Shattered Rose (Chapters 1 & 2)

Note: This is approximately a 45 minute read.

Chapter 1

For a moment, I gaze into the sink as the water runs. The water from the faucet falls, crashes into the bottom of a ceramic bowl, and accumulates. As it builds up, the water swirls around the center, where it drains into… elsewhere. Not here.

“Stay with me,” echo some words in this place.

Out of sight. Replaced by more water from the faucet. Crashing. Swirling. Draining. Coughing.

No, wait, that’s not the sink. Ugh. That’s me. My grasp on this bathroom counter tightens. My body, hunched over, recoils slightly, as I hack up some more. More… More swirling. Around and around and around. Counter-clockwise… That’s not how it goes. Wait, where did the water go?

This counter-clockwise sensation. I don’t feel like I’m about to fall. Something is pushing firmly into my back.

“See? There’s nothing left.”

I look up. I see two people. One is clearly hanging on for dear life. The other… I know this face. It’s.

“Yeah, there you go. Eyes on me.”

Brown skin, dark eyes, dark hair, amazing black makeup on her eyes and lips. So easy to focus on. Who could ever forget Eileen?

“Look, I know you’re nervous,” she says. “I had what you had and only one of us lost it.”

Nervous? What was I nervous about again?

I take a closer look at the person next to Eileen. White skin. Dirty blonde hair, real messed up too. Grey eyes. They look completely glazed over. Where Eileen is full of life, that person is barely showing it. If the other person is Eileen, that must mean the person I’m looking at now is me…

What was I doing here?

“Ugh,” I hear.

I didn’t notice her mouth move as that was said. Mine did, though. So, that must’ve been me.


“Rose!” shouts Eileen into my face.

I blink a few times to regain my bearings.

“W-what?” I ask.

She pulls me into a hug, where I stay for a moment before she pushes me back at arms' length, still keeping me straight.

“You have no idea how long I was trying to get a response from you,” she says.

How long…?

I look around this… bathroom. Right. I was in the bathroom…

I sigh.

I was here having a bit of a moment.

“Sorry about that,” I tell her.

She laughs. “Forget it—” she tells me, “but wow, you really weren’t kidding when you said you were feeling out of it, huh?”

Out of it? When did I say that, again?

“Either way,” she continues, “looks like the shoe’s on the other foot now. I thought you didn’t do drugs.”

Her affirmation didn’t make sense.

“I don’t do drugs,” I firmly inform her. “I drink, occasionally, I think.”

She chuckles. “Keep your secrets,” she insists. “I thought with what you were telling me earlier, that you might finally be ready to tell me what was on your mind.”

“My mind?” I ask, mindlessly.

She laughs again. “That’s the Rose I know,” she says. “Wanna try getting out of here?”

We’re back at our booth.

“So, what were you about to tell me?” asks Eileen. “Something about an ‘epiphany’, I think?”

I furrow my brow at this question. I raise my hands to my forehead, letting them cradle it.

“Uh— umm…” I answer. I want to say more, but truthfully I have no idea what the epiphany was. For all I know, I lost it when I lost the food.

There are a few small plates in front of us. One containing some fish-topped rice globs. Another, some kind of small, round, deep fried things. I must’ve been eating these, but they don’t have any appeal at the moment.

Eileen says… something or another. I shake my head. She takes the plates.

I watch as she eats the rest, slowly pacing herself. She must’ve been pretty full before… Things went wrong.

Why is she pushing herself?

“I’ll pay mine,” I say to Eileen.

“Are you for real?” I hear her say, but I don’t answer. “After all that?!”

“That’ll be one for me,” I tell the lady behind the register. Wallet. Card. Transaction approved.

Now to wait for Eileen…

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” asks Eileen as I walk to my car.

“Of course!” I respond. “Perfect track record.”

“Brag!” she shouts. “But you were so out of it earlier, I don’t think you’re in any condition to drive.”

I pout, and turn towards her. “Z,” I say, followed by “Y, X, W, V, U, T, S, R, Q—”

“Ugh!” she groans. “Okay, fine, you’re definitely awake, but—”

In response to her protests, I raise my right foot behind me, grabbing it with me left hand, and hop a few times in her direction in order to demonstrate my awareness. I let go of my foot, and return to a standing position.

Eileen closes her eyes, and nods slightly. “Okay,” she tells me.

Intersection. Red light. Signal. Wait.


…waiting’s over. Green light. As the cars in front of me start moving, I depress the gas pedal in turn. It’s all so easy, and as I get closer to my destination it all just gets easier, more trained, more routine, more automatic. I just need to let it happen.

I’m in the driveway now. Out of the car, into my home. Close the door behind me, keys and wallet in their bowl, shoes off, and start stepping up the stairs.

Okay, step… Just a few more, and I’ll be up.

A few more paces, and my beautiful bed comes into view.

I can feel it.

Deep inside me.

Every ounce of it…

My soul.

It’s under immense pressure.

Barely holding it together.

I’m next to my bed.

I could change into something more comfortable, but I just don’t have the energy.

I tear aside the blanket.

I close my eyes.

I let go



Chapter 2

A loud thud was heard from right next to the bed, as if someone had just fallen right off of it.

Almost instantly, a voice shouts “What?!” from the bed. Another, softer and quieter, responds with “Huh…?” From the floor, a slightly pained moan. The loud voice exclaims again “Why are you here?!”, gets out of bed, fumbles for a phone on an end table, and lights the phone’s flashlight to reveal a very confused-looking stranger on the floor. The stranger appeared to be a woman with very curly — maybe even swirly — strawberry blonde hair.

“Who is there?” the softer voice asks again from the bed. The one holding the phone turns around, shining her light on someone else she had never seen before. This one, with dark and wavy hair, recoiled at the bright light, putting a hand up to block it from her eyes. The loud phone-wielder noticed another bump in the bedsheet, and following it to the foot of the bed she found a head poking out of the blanket at the foot. This one likewise had dark hair, but it was a shorter well-kept bob with a middle part.

“I don’t know who you people are,” quips the woman who had fallen from the bed, “but kicking me out of bed in the middle of the night crosses the line. Get out of my room, and get out of this house.”

“Your room?” questions the soft voice, responding to the fallen woman saying “my room”.

In this confusion, the phone holder purposefully strides toward the other side of the room that was now shared by these four. She slaps at the wall a few times until a click is heard. As the ceiling lamp lights up, their situation is clarified.

The quiet one at the foot of the bed turns her head to the one who just lit up the room, squinting at the room’s brightness, just barely able to make out a woman with short, sideswept platinum blonde hair.

“I don’t know why you think this is your room,” retorts the platinum sidesweep to the grounded strawberry swirls who now stood where she had fallen. “I know what I look like, and you’re not it.”

Strawberry swirls, her face now with a smirk, crosses her arms. “I know what I look like too,” she says. “And I can guarantee I’ve never had it that short before.”

Incredulously, platinum sidesweep reaches a hand to her head to find… a lot less hair than she expected. Feeling around, she found that what was left had parted to her right side.

“What?!” exclaims platinum sidesweep. “Where did it all go?!” She looks to the ladies in the bed and sees the bobcut staring into a mirror on the bedroom’s wall. Curious to know her appearance, platinum sidesweep moves toward the bed where she could see herself in the mirror. “What the— when did I get so hot?!”

“Probably around the time I went plain black,” replied the one with the dark bobcut.

As if to follow this train of logic, strawberry swirls proceeds closer to the mirror. Once she catches a glimpse at the stranger reflected within, she recoils. “No, no,” she says. “I did not just see that.” With her right hand covering her eyes, she steps back away from the mirror. “I’m imagining this. This can’t be real.” Head still cradled in her right hand, she uses her left hand to pinch her nose. She grunts for a moment, then blurts out with a cough. “I’m not imagining this. How? Why don’t I look like me? And who are you people?”

The other three ladies turn their heads toward one another. After a brief moment of exchanged glances, platinum sidesweep inhales. “Well,” she answers, “my name’s Rose.”

“I beg your pardon?” asks the woman with wavy hair.

Strawberry swirls' reaction to both is still incredulous. “Hah. Let me guess— you’re Rose?” she asks. “You look nothing like me—” she interrupts herself, “You look nothing like how I’m supposed to look.” then points toward the mirror, hazel eyes locked to the wavy haired woman’s deep, captivating blues.

Wavy blue shuffles out of the bed, standing tall with confidence. She breaks her prolonged eye contact with strawberry swirls, turns toward the mirror, and begins stepping toward it. Her few steps are firm, but the firmness diminishes slightly as she meets her own gaze in the mirror. After a brief pause, she still steps closer to herself.

“Oh,” she whispers, as she begins inspecting her new features, going as far as to lean in just to get a closer look. “I could get used to this.” After her initial inspection is finished, she catches the green eyes of the one woman still in the bed, with the bobcut.

“I take it your answer is the same?” wavy blue asks green bobcut.

The woman in the bed nods slowly in response. Wavy blue sharply sighs with the softest voice of the night, and turns away from the mirror.

“Do any of you have the time?” she asks. She turns her head toward each of the others, giving them a moment of attention before moving to the next, before settling on the phone in platinum sidesweep’s hand.

“Should I bother getting back to bed?” wavy blue continues.

Platinum sidesweep turns the phone’s screen up toward her.

“Three forty eight” she answers.

“So it’s no great loss…” wavy blue says, trailing off. She steps toward the bedroom door and opens it. “…though I doubt I’d be able to sleep through the rest of tonight, given all that’s transpired.” She turns to the remaining occupants in the room. “Will you three turn in for the night?”

Strawberry swirls gasps at the remark. “Sleep with two complete strangers…” She, too, begins stepping toward the door. “…who just appeared in my bedroom…” glancing at green bobcut, “…in the middle of the night…” turning toward the sidesweep, “…pushing me out of bed and into this mess?” finally directly across from wavy blue, “Have you lost your mind?”

“Definitely,” responds wavy blue. “It’s too stuffy here. Let’s move to the living room.”

Just as she finishes her sentence, wavy blue disappears from view into the hall. Strawberry swirls ducks her head past the door frame and spots wavy blue descending the stairs to the main level. She turns her head back into the bedroom, meeting platinum sidesweep’s gaze as the latter begins following wavy blue downstairs. She then directs her attention to green bobcut, who is looking back toward her.

“You’re not really considering going back to sleep, are you?” she asks green bobcut.

“No…” green bobcut responds, then pauses for a moment, “…go on ahead. I’ll be down in a minute.”

Strawberry swirls blinks a few times, then turns her head and opens her mouth. Mouth open, her eyes dart around the scene for a few moments, before she closes her eyes, shakes her head, sighs, and exits the room. In the second level hall, she can hear the other two discussing things.

“I think I’m following along with things so far,” says a voice from downstairs. “but I have a question for you.” Of the two voices strawberry swirls was expecting to hear, this was the louder and stronger one.

“Well,” responds wavy blue’s voice. “I don’t know if I know much more than you do—”

“How could you possibly find that thing comfortable to wear?”

Hearing this line of questioning, strawberry swirls grabs the graphic tee on her torso, mutters “the clothes” to herself, then begins following the voices toward the main level of the house.

“This?” wavy blue asks. “I quite like how it feels. Don’t you?”

“Not one bit,” platinum sidesweep responds. “I don’t even know why I still have it.”

“You…” begins wavy blue, before trailing off as she sees strawberry swirls enter the living room.

Without saying anything, strawberry swirls is observing the two. Wavy blue is laying down on the sofa in silky white nightgown. On the other side of the room, she sees platinum sidesweep in a recliner wearing one of her white tank tops and short shorts.

“I guess I’ll ask you the same thing,” asks strawberry swirls to platinum sidesweep. “All I remember about wearing that tank to bed is that it felt too suffocating. If you two are who you say you are, why are we all dressed differently?”

“Come to think of it,” says wavy blue. “I don’t recall actually slipping into this last night. All I remember was utter exhaustion followed by…” She gestures toward the others. “…you lot.”

Strawberry swirls looks down, but doesn’t say anything. Platinum sidesweep turns toward her, then back to wavy blue. “That’s exactly what I remember too!” says platinum sidesweep.

“Likewise,” affirms strawberry swirls.

Wavy blue looks upward, roughly in the direction of the bedroom where the encounter began. “I wonder what she ended up with.” She turns her head back to strawberry swirls. “Why don’t you take a seat?”

“I— look,” strawberry swirls answers. “I can barely process this. There are two strangers in my living room, and another up in my bedroom. On top of that, I don’t even look like myself! And now you’re telling me—”

“Sit down,” insists wavy blue with a voice that was firm, yet still echoing the softness that had already quickly set her apart from the rest. “I should hope after our little discussions that you’d started to accept the obvious. So I am going to make things clear. I understand what’s going on in your mind. I am having many of these same thoughts. If you begin pacing around the room, you’re going to tire yourself out.” She softly inhales through her nostrils before delivering the finishing blow. “Sit down.”

Wordlessly, strawberry swirls joins wavy blue on the other side of the sofa. Wavy blue sits up to give her additional space. “Comfortable?” she asks.

“Honestly,” strawberry swirls says, “I don’t think I’m gonna get any more comfortable than this.”

“Okay,” reassures wavy blue.

After a few moments of shared silent contemplation, footsteps can be heard coming down from upstairs, and after a handful more steps, the fourth enters the living room.

“Sorry I took so long,” says green bobcut. “What did I miss?”

“Just getting to know each other,” retorts strawberry swirls, before lowering her gaze slightly. As she sees green bobcut, she gasps. “Wait. Why are you wearing that? It’s way too…” she trails off for a second as she realizes the falsehood of what she was about to say, “…short?”

She gets up from her spot on the sofa, and walks toward the intruder.

Green bobcut is wearing a plain black cotton dress. On her body, it appears entirely unremarkable. Strawberry swirls' right hand rises to touch the top of the other woman’s head, then moves it horizontally before settling several inches above green bobcut’s head. Before the hand can land on the woman who is clearly shorter than she should be, green bobcut sidesteps away and begins moving toward the living room’s other reclining chair, letting herself fall into it. Strawberry swirls takes in the view of these two recliners. In one is a petite woman who makes the chair look massive. If not for the contents of the other chair, there might not be such a stark contrast.

“…muscles. You have muscles,” strawberry swirls says to platinum sidesweep.

After a few seconds of silence, platinum sidesweep looks up from the phone she still holds.

“Huh?” she says.

Strawberry swirls is pointing toward her. “Your arms…”

“Whoa!” shouts platinum sidesweep. “Hey, you’re right! Muscles!”

Platinum sidesweep sets the phone aside, then begins grasping at her biceps, measuring their new size. After a few tries of that, she stretches her arms and begins surveying the changes in detail. As she’s taking in the view, another hand becomes visible. Following up the arm, she sees green bobcut pointing toward the phone.

“May I?” asks green bobcut.

“Sure,” says platinum sidesweep. “Wait, do you even know the code?”

“Seven two four five” respond strawberry swirls and wavy blue in unison.

“Oh, right,” platinum sidesweep utters.

Rather than entering a security code as the rest seemed to expect, green bobcut holds the phone with her index finger outstretched. The tip of the finger is obscuring the fingerprint sensor. Sensing the distinctive print of its owner, the phone’s display comes to life.

“No way,” whispers strawberry swirls, as wavy blue simply gasps.

Green bobcut lowers the phone to her chest for a moment. She presses a button then wordlessly hands the device toward strawberry swirls.

“There’s no way that’s gonna work,” says strawberry swirls.

“Stranger things have happened tonight,” insists green bobcut.

Strawberry swirls sighs, picks up the phone, then unlocks it with her own fingerprint.

“Somebody must’ve added more prints to this,” she speculates. She taps and swipes around the phone’s screen, evidently trying to find something specific. “No… It’s just the same two. Right index and left index.”

Strawberry swirls turns her head back toward platinum sidesweep, and extends her arm with the phone’s fingerprint exposed.

Platinum sidesweep sees the offer, shakes her head, then puts her finger against the scanner that was offered to her. The screen illuminates in strawberry swirls' hand, confirming a match.

“May I?” asks wavy blue.

Strawberry swirls presents the phone to wavy blue and they replicate the ritual, confirming that the four women share identical fingerprints.

Wavy blue looks up at strawberry swirls.

“Do you have any remaining doubts?” asks wavy blue.

“I don’t know,” answers strawberry swirls. “But at least this makes it easier to believe.”

Wavy blue smiles.

“I’m happy to see you’re feeling better,” she says.

Strawberry swirls turns around, folds both hands up to her mouth, and looks up to the ceiling for a moment.

“If you’re all who I think you are,” she asks the group, “then you’ll probably want to shower sometime this morning.”

“Oh,” green bobcut whispers.

“Thankfully,” strawberry swirls continues, “the timing of that rude wake up call means there should be enough time for the rest of you to have hot water later.”

Strawberry swirls lightly tosses the phone to green bobcut, then exits the room the same way she entered. “Be back soon,” she shouts. Shortly after, footsteps climbing up to the second level can be heard.

“Very sneaky of her!” platinum sidesweep remarks.

“She probably needed it,” responds green bobcut.

“Why do you say that?”

“I just mean, she was obviously freaking out over this whole thing.”

“Like I’m not!” exclaims platinum sidesweep.

“I didn’t say you weren’t,” says green bobcut, “but everyone responds differently to stress. She probably needs to be left alone with her own thoughts for a bit.”

A few more footsteps can be heard, followed by the sound of a door closing upstairs.

“Different…” platinum sidesweep mutters. “Like how I woke up wearing this bomb tank top. Or how she woke up with that silky nightie. Or you…” she briefly pauses, “…wait. You said you had to find that?”

“I did,” answers green bobcut.

“What were you wearing when you woke up, anyway?” platinum sidesweep asks.

Green bobcut looks away from both remaining women, and doesn’t verbally respond.

“…no way,” says platinum sidesweep.

“Oh!” exclaims wavy blue. “So, that’s why you stayed nicely tucked away for so long. Baring yourself like that in the middle of the night to three complete strangers? I can’t say I’d have reacted any differently.”

“Yeah,” green bobcut responds. “I’m thankful I was able to avoid that…” She then drops her head, shaking it slightly, with her eyes closed. “It would’ve been too much.”

“Well dear,” says wavy blue. “Best not to think about that. It won’t come to pass.”

“It’s not that,” green bobcut continues. “It’s…” she sighs, “You’re not strangers.”

“Odd that you mention that,” wavy blue responds. “Because this new voice of mine feels strange, in a way. It’s unlike what I expect my voice to sound like, but I am not at all discomforted by it.”

“That’s exactly what I mean. To me, the rest of you aren’t the strangers… I am.”

“What?!” platinum sidesweep interjects. “That doesn’t make any sense. How aren’t we strangers to you?”

“Well,” green bobcut begins, “it’s the way you behave. It feels almost predictable.” She clicks her tongue. “Maybe ‘predictable’ isn’t the right word. It’s familiar. I can examine my memories — the ones from before tonight — and I can almost imagine you, or her,” she gestures up to the second level of the house “or even her driving the action. I can’t—”

“I think you’re overthinking this,” platinum sidesweep interrupts. “Maybe not! Maybe you have a point. But I guess it’s in the past now, isn’t it? Things have changed, and I guess… you get to be you.”

“That’s what I’m confused about,” admits green bobcut.

“Well I can tell you that you have that in common with our showering friend up there. Both too deep in your heads.”

“You barely know either of us!”

“Hey look, if you have the right to imagine what each of us might’ve been up to before,” she gestures broadly, “any of this nonsense, then I have the right to make a snap judgment.”

Green bobcut lightly smacks her chair’s arm. She sighs. “There’s no point arguing,” she says.

“I’m not arguing,” explains platinum sidesweep. “I’m just speaking my mind.”

Wavy blue quietly hums. She’s looking up at the ceiling. Another, louder hum. “That’s an interesting line of thinking,” she says.

“Speaking my mind?” asks platinum sidesweep.

“No,” wavy blue explains. “What I’m remarking upon is that you have a mind in the first place.”

“Are you just now discovering theory of mind at 5 A.M.?”

“No, no. Try piecing together the events of the night.”


“We…” wavy blue pauses, looking for the right words. “…came into existence just an hour ago. We seem to share roughly the same memories of our life — the life it would seem we lived together — beforehand.”

“Yeah, we’ve already established that!” exclaims platinum sidesweep.

“You have a mind now,” wavy blue continues. “You presumably have your own thoughts and feelings.”

“Of course I do,” platinum sidesweep affirms.

“Of course you do. But did you have them beforehand?”

“What?! Of course I did!”

“Of course you did,” says wavy blue. “As did I. The question I wanted to pose is: don’t you feel different now? Up there, in your mind?”

“I… what…” platinum sidesweep stammers. “Well I… I mean, I think I feel different. I don’t think I’d expect myself to feel the same as usual with all that’s gone on in the past hour. Not to mention I’ve got two women in my living room who are supposed to be me—” she catches herself, quickly correcting “who supposedly come from the same place I do, and yet they’re behaving very differently from me!”

“Then it’s just as she said,” wavy blue says, gesturing toward green bobcut, “everyone behaves differently.”

“Like with that voice,” platinum sidesweep retorts.

“Or your attitude,” answers wavy blue.

“You make me sound like a punk rocker.”

“Maybe you are a punk rocker.”

Platinum sidesweep chuckles. “Geez…” she says. “Now you’re giving me these existential thoughts.”

“Forgive me,” asks wavy blue.

“No, you know what? That’s fine. I should be able to take what I dish.” she turns her gaze back to green bobcut, “Hey kiddo?”

“Huh?” says green bobcut.

“Sorry about that.”


“Is— are you really hung up on that?” platinum sidesweep asks. “I thought we already established that you’re the runt.”

“If my understanding is right,” green bobcut responds, “we’re all the same age.”

Platinum sidesweep’s eyes light up a bit at that response. “Exactly! The runt.”

Green bobcut doesn’t immediately respond. She instead just stares blankly for a few seconds, then shakes her head. “No…” she whines.

“I won’t force the issue any further,” platinum sidesweep insists. She turns her head back to wavy blue, who in turn is looking at green bobcut.

“So,” asks platinum sidesweep to wavy blue, “You’ve been the sagely one tonight.”

“Have I really?” questions wavy blue.

“You should really listen to yourself. Yes. You have.”

“If you should so insist.”

“I do so insist,” continues platinum sidesweep. “And I insist on asking a very obvious question.”

The sound of a door opening upstairs interrupts the query.

“What is it?” asks wavy blue.

“I think it should wait for her, actually.”

Some footsteps are heard in the hall, climbing down some stairs, followed by strawberry swirls reentering the room. She’s wearing a buttoned up pink cardigan and some skinny jeans. “My head feels so much clearer now,” she says.

Hearing this, platinum sidesweep smirks. “Yeah?” she asks. She points toward wavy blue. “We were just talking about that,” she continues. “Head feeling very clear since we woke up.”

“Is that so?” asks strawberry swirls. “Well, I’m just happy to feel refreshed.”

“Good stuff,” responds platinum sidesweep. “I have a big question and was hoping to get some input from you as well.”

“So, a question for everyone?”


“What’s the question?”

Platinum sidesweep looks at green bobcut, then wavy blue, then once more to strawberry swirls. “What’s the plan, here?” she asks. “Well, okay, I was mostly wanting to ask her,” she briefly looks toward and gestures in the direction of wavy blue, “because she’s been killing it with the wisdom tonight,” back to strawberry swirls, “but if any of you have any ideas, I’m all ears.”

“Huh,” strawberry swirls remarks, “I think I was a bit too preoccupied to really consider that.”

Platinum sidesweep sends a sly glance to green bobcut, who rolls her eyes in response.

“I’m sorry to say,” wavy blue interjects, “but I don’t think I have all the answers here.”

“Ugh”, platinum sidesweep scoffs, shaking her head. “Well. I guess it wouldn’t be fair to put it all on you. I’m just at a loss.”

“I feel paralyzed, in a sense,” wavy blue continues. “I can sense the weight of something important, but whenever I try to identify what it may be, it eludes me.”

“Just because your mind is clear,” proclaims green bobcut, taking the rest by surprise, “it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to think about important things.”

“Well then,” responds wavy blue, “what do you think would help?”

Green bobcut looks to wavy blue, then the strawberry swirls and platinum sidesweep. “It’s like with work. I know even if I was energized and motivated, I wouldn’t be able to start tackling it without my morning coffee.”

“Oh!” exclaims platinum sidesweep. “What a great idea.” She claps both hands together, and rubs them for a moment. “Let’s go. I’m doing this.”

Platinum sidesweep quickly drops the recliner’s control arm, producing a loud metallic clang in the process, and pops out of her seat. Cutting past strawberry swirls, she makes her way to the fridge. “Well, that’s no good,” she says almost immediately after opening the fridge door. “Forgot about this little problem. You know, factoring in the three of you, This fridge feels a lot emptier than usual. And it already felt pretty empty before.”

“Well,” explains strawberry swirls, “that’s what happens to a fridge when you live alone.”

“I suppose this would indicate a shopping trip today,” interjects wavy blue.

“You’re putting the cart before the horse here,” says platinum sidesweep from the fridge, “Or maybe you’re putting the horse before it’s meal. Oh. Gotcha. Bingo. Please tell me you have what I think you do.” She grabs a carton of eggs from the fridge and opens it. “Two, five, ten. Ten eggs!”

Platinum sidesweep leans away from the fridge and looks toward the living room. She notices that during her treasure hunt, wavy blue had moved to the recliner she had just vacated and was now looking into the kitchen.

“At the risk of asking a dumb question,” asks platinum sidesweep, “are eggs good for the rest of you? We can do two each, and I think there might still be enough bread for everyone to have some toast.”

“No thanks,” strawberry swirls responds. “I’ll have cereal.”

“Cereal how? Did you forget?”

Strawberry swirls' expression falls slightly. “Right, no more milk…”

“Yeah, looks like one of you got a bit greedy on that one.” Platinum sidesweep looks towards the two others. “What about you two? Eggs and toast?”

Green bobcut nods fervently, while wavy blue smiles and says “Yes, please.”

“Four orders of boring breakfast, coming right up!” exclaims platinum sidesweep.

Strawberry swirls gasps. “You’ll cook for all of us?” she asks. “I don’t know if I can trust a complete stranger to cook for me.”

“Who’s the stranger?” platinum sidesweep questions.

“I…” strawberry swirls trails off.

“First of all,” platinum sidesweep continues, “you should already know that there’s not enough room in this kitchen for more than one chef.”

Strawberry swirls winces. “Yes. Yes, I know,” she insists.

“Yes, you do,” affirms platinum sidesweep. “Second point: if you’re worried I won’t do it right, you haven’t been paying attention. But if you’re really concerned, then here’s the plan.”

Platinum sidesweep points to the oven. “Sunny side up with lots of salt and pepper,” she then points to the toaster, “whatever level of cooked comes right before ‘burned’,” then points to the coffee maker, “piping hot.”

“You didn’t mention coffee,” says strawberry swirls.

Platinum sidesweep narrows her eyes, and smirks. “It was implied,” she says.

Strawberry swirls sighs, and turns to the others. Her gaze meets wavy blue’s, who nods to her. She turns back to the kitchen. “I guess you’re good to go.”

“Yee haw,” answers platinum sidesweep.

Platinum sidesweep pushes the kitchen’s corner shelf, grabs a skillet stored inside and places it on the kitchen’s stove top before turning a dial. She then makes her way to a drawer just below the counter top, draws it open, and grabs a butter knife. She then closes the drawer and reaches on the counter for the butter keeper, grabs the top in her free hand, and swipes a wad of butter with the knife. She turns back to the skillet and flicks the butter onto it.

After this moment of observation, strawberry swirls retires to the now empty living room couch, dropping into its embrace. “She’s doing it right,” she says, “but something about this feels wrong.”

Wavy blue furrows a brow at that remark. “What do you mean?” she asks.

“Just waiting for it,” responds strawberry swirls. “It feels like I should be doing something.”

“Small talk to pass the time?”

“No. I hate small talk. More to the point, it’d be a distraction.”

“A distraction from what, exactly?”

Strawberry swirls sighs. “I don’t know.”

“Perhaps it’s the same sense I’ve been getting,” says wavy blue. “It’s a sense like… something important is looming over me. Just above. I feel it there, but can’t perceive it.”

“Why does this feel so normal?” asks strawberry swirls.

Wavy blue blinks a few times. “What exactly is ‘this’?” she responds.

“Talking,” says strawberry swirls. “With you. Or with her, or” she points behind the couch, to the kitchen, “her. It hasn’t been two hours since, you know, that thing, and…”

“It feels right,” answers wavy blue.

“I don’t know if ‘right’ is the right word.”

Wavy blue points to green bobcut. “I recall she brought up something similar,” she says.

Green bobcut perks up. “I mentioned that the three of you felt familiar,” she explains. “Like I could almost place you in my memory.”

“Huh,” strawberry swirls responds, “that could be part of it. But despite the normality I still feel off.”

“Perhaps it’s the hunger,” says wavy blue. “I’d advise to wait ‘til you’ve finished eating before you worry any further.”

“But that’s just it!” exclaims strawberry swirls. “On top of that, I wasn’t planning on doing the groceries today, but I’ve also got a work project to push on and I didn’t even think until now how that’ll go given how much has changed.” She groans. “I don’t even know if I’ll be able to focus on it.”

“We can worry about work after breakfast,” insists wavy blue. “As for groceries, I have an idea.” Wavy blue rises from her seat, and walks toward the kitchen. Platinum sidesweep is observing a pair of eggs in the skillet. The whites are almost completely solid, save for a heavy dose of salt and pepper on top. The sizzle of the skillet combined with the deep rumble of the coffee maker lead wavy blue to speak up a bit louder than usual. “Would you want to do groceries this morning, after breakfast?” she asks. “I’ll accompany you.”

Platinum sidesweep’s head turns slightly, and she makes eye contact with wavy blue. “Can’t! I’ve got work,” she answers. “Oh. Wait a minute. Do I have work? Do all four of us need to be on it at once?”

“Probably not,” remarks wavy blue. She returns to the living room, approaching the couch. Wavy blue taps strawberry swirls’ shoulder, whose head jumps out of her hands in surprise as she lets out a shocked “Huh?!” and turns to wavy blue.

“If I did some grocery shopping,” asks wavy blue, “would you work on the project today?”

Strawberry swirls blinks a few times. “I guess someone’s gonna have to do it,” she answers. “Fine. Anything to occupy my mind.”

Strawberry swirls gets up from the couch. As she rises, wavy blue suddenly grabs her arm. “The sun hasn’t even risen yet,” insists wavy blue, “and you’ve not had your morning coffee.” She lets go of strawberry swirls' arm. “Urgent though it may be,” she continues, “you’re not in any shape to make any significant progress.”

Strawberry swirls falls back into the couch’s embrace, and loudly groans. “I don’t understand how you can know me so well.”

“It’s easy,” proclaims wavy blue, and heads back to the kitchen.

“Work is covered for today,” she tells platinum sidesweep. “Given that I won’t be able to carry too much on my own, would you accompany me after breakfast?”

Platinum sidesweep again turns slightly to wavy blue, her face wearing a puzzled expression. “What are you talking about?” she asks. “We’ll grab the car.”

“More implications,” says wavy blue. “I don’t want to be caught driving a stolen vehicle without a license. Do you?”

The toaster clicks, with two freshly toasted slices rising up from within. Immediately after, platinum sidesweep picks up the skillet, and tilts it such that the two very well cooked sunny-side ups slide right off onto a plate. Next to that plate is another with two more finished eggs, and two slices of toast. She whips more butter onto the skillet, then cracks and seasons two more eggs onto it. She glances at the coffee pot and notices that it is full. “Would you pour some?” she asks wavy blue.

“Sure,” responds wavy blue, as she carefully makes her way into the kitchen in such a manner as to stay out of platinum sidesweep’s way. She opens the cabinet doors of the shelves above the coffee maker, picks up two coffee mugs from within, then fills them with the fresh coffee. Steering clear from the cook, wavy blue makes her way to the dinner table and sets the mugs down. She then approaches the kitchen once more.

“Plates, please!” she exclaims.

Platinum sidesweep glances at wavy blue as the request is made, then quickly turns her attention away from the skillet to hand the two prepared breakfast plates. Wavy blue grabs them, and sets them onto the dinner table with the coffees. “Better eat before it gets cold,” she announces to the living room.

Green bobcut, who had been observing from her own vantage point, immediately gets up and swiftly makes her way to the dinner table. She is quickly seated, looks down then next to the plate. “Uh,” she utters, “no cutlery.”

“Ah!” wavy blue gasps, before making her way to the kitchen to rectify the mistake. As she walks, she shouts “You should come eat, too!” then grabs a pair or forks and butter knifes for green bobcut and strawberry swirls. Instead of returning directly to the table, she heads to strawberry swirls at the couch. Wavy blue taps strawberry swirls' shoulder, who again recoils in shock.

“Huh?!” exclaims strawberry swirls. “Oh. Sorry.”

“Breakfast time,” informs wavy blue. “It’s getting cold.”

“Right,” responds strawberry swirls. “I think I was zoned out there. Didn’t realize you were talking to me.”

Strawberry swirls gets up, and wavy blue continues to the dinner table. She hands half the cutlery to green bobcut, then the other half to strawberry swirls as she passes by.

Wavy blue takes a few moments to observe green bobcut as she eats. “Is it good?” wavy blue asks. Green bobcut nods, then swallows. “Yes, very good,” she responds, and takes another moment to contemplate. “I wasn’t expecting this kind of breakfast this morning.”

“Eggs take too much effort for one person,” interrupts strawberry swirls. “It’s easier to justify if you’ve got company, which…” She observes the meal in front of her for a moment. “Hm. No butter.”

Strawberry swirls turns toward platinum sidesweep, who is frying more eggs, “You done with that butter?” she asks.

“What?!” shouts platinum sidesweep. “Oh! Unbuttered toast! Yeah, that’s no good.” She takes one last knifeful of butter, sets it aside, then grabs the butter keeper and holds it behind her. “Someone take this off my hands!” she demands.

Still nearby, wavy blue walks over, and swipes the butter. As she returns to the dinner table, she sees strawberry swirls sipping coffee. Wavy blue sets the butter down between green bobcut and strawberry swirls, who sets down her drink.

“I don’t think I’ve ever needed a coffee more than just now,” explains strawberry swirls. “Part of me was thinking that I had just lost my mind, that everything I remember happening this morning was just the result of some stroke or something, but no. That coffee is so real.”

“Ah!” exclaims wavy blue exclaims. “That’s something I could enjoy while waiting.” She goes to retrieve another mug for herself.

As wavy blue returns to the kitchen, platinum sidesweep turns to her. “Yours is done,” she announces. “Eat up.”

“Don’t be silly,” responds wavy blue. “I wouldn’t want you to be stuck eating alone!”

Wavy blue grabs her own mug and begins to pour herself a coffee.

“This should go without saying,” says platinum sidesweep, “but I’m used to eating alone.”

Wavy blue smirks as she finishing pouring her cup, and turns back to face the cook. “You speak as if you won’t need to build an entire new set of habits,” she says.

Platinum sidesweep turns to face the last pair of eggs, which are nearly finished. “I hadn’t thought about that,” she answers.

Wavy blue carefully sips her drink. “After all the hard work you put in,” she says, “it would be unfair to leave you to eat alone.”

“You’re just buttering up your future pack mule,” responds platinum sidesweep.

Wavy blue giggles at the remark. “Can’t it be both?” she asks.

Platinum sidesweep chuckles. “Thankfully at least one of us still has her marbles,” she whispers.

She picks up the skillet, and slides the now finished eggs onto the last empty plate next to the stove top. She then moves the skillet off of the still hot element, and then sets the element’s control dial to “off”. As she turns the dial, the toaster can be heard ejecting its payload.

“Perfect timing,” she quips.

Platinum sidesweep grabs both plates, and extends the one that already held toast to wavy blue, who cheerfully accepts and gets out of the way. She makes her way to the dinner table with platinum sidesweep following a few moments later. As they are seated, green bobcut gets up and takes her finished plate to the now vacated kitchen’s sink. She pauses for a moment, then turns toward the dinner table. “I’ll do the dishes,” she informs the rest.

“It’s fine,” insists strawberry swirls, her meal nearly finished. “I can do my own dishes.”

Green bobcut tilts her head at the response. “You’ve already volunteered for a full workday,” she says. “The least I could do is a tiny bit of cleanup!”

Strawberry swirls turns toward her plate, sighs, and promptly finishes the last of her meal. She then gets up and brings her empty plate to the sink to be cleaned, but opts not to leave the mug. She instead fills it with what little coffee that remains in the coffee maker. “This is ridiculous,” she proclaims. She sips her additional coffee, then quickly downs the mug. She leaves the now empty mug next to green bobcut’s sink, returns to the dinner table, and sinks her head into her hands once more.

“What’s wrong?” asks wavy blue. “Not filling?”

“It was good,” answers strawberry swirls, She turns toward platinum sidesweep, who is scarfing down her own breakfast. “Thanks,” she tells the cook.

“No problem,” responds platinum sidesweep. “But you should really answer her question.”

Strawberry swirls shakes her head. “I— Don’t you think this is ridiculous?” she asks.

With her mouth full, platinum sidesweep can only affirm with an “mhm”.

“I was thinking about it while I was eating,” she continues. “That car is useless now. And we’re about to run out of food.”

“We’ll get more food today,” affirms wavy blue, whose slower food intake leaves her freer to respond.

“Sure, but how much longer can we last?” asks strawberry swirls. “I remember having enough savings to survive alone for maybe two years without work, but I’m obviously not alone anymore. I’ve even been chasing your little ‘implications’, in my head, while I ate. How do we get help? How do you even begin to explain what happened tonight?” She continues shaking her head. “There’s no financial support program for ‘I woke up in the middle of the night and found three other women in my bedroom and we all have the same memories of our previous life’, is there?”

“No,” responds wavy blue, “there definitely isn’t.”

“Right. So I thought,” continues strawberry swirls, “‘Well, we could get jobs,’ only we can’t! Because if the same person is working at two ends of town simultaneously… like, doesn’t that look like identity fraud?”

“Only to someone who doesn’t know the truth,” says wavy blue.

“Setting aside for a moment that none of us look like, well, us, you know, ‘Rose’. You said so yourself, photo IDs just became useless to us. But even if by some miracle one of us—not me, obviously—could be passed off as ‘Rose’, what about the rest? How would you explain the truth?”

“Start at 4 in the morn—” wavy blue explains.

“In a way that’ll be believed,” strawberry swirls interrupts.

Wavy blue pauses for a moment, holds a hand up to her jaw, but doesn’t anser.

“And suppose we discover that,” strawberry swirls elaborates. “Like, suppose we find the perfect explanation. The right combination of words to convey this insane situation. What then? How do we each get our own birth certificates? Legally? What do you even write down on them? Like, is today our birthday?!”

“Self employment,” interjects green bobcut, startling both strawberry swirls and platinum sidesweep.

“Geez!” yells platinum sidesweep. “You’re gonna give me a heart attack!”

“Sorry,” says green bobcut. “I just meant… What if we worked for ourselves? Or I guess, for ‘Rose’?”

Strawberry swirls leans back slightly. “Hardly likely,” she says. “But let’s say we did,” she says. “What about payroll?”

“Well,” explains green bobcut. “‘Rose’ just pays herself a salary. If the business pays all the right taxes, and if ‘Rose’ does too… Wouldn’t it all look fine to a hypothetical outside observer? Besides. Taxes wouldn’t be much of a problem until we start bringing in lots of money.”

The other three pause to contemplate the proposal.

“So,” strawberry swirls says. “something like a protective layer to conceal us. A buffer between us and the outside world.”

“Yeah!” green bobcut exclaims. “A way for us to operate as one.”

“I liked the old way of operating as one,” says strawberry swirls.

“The old way is gone,” interjects wavy blue. She turns toward green bobcut. “I like this idea.”

“Thank you,” says green bobcut.

“It could be like a disguise,” suggests wavy blue.

Strawberry swirls turns her head to look at wavy blue. “…assuming it works,” she adds.

“Correct,” affirms wavy blue. “But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.” She turns toward green bobcut. “Will you look into this today?”

“Yes,” answers green bobcut.

Wavy blue picks up her empty plate, and leaves it atop platinum sidesweep’s. Noticing this, green bobcut picks up the plates to continue her cleaning.

Wavy blue again turns toward strawberry swirls. “Focus on the problem ahead of you,” she says. “Think about the silver lining.”

“I can’t see any silver lining,” says strawberry swirls.

“You don’t need to do this all on your own anymore,” wavy blue advises.

Strawberry swirls sighs. “I’ve just been lashing out all morning, haven’t I?” she asks.

Platinum sidesweep lets out a chuckle. “Almost nonstop,” she answers.

Strawberry swirls looks down at the table. “Forgive me,” she says.

“It’s alright,” responds platinum sidesweep. “I know what you’re going through.”

Strawberry swirls laughs. “I guess you do,” she admits. She turns to face wavy blue. “I think I understand what you mean.”

Wavy blue smiles. “I’m glad,” she responds. “Don’t be surprised if you continue running into strange obstacles. We’re already deep into uncharted territory.”

“At least we won’t be lost at sea,” says strawberry swirls. “No chance of getting shipwrecked. Silver linings, right?”


“How can you stay so calm? I feel like everything is falling apart, but that’s not the energy I’m getting from you. Aren’t you terrified?”

“Yes, I am. I am very terrified. I don’t see how that should affect my approach. The way forward is unclear to me. Still, I know how to survive today. On top of that, we’re already working toward solutions for the long term.”

“Long term?” asks strawberry swirls. “I can barely imagine the next hour.”

“That’s not your job right now,” answers wavy blue. “Your job today is to sit at that desk and write like nothing’s changed.”

“I did volunteer for that, didn’t I?”

“You did. While you do that, the rest of us will take care of other important things.”


“Don’t you see?”


Wavy blue pauses to smile, looking deeply into strawberry swirls' eyes. “You’re in good hands now,” she explains.

Strawberry swirls sighs. “I still don’t understand how you won my trust so quickly.”

Wavy blue narrows her eyes. “We’re cut from the same cloth.”

“I don’t think that’s true anymore,” says strawberry swirls. “But I know that’s not the point you were trying to make.”

She turns toward platinum sidesweep. “Got the time?” she asks.

Platinum sidesweep turns toward the unattended phone left by green bobcut, grabs it, and unlocks it again. “Six fifty seven,” she answers.

Strawberry swirls tilts her head back and pauses for a moment. “Too early— No.” She catches herself, and exhales. “Silver lining. It means more time to figure out what I’m doing. Keep the phone. I don’t need the distraction today.”

The sound of clattering plates can be heard from the kitchen, followed by a yell.

“Wait!” green bobcut yells, once more catching the attention of the other three. She looks at strawberry swirls. “Want me to bring up another coffee?”

Strawberry swirls' mouth is agape. She blinks a few times before mustering her response. “Yes. Please.” She turns back toward the two other women seated with her, “I’ll never get used to that,” she says before getting and making her way upstairs. As the sound of her footsteps begins to fade, she is heard shouting “Thank you!”

“When should we start?” asks wavy blue to platinum sidesweep.

“First,” she responds, “you’ve gotta get out of that outfit. I don’t think the supermarket views that favourably. Well, not on their customers anyway.”

Wavy blue observes her own garment. “I had completely forgotten about this,” she explains. “Do you recall wearing it much?”

“Not much,” answers platinum sidesweep. “I do remember it was pretty uncomfortable, though.”

“My memory is the same, but now it feels natural. Like it was meant to be.”

“You are so weird. How is it that you’ll be doing groceries of all things this morning?”

“What do you mean?” asks wavy blue.

“I don’t know. You just seem like there’s other things you would find more comfortable.”

Wavy blue tilts her head and smirks. “Such as?”

“I don’t know…” responds platinum sidesweep before trailing off. She chuckles. “I don’t think I want to know.”

“You seem awfully curious,” notes wavy blue.

“Yeah, well, to be fair, suddenly I have three weirdos in my life who I can’t get rid of. Not that I want to, of course…”

“Of course.”

“Of course! But if you’re gonna stick around, we’re probably gonna get to know each other. A lot. Hang on.”

Platinum sidesweep gets up. She takes a few moments to look around her vicinity. She turns back to look at the chair she just left, and wraps her hands around the back. She then lifts the chair a few inches off the ground, then just as quickly sets it down.

“What are you doing?” inquires wavy blue.

“Testing,” answers platinum sidesweep.

Platinum sidesweep makes her way back to the living room, eyes fixated on the couch. She approaches its right side, and squats. She then places her hands below the couch, lifting it for a few seconds before returning it to position.

“What are you testing exactly?” asks wavy blue, who had followed platinum sidesweep to observe.

Platinum sidesweep stands back up, and looks at wavy blue. She then slaps her own left arm with her right hand, and steps aside. “Try it,” she insists. “Go.”

Wavy blue narrows her eyes at the challenge, but then proceeds to where platinum sidesweep was standing. She grabs the top of the couch’s armchair, then gently descends to her knees. She frees the armrest and her hands make their way to the couch’s underside. She pulls up, grunts slightly, and the couch lifts. After a few seconds, she drops it. The drop causes a loud sound, which green bobcut answers from the kitchen with a short, startled scream.

“Is everything alright?!” asks green bobcut.

“Yes! Sorry!” wavy blue shouts. She gets back up on her feet. “She made it look too easy,” she says, gesturing toward platinum sidesweep.

Platinum sidesweep slaps wavy blue’s back just below the shoulder, which produces an unusually loud THUMP against the nightgown’s silk. Wavy blue recoils slightly. “Ow!” she protests before turning around to face her assailant.

Platinum sidesweep raises her hands in front of her chest, palms out, taking a step back in the process. “Oh, oh no, that was a lot harder than I intended,” she explains. “I’m not used to carrying such force.”

Wavy blue reaches above and behind her shoulder to reach the impact site, then winces as she touches it.

Platinum sidesweep steps forward again. “I’m so sorry,” she pleads. “I’ll find a way to make it up to you.”

Eyes still closed, wavy blue slowly begins to grin, then erupts into a fit of laughter. “Oh, ow, oh that hurts,” she says, pain interrupting laughter.

Platinum sidesweep’s mouth is agape, her eyes nearly popping out of her head. “Are you okay?” she asks.

“I’ll be fine,” responds wavy blue. “It couldn’t possibly be that bad. Besides, I think the results of your experiment are quite conclusive.” She points to platinum sidesweep’s biceps. “Those aren’t just for show.”

Platinum sidesweep lets out a laugh. “Definitely not,” she says, feeling out her own arms once more. “And I’m definitely keeping these.”

Wavy blue scoffs. “What do you mean by ‘keep’?” she asks.

Platinum sidesweep clicks her tongue. “Well,” she explains, “the Universe decides, for some reason, that I should start existing.” She observes her arms again. “I guess as a consolation prize the Universe decided to also give me these sweet guns without making me work for them.”

“Right…” wavy blue responds, before trailing off.

“Assuming it works like how muscles are supposed to,” platinum sidesweep continues, “it’s use it or lose it.”

“Ah!” gasps wavy blue.

“Now you get it.”

“So you suspect that a failure to use those would be tantamount to forfeiting them?”

“That’s right. And there’s no chance I’m gonna let myself find out the hard way.”

“It’s fortuitous that you’ve already agreed to help.”

Platinum sidesweep scoffs. “As if you didn’t have that in mind already,” she insists.

“I might have,” answers wavy blue. “Who knows? It feels like so long ago.”

Platinum sidesweep laughs while shaking her head. “Never stop being weird.” She turns to look at green bobcut. “I hope that didn’t scare you too much,” she says.

Green bobcut stares back for a moment, then averts her gaze, instead looking toward wavy blue. In turn, platinum sidesweep looks to wavy blue, then gestures her head toward green bobcut. Noticing the gesture, wavy blue turns to face green bobcut. Without breaking eye contact, she approaches the startled onlooker.

“I promise you,” wavy blue affirms to green bobcut, “that was less of a bite and more of a sting.”

Green bobcut nods slightly, then turns to platinum sidesweep. “Please do your best to help her,” she demands.

Platinum sidesweep grins, and curls her arm. “Only the very best for you girls,” she answers. “I’ll make it up to both of you if I have to.”

Green bobcut continues staring for a moment. “…okay,” she answers. “Please be careful in the future.”

Green bobcut looks to wavy blue, then back to platinum sidesweep. “Is it okay if I get cleaned up?” she asks.

“Oh, well—” wavy blue begins.

“Go for it,” platinum sidesweep interrupts. “There’s no way her and I aren’t gonna be a bit grimy by the time we get back. Shower’s all yours.”

Wavy blue turns back to green bobcut, then smiles and nods. “There’s nothing to worry about,” she insists.

Once more, green bobcut looks to platinum sidesweep then back to wavy blue. “Okay,” she says. “I’m gonna get ready now. Good luck.”

“Thank you,” responds wavy blue.

“Thanks!” adds platinum sidesweep.

Green bobcut smiles back at both, then makes her way upstairs.

Platinum sidesweep lightly taps wavy blue’s shoulder. “You ought to get changed,” she insists.

Wavy blue briefly glances at her own outfit. “I’d forgotten about this..”

Platinum sidesweep laughs. “I thought you were supposed to be wise,” she adds.

“Even if that were true, that doesn’t mean I’m always fully mindful.”

Platinum sidesweep giggles. “Alright, go on,” she says. “You get first pick from the closet.”

“Thank you,” says wavy blue.

Wavy blue proceeds upstairs. After a wait of a few minutes, she descends.

As wavy blue re-enters the scene, platinum sidesweep notices her outfit. “Not what I expected,” she says.

“You could not possibly know how much I was tempted to wear a sundress,” explains wavy blue, “but it wouldn’t be fitting for our trek. A plain tee with plain jeans makes much more sense right now, I should think.” She reaches into her newly-acquired pockets and pulls out a set of keys and a wallet. “Ready when you are,” she tells platinum sidesweep.

“Be right back,” responds platinum sidesweep, who then heads upstairs.

Barely a minute later, she returns in a loose white tee and grey jogging pants. “Alright! Time’s a wastin'!” she exclaims.

“Agreed,” affirms wavy blue. “Let’s make haste and beat the heat.”

Ready for their task, the two women head out.