When Carine woke up, she wasn’t dead. At least, she didn’t think she was. She wasn’t in the hospital either, which she would have expected after what had happened to her. Instead, she found herself at the base of a tree. The tree had no leaves, and almost no branches. If she wasn’t right up against the bark she might have thought it was some sort of metal structure. Because no tree could be without so many aspects which would make it a tree.

“Hello, Carine.”

She sat up, being able to do so. Oh, she was still wearing that dress. The dress her father had glared at when she had decided upon it and reluctantly had used the credit card for it. He had expected her to return it, she had thought, despite everything. Well, it was still stained with the blood from what had happened earlier, so there was no returning it.

Thinking about her father hurt.

She looked around for the owner of the voice. She didn’t see anyone. “Hello?” she asked, hugging herself. The fact she couldn’t tell who was talking to her, someone who knew her name, really bothered her. Moreso than being in a place like this where she had no ideas at all about how she could have gotten here. Where here was. What this tree was.

“Carine, I have a proposition for you.”


The word came out immediately. She didn’t regret it at all. “No?” the voice echoed her.

“No. I’m not going to listen to anything you have to say. The fact you started by saying that tells me I shouldn’t listen to you. Leave me alone.”

Then Carine was alone. Dreadfully alone.

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