away.
Spinning, she bolts for her own car and the officer spins with her. "Ma'am! Ma'am, you can't go with — wait!"
He tries following to catch her arm but Brennan's resolve is faster. She throws herself behind the wheel and the tires are squealing after her husband within seconds. They are married, damn it! He'd insisted, she'd resisted but Booth was right and this is the only comfort she can count on. As his wife, they can not deny her access the way they did to his "partner."
"I'm his wife, he's my husband." It's an anthropological trope: Wives have status that partners can never hope to attain. "They have to let me in."
Chanting this mantra she tailgates the ambulance all the way to the hospital and when she gets there, they still won't let her stay at Booth's side. A nurse tries to stop her. "He's my husband," she insists. "They wouldn't let me ride with him."
The nurse shows surprise, sensing at once the strangeness of this lapse in protocol. The repetitious, nightmare quality of this lapse in social norms. "Why? They usually—" She's going to agree at the oddity of it, which makes the nurse a reluctant ally and that's enough, especially because the door is opening so Brennan darts by. "—Hey! You can't go back there!"
Brennan barrels back through labyrinthine hallways, searching and not stopping until another nurse halts her by force. But she sees him, at least. If she stays, she will have to witness another surgery and that, finally, is what terrifies her too much to continue on her determined course. She allows herself to be firmly escorted back to the waiting room...
...Where the nightmare doesn't end, it just goes into an exhausted stupor, a calming stasis that dulls her senses so much that she's not prepared for the next horror that leaps out.
...Novel nightmares arise at the most unexpected moments. Just when you think everything is fine, it shatters you with shock that nothing is what you thought it was. The nightmare twists and turns like a lashing serpent, giving you more pain when you learn that even seeming friends can actually be enemies.
The hidden ones are the most dangerous...
Brennan held herself together long enough to call Angela and wait for her friend's arrival. She managed to hold on a few seconds longer as the parade of supporting companions entered, Angela leading the way and coming right up to enfold her into loving arms. As the banding, binding compassion closed her in, Brennan's bravery broke with tears and grief and fear that could not end even with her friends surrounding her.
It wasn't over, it wouldn't be over until she was sitting beside him and hearing him beg her for more hospital pudding.
The next few hours repeat that distant past, the same agony of suspension that she'd been through before on that night he was shot at the Checkerbox. She passed the time with fitful naps and intermittent pacing, circling for another desperate sip from the drinking fountain because fear tastes like dehydration. Then back again to sit between Angela and Cam while Hodgins hovered on their left and Sweets sulked beside him. Across the aisle, Caroline Julian rested with them as well, a new variant in this ancient drama.
A door finally opened, expelling a doctor who glanced around and nodded towards the haggard woman he'd updated once already, about three hours ago.
She leaped up, hoping to hear the words that would, finally, give this nightmare a better outcome than that last one. "Is he alive?"
"Yes, and he's out of danger."
Relief deflated her, as if a plug had been pulled and all tension drained until she was nearly limp from lingering exhaustion. But still, the nagging fear reminded her that the nightmare hadn't ended yet (it wouldn't until she had the proof of a pudding cup in his hand). Relentless unrest pushed her back into a demanding mood. "I need to see him." Undaunted by protocol or politeness, she tried to push past yet again.
Hesitantly, as if unpracticed in this regard, the doctor spoke once more. "There is one problem, Doctor Brennan."
Warily, picking up on his mood, she halted. "What kind of problem?"
He shifted his weight, and dropped his reassuring gaze because now, it wasn't such good news and he was loathe to be the one to tell her. This unpleasant business he was perfectly happy to delegate. "Someone will be out in a minute to talk to you. Until then, I think it's important—"
Between body language (which she now could read thanks to Booth's expert instruction over nearly ten years) and her own desperation, Brennan had heard enough. No more stalling, no more obfuscation. The door behind him that had clicked closed with his entry into the waiting area now opened again and she seized the opportunity just that fast.
The physician's reluctance turned to panic as he must have seen the cruelty inherent in letting her go in unprepared, and his own ethics finally overrode his discomfort with whatever it was that he didn't want to tell her. She'd sensed he was trying to warn her and that was warning enough. "Doctor Brennan, wait! WAIT!"
She was through, racing through the curtained alcoves containing ambulatory patients, darting past private rooms where more emergent or virulent cases languished; past the 'crash' rooms where life-and-death battles played out; through another door into a quieter area for recoveries. Breathing hard, aware of the shortage of time, Brennan found a nurse's station.
"My husband just came out of surgery, can you tell me where he is? Seeley Booth."
"Yes." She extended her wrist, showing the matching wrist band that marked her as his spouse and therefore entitled to receive information.
Squinting at the name and number, the nurse typed and within seconds had the information Brennan had been begging to have for hours now. "Room 413, fourth floor. Take the elevators down on the left, then a right once you get to the fourth floor."
"Thank you!" Bolting again, Brennan ran the rest of the way, finding his door within minutes of exiting the elevator.
Once outside his room, she glanced in and felt warmth finally — finally! — spreading over her limbs. He was there, propped up in bed and heavily bandaged, but even from here she thought he looked surprisingly good (all things considered). "Booth!"
Then, at the left edge of the doorway she detected movement and when she'd taken two steps closer the movement resolved into the figures of two dark-suited agents with golden FBI badges displayed. That, in itself, was far outside the norm; for she'd never seen any agents displaying badges in all her years of working closely with the FBI. Field agents did not display badges, office agents didn't either ... but these two stepped forward in an immediate show of glinting gold authority.
"Why are you here?" Worry warred with relief to see the back-up but in the end worry won over her limbic system, activating it to set every nerve back into high-alert status. "Is someone still after Booth?"
Hearing her voice (or the rising level of returning panic) alerted the man in the bed. Booth's eyes flickered, his voice faint and rasping with hope. "Bones..."
The nightmare spun them around then. Deputy Director Stark sidled forward next, with the same odd clarion warning that every single damn authority figure had been giving her since Booth entered medical care. "Doctor Brennan, wait!"
Wait for what. Confusion and fury ignited in her again as yet another incident of nonsensical stonewalling blocked her. She turned back towards Booth. Wait for nothing, she would not be deterred another moment. Another step forward, only to be halted by two messages slamming into her consciousness:
Stark's piercing panic. "You can't be here, Doctor Brennan!"
And Booth's handcuffed right wrist.
It was like being plunged underwater, colors bleeding together and sounds muffled. She could ask the question but no answer would ever penetrate the sloshing waves tossing her around like an unanchored vessel in stormy seas. "Why did you handcuff him?! What's going on?"
No, no. None of the nightmares ever ended this way.
"Booth killed three FBI Agents who were coming to serve a warrant on him."
It was the water that drowned out the sense of what he was saying. Had to be. Brennan shook her head as if to shake out the liquid that prevented her from hearing him properly. "FBI Agents?!"
In tactical gear?
With semi-automatic assault rifles?
And did the FBI routinely cut phone and power-lines before entering homes?
Did they pull knives?
"Those men tried to kill him. He was defending himself."
Flinching is a sign of a nerve being struck. Booth had warned her to look for it prior to interrogations and though she wasn't looking Brennan spotted it now: the Deputy Director of the FBI flinched because of what she'd said. She'd hit something, knocked something loose, little knowing this was how the very first nightmare began.
"Take Doctor Brennan into custody for questioning."
Icy water, like her head and whole body was pushed under. Shivers raced over her skin as the horror took hold. Arrested, kept away, separated, framed, hung up high on the wall of the FBI's Most Wanted...
"Sweetheart, you have no idea what you're up against."
"No! No, no I need to stay with him!" She tried to go forward, felt both arms wrenched backwards by force and her body dragged farther away. What's happening, oh God, what— I don't understand! Broken thoughts sliced through her mind like blades, cutting her reason away, leaving her with nothing but a sea of limbic terror as men in authority dragged her away. "Booth!"
No, no, NO! Struggling wildly, flashes of ancient abductions plunged into her mind, the container she'd kept the memories locked into now shattering as every nightmare that she'd ever lived through all converged into one hydra of horror. "Let go of me!" Locked in a windowless cell, locked in a trunk, locked in a buried car, locked in a prison cell. Booth dead, Booth hidden, Booth gone forever. "Booth!"
"Get her out!" Stark hissed like a serpent, his own fear released by hers.
"Booth!" He's the one who saves her.
"Booth!" He's the one who needs saving but they won't let her.
With no Booth there's no one to save her, either. "Let go of me!" Fear infected the room, swirled around them but the two huge agents managed to overwhelm her resistance and wrestle her to the door. As the separation yawned wider, her struggles increased to near hysteria. Temperance Brennan actually thought she was losing her mind as all control was stripped away from her and she was dragged away by the nightmares of her past. "Booth!"
Screaming, sobbing, she didn't even know what she was saying but her hysteria had infected Stark. He roared. "Get her out!"
It was the last thing she heard.
They were in the hallway, both men dragging her, pulling her arms back so violently that it hurt and she felt the cuffs clicking cold and tight against her wrists, the door shutting black and blocking the light. Blocking her way to Booth. "Stop it! Help! Let go of me!" Screaming, falling, kicking, being held down...
And then she felt the hot burning in her thigh. Hot, her veins on fire, a torrent barreling through her like a lahar that smothered and buried her alive. Drugged. Sedated.
At their mercy.
The Woman in the Garden
The Woman in Limbo
The Wannabe in the Weeds
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