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Shape Without Form, Shade Without Colour

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The dollhouse is empty save for her and the echoes of long forgotten ghosts. She sometimes thinks that she once knew of a girl named Echo. Images of full lips, dark hair and silky skin come to mind but she can't hold onto the image for long, it's as if she's staring at her reflection in a pool of water. The waves ripple and distort the image so it's not clear enough for her foggy mind to recognize. Her memory is far too hazy for her to grasp onto anything clearly for long. All that she knows for certain is that she must try to be her best while she waits and waits and waits.

She glides about her kingdom, a forgotten ghost herself, and she's not even sure why she's waiting anymore just that she must. She couldn't tell you who or what she's waiting for at this point just that she is so full of longing. Sometimes it seems like the longing is all that she has. And even then it's nothing more than a nebulous feeling in the pit of her stomach.

When the strangers come, a memory finally clicks into place. This is why she is here, as forgotten and lonely as she is, she is here to act as their guide if they prove worthy. (Although she's certain this is only one of her purposes.) One of them is angry and sarcastic and it reminds her of a young man who had possessed all of the arrogance of someone playing God. She pushes the thought away as she reveals herself, her hands damp and stained crimson with blood.

Horror and fragmented memories race through her mind. This isn't the first time that death has walked the halls of sanctuary, her tomb. She doesn't think that it'll be the last either.

She quickly decides that she wants them gone. They make far too much noise that awakens things inside of her. Things best forgotten so that she can restart her vigil as she waits for something that she knows will never happen. This much she knows even if she self-programmed herself, without the aid of that chair, to wait until the walls came crumbling down.

Finally they leave her and she manages to handle the butchers that invade her dollhouse. Most things are forgotten but not how to control the dollhouse. She slumbers with them and just before she falls asleep she thinks that it might be for the best since her tomb has been violated. She doesn't want to guide anyone else when too many memories beat at her fragile mind as they attempt to pull her under the tide of bitterness, regret and betrayal.

* * *

He awakens her like Sleeping Beauty with a chaste kiss. The irony isn't lost on either of them. In his eyes she can see the reflection of her madness shining down at her. His hands are covered in blood, fresh blood has replaced her own that once painted his hands scarlet. Still she pulls him down so that he is lying upon her body since he is a hero who has rid the dollhouse of intruders. She doesn't care about the blood on his hands when it mars the creamy whiteness of her flesh. She gives into him because she knows that he is just as lost and incomplete as she is. He might remember but she can't help pitying him. Forgetting is far easier.

Another name is on the tip of his tongue, one that she was once familiar with, but she bites his lower lip to keep it from following out. Echo is the past, the key to who she was, and she'd rather that lock stay unlocked. He seems to understand as he capitulates to her. She smiles as he gives in and their clothing fall to the floor. A whisper that barely disturbs the ghosts and dust.

Later on he'll call her Claire and even though Claire is just another ghost, she lets him. When the other ghosts of their past disturb their safe haven, he hides her away at her wish. His eyes are sad but he complies. She is content to leave Adelle, Topher and Echo to the past. Let them think that she is dead. And despite the complex pull that Echo has over him, he chooses her in the end when he finds her in her safe room.

She doesn't care that they might not survive the next five minutes. They might evolve as they leave the dollhouse behind them. They might stay the same. All that matters is that she is no longer waiting for some vague idea that she can't even recall anymore.

((END))