Wakefulness came to her slowly, stirred by the fullness of sleep and beautiful dreams. With no will to break the numbness' control over her, Boa enjoyed the warmth that surrounded her from all sides.
She had had a dream, or so she thought at least, she wasn't sure if it was a memory waving at her, or a wish that she desperately wanted to come true. Lights were focused on her in her dream, completely blocking her from seeing what was around her as she stood in a dark place; on a brown stage. She was happy just by standing there.
Boa hated that she had to get up, or even open her eyes at that moment. Faint noise of people talking and laughing centered in the little attention that she had for everything else, her focus remained on how soft the mattress felt. Soft and has a nice smell that taking a deep breath just wasn't enough. Her lips curved into a smile that let her feel more relaxed as she nuzzled the blanket more. She turned on her back, slowly letting the darkness disappear.
It was too bright at first, she squeezed her eyes shut, then opened them again, blinking fast to get the drowsiness away as she noticed the unfamiliar ceiling. Sunlight was fixed on corners that she had never seen before.
She never saw the whole thing before.
Boa furrowed her brows, staring at it with a blank mind. Words couldn't put themselves together to create one single thought that made sense. Something was wrong in the ceiling. It was too white; too clean when it should be a bit yellow on its corners, and has a hole in it just above the door to the recording booth because she still can't afford to repair her mother's old studio.
Then it came to her, sudden and causing her heart to race. She wasn't lying on that dark green couch in the studio, she wasn't alone on the bed.
Boa was too engulfed in the happy feelings of taking a step towards her future that she didn't notice the soft breathing on her left.
She sat upright, "Wha..."
Her movement that pushed down the blanket let her see more of the person lying next to her, whose body was barely covered with a small lingerie dress.
Boa gasped, then covered her mouth when it somehow sounded more like a breathy scream.
"Who are you?!" She asked the sleeping woman, then quickly checked the state of her own nudity, fearing of what she couldn't remember. Doing that left her with an awkward feeling because she completely didn't notice, or feel the tank top, or the shorts that she was wearing, which she didn't recognize, in the moment of freaking out.
Boa jumped out of the bed as if something poked her to do so. "Where am I?!" She looked around the neat room, the bed was in the center while there was nothing else but a dresser and an opened door leading to the closet.
She flinched when the woman fidgeted, speaking in a low voice that she never heard before.
"What time is it?"
"Hello?" Boa answered her.
Her voice was lacking strength. She cleared her throat, trying to find a way to speak again, to speak louder. Under her feet, the floor felt cold, she ignored that immediately as she stood in her place, and stared at the woman, who didn't reply.
The woman's short hair was covering the side of her face while the curves of her body weren't too hidden for Boa to not notice them.
"Hello-- wake up!" She neared the bed with hesitation, and fear that made her shudder. "Oh God! Wa-- wake up! Wake up!" Boa didn't dare to touch her, and when the latter moved again, she stepped back.
"Boa?" The woman barely lifted her head as she moved her hair away.
"Who are you?! Where am I?!"
"What?" The woman was looking at her with sleepy eyes, that she closed them again. "What are you talking about?"
"Where am I?" She shouted without intent, her shudders became challenging to control.
The woman opened her eyes, wrinkles showed on her forehead. "What do you mean? You are home." Her voice was clearer now, stronger. She was looking at her normally as if nothing was wrong. "What's going on, Boa? Are you okay?"
"No, no, this is not my home," she walked around the bed, "this isn't my room." She noticed the clothes in the closet, a beach painting that was on the wall, and things that she just saw for the first time.
"This isn't my studio. Who are you? Oh God! Did... did we do something last night? What did you do to me?" She tried to keep her voice low. "Did I get drunk? Oh God! I don't do drugs, what did you gave me?!"
"Drugs?! Boa, what are you talking about? You are scaring me!"
Boa stepped back to the wall behind her as the woman pushed the rest of the beige blanket away, getting out of the bed. She didn't seem scary to her, still, Boa kept her back to the wall as the woman stood, revealing how fit her body was. Her hair had fallen in such a tender manner to cover her forehead, and her watery eyes, that between her own rapid heartbeats and the controlling fear, Boa noticed how beautiful they were.
"Who are you?! I don't know you!" She said, attacking with her anger, and flinched when the woman made a step towards her, she turned to the door and opened it.
The sight outside the door surprised her even more. The woman's voice was right behind her, right next to her ears. A hand touched her shoulder, making her jump away.
"Don't touch me!"
Boa turned to her, her arms stretched to prevent the woman from nearing her. There weren't any walls around her, not complete walls with doors in them at least.
The couches that gathered to form a living room weren't that far from the counter of the kitchen, all the different colors of those walls and couches were suiting one another, reflecting a beauty that even in that moment, Boa thought that it wouldn't have been there if they weren't together. Light blue, beige and other colors that made Boa more scared. Nothing was familiar, Boa gazed at everywhere, the place was bright, warm.
"Where am I?" Her voice wasn't loud anymore, somehow, the calmness of the place was unavoidable. Not a creepy one that crawled under her skin, but one that the sunlight caused with how it settled on the floor and couches in so many lengths and shapes through the windows. Everything looked normal.
She looked at the woman. "Where am I?" She whispered.
"Home. Our house." The woman's voice was lower, Boa noticed that her eyes were bigger. She was afraid, Boa also noticed.
"Who are you?"
"I'm your wife, God damn it, Boa!"
"No." Swiftly, everything went into the background of her mind, the nice house, the beautiful woman. "No." She repeated, looking for the door as she felt unsafe just by standing in her place.
She ran towards it, through the hallway on her left, not hearing anything but her own heartbeats.
Boa covered her eyes with her arms once she stepped into the bright outside, unable to stop walking into what she couldn't see. The noise that she heard earlier now was clearer, she didn't care. The voices were closer, she kept going, letting the darkness fade away little by little as she squinted.
Her feet were steady on the cold cement, trying to catch every detail of the place she was in.
She couldn't believe it, not one cloud of it nor a tree. it must be a dream, she thought, one that she had to wake up from fast. It must be a dream that had all these far, black mountains in it, and those high trees that she barely managed to see their ends as well.
Boa didn't push the woman when she touched her again, feeling the numbness engulfing her tired muscles.
The houses that looked alike, the bright sky that replaced the rainy one of her city, and the two suns. Oh, the two suns. Boa stared at the two, noticeably far from one another, yellow circles in the sky as the woman shook her, repeating her name.
She looked at her, her eyes wide and trying to let one word, just one word from the noise inside her mind.
Someone was shouting at them, asking if everything was alright. There were a few people staring at her from across the street, Boa realized.
It's a dream. She told herself as she noticed the woman's tears stream down her cheeks before the darkness swallowed everything.
One of the things that Sihyun loved about this planet, other than the serenity that she couldn't find on earth, was the overwhelming view of the mountains standing high in the horizon. With different shapes and heights, that not all of them could be seen from here, stretching as wide as the eyes could see. They were dark brown, almost black in cloudy days and darkest nights, like this one, with a blue aura caused by the moon behind them.
Click-clack, click-clack. Her heels gave no chance to her thought to make her angrier by what happened. The road's lights guided her as she headed to the cliff's barrier, and the trees' unique smell filled the air. She had prepared a sincere smile and a Thank you, and maybe a few words of It won't happen again to the police officer waiting with Boa.
It might happen again; it will happen again. Just like it happened a couple of nights ago, and a week ago. Sihyun stared at Boa, who was lying on one of the benches, that their sole purpose was to be mesmerized by the mountains view.
They made love here once, a week or two after they arrived, when the cliff was still just rocks and sands. Sihyun remembered that heat and their shivers.
"Yoohan!" Sihyung smiled at the young man, adjusting her coat. It wasn't a cold night, just unsettling one.
He greeted her, a soft tone in his voice that would probably take a while to be sharpened.
"Thank you for calling me right away. I appreciate it."
He was one of the youngest among all of them in the settlement. And while some had adjusted to life here, and their respective fields of work along the past nineteen months, Yoohan seemed to be having a hard time getting to used to the nature of their sanctuary. A place that was forty-one light year away from their home. Earth.
But it wasn't like he had a choice, life on earth was... tough.
"No problem, Mrs. Mayor. Have a good night." He bowed his head, and left without waiting for a reply. His hair faintly moving on his forehead with the wind. He needs to cut his hair, Sihyun thought.
She returned her gaze to Boa, who neither looked at her or spoke, her eyes were fixed on the starry sky.
Sihyun neared her with a heavy heart, a worried heart. It had been almost five weeks since Boa woke up into a frantic state with memories that wasn't hers, and a past that didn't happen.
"How long are you going to keep doing this, Boa? The cliffs are dangerous, what were you thinking?!" She couldn't resist the urge to shout her words instead of letting them out softy. Boa could have hurt herself.
"I was just waiting for the supplies train. Wouldn't want to miss the view."
"By trying to jump off the cliff?"
"Climbing down," Boa looked at her, "climbing down, Mrs. Mayor. And I just wanted to have a closer look, is that such an insane thing to do?"
Sihyun ignored her tone, Boa needed her supported not anger. "There are still over twelve hours before they arrive. What was your plan? Waiting for them at the end of the tracks? That's if... you managed to find one of the doors to get inside the tunnel."
Sihyun walked to sit on another bench when the latter simply hummed. She hoped that the beautiful view would calm her own anger.
"You could have killed yourself." She could hear own worry in her voice, her worry that Boa probably still won't believe. Sihyun couldn't hide it even if she tried, even after the inconvenience that happened between them.
"Then I won't be trapped here anymore I guess. Wherever here is, I was never a fan of space travelling. I loved Earth." He voice trailed off, she didn't sound angry. "Do you think my soul would find its way back to Earth? I keep thinking it'll be stuck here too."
"You aren't trapped here, Boa."
"Ah, but I can't leave either, can I?"
Sihyun turned to her right when clothes shifted against each other. Boa was on her stomach now, staring at her with a smile that would never reach the beauty and softness of the smiles she used to give her before that damned morning.
She hated how Boa looked at her, anger that didn't show in every spoken word had darkened her features, and eyes. Hiding the tenderness away.
"Where would you go? It is all desert and mountains around her as you can see. We are the only humans on this planet, remember? So, where would you go?!"
Her heart was racing, she couldn't calm it down. Everything stressed her the more she talked with Boa, her wife, who was in an unknown situation in a barely known, or inhabited planet.
"No, I don't remember any of the-- you know what? Never mind. I'm too tired to go through this again." She lay on her back again, folding her arms like a stubborn child.
Sihyun stared at the sky, memories of how stubbornly Boa had sometimes acted couldn't bring a smile to her face. Winds faintly passed by the both of them with no sound.
It was just the two of them there.
"We lived here for nineteen months, Boa, even if what you claim is true, how come you can't remember anything about those months?"
"I'm not claiming anything. I'm telling you, here isn't where I'm supposed to be. I don't even know what this planet is!"
Frustration was too clear in her voice, Sihyun recognized it from a memory. An accident had happened a couple of months after they settled here, it caused a severe injury to one of the workers that could have made him lose both of his legs. It it wasn't for Boa, who barely slept for a week, trying to prevent that.
Boa didn't give up, it was one of the things that she loved about her, Boa never gave up before making sure she did everything that she could.
"This planet is called S.22. We picked it together to start a new life because things on Earth were getting worse. The wars? The crimes, and fires? Don't you remember any of that? We wanted to escape that and build something good for ourselves and others here."
Her hands shivered, images of the past; of how ugly human could be still made her unsettled.
Boa groaned, making Sihyun look at her. "When did we become together even?" She was still the same, her small movements as she sat and adjusted her clothes. The way she pushed her hair behind her ear, everything was still the same. Except her, except Boa herself.
"I just broke up with my girlfriend a few weeks ago before I woke up here. I doubt I had the time to find someone else, fall in love with her, and then marry her."
"We have been married for over three years, Boa." She repeated again, feeling the same sting in her heart again.
"So you say." Boa looked at her, no sign of the love; no sign of recognition in her eyes.
Boa was bad at acting. Boa's scans and tests all came normal and Boa, one of the doctor in their small community, looked angry now. She looked scared weeks ago, she cried a lot and screamed at them; at her to let her go home.
Sihyun sighed, looking away. The Boa she knew wasn't there with her, and she still didn't know how to bring her back.
The whole eight minutes walk back to their residence, the house they decorated together, was as quiet as the place they lived at. Most of the people were already sleeping. Sihyun didn't mind the silence that neither one of them tried to break, a big day was waiting for them tomorrow, and all that she had about it was a bad feeling.
Boa practically dragged herself to enter the small house, having nowhere else to go.
Sihyun ignored her, she just stopped trying. Tomorrow the supplies ship that came every two months would arrive, landing behind the mountains where the first facility was built. Then, through the tracks that were dug into the mountains to connect the two areas, they would come to them, and find a solution to whatever was happening with Boa.
Boa headed to the couch right away, hurting Sihyun a little more without her knowledge.
Every corner of the house that they bloomed their love at felt drear now. Images of her tries to bring reality back to Boa flashed in her head as she entered the bedroom, taking off her coat, and hoping that a warm shower would calm her thoughts.
She tried, as the only family Boa had, she tried to fix what was unknown. Blood tests, head scans, and psychological tests. Everything came out normal. There was nothing wrong inside Boa's head. Environmental scans were the only other hope to find an answer, fearing that the planet, or the isolation from civilization had finally started to affect them, but no, nothing was wrong in their new home.
True love? They say it survives the forgotten memories, but it didn't with them. It was falling out of her grasp. Sihyun could feel that.
When Sihyun came out of the bedroom to head for the showers, Boa was sitting at the kitchen's table, her back to her. A glass of water in front of her.
An urge, a desperate thought told her to go sit with her, and comfort her in this confusion that the latter was going through, but another thought, a more reasonable one, showed her, with evidence of images of Boa's hands hesitantly gripping at her body, and Boa's lips that lacked love and tenderness kissing hers, that she didn't want to be with Boa.
Sihyun blinked, something had tickled her eyes. A memory from a couple of weeks ago told her to walk away instead of keep trying.
They were married, Sihyun still believed that. And she thought that love, and the familiar touch might fix what was wrong, but it didn't. It only hurt both of them more.
Clenching her fists no longer drove the tingling away, nervousness and lurking resuming their pace on her nerves, wanting to drive her crazy, if she wasn't already.
Boa didn't move an inch from the spot she was standing at for the past few minutes. For over half an hour actually. More people came to greet the staff of the supplies train at the start of the tracks. A small station that shielded them from the hot sunlights, while the tracks themselves had a transparent surrounding on top of them.
From where she was standing, leaning on a pole, Boa couldn't see the end of the tracks. A far, black dot, that the brightness of the desert seemed like it was jetting out of it in a form of a tunnel, was all that she could see.
Seconds were passing slowly, perhaps just to tease Boa. She folded her arms, her doctor, who examined her sanity, was standing next to her. Waiting with her with a calm smile on her face as she stared around them. Boa still couldn't stop thinking about how the doctor's short, blonde hair gave off an immature vibe, that even if this was and evil ploy, that she had to escape from, Narae would be the least of her worries.
Boa stretched her neck to see if she could catch anything coming, a tiny light or something. It wasn't time yet. The soft talks around her were taking bits from her nervousness away, Boa was glad for that. Even though these people were still the bad guys who took her away from her home and God only knows what else they did.
Or it could be that she indeed went crazy and none of these people were real and actually there with her. Boa frowned, where is Sihyun?
For a reason, no, it was a feeling, that she didn't know what to name, she had hoped that Sihyun would be the one waiting with her, but Sihyun had told her earlier that she would be heading to work, without a single look at her direction.
Bad guys don't usually act like they were mad at you. Sad because of you. Unless it's a trick, another thought pointed out.
Boa sighed, massaging her forehead. Clock was ticking, and a few people neared the edge to catch that tiny light. A smile on their faces. They looked like they were the happiest people on Earth. S.22, Boa corrected herself. Still wanting Sihyun to be there with her.
The waiting ended. Boa looked away from the station's clock on her right when it became 12:01 PM. Any moment now, and she would be okay again. Or not.
Boa stood straight when the silence became obvious through the anticipation looks and whispered words. Seconds were passing fast now, Boa could feel them. Her gaze was focused on the tiny dot the remained black.
Seconds were passing faster, running away from them and leaving them to wonder.
"They are never late."
A woman standing far from her said, she couldn't see who she was but a complete silence followed her statement. Boa stared at them, all of them were standing at the edge, exchanging looks and questions.
Something was wrong. Something beyond her own problem, Boa could feel it, her heart beating rapidly.
The station became crowded in a matter of minutes, Boa kept her distance from everyone and everyone left her alone after glancing at her weirdly. She was sitting at the edge of the sidewalk, her legs dangling off the edge.
They were afraid, questions varied from What's going on? to Why are they late? And were repeated a million times with different form and different voices every few minutes.
If this was a trick to manipulate her, where worry showed on faces, and fear raised a few voices, then Boa won't give them the attention that they want.
Boa stared at the clean tracks, listening to the mayor's continuous attempts to calm the residents.
"I know as much as you do." Sihyun told them again, "This isn't supposed to happen and all of you know that." Her voice was steady comparing to most of the other. She sounded calm.
"I think this is a test."
A soft voice sounded on her right before a body appeared in her sight. It was her doctor, sitting next to her on the edge.
"To see how we'll react in scary situations." Narae continued.
Boa looked at her, her face was still bright with calm smile. "You don't look scared."
Narae's smile widened. "Exactly. When they watch the videos later, they'll see who panicked and who didn't."
Boa frowned, looking away. She had done her best to ignore the security cameras that were placed all over the settlement. The feeling of being watched still made her uncomfortable. Even though, no one was really watching as all the recordings were for documenting purpose only. Boa watched the recordings herself.
She saw herself do and say things that she still didn't remember.
"Sihyun is close to panic."
Boa didn't raise her gaze from the ground. "What makes you say that?"
Narae's voice was calming, as always, regardless of what was happening. Boa managed to hear what Narae answered as memories from of the past five weeks flashed. Narae always remained calm when she spoke with her.
"She gets calmer when she's about to lose control. That's why I voted for her to be our mayor." Her words were clear, missing that coated tone of reassurance everyone seem to have in their voices whenever they talked with her.
Boa still remembers how Narae joked with her about being crazy when all her tests and head's scans showed nothing abnormal. Were doctors even allowed to joke about such a thing?
While Narae stayed with her, she told her a few stories about the residents, which Boa didn't mind listening to as some finally made their fear, and anger obvious. Sihyun had ordered most of them to return to their houses or works, asking for their patience and to remain calm.
Sihyun was afraid too, Boa noticed whenever she got the chance to look each person Narae talked about, and took it as a chance to observe Sihyun. The latter had the same look that she had on that morning, and the days after before she herself caused it to be replaced with anger, and shame.
Her heart raced all of sudden. She made Sihyun feel ashamed for trying, she made the bad, evil stranger, who was supposedly her wife, cry in embarrassment after she couldn't show any sort of love or passionate feelings towards her as they held each other strongly in a moment of desperation one night, and Sihyun kissed her with her soft, too soft for an evil person lips.
Boa had kissed her back, eagerly as her lust heated her veins, and made her heart beat faster. She stopped when she tasted Sihyun's tears. The shame hit her from all sides as Sihyun calmly pushed her and walked away, leaving Boa to repeat I'm sorry inside her head.
Boa still wanted to say that sorry out loud, knowing that it won't make the respect she had towards herself whole again.
"We'll go check what's going on."
Sihyun's low voice startled her. Both her and Narae turned to look at her.
"What?" Narae asked after a moment.
"Something must be wrong, we have to go and see what's going on. We can't just sit here and wait."
"Of course, we can. The emergency manual says so."
"No, we can't. And you're coming with us." Sihyun kept her eyes on Narae, her arms folded.
"Who's us?" Narae asked.
And the answer that the doctor got was Sihyun's gaze shifting to settle on her, letting her notice what was hidden behind the serious tone and unshakeable orders. She was afraid, very much.
Boa stared at her, not knowing what to say. She could keep thinking that Sihyun was faking everything, that all of them were faking their fear. She could still doubt them and the videos that she watched, videos of all of them as they documented their mission to inhabit the planet, she could doubt the pictures that she saw, pictures of her and Sihyun in the settlement, smiling, looking so happy with their arms around each other.
But the fear that shown in Sihyun's eyes, and the worry still looked pretty damn real.
Boa didn't give Sihyun an answer as their eyes lingered on each other for a few seconds, and that seemed like enough as a yes for Sihyun.
"Mr. Kim will be in charge here until we return." Sihyun said.
Narae got up on her feet, and started walking with Sihyun, "Okay, but why am I coming wit..."
Boa stood as well, following them. She noticed two women standing at other end of the sidewalk. One had a rifle in her hands, she was one of the police officers, Boa couldn't remember her name. The rifle actually made Boa feel safe, she could take it if needed, if she remembered a few of her self-defence moves.
The other woman was thinner, gripping on the officer's arm for support as she stretched herself over the edge to gaze at the tunnel.
Boa stared at them, if this delay was a trick to push suspicion away from Sihyun and the rest. It was working.
On some level, Sihyun hoped that something was indeed wrong, and that somehow it was related to Boa's mysterious condition. The five of them, with Bohyung leading at the front next to her, walked on the sides of the tracks. It was cool inside the transparent tunnel thanks to the advanced technology of its surrounding.
The desert's view around them was simply relaxing with its quietness that the small talk of Narae and Jiwon didn't disturb. It gave her the chance to calm her thoughts as they crossed half the way according to the red marks on the sides.
The mountains that she saw up close only once still seemed so far. Sihyun resisted the urge to walk faster, her worries rising with each step.
"What are we supposed to do when we reach there?" Boa asked, finally speaking, and causing her heart to beat a little harder.
Bohyung was faster to reply. "Nothing. We just need to know what's going on with the ship. If things were serious, we would need to send a distress beacon to Earth from the deep space communications' device that exist in the other station."
"And then what?"
"Then we wait." Bohyung turned to Boa, "There is really nothing that we can do." She smiled awkwardly before facing the front again.
"What if they left us?" Jiwon asked after a few seconds of silence that accompanied by their footsteps. "I mean, maybe things got worse on Earth, and no one can reach us. Or even know about us."
Things were getting on Earth, there were barely enough people left who still care about fixing things. After discovering three, livable planets, and starting to inhabit them, only a few wanted to stay on Earth. The others gave up, including her, and the rest of the settlement.
"We will be fine." Sihyun said when Jiwon's words expanded into a negative conversation. "We're supposed to live independently here, right? We're dong that already. The only thing that won't be possible for us if we were abandoned will be going back to Earth, and no one wants that, that's why we're here on this damn planet."
"Speak for yourself, Mrs. Mayor." Boa's voice came out low behind her.
She ignored what she said, not wanting to cause more stress because she knew her anger towards Boa was getting out of her hands. They just need to reach the mountains and everything would be fine again. Then, she'd get to be really mad at Boa.
When they neared the wall of rocks and metal ahead of them, and became under its shadow that it casted over the last part of the tunnel leading to the inside of the mountains, neither one of them was speaking. Suspended in the moment of anticipation and fear, Sihyun slowed them. Hesitation controlling her last steps. The others had stopped walking too.
There was a light at the end of the tunnel, it could be seen, as tiny as it was, it was waiting there beyond the darkness.
She made a step, turning her flashlight. The rest followed her without a word.
"Do you hear anything?" Jiwon whispered, probably asking Bohyung, whom she was clutching to as they crossed the dark part of the tunnel.
"No, do you?"
"No. I wish there's a sound, silence creeps me out."
"It is the opposite for me." Narae began. She was still trying to balance herself on one of the tracks' lanes. "I love silence."
"You threw six parties since we came here, though." Jiwon pointed out, which was something that crossed Sihyun's mind.
"But I fell asleep in three of them, and missed two because I had patients. So they don't count."
Sihyun tried to keep herself unbothered by their unending conversations, feeling Boa walking closer behind her than a few minutes ago.
"Come on, let's hurry." The words left her lips all of a sudden, Sihyun didn't realize that she wanted to say that. She started jogging towards the nearing light, hoping it was an answer.
It was like the last time she saw it, Sihyun still remembers every beautiful detail of the wide station. She felt something softly filling her heart with warmth, something that she couldn't define as happiness or hope as the memories of their arrival appeared in her mind.
They were so happy to start a new life, to make the best of the chance they got. All of them were happy.
Sihyun stared at everything in a quiet rush, her steps had faded as she almost forgot the purpose of being here.
The shiny grey walls were still shiny, the two carts train was still there at its place at the very end of the tracks. No lights were on, leaving the mission to bring some brightness into the place to the sunlights coming through the four glass circles in the ceiling.
"Hello?" Narae shouted. As far as shouting get when it came to Narae.
"Are you crazy?"
The three almost had the same tone in their hushed voices, Sihyun didn't focus on them as Narae explained why they should call out. She walked up the few stairs leading to the sidewalk. There were a few boxes at the far, wide space on the right where the shuttle landed through the moveable part of the ceiling. A black screen was in front of the unmarked wall behind the boxes.
And that's it. There was nothing else. There was no one. Not even a sound from the winds sounded to ease the moment for them.
She heard the others' footsteps behind her, dim sounds of their shoes hitting the white floor as they followed her.
"This is the first facility? I thought it was bigger." Boa said.
"No, this place was built after digging the mountains. The first facility should be a couple of miles or so into the forest. Just outside these walls." Jiwon answered with excitement. She was one of the residents in charge to build the network of their new world, and marking each corner of the planet.
"There is no one here." Bohyung said after seconds of their silence, her voice lacking its unique softness.
Sihyun looked at the communication device, remembering the head of security's words as he taught them how to use it.
"It's been over three hours."
Sihyun realized that the officer was talking to her.
She looked at her, then at the others, having an idea about what they might be feeling just from the sight of their furrowed eyebrows, and their focused gaze on her. Sihyun didn't know what decision she should make as the fear surrounded them like a bubble, only that she had to make one, fast.
All of them seemed worried, well, maybe not the smiling Narae, or Jiwon, who kept moving her head to look past her, probably feeling curious about the device.
"What should we do?" Bohyung asked calmly.
Sihyun's eyes met Boa's, who stood close to the others. She didn't seem out of place; she wasn't looking at her angrily.
"Send the beacon."
There was something wrong, something beyond her own problem. Boa knew it; Boa was sure of it.
If she couldn't trust anything coming from them, she could trust herself on this.
"That's... weird." Jiwon said, staring at the screen that became full of numbers and words arranged in a specific quarters. An S.22.H. SENT was on top of them
"What does it mean?" She asked when no one seemed like to do so. She didn't realize how nervous she was until she heard her own voice.
"Distress beacon, S.22.H. means distress beacon." Bohyung, who was standing on her right looked at her. "They taught us how to send it the day we arrived."
"Then, what's wrong? Just send it." She said.
"We can't." Jiwon turned to them, Her eyebrows raised, and looked at Sihyun. "It's already been sent. but not from here. It wasn't sent from this device."
"There isn't any other device like this in the settlement." Sihyun said, seeming unsure by her own words.
"No, it wasn't sent from there either." She looked at all of them before turning to the wall. "It was sent from out there."
Instantly, Boa's gaze became on the bland wall. There was nothing written on it, no windows or doors, just an empty block.
"From the first facility?" Bohyung asked.
Jiwon turned to them again. "No, closer."
Boa looked at them, confusion was showing on their faces as they exchanged looks.
"There is nothing out there but the facility and trees." Sihyun said fast.
"Look, see these numbers?" Jiwon touched the screen with her finger. "These numbers are the location of the device that sent the beacon. That place isn't far from where we're standing right now." Jiwon seemed confident as she spoke. "I know these numbers, Sihyun, trust me. There is something out there."
"The ship?" Bohyung said all of sudden, "Maybe they crashed, and that's why they're late. Maybe something happened to them."
Sihyun looked at her, "How are we supposed to know..."
Boa didn't need to know Sihyun that well, or trust her to realize that she was panicking as she spoke with Bohyung and Jiwon about finding a way to outside and not finding a way. Her short hair that covered her forehead, and used to hide the nervousness from her features now seemed not working.
"Does it say when time it was sent?" Sihyun asked. Boa couldn't drive away the thought of their mayor being right on the verge of losing her composure, which somehow was something that Boa felt like they needed Sihyun to keep.
"02:23 AM, 2nd of May, 2109." Jiwon said calmly, still staring at the screen.
Her heart raced, or was it already racing and she just couldn't realize before now? The date was the day she woke up with no memories of this place, all of them knew that.
Sihyun looked at her, eyes wide and irises trembling. Everything, everything became muted until Narae broke that quiet stream of surprise.
"There is something in the wall."
Her voice took their attention away from that detail, Narae was still crouching near the device, looking at the wall.
Boa looked at it too, There was nothing on the wall.
"There is something on the wall." Narae said again, standing and walking towards it. "In the middle."
Boa stared carefully at where Narae was heading. The latter's steps were steady, and she didn't seem one bit scared when she turned to them.
"There!" She stretched her arm, standing just a few feet away from the wall. "It's different from the rest of the wall."
Jiwon followed her, and then Bohyung did the same, nearing the wall carefully.
Boa looked at Sihyun, who remained oblivious of her stare. Her hands were shaking, faintly, but they were shaking and Boa noticed that.
"It's a screen." Jiwon said loudly, pointing the flashlight on it. "They didn't tell us about this." She said in a low voice to Bohyung, who was right behind her.
Boa walked towards them, but stopped when she noticed Sihyun standing still at her place. She was trembling, not just her hands now, her eyes were focused on the wall before noticing Boa.
It hurt Boa to see her like that, the latter's gaze told her what Sihyun couldn't say wth spoken words. It told Boa that Sihyun needed her.
Sihyun told her they were married, she said they loved each other and fought together to get a spot on the list to settle here. At that moment, without her own memories of such a reality; with the only memories she had, and believed. With everything that happened along the past five weeks, and the fact that she hurt Sihyun in more than one way, she didn't want to leave Sihyun alone; she didn't want her to be afraid.
"Come on." She told Sihyun, not taking one second to hesitate about it.
Boa waited, keeping her eyes focused on Sihyun until the latter moved to walk with her.
The three girls were staring at them, waiting.
"What do we do now?" Bohyung looked at the two of them.
"Turn it on, of course." Narae answered without waiting for a reasonable, tactical move. She pressed her hand on the screen.
Their voices just weren't scary enough to stop Narae.
A loud noise sounded right after the screen illuminated with a green rectangle, saying Access Permitted.
The place became shaky a bit, making them step away from the wall. Particles of dust appeared on the four lines of the wall as it was pushed back, letting light enter the place, then started moving to the left. The five of them were somehow gathered too close to each other, Bohyung was holding her rifle up, aimed at the scene unfolding in front of them.
There was no trees or rocks, or any bit of nature to welcome them. The sky was barely visible from where they were standing due to the sectional ceiling on top of the left side of the wide passage in front of them. There were two huge shuttles under the two parts ceiling.
A wall of glass was on the right, reflecting the little sunshines of the afternoon's suns, while the end of the passage was a flat ground that seemed endless for a moment.
"This isn't on our maps." Jiwon said, "This is not right." Her words barely effected the silence that surrounded them.
Sihyun was the first to move, walking fast towards the place that she didn't know exist at it seemed.
"Mrs. Mayor, wait!" Bohyung quickly ran to her when the shock subsided. The doctor followed them quietly, leaving Jiwon on her right, with her mouth still wide open, her eyes blinking slowly.
Jiwon turned to her. "This is not right, there shouldn't be any buildings here but this station. They didn't..." She paused, tears had gathered in her eyes. "They didn't tell us about this."
She finished before lowering her head and following the others.
Boa looked at them with not a single thought caring about whether they're honest or not. Bohyung was keeping her rifle raised while Narae's focus was on the glass. And Sihyun... Sihyun seemed to be going into a state of panic as she started at everything around her before near the glassy wall, covering her mouth with her hand.
Boa walked without motivation. There was something wrong, and her problem might be related to that.
The air was cooler here, softly making her hair fly, and moving her shirt as she neared the transparent wall, her reflection taking the sunshine's place. The others were staring at it, seeming shocked by what was behind it. And maybe they had the right to.
There were screens of all sizes, showing footage of the settlement. Live ones as it seemed because one of the screen showed the police officer, who was guarding the small station when they left, and the few people who were waiting for them moving normally.
There were computers and desks behind the glassy wall, and a mess of papers and blood, and flipped chairs.
"There are cameras inside each building." Jiwon said as she was sitting in front one of the computers, typing on the keyboard. "They were watching us!" She turned to the Sihyun, "There are cameras inside our homes! There shouldn't be any cameras inside our homes!"
The room seemed like it was abandoned in a hurry.
"There are archived records, audio files, our medical exams. Everything that was logged into the hospital's computers, the school's, the construction's sites, everything is here." As Jiwon continued, windows on the screen kept changing, showing what she was talking about.
"What is this place? Is there something about it?" Bohyung asked fast.
She seemed nervous, Boa thought as her eyes lingered a bit of the officer.
"No, nothing," Jiwon said after a minute, "just a map of the structure, and reports about supplies and ships. There is no names, no logos, nothing about who is behind all of this."
"Show us the map." Sihyun was angry, her voice empty of any sort of weakness.
A strange anger that Boa had never seen in those past weeks. No matter how many times she pushed her away, or yelled at her in frustration, Sihyun never showed this dark anger. Not even after she hurt her.
"It looks like an airport." Bohyung's voice took her out of her thoughts, and feelings of regret that still poked at her strongly.
"Close," Jiwon said, "it's for spaceships not airplanes, and according to this, there were a few ships just outside this room, and all took off in the day the beacon was sent."
"What's this building here?" Sihyun asked, pointing her finger at the map.
Jiwon got up all of sudden, almost bumping into them as they were practically leaning forward.
"Oh," she looked at them, "we can just go check it out, it's outside." She pointed at the right.
The sight of the mountains from this side wasn't any different from the other side. They stretched far enough to become like a wall on the left side of the runway.
They saw trees, finally, they were too far. Far behind the end of the runway, and far behind the small building that didn't seem as shiny as the warehouse they were heading to, which big part of it was smashed into the concrete, blackened because of the destroyed ship that was on it.
Neither one of them broke the silence, or asked if it was safe to go in. Boa thought that they just didn't care. What she thought was a play to manipulate her, turned out to be one against all of them. She could keep doubting, but she won't. It just didn't feel reasonable to distrust them anymore.
Without wasting any time, they entered the warehouse from the hole that the crash caused. Quietly, and walking close to each other. Their steps were careful, their flashlights lit the way.
The wreckage blocked a big part of the place on their left.
"It's a lab." Narae said calmly after they saw white beds and screens behind smudged, glassy doors. Boa was actually surprised to hear her voice.
The mess of broken beds and equipments couldn't hide the concept of this place. It was a lab indeed, a few lights here and there were still on. Screens could be seen at the end of the main path that connected other paths on the sides. The paths separated the quarters that were set in rows, the ship had squashed most of them on the left it seemed.
The beds were inside walls of glass, two sorts of beds in each space. One was a white bed that no longer was clean white, and the other was a glassy tub, with a green liquid in it and a metal flat in the middle of its inside.
Blood was everywhere, mixed with the green substance that leaked on the floor.
"What is it?"
Boa turned and saw Bohyung standing next to Narae, who was smelling one of the tubs.
"It's unfamiliar." She answered.
"Don't touch it." Sihyun ordered quickly, a hint of fear within her words. "Don't touch anything."
"Guys," Jiwon called, she was standing near the end of the long path. It seemed like another glassy room. "It's us."
Boa's eyes quickly searched for Sihyun's as if they were what would make her feel safe. The look that Sihyun had on her face, the one that Boa was sure it reflected her own hopes, made her realize something.
Sihyun loved her, Sihyun told her that a lot of times over the last five weeks, and she never believed it. But now, it appeared to her as a beaming fact that was covered with hope.
It just couldn't be ignored.
All the functional screens showed a similar thing, pictures of the residents. Boa recognized some of them, her picture and Sihyun's were among them. The screens were inactive as a bright red rectangle saying Error was on top.
Jiwon was already using one of the computers, just a few seconds passed before th rectangle was gone. In those few seconds, Boa became unable to calm herself, her patience slipping through her fingers.
"S.22.H. Emergency Protocol. Initiate." Jiwon started off, "The beacon was sent from here."
"What does it say about me?" Boa asked quickly, her palms were sweating.
She looked at the younger girl, whose eyes remained focused on the screen. "What does it say?!" She asked again, her voice was barely calm.
"Just one second." Jiwon was typing fast, "There!" She looked up at one of the big screens. "The protocol process was interrupted, causing a failure in the implanted chip."
"What chip?!" Boa was looking at the screen that showed a small cylinder-like thing. Boa was reading the written words fast, unable to comprehend them.
"It's inside you. A nano chip that should stabilize your implanted mem--"
Now she saw it, what the words was saying, now she understood.
"Memories." Jiwon voice finished in a low voice.
"Wha..." She looked at her. She looked at Sihyun, who kept her shimmering eyes on the screen.
"The... the protocol should have stopped the chip's function by deleting the implanted memories only, but whatever happened that made it fail, caused both the implanted memories and ones made since activation, which according to this, was on the day we arrived, to be deleted."
"De-- what? Deleted?" Boa managed to say, she heard the shakiness in her own voice as thoughts about her mind being controlled stormed non stop.
Jiwon continued calmly, "It should have happened to all the residents in the settlement. The report says the failure happened in the middle of subject 3405's deactivation process, which caused the whole protocol process to be paused."
It was so quiet, Boa realized.
"It should have happened to all of us."
Jiwon's soft voice couldn't fill that quietness.
"That's your identity number in the settlement. 3405." Bohyung spoke to her, her voice lacking all its lively edges. "We were 3405 when we arrived to settle here."
Boa sat of the first chair that her eyes noticed, feeling pain in her knees, and her tears that had already fallen.
"There are a lot of documents, videos and photos about your life, Boa." Jiwon spoke again.
But i didn't matter, she was right, she wasn't insane.
Boa raised her gaze to look at Sihyun, surprised, if there was room for another thing to surprise her. Sihyun showed nothing on her face, nothing. It was scary, Boa would say.
She looked at the screen when the light changed, a video showing her standing in front of a reception counter. She remembered the place, it was a bank. The footage seemed like one of a security camera.
The video stopped, and another played. She was walking out of a recording company that she applied for once. This time, the video seemed like it was being recorded by someone following her as she walked in the crowded street.
A smile tickled her lips, whether sad or no, it was a smile. "See?" She turned to them. "I am not crazy." She looked at Sihyun, who seemed calm as she stared at the changing screen.
The lies that overshadowed the truth, and let her paint who was right in front of her eyes as the enemy were no longer there.
She was gazing at Sihyun, realizing the calm wish that her heart wanted as it beat painfully. She wanted Sihyun to look at her. The wish was becoming stronger with each second passing by. It became louder inside her mind. She wanted to tell Sihyun who deeply sorry she was for treating her badly.
Boa turned to the screen again, regret attacking her with things that she said, and things that she did... to Sihyun.
Boa cried. How could she face Sihyun again?
"Childhood photos, medical record, your family's informations, everything about your life is here." As Jiwon spoke, she showed them what she was talking about.
"Show me mine." Sihyun spoke firmly.
Through her tears, Boa noticed the hesitation on Jiwon's face when she turned to them again. Jiwon stared at Sihyun, then at Narae, who was standing quietly behind her. Too quietly as if she wasn't there with them, her eyes fixed at the screen.
Jiwon seemed like she wanted to say something when she her eyes met Bohyung's, then hers. Perhaps waiting for one them to say something, but eventually she turned to the screen and started typing.
Boa looked at the screen that after a second showed Sihyun's picture. Subject 3404 written on top of it.
"You were a teacher." Jiwon spoke.
Boa wondered if Jiwon's voice really sounded sad, she didn't focus much on it as pictures of Sihyun with long hair showed one by one. She was beautiful, Boa let her thoughts about her and her beauty, that she refused to acknowledge over the pas weeks, wander freely inside her mind.
"Married, mother of three kids." Jiwon continued, her voice was lower. Her words came out slower. "Same as Boa, everything about your life is here."
Another picture showed, one that caused Boa's heart to beat fast. It showed Sihyun with three kids, one of them was being hugged by another woman. A baby girl was in Sihyun's arms.
Boa turned, Sihyun's voice pained her even more. She wanted to get up, she wanted to comfort her. The life that she believed was real turned out to be a lie. And it was more than that, way more than that.
"What life?" Sihyun's tears glimmered on her cheeks as if they the hope that Boa noticed a few minuts ago, falling. Leaving those beautiful eyes to be shadowed with sadness.
A low sound coming from the screen took Boa's attention, it was a video of them, or at least that's what Boa thought as doctors with white masks on their faces walked around, observing the people who were on the glassy tubs. They were unconscious as they were lowered into the tubs, into the green substance. Brown straps were covering their chest and hips.
"This is from the experiment process," Jiwon said, her voice a bit loud. "There are dozens of videos and reports about it."
Boa couldn't look away from the screen, she focused on every corner of that video, hoping to find a lie in it. Only now realizing something about all of this. She wasn't alone this whole time, in fact, she might be the luckiest of them all.
"What's the experiment?" She finally found her her voice again.
"Implanting designed memories." Jiwon answered steadily, making Boa wonder if she would have freaked out if she wasn't the only one who knew how to find the truth.
"To... to reduce crime."
"Crime?" Sihyun let out with a laugh, turning away. Boa followed her with her eyes as the latter covered her face. "What kind of crime did I do?"
Boa kept her eyes on her, getting up. She wanted to tell her everything would be okay, and hold her hands. But everything won't be okay, Boa knew that.
"Turn it off." Narae finally spoke, her voice too cold; too empty that it filled the place with dreariness as the light coming from the screen stopped moving.
"Sihyun." Narae spoke again.
Sihyun was leaning on of the desks. "I can't remember them." Her struggle to keep her voice steady, clear of the sobs was obvious to her. "I can't remember any of my kids."
She laughed again, shaking her head. "My kids! I have kids!"
Sihyun took something off of the desk, Boa couldn't see what it was clearly, but it reflected light, and it was thin.
She made a step without her control, but not another as Narae lifted her hand to stop her. When did she become just a few steps away from Sihyun? Boa didn't even notice her walking.
Jiwon quietly got up, and walked towards Bohyung.
"Sihyun." Narae called again, her voice was softer. "We will be alright. Everything will be alright."
"Everything was a lie, Narae. We aren't who we are." She was wiping her tears, her sobs sounded. "How is that alright?! How is that something we can live with?"
It was a broken piece of glass that she was holding.
Boa clenched her fists, feeling helpless.
"We can live with it." Narae neared her more, steady and keeping her voice calm. "Together we can live with it. They left us, Sihyun, whoever they were, they left us and they aren't coming back."
"How can you be so sure of that?! They could be in their way as we speak! They could come back and put us to sleep again! And... and control us, and we won't even know it!!" Sihyun cried out, "None of it was real, none of the things in my head is real! It's all their will and thoughts, I don't own my own mind, Narae! I don't belong to these memories here!" She hit her head, "They aren't real!"
Boa wanted to move, she desperately wanted to keep Sihyun safe. Her heart pained her chest, sending shivers through her body with every word that Sihyun let out. She wanted Sihyun to be okay, for that same feeling that made her want Sihyun to wait with her. Boa wanted to take care of Sihyun.
"We are real! Sihyun, what we built here is real." Narae spoke louder, her tone remained soft.
Sihyun's laughed again. "It's all based on lies. I'm not really who I am, and neither one of you are." She pointed at them with her hands, her eyes finally meeting hers. "Except Boa. Boa knows who she is. She's real." She lowered her head. "I'm not."
"I'm not." Sihyun whispered.
Boa shivered again.
"I'm not." Sihyun repeated, raising her hand that held the glass to her neck.
"No!" Boa shouted at the same time with Narae, walking to her. Narae was faster to reach Sihyun, barely catching her before the latter would fall to the ground.
Something happened. Boa turned to her right only to see Bohyung holding a silvery gun at Sihyun's direction. Her eyes wide, filled with tears.
Narae's voice sounded calmly from where she and Sihyun were, "Hey! Hey! It's okay, it's okay! It'll wear off in a minute. Shh, you're okay! It's just a drug. Everything will be fine. Shh!"
Boa walked a few steps, and saw Narae partly hugging Sihyun. The latter was crying.
A sting hit her heart, it squeezed it to the point of where she couldn't take a breath. Her tears fell again, her breath was stuck in her throat.
Her stomach clenched by thought of Sihyun dying, her legs were numb.
Boa leaned on a desk, then kneeled when she realized that she couldn't stand anymore. Her tears hurt her eyes, and when hands held her shoulders, shocking her a little, she let out a sob.
It was Jiwon who was holding her, kneeling beside her.
She pressed harder on her shoulder as if to tell her to remain strong. She wasn't crying or shivering, but Boa felt her fear in the way she gazed at her. Boa looked up at Bohyung, she had the same fear showing in her eyes as she stared at the ground, her shoulders sagged.
With that same, unknown feeling that told her she was safe with Sihyun, Boa feared a life without Sihyun in it.
Just Sihyun, not the enemy or the wife, or whatever. Just Sihyun.
The experiment had two stages. Jiwon had told her hesitantly, as if any word might make her lose it again.
Sihyun smiled as she walked on the sidewalk back to her house, looking at every inch of the empty street that used to be filled with joyful voices and laughter.
Somehow, even then, Sihyun knew that she won't lose it again. Right from the moment Jiwon sat next to her on Narae's couch, holding a tablet in her hands. A few weeks had passed since the day they knew everything, since the day she raised her hand at herself, and Sihyun knew that the emptiness that she was feeling won't kill her.
The first one was us, which succeeded, and the second was done on real killers who were facing the death penalty, which failed. Jiwon had paused, pressing her lips together. She always did that when she wasn't sure about what to say. They were brought here with us to the planet, but their stage didn't start until a couple of months before the beacon was sent. The people behind all of this had used a new advanced type of the nano chip on them.
Jiwon touched the tablet. "There are videos of them, it seems that they were supposed to settle on this planet, just like we did. She showed her the screen that had a video playing. We found a settlement behind the warehouse, smaller than ours, and barely constructed."
Jiwon spoke as she showed her the videos, Something went wrong with the new chips, there was a malfunction in them, that mixed the real memories with the designed ones. The people who made it, who... who did all of this tried to fix it, but it was too late.
Are they still here? She had asked Jiwon.
"No, the security cameras showed them and the people behind the experiment getting into the few ships that were here. They fought each other, badly. But we looked around just in case, and still are, expanding the range of search each day, but we haven't found anyone yet." Jiwon leaned back on the couch, "I don't think the second stage's people knew about us, or else they would have attacked us too."
What about the crashed ship?
We found over thirty dead bodies inside it. Jiwon had looked at her eyes, Sihyun remembered, her heart had beat harder for a second.
We burned their bodies, Jiwon had continued, They were the people who did this to us. Some of them at least.
Something sounded in her voice, and shone in her eyes. Sihyun knew what it was right away. It was the same anger she had felt, satisfied by a mere revenge. A fake one. It was the same desire to hurt the ones who hurt them, the desire that would have filled the emptiness inside of her if she let it.
That emptiness, it wasn't one to be filled with any sort of feelings towards the people who experimented on them. Narae had told her, and Sihyun didn't fully disbelieve her.
The thing that used to fill it, that pulsing core that beat with life and hope to create something beautiful on this planet was dead now. Sihyun neither saw its corpse and buried it, nor did watch it turn to dust like those thirty-seven bodies, but she knew it was gone.
Sihyun opened the front door to her house, calming her thoughts with the peace that welcomed her once she walked inside. Boa appeared in her sight just seconds after she closed the door. Surprised, and her hair a bit messy.
It has been over seven weeks since that day, seven weeks since she saw Boa as Narae thought it'll be better to not let them see each other for a while.
"Hi!" Boa let out, her voice a bit low. Her cheeks became a little red, but Sihyun noticed more than that. Tiresome had left its marks on Boa's face.
And Narae was right, the anger that she felt towards Boa, the jealousy of her for not remembering the fake past was a bliss. She hated Boa, for counted days.
"Hi." She walked inside, looking away as Boa adjusted her plaid shirt. A hair brush was in her hand.
"Are you hungry? I made breakfast but still haven't eaten it yet." She spoke so fast.
Sihyun smiled, Boa often did that whenever she was nervous. She put her bag on the couch before looking at Boa again, noticing that everything was still the same as she left it. Everything.
"Narae told me you came to visit. Several times."
Boa's cheeks became a bright red as she smiled wide. "Yeah. I just wanted to see how you were doing. I..." she looked away for a second, "I didn't bother you, did I?"
Sihyun smiled at her, shaking her head. She smiled, knowing that a new door had been opened, one that the whole settlement had walk through in tears, and fear. And now it was her turn to do the same.
"Thank you... for visiting. I wasn't bothered." She sounded robotic but she ignored it because this was more awkward than she expected.
Boa kept her smile. Happiness that she hadn't seen in a long while showing in her eyes. Happiness that she wouldn't have gotten the chance to see if it wasn't for Narae and Bohyung.
That happiness was too bright that it showed her something. If Boa had the bliss of knowing a real past, she had the bliss of knowing a real present. One that she and Boa made together with love, regardless of how that love started. She wasn't in love with Boa any more, she couldn't keep that love even if she wanted. But she couldn't doubt that at some point their feelings for each other were as true at love gets. Not a human being or an evil force could have controlled that love to turn it into what they had.
And with that, she might not be lost after all, like she thought that day when she held the glass towards her neck.
"I... I can leave if you want." Boa said when the silence lingered a little too much. "I mean, for good, if you don't want me here. There are a lot of empty houses now. Did... did you know?" Her heart was racing that she couldn't keep her voice clear enough, right from the moment she saw Sihyun, her heart took a pace that she didn't fully understand.
"Yes, Jiwon said that some of us are staying in the other settlement to build it." Sihyun walked towards her. She seemed so fragile. Not weak, no. Just, at that moment as Sihyun stopped in front of her, she had that feeling again, she wanted her to be safe again.
"I don't want you to leave." Sihyun stared at her eyes. "I'm not asking you to be anything with me, but this place is yours as much as it's mine."
Boa ignored her nervousness as Sihyun walked past her, entering their bedroom.
"I'm not going to ask you to be anything too." The words rushed out of her mouth. "Oh, I mean, no, wait, that's not what I meant." She followed Sihyun. "I mean," She paused when Sihyun looked at her, smiling. "I mean, I don't want to ruin... whatever we can be. I don't want to rush things, or... or..." She couldn't believe she was saying that right when Sihyun came back. "Or slow them?"
Boa didn't know what they can be to each other anymore, or what they ever were. All that she knew was that even though their love that showed on their faces in those videos, which she watched over a dozen times, was essentially created by wicked hands, and wasn't born by their own choice. It lived because of them. They thought it was real, and did everything to make it flower till it filled them with happiness.
Boa sighed, lowering her head as Sihyun neared her again. She wasn't sure what did she mean exactly. She couldn't remember any of that happiness, or that love.
With that nameless feeling that fluttered whenever Sihyun's name was mentioned in the past weeks, she couldn't ignore that at some point she had feelings for this beautiful woman. Feelings that were love.
"What I meant is that I don't want to make things awkward between us." She kept her gaze on Sihyun. "I can't remember our life here, and you can't remember your life before here. Maybe we can still be something... in the middle of that. Friends... roommates, or... I don't know. If you wanted I mean, maybe we can start again. Start something new."
Sihyun neared her more, preventing her from thinking too much about the mess that she just said. She wrapped her arms around her neck, her head rested on her shoulder.
Boa hugged her back, as simple as that, as quietly as the morning was.
And when Sihyun backed away a little, she was still smiling calmly. The sadness was still there in her eyes, letting Boa know that she needed to do anything and everything to make it disappear and be replaced with a new happiness.
"Maybe we can."
Boa didn't let go of her, Boa wanted to do anything and everything to replace that sadness with joy and unending happiness.