A stripe of sunlight fell upon my face as I awoke, bleary-eyed, to the shuffling sounds of someone awake. I shifted my head away from the heat.
"Kara?" I mumbled. The sounds stopped. A few moments later, a sweet voice rang out.
"It's me. I tried to wake you but you know what you're like. You're gonna be late to work, honey." Honey. She hadn't called me that since...the word sounded hollow, forced.
I dragged my body from the bed and winced at the sharp pain from my leg. Fumbling for the bottle I knew was on the bedside table, I knocked a few worthless and priceless pieces of jewellery onto the floor. I didn't pick them up. By this time my eyes were halfway open, though crusty. I managed to unscrew the lid and shook two tablets into my hand, throwing my head back as I swallowed them.
"What time is it?"
"Half eight. You really shouldn't dry-swallow those, sweetie." There it was again. Another empty pet name.
"It's fine. I'm used to it."
"You shouldn't be." Her voice was quiet, a near-whisper, but I heard it plainly. I turned my mostly-open eyes to her lithe frame, slapping cream on her face at a three-piece mirror. I noticed a thin grey streak in her once-lustrous chestnut hair.
Waiting for my eyes to open fully before pulling on a pair of grey suit trousers, I wrinkled my nose at an odd scent.
"Is that new perfume?"
"No, just an old one I haven't used in a while."
"There's eggs in the microwave for breakfast. They might still be warm."
"Thanks." She knew full well I hadn't eaten breakfast since it happened.
"Adam, I've gotta go."
I sighed at the sound of an engine roaring and pulling away from the driveway. Walking over to the mirror, I began to knot together the faded blue tie I wore daily. For a moment, it appeared to flicker. I shoved on my glasses and looked again. Nothing. Shaking my head, I peered into the mirror. Peering back was an ordinary man in his thirties, with a slowly-but-steadily receding hairline and a tweet jacket. His watery eyes seemed glassy, unfocussed and his collarbones jutted out from his skin, visible even through the slightly-grey shirt he wore. An ordinary man in his thirties, with branches of white scar tissue creeping up from under his shirt to lace in criss-cross lines all over his face. I barked a laugh at him. He looked like the work of some insane artist.