Mia shot upright, torn from her sleep by a scream.
Even without The Walrider sharpening her gaze, the motel room was bright enough for her to see clearly. The blinds let in light from the next door gas station and a few miscellaneous street lamps, and they shown in, reaching into the room and casting Lo-
Mia snapped her head to the side, and from where she laid on the ground, she could see Lonnie on the bed. See her, and hear her little sobs and cries too.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Mia shot out a hand to the lights. While her broken, battered hand could only gesture, The Walrider was so at one with its host that its own pitch fingers reached the lightswitch and slammed it on.
And as the room was cast in hazy, warm light again, Mia watched Lonnie tentatively as she whimpered and whined. She didn’t move to hover over her, to touch her, because she didn’t want to make it worse. She wanted to, she wanted to pull Lonnie out of her nightmares and hold her close and promise to protect her, but she knew that couldn’t make things better.
The Walrider had made it make sense to Mia. Because Mia didn’t spoke to Lonnie, but The Walrider knew everything about Lonnie, and it gave Mia so many memories she never had when she was alive.
Mia could see Lonnie tied to a cot in the asylum, could see The Groom’s shadow hovering over her like a sleep demon. He was going to kill her, eventually. And even though Lonnie got away, she had still died in the asylum. Lonnie Park was dead, and a different Lonnie Park was laying in the bed, crying herself through a nightmare.
Like you .
Not like me , Mia told The Walrider. Because I actually died. You’re putting thoughts into my head.
Mia had seen Lonnie, seen her crumpled up below that tall, mean-looking fucker, and The Walrider had known who Lonnie was right away. It knew Lonnie brought Mia here. It knew that Lonnie had made it possible for The Walrider to be set free. And Mia had known Lonnie there and then, loathing the woman who had killed her.
You brought me here, so you should die too , Mia thought bitterly, watching as Lonnie sobbed and brought an arm above her eyes. She was waking up.
Mia couldn’t shake the bed. Shaking the bed made the nightmares change to being shook in the locker. She couldn’t raise her voice or even whisper, because people had done both, and both made Lonnie even more hysterical.
There was nothing that Mia could do but be still and turn the lights on and wait for it to pass.
And that’s enough , The Walrider praised.
When Lonnie’s sobs slowed down, Mia leaned up against the wall and watched her wake up. Mia always slept on the ground, because sharing beds made Lonnie have nightmares. Mia didn’t mind.
Lonnie sat up, breathing hard. She looked around, eyes flitting, and Mia knew that they’d never really escape as long as they could still remember it this vividly. Those eyes flitted and saw no grooms, no cannibals, no bosses. They did see Mia.
Mia wondered what Lonnie had looked like before the asylum. Her blonde hair was cut short, so short to her skull, in a buzzcut only the shakiest hands can give. At some point in the asylum, The Groom had pulled Lonnie into his arms by her hair, and even with him dead and Lonnie free, this blonde was convinced that The Groom would grab her if her hair was too long. She had cut it off with a kitchen knife in the asylum, and then shaved it off when she got out. Mia wondered if Lonnie always had such short, ugly hair? Had she always been so skinny, so bony? Had her face always been drawn like that, like she was gonna cry from exhaustion?
She knew what Lonnie wondered when she’d wake up and see Mia sitting at the foot of her bed, because The Walrider knew.
Lonnie would wake up from the most horrible dreams, and she’d see Mia and know she was safe. Mia had never been anything but safety for her, the angel who had come to protect her and keep her safe. Those empty eyes, black and hateful to Mia when she looked in the mirror, were warm and steady to Lonnie. And Lonnie loved her.
Lonnie climbed out of the bed, rubbing tears away with the back of her intact knuckles, coming down to Mia’s little makeshift bed. Mia let the blonde hold her shoulders as she lowered herself down, to curl up in her arms. Lonnie always ended up sitting in her lap, and Mia’d listen to Lonnie’s heartbeat as it calmed down.
I’ve got you , she wanted to tell the woman she hated so deeply. I’ve got you, sweet girl. I’ll never let anyone hurt you, never again. And, she would never want to say it to Lonnie, but she’d think: I’d go anywhere as long as you were there.
And it was alright, because The Walrider told Mia that Lonnie already knew that.