Thanks for all the wonderful reviews of the last few chapters. It's still standing still kind of, but after this stuff will actually happen. I think.
Inception= Not Mine, the chapter title was taken from "Heavy In Your Arms" by Florence and The Machine.
She knows she's dreaming. She's standing in the middle of an infinite white hallway, one that would be virtually impossible to create in the real world mostly due to its sheer size. She doesn't really know what's going on, and apprehension keeps rising in the back of her throat, like the tickle of a throat or a little scream, but she keeps her head.
If she stretches out her arms, she can touch both walls of the hall. They feel hard and smooth, like some kind of marble, but they're too perfectly white to actually be stone. The ceiling, which she can just barely reach if she stretches an arm above her head and stands on tiptoes, is the same, as is the floor. All flat, all white, all lasting forever.
Forever. Shit. She can't control this.
She doesn't much like it anymore, but she can't tell what she's supposed to do or where she's supposed to go. As she usually does when she's nervous and alone, she starts to hum. Off-key, and loudly, to fill the emptiness. It might be "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates (one of her favorites), but she can't really tell too well anymore. She's starting to freak out, and the hall takes the noise and warps it, throwing it back at her backwards and upside down and inside out.
She decides to move. She steps tentatively forward with her left foot, feeling her way out with the toe of her black ballet flats, trying not to slip. She takes a few more steps before she feels a shooting pain in the left of her chest. What the fuck? She thinks, but it all becomes clear when she looks down to see her shirt and jacket covered with thick, sticky blood.
She was never very good with blood. When she was little, she fell from a tree that she was climbing and broke her wrist, scraped up both her knees pretty badly. She could walk just fine, and it shouldn't have been too hard for her to travel 500 feet to her back door to ask her mother for help, but she couldn't. She just sat there, staring at the blood. Terrified. She felt like she was covered in it, frozen by it. A neighbor found her thirty minutes later, passed-out on the lawn. After that she tried to avoid blood as much as possible.
But now here she is, sliding down the wall, drowning in a pool of it. It seems to bloom from her chest endlessly, but she can't tell where it's coming from, and now it's all over, on her hands, her scarf; the edges of her vision are going fuzzy and she doesn't really remember where she is anymore. But it's not real.
This is just a dream, it's only a dream, she tells herself, but she reaches into her jacket pocket for her totem, needing to reassure herself. She's panicking now, even as she knows that feeling the weight of the pawn in her hand will calm her down. But as she grasps it, it slips from her fingers. It too is wet with her blood, and she begins to scream.
And then she wakes up. Groggily picking herself of the floor, she works to slow her breathing and her heart beat. She needs to calm down. Looking around her, she determines that she's standing in the middle of an infinite white hallway…
The screaming comes much quicker this time.
"Ariadne," Arthur mumbles, softly shaking the body that's writhing in bed next to him. He's used to this. It's happened almost every night since the Fischer job. She's told him about the dreams, and he's just glad he's a light enough sleeper to be there to wake her up from them. But for the last couple of weeks, even his arms hold no comfort for her.
"Ariadne," he says, louder, more urgently. "Come on, you need to wake up." He knows what's going to happen, but he does this for her anyways. He can never help himself enough to keep her with him.
She moans again, and suddenly she's awake. Staring at him with those bleary brown doe-eyes, full of fear.
"It's alright," Arthur tries to comfort her, kissing her lightly on her nose, her forehead, and then finally her mouth. "You're awake now. You're really awake. You're safe."
But it doesn't do any good. As soon as Ariadne's fully awake, she's up and out of bed. Arthur watches, dismayed, as she throws on some jeans and a sweater and grabs her purse.
She walks to the door, through the door, out it, running to that secret safe place she has, that place that, apparently, he can't be for her.
As she leaves, Ariadne feels a tinge of regret, but just a small one. Nothing that's enough to make her stop. And Arthur, like he always does, lets her go.