...She Woke With A Startle ::ether

She woke with a startle. The gray light outside seeped in like a slow-rising water. The sky was quietly strangled by unmoving clouds, as it had been the day before, and the week before. The mattress of cottons and wood supports she slept upon sat low to the ground. The motionless of the room’s hanging lanterns and decor were an unsettlingly mundane second sky. There was something within her dreams which disturbed her. It did not overtake her in whole, she felt no fear in her raised position. She merely felt touched by a bizarre.

She leafed through her mind, attempting to gain any hint or similar idea that might trigger some hidden recognition. She doubted she even had a clear perception of whatever it was that had disturbed her. But something within the dream felt so perverse. Maychance it was just the suggestion of something that seemed horrid. But she felt the very concept of whatever that was, was entirely foreign to her mind. She felt she did not understand it, even within the dream itself, even within the reflective moments that might have came in the split second betwixt the event and her waking. She would that she could recall any of it.

She felt the air shift, and so too did the feathered decor hanging above her head, as someone passed in the crossing hall. Someone looked inside. Messy hair curled towards their cheeks, twisting like confused sunrays. They had a soft expression, dark and rosy cheeks gathered beneath their baggy, dark, eyes. They held a sort of sparkling, curious gaze. Their brow rose in interest, processing Cosappia’s sitting silhouette within a few seconds. “Well now! I hardly see you awake at this hour.”

Their voice held a constant of quaint curiosity. Cosappia felt that Nesso found nearly everything mildly interesting. Cosappia responded, smiling lightly, “Likewise.”

Nesso returned the grin, saying, “You are always so much more clear-headed then I after waking.” They began to lean into the room further, but stopped themselves. They felt they should probably request permission from Cosappia before entering, but they felt the need to mask that they instinctively tried to worm into her room. They looked down the hall purposelessly, and back to Cosappia. “Ah, well, I was just heading to the docks, but do you care if I sit with you for a moment?”

Cosappia nodded, and rolled out of bed herself. She felt it would be nice to have some company this early. It was not usually until the afternoon that she saw them. She sat upon the stone bench on the wall, just in front of the bone lattice window. Nesso soon followed, the latter tucking their legs beneath them as they sat. Cosappia held with her one of her thin covers, still having it wrapped about her prodding rib. The crisp air from the river below bit at her quite harshly, but the cover helped marginally.

“Did you need something in particular, Nesso?”

They shook their head. “No, not terribly. I just wanted to check on you.” They leaned over, pressing their cheek against Cosappia’s bonier shoulder. Pardon my assumptions, but you had a dreadfully dazed expression as I was looking in. Did you sleep poorly?”

Cosappia shook her head, not wanting Nesso to fret. “I slept fine, I think. There is just this dream I had.” She remained quite for a moment, and the smallsailor let the air remain so. It gave Cosappia a moment to reflect. She added, “I guess I could say dreams, now.”

Nesso’s head tilted, the cushy depth of their voice springing back in interest, “Oh?”

Cosappia nodded, “It must have been a week or so now. It’s been the same sort of feeling, over and over.” She was in a sort of daze. It felt strange for her to not have noticed the pattern of recurrence yet.

Nesso affectionately placed a hand on Cosappia’s leg, the blanket ruffling lightly. “I’m sorry, I hadn’t known. Have they been particularly bad or anything?”

Cloudy frustration crossed Cosappia’s face. “ I hardly knew my self. Have they been bad, though?” She took a deep breath in, trying to gather any bit of her interpretation of it. “I can’t really say. I never really remem-” Her attention was swiftly stolen as she dropped her gaze to Nesso’s hand. It sat atop the blanket, still and lifeless. There was something so eerily objective about it. At that moment, it did not seem like Nesso’s hand, or anyone in particular’s. It just seemed like a base object of ‘a hand,’ as if it was just part of the landscape. It rested as a stone might, defined yet seemingly unimportant. She could easily note the subtleties of the tendons squirming, and the veins pumping. It sat within the grey, lightless light, so bizarrely ordinary and coated in undefining ambiance. She could see the muscles tense as Nesso began to note Cosappia’s near-trance.

Nesso’s gaze parted from Cosappia’s eyes, down to her own hand, and back to Cosappia. She wondered if they found themselves on Cosappia’s bad side this morning. They hummed lightly in curiosity, before removing their hand. As they did, they saw the expression of Cosappia break into realization. As Cosappia snapped out of it, an annoyed tinge struck her lip. “Sorry…”

“I’m sorry,” Nesso quickly butted. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable or anything.”

Cosappia let out a half-fried sigh. She felt she seemed so off to Nesso, this morning. She didn’t want them to feel guilty about it, though. She shook her head, “No, it’s not that…” Nesso wasn’t even leaning on Cosappia anymore, being ever-careful. It was bittering, seeing Nesso’s attempts at affection and compassion wash away so suddenly. Still, she felt not like explaining the ‘strange feeling’ of seeing their hand to them. It was hard for her to even process what sort of emotion it was. It felt familiar, but only in the sort of way seeing a recurring pest in one’s house did. It all felt like it lined up with the dreams. She hadn’t any idea what it meant, in any spiritual or mental or physical right. Her eyes glazed over, examining her own hand carefully. “I think I’m just waking up.”

The room remained quiet for a time, before Nesso let out a quiet, giggle. “I’ll leave you to your waking, then. I’ll be about the docks later if you want to talk again?”