Snowman knows he's dead. He remembers the sickness, his body trying to patch itself back together one last time, but falling apart at the seams. He remembers the sickness, all-consuming, and then the days of hallucinations, and then nothing. Snowman doesn't think he has ever experienced "nothing" before.

Then Snowman blinks, which shouldn't be possible, because he knows he's dead. He doesn't see anything. No light, no dark, no anything, and yet he blinks. Snowman smiles at this newfound ability, and then smiles more at the discovery of an additional facial movement.

He laughs. If he's dead, which he knows he is, then where is he? He laughs some more.

"Crake was wrong!" Snowman says out loud, and it makes him happy. "Wrong, you motherfucker! I died, because there was nobody to save me! But then here I am, not dead! What does that make this? "There is no afterlife," you said. You scoffed at the very idea. Explain this away, Crake!" Snowman starts laughing now, except it has taken on a tone of hysteria. He can't help himself. He doubles over and can feel his arms hugging himself. The hysteria doesn't let up.

"Do you know you finally broke me?" Snowman asks the air through the chortles. "You and your fucking world. I stopped fighting and let the disease take me. It took me here. Where is here?" He suddenly pauses to listen. He hears nothing, and the nothingness is overwhelming.

"Crake! " he shouts to fill the silence (but it's not really silence, because it's nothing, and nothing is also everything), and because this is all his fault. "Crake!" he shouts again, even louder, just for good measure.

There's a pregnant silence. Snowman is so caught up in his amusement at the picture that conjures that he almost misses something very important.

"Yes?" answers a voice. Quiet, smooth and achingly familiar. Snowman almost misses it.

Snowman blinks again, except this time is different, because now he can see something. He sees a room with white walls and wood floors, a leather couch that he's laying on, and a doorway. He sees the doorway last, he's sure, because if he had seen it first, he would have paid no attention to anything else in the room, for there he is, leaning against the doorframe and grinning that grin that Snowman has never been able to figure out.

He smiles back, if only to disguise the joy and relief that threaten to come sobbing out. "Crake."

Crake tilts his head just a fraction and raises an eyebrow as if to ask "Well, what do you want?"

Snowman laughs again, and it's still a little hysterical, except this time he makes sure to keep his eyes open.

"You are such a mess," Crake says. His grin is gone, replaced by his everyday look of amused disgust.

Even after all the wolvogs and pigoons after his blood, Crake still intimidates him. "Your fault."

"Your point?" Crake gestures towards one of the other doors. "Wash up, then we'll talk." He disappears into the kitchen.

Snowman winces as he gets up, not out of actual pain or stiffness, but because he feels it necessary after having just been dead.

Everything starts to bleed together again after Crake leaves. He remembers a shower and clean clothing. When Crake returns, his mind starts to blend because of the alcohol and weed.

This is good. He's been stuck with the same crystal-clear mind for years. It had begun to bore him.

A million questions clang emptily in his hollow mind. Where the fuck are we? Where's Oryx? Why did you keep me around all those years? He doesn't ask them. He's made it this far on silence, he can wait a couple more hours. First, relax. Live, not survive.

He makes an effort to not think about those questions.

It's much later. Snowman is tired, so he yawns. Crake looks up and squints his eyes in a certain way that Snowman also knows is amusement.

The room temperature is just a little too cold to sleep in without a blanket or two. There are only enough blankets for the bed. There is only one bed.

Snowman shrugs and looks at Crake. The look tells him that he's endured far worse. He doesn't really care anymore.

And Crake doesn't care about much about anything to begin with.

At least the bed is big.

Funny, Snowman thinks to himself much later in the night (they're sleeping a little closer together than they have to, but it's their own private way of telling the other that they're glad to see him), he doesn't scream in his sleep anymore.