She comes to in front of the stereo, like always. The only difference is that this time, her hands shake slightly as they rise to examine her face. All her features are there and seem to be whole and working properly, so she lets them drop to her lap. She sits for a minute before moving to the computer.
She doesn't seem to remember all of the pictures in her wallpaper folder. She doesn't even remember changing her computer's wallpaper ever before now, actually. But surely that's just a trick of memory. What other explanation is there? A haunted wallpaper folder, of all things?
She can't seem to get an internet connection, so she just plays Dog's Day for a while.
She is startled by the feeling of warm liquid trickling over her lip, and she jerks, quickly reaching up to wipe it away. Her fingers come away dry. There is nothing there. Her dog, losing the guidance of her keyboard, falls over the edge of a platform and dies.
It's late, her computer's clock tells her, but she doesn't feel like sleeping. She doesn't know how long she's been awake now - it feels like days. But she doesn't feel sleepy.
The apartment is too silent. Oppressive. She finds herself reaching for the stereo knob again.
The mask is a simple thing, half black and half white, sitting innocuously on the floor. Something about it makes the hair on the back of her neck stand up.
She picks it up and puts it on.
All around her, there is screaming.
It pierces through her brain, into her very core, and she stumbles. She clamps her hands over her ears, but it's still there. It's not even muffled by her efforts.
She flees the house, but the screaming remains. It throws her off balance; she can barely stand, much less walk straight.
In front of her there is a Teru, face split open. She expects it to fully take advantage of her currently off-kilter state, but it instead does something that she has never seen them do before:
It turns and flees.
She can't give chase even if she wanted to. The screaming is rattling her, echoing inside of her, and the only reason she isn't screaming right along with it is because the mask is pressed so tightly to her face that she can't open her mouth. She claws at it, but it doesn't budge.
She reaches into nothingness for something else, praying for wings, or magnets or absolutely anything that will make the screaming stop.
She finds nothing. Literally nothing, because the next second she is aware that the screaming is gone.
So is her face.
She is the one screaming now, or she would be if she had anything resembling a workable mouth. She can see, maybe, somehow, but she has no eyes. She spasms, and a fountain of blood gurgles up from her throat, splattering down her front and onto the ground.
Her hands come up to claw again, but there is nothing except the hole, and the blood, and the soft, hot insides of her head.
She reaches again, begging, please please anything else-
Her face is back. Sort of.
She has an eye, at least. Singular, taking up the entire front of her head. There is a rope around her neck. It is tight.
Her arms, such as they are, are stiff at her sides. She is balanced precariously on misshapen feet. She staggers forward one step, two. All she can do is stagger, single eye brimming with tears.
The Teru has returned.
She welcomes it.
She comes to in front of the stereo, like always.