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half-life

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Irene knows she's going to knock with that surreal sense that tells you things in dreams. If he opens the door, she will wake, moving seamlessly from one nightmare to another. If he doesn't, it will be real.

She doesn't need to knock. She never has dreams like this; she knows he's gone. She isn't even sure which of him she wants back. (Which of them? she corrects herself hesitantly. The difference is blurry. In her head, she calls them both by the same name.)

She lays her hand flat against the door first. When she knocks, it will hurt.