“Hey, darlin’. You alright?”
My mind starts to awaken as I hear a familiar voice around me; that special accent, seemingly American but with that undertone of foreignism that no one can ever put their finger on.
“E-Ethan?” I say, eyes still clenched shut against some sort of illumination.
“Yeah, Lucy. It’s me,” I feel his hands around me, pulling me up from my sleeping place. It feels hard, but weightless. As if it’s solid ground that has been nothing but a grass habitat for years, but also as if it isn’t there and never was.
I try to open my eyes just slightly, but it proves useless, because my eyes do not seem to have the ability to adjust to the unconditional light that will not cease. Groaning, I sit up, digging my head into Ethan’s chest, eyes still closed.
“The light. It hurts.”
“I know. I’m sorry, but you’ll get used to it,” he replies. I squint again, forcing my vision to clear itself.
“Where the hell are we, Ethan?” I say. What place is so effing sunny? I don’t believe that even the Sahara is this bright. And besides, it’s not that warm here.
“We’re home, Lucy.” Ethan’s vague answers are starting to irritate me. By now, my sight has adjusted enough for me to look up and at his expressionless face. Emotionless, even. As always. The only way I can tell how he feels is his voice. All the unknowable feelings known through the lightness or the heaviness of Ethan’s voice. Or his eyes. The eyes never lie.
His shaggy blonde hair is matted and undone, light stubble growing about his chin and face. Ethan’s eyes are heavy. His brown irises are edged with melancholy. There’s something wrong.
“Ethan, really. Where are we?” I look around, trying to figure out where we are.
But we are nowhere.
All around me is whiteness. A limbo where I sit but on nothing. A realm cocooned in nothing but white light. And there is no one but us here.