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just a picture of a cloud
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Georgia Lee Day was a woman of routine.

Every morning she would get up at the same time. When she’d been younger, she’d shared a room with her sisters and had been forced to sleep with her phone under her pillow. The reasons for this were twofold: it prevented her sisters from interfering with the phone while she slept, and it meant that she could have it wake her by vibrating, rather than making noise and waking everyone in the room.

The room Georgia Lee had slept in had grown hot, with three of them in there, and the Day girls had slept most nights under thin blankets. Once her sisters had moved out and she’d had the room to herself, Georgia Lee had simply moved their blankets from her sisters bed to her own. It was cheaper than buying a new, thicker blanket; it meant she could adjust her temperature incrementally if she were to grow too hot at night; and in some ways it felt like a victory over her sisters.

Georgia Lee’s routine every morning was the same. She would turn off her phone, pull back her three blankets and pull open her curtains. She would shower, she would dress herself, and she would go about her day.

This morning, there was no rhythmic vibration under Georgia Lee’s cheek to wake her. Her head wasn’t on a soft pillow, and her body wasn’t under warm blankets. She was lying on dirt, slightly damp. She could feel it on her forehead and her cheek, as she pried her eyes open. Some of it was in her mouth. Underneath the dirt was hard concrete, and her body ached. She wondered how long she’d been lying on it.

There were no blankets to pull off, and there were no curtains to pull back. The sun was already high in the sky, and it took Georgia Lee’s bleary eyes some minutes to adjust to it. There was nowhere to shower, as she appeared to be on a beach. Georgia Lee pushed herself to a sitting position, and then began to comb dirt out of her hair with her fingers.

There was no need to dress herself, at least, as she seemed to be fully clothed.

Georgia Lee climbed unsteadily to her feet, and brushed herself off. She felt like the dirt had made its way into her ears and filled her head. Her thoughts were coming slowly, and with great effort. She was standing on a narrow metal bridge, overgrown with weeds. Far, far underneath waves crashed against a cliff.

Her stomach felt like a pot boiling over then, and for the moment it took all her focus to keep from retching. She put a hand to her belly and coughed a couple of times involuntarily, but she managed to keep her food down.

Events came back to her slowly, coming to the surface of her mind like corpses bobbing up from a lake of blissful forgetfulness. She remembered the bus, the kidnapping, the terrorists. She remembered terror too, though she didn’t feel any of that now, for some reason. She felt, more than anything, a sense of outrage at her routine being interrupted.

If she gave up on her routine now, it would all be for nothing.

A voice was growing louder, telling her that it would all be for nothing, and that missing a couple of mornings’ runs would have nothing to do with it. Stop thinking things would be normal, the voice screeched at her. Things weren’t normal and they weren’t going to be normal. Georgia Lee did her best to ignore the voice.

This was the first time in her life she’d really seen the sea properly, outside of a harbour, and Georgia Lee found herself marvelling at how beautiful it was. The grass growing out of the bridge’s concrete cracks looked soft and inviting, and she had the sudden urge to take off her shoes and walk through it barefoot.

It was an insane thing to be thinking about, given the circumstances. The idea that she might be experiencing some sort of shock began to creep up on Georgia Lee, and she resolved to get away from here and out of sight before her body shut down on her completely. It wasn’t until she saw the body that the reality of her situation began to set in.

Fiyori Senay’s was a very identifiable body.

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