by Rach (

Spoilers: through "Rendezvous"

Rating: PG-13 (for a swear word or two)

Author's Note: This just came to me in a rush this evening. It's a little, erm, different. Feel free to hate it. And Kat, there's one tiny part in here just for you. (



I hit the floor, eyes slamming shut. The insides of my eyelids are as sharp as oyster shells, covered with silver sequins, blood-red lipstick smacks and fat, dried drips of candle wax.

Thumpthump. My heart?

It's dark and I see swirls of gray, scuffed bottoms of dress shoes, backs of fancy Armani suits, the material pulled taut between broad shoulders. Streaks of white and faces of strangers, bloated and distorted, all swimming across the thick air.

Fog. But I swear I see her, her hair a normal shade – chestnut brown. Shiny. Longer than I remember. I reach, fingers stretching into a long, fleshy blur -- but she's so far away, way off in the distance, twirling in the fog. A white chiffon dress flares just below her toned, tanned calves, her every movement increasing their definition. She's crying as she dances, tears streaming from her eyes, down her cheeks, evaporating into dense clouds. Tap, tap, tap. Her pointy white shoes make fast rhythmic contact with the floor, which I can't see. It's moving left, right, up, down, backwards. It's made of grass, concrete, marble and fire. It's warm and mildewy and old and worn and sad.

Slam. Metal sliding on metal. I'm moving, they're moving. She's gone. Faces keep coming at me, all translucent skin and blue, throbbing veins. Lips are cracked, dry, blistered – they're moving too. Words I can't hear, but I imagine they're "hide," "burn," "lie," "truth," "source," and "brief." The words appear in vibrant colors, in magenta and violet and chartreuse, all bold and flashing through the fog like flickering neon signs -- up, down and beyond into the twisting, bumpy floor.

Squeal. Rubber on pavement. No windows. Just floor and faces and strong scent – like my grandmother's retirement apartment. Beef stew and mothballs. There are no sharp edges to anything here. Faces blur into blue, red and pale yellow halos of light. I'm falling, tumbling, spilling into kaleidoscope patterns of fog and halos and color and thumpthump (my heart?). Nothing is cohesive, nothing makes sense, nothing is the only word that runs continually through my mind. I try to steady my vision, to move my lips, to call out to her. She's near, she must be. She's here, she's here, she's……

Vrrrrrrrrooooommmm. Fast, we're moving fast now. Flying in one direction and they suddenly change their minds and swerve another way, pushing the floor up and over and under again. The pounding in my head is evacuating coherent thoughts, or so I think. Jostled. Oh, a pink flower on the spongy floor. It's perky and beautiful and smells like freshly cut grass and wait, no, it's fading and wilting and --

Voices! They're distant but echoing, droning on monotonous tones. A dozen refrigerator motors humming, one much more urgent than the rest, sending vibrations down my crumpled legs. The walls close in, all dark and metallic and cheap. I want to stop them, to throw out my arms and brace myself in the middle, but I can't move. My fingers don't curl, my toes don't wiggle, my lips don't part and thumpthump my heart can't be beating, can it?

Dark is back and I'm stuck to the floor and she isn't here and all I see now are the oyster shell-lined insides of my eyelids.


And the fog rolls out for a moment and everything focuses. She's not here. She's—ohGodwhereisshe? She can't be--?

Screech. The whole world jerks forward, slamming into hard synthetic seat backs and they all curse and grunt. I make a noise, I think, one that blends in with the rest – a hoarse 'guhhhh' lodging in the depths of my throat. My fingers make contact with the floor – it's not moving anymore. An industrial rubber runner in a commercial van. Familiar. My wrists are burning against each other, held tight with a thick plastic tie. Also familiar.

Thumpthumpthumpthump. My heart is beating wildly, jockeying up against the insides of my ribs, pressing into them as if to attempt escape. Yet again, something I'm beginning to grow accustomed to.

My mouth is dry and I slowly lick my parched lips, my tongue grating over them like a worn bit of sandpaper. "Uffff," I manage.

I see the man who shot me – shot me? Shot me?!? Holy shit, yes, I was shot! I flail like a fish out of water, my head whipping back and my legs shooting forward, my eyes searching my chest for blood, anticipating a bolt of pain, wondering if I'm dead already. But I'm not. There's no blood, no sharp pains other than the throbbing in my head. And I'm fucking confused.

"Mr. Tippin," a clipped English accent greets me as if I were a long lost friend. "You've finally decided to join us, I see."

I glare, still wide-eyed, at the smirking young man who shot me. "What the hell is going on?" I spew, my voice scratchy.

No answer from the English guy. He just looks forward out the windshield, his conceited expression unchanged.

"Where are we going? Who are you? Where is Syd--?" I squirm around, working to push myself up to a sitting position.

"Sssssh, Mr. Tippin," he says quietly. "We'll have plenty of time for questions later, although I must say that most of the questions will be ones for you to answer."

With that, he puts a hand on my chest and violently pushes me back down to the floor.

Thumpthumpthumpthump. Dizzy. I close my eyes just as the fog rolls back in.