Niki wipes sticky blood off her cheek.
She stops mid-step, perplexed by the quickly browning russet substance on her fingers. Maybe something fell from the sky—paint, perhaps. There’s scaffolding a few blocks back, workers renovating a hotel’s facade, so desperate to hide the old soul of buildings under the lacquered veil of modernity. Niki walks toward one of the few lampposts still lit along the seaside promenade, its yellow light locked in a losing battle with the morning mist.
She raises her smeared fingers to the light and feels—
No. This is not the time for her to be feeling or wondering or, worse, remembering. Not when it’s almost 5:30 a.m., and she’s going to be late for work. Desperate to distract her, I offer her the song. Just the first four notes, of course, and no words. She can’t handle more, anyway.
Sol la, sol la… This should be enough for her to focus on.