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“A cross,” she whispered, her fingers tracing over the roughened edges of the white scar.

Sliding the clear shower curtain back, she stared from the depths of the shower into the fogged mirror over the sink. For a moment, she thought nothing was reflected in the mirror.

Stumbling out of the shower, she ran her hand over the mirror, her blue-gray eyes coming into focus. Her clean, black hair hung loosely around her face, framing a face with a strong chin, high cheekbones, a sharp slightly hooked nose, and full, bruised looking lips.

Her fingers slid down over her features, then over her neck, down to her breasts. The piercings in both nipples glinted in the florescent light. Slowly, she turned and looked over her shoulder to see her back was still adorned by angel wings, her freshest tattoos. Her waist tucked in above her full hips. She ran a hand over her curvy right cheek slowly.

Need to lose weight, she thought.

For a moment, she was filled with self-loathing. Her upper body was long and lean, with shapely breasts and a small waist. Her lower body was fuller, but her legs seemed too short for her body. Endless jogging, avoiding potatoes and other starches had never rid her of her wider hips.

She started laughing. It was a startling sound to her ears when she heard it, and she sank against the wall, cold and wet.

I'm insane, she thought. I've lost my mind.

Forcing the crazed giggles away, she dried off, then checked the mirror again. The tiny diamond tucked into the side of her nose twinkled back at her. She slid her dark hair back behind her ears. The six hoops in each ear were intact. Her fingers pulled back her hair and she studied her roots intently. A faint line of gold was visible along the part.

She would have to dye her hair again soon. At least her eyebrows were naturally dark.

Her legs were a little shaky as she walked into her room and pulled a pair of jeans out of the laundry basket resting on the cluttered dresser. A pair of pink bikini-briefs came with them and she pulled both items on. Rummaging around in the basket, she found a white tank top and shrugged it on. Collapsing onto the bed, she leaned over and opened the refrigerator. The tiny thing creaked open and revealed it was empty, save for a soda and bottled water.

She was hungry. Very hungry. Famished.

Shoving the door shut, she ran her hands over her damp hair and stared down at her feet. The chipped red polish on her toenails was the norm. They were cut short and slightly ragged. Shrugging, she leaned down and snagged a pair of battered Bettie Page heels. She always tried to wear heels to make up for her shorter legs.

Her stomach coiled tightly as she stood. She gasped in pain. Her vision swam and she stumbled forward.

She needed to eat, and soon.

Looking up into the battered mirror above her dresser, she stared into an empty room. She gasped then, suddenly, her reflection winked into view. Blinking hard, she watched it blink out again, then shimmer back slowly.

Terror gripped her. She grabbed her keys off the floor and rushed to the door. She would eat and then she would be fine. She'd stop feeling like this and she would understand what had happened to her.

She just needed to eat.

That would do it.

Yes, to eat. That would be salvation.

She just needed to…feed.


Amaliya felt weak as she maneuvered down the stairs, then trudged down the long dim corridor to the outside world. Beyond her feebleness, she felt strangely unreal. It was as if she was moving through a dream where nothing felt connected to her in any way. Her surroundings seemed faintly familiar to her hazy mind, but instinct drew her toward her destination, not memory.

Her high heels clicked against the sidewalk as she moved toward-

She stopped for a moment, her thoughts shifting, then she remembered.

The parking lot lay beyond the jumble of buildings nearby. And she had a truck, a beat up blue truck. She nodded and started walking again.

A door opened to a nearby building, where a young Asian man hurried out. He didn't even glance at her as he moved around her, hastily walked toward one of the far buildings.

Turning slowly, she stared after him. No, she didn't know him, but he made her feel warm inside. She considered following him, but then shook her head.

He was not enough to make her hunger go away.

Frowning, unsure of her own thoughts, she turned her attention back to her destination and started walking again.