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i'm not upset
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Caleb didn't realize he'd been smiling the whole time until Kimiko's smile disappeared. The corners of his mouth ached a little and fell too. He was fading in and out more rapidly now between happiness and dread. Every few seconds he remembered what their true situation was and he felt sick. Then he would forget and it would start over. It was a roller coaster ride he didn't want to disembark from because he didn't know what he would do if he was mired too long in their reality.

He didn't know what he would do. Caleb had only gotten up off the floor of that cell to look for Kimiko. He was scared and didn't know if he could hold together having experienced this illusory distraction and then having it ripped away.

Caleb noticed he had just been looking at her.

She was beautiful.

He immediately felt guilty thinking about that. She was a friend and she trusted him. The hints of his feelings had been there creeping on the edges of his consciousness even in regular life, but there was enough out there to distract him and push those back to the edges where they belonged. Caleb was sure that she didn't feel the same way. There was nothing about him worthy of it.

"Prize, huh?" he said, walking around the kitchen counter, hanging on to the edge and leaning back.

He walked to the front door, dragging a chair behind him and jamming it under the door knob to secure it.

"We can hunker down here for now. You can tell me the entire story of Transmetropolitain through interpretive dance until it's time for bed."
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The Lagniappe · The Hunting Cabin