… A Better Place? (A Prologue of Sorts)
When Saturday opened her eyes, all she could see was darkness, all around her.
She couldn't move, limbs frozen and heavy, so cold that it was painful. She'd never experienced frostbite in the House- after all, temperature was regulated, and she was a Denizen, an immortal being not susceptible to such ailments in the first place- but she thought that if she did, it would feel like this.
Then, slowly, the darkness gave way to a pale grey, and warmth began to flow into her body. Saturday tried to plead for help, hoping Sunday wasn't anywhere close, but no noise came out. She thought for sure she was going to die when the grey abruptly changed to a plastered ceiling.
What the heck?
"Oh, you're awake!"
Saturday turned her head to see who had spoken. It was a taxing effort just to do that little.
"What… happened?" Saturday asked. Wednesday was no longer in her whale form, or even the ugly Denizen form she temporarily occupied using the Key- she was downright beautiful, back to the way she was before any of the trouble with the Will started, and, for once, she wasn't eating anything. Not even chewing. She didn't even look hungry. "You're… and I thought I…"
Memory came with pain, and Saturday bolted upright, clutching her stomach. Visions of a cruel, smiling masked face with eyes scowling as it plunged a knife into her belly brought a fiery ache into her, and she coughed, spitting out blue blood into her hands. "I thought…" she repeated weakly.
"We're alive, Saturday," Wednesday said. "I don't understand it myself… but one moment I was dying in the Border Sea… and the next I'm here. According to the New Architect, it's been several days since I… but he said that somehow, our souls were saved, and he was able to fashion bodies for them."
"The… New Architect? Arthur?"
"The very same."
"But why would he do that for us?" Saturday asked.
"Something about how if he didn't, our souls would neither be dead nor alive… a fate worse than either, he said."
"But where are we?"
"Oh, crap," Saturday said as Friday burst in.
"Isn't it wonderful, m'dear? We're going to have mortal lives! We still have Denizen bodies, but still… we'll have soooo many experiences!"
"I couldn't care less," Saturday snapped. "So when is he going to come here and tell us we can have our positions in the House back?"
Wednesday and Friday exchanged glances. "Actually, he made it quite clear he never will," Wednesday said, almost apologetically. "Sorry."
"What're YOU apologizing for?" Saturday asked, and swung her legs over the side of the bed. "Great. Now what?"
"Well, Sunday has an apartment," Friday answered, "and we all live in it."
"Who pays rent?"
"I just woke up!"
"Yes, well, so did we. Mere moments ago, actually. Sunday got a day's head start, so he rented it out and put your name on the lease."
"But I don't have a name!"
"Actually…" Wednesday grinned sheepishly. "We all do. Friday's name is Freya, I'm Wendy, Thursday's Thomas, Tuesday's Timothy, Monday's Marcus, Sunday's Sonny, and you're… Susan."
"I AM NOT A SUSAN!" Saturday shouted, and winced at a fresh onslaught of pain. "Oi, how come you guys aren't writhing in pain?"
"We weren't killed the way you were," Friday shrugged.
"Nonsense," Saturday growled. "You were devoured by Nothing. Don't give me that crap."
Friday smiled. "Tylenol does wonders."
"Oh, go die in a hole," Saturday scowled.
"We'd love to," Wednesday said, "but seeing as the New Architect forbade suicide…"
"And you're just going to listen to him?"
"He scares me."
"Sure, as a boy he's just your savior, but as the New Architect, he's big and scary," Saturday scoffed.
"No need to be such a jerk," Friday said.
"All right, I'm sorry. Happy?" Saturday stood, legs trembling slightly. She drew near to the mirror on the opposite wall. How close to her previous body was this new one? Pretty close, apparently. Her hair was still azure blue, her eyes an even lighter shade, though they seemed to have lost their iciness. Her skin was no longer as orange-tinted as when she'd been a Denizen, taking on a paler and more common mortal tone, and she wasn't anywhere near the resplendent eight feet she'd been in the House. In fact…
"Am I only pushing six feet?"
"We're all pushing six feet," Friday replied. "That's pretty tall for around here. For some reason, we're all the same height. Sunday too."
So I'm Sunday's height and have to live in a mortal world, huh? I can manage.
"I…" Saturday grinned, "will do just fine." Already, thoughts of reconquering the House filled her mind. "Just fine."
Friday and Wednesday exchanged glances yet again, and then gazed back at her again, worried. "Are you thinking of anything stupid?"
"No," she relented, visions of herself in the Gardens fading. It WAS stupid, she knew. She should be content with what she had. At the least, she could try to be better than Sunday in all he did.
It briefly crossed her mind that perhaps it wasn't the best idea to invest all of her emotions, energy, and thoughts into that goal, and that she should just be happy to be herself.
Then again, that never was one of her virtues.