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Days tend to blur into one another when you wile them away doing a whole lot of nothing at all. And Nastasya Wu had wiled away many a day doing a whole lot of nothing at all.

Thirteen years, in fact. And had she cared to try her hardest to reach back across all those years in search of a single memory-- a place, a name, a face, a thought or emotion, anything at all that had made a difference-- she would have come up empty-handed every time. But she didn't care to try, not when she knew her living memory had more or less ceased to be in a distant place and a distant time. Across that ever-widening gulf that stretched between now and then, there was nothing worth trawling for, nothing worth remembering. Just drifting. Just existing. Doing the bare minimum.

It was so terribly irksome, Wu all but sighed, as she lay there in bed staring up at a barren white ceiling. The rays of the rising sun struggled to pollute her apartment, to infect it with some semblance of the morning radiance that went unfettered outside, but the dingy little shades that adorned her bedroom window were drawn tight, admitting only a faint wisp of sunlight that diffused helplessly into the dank air within. The window's thick skin stood guard against Wu's realm of solitude, a resolute bulwark against the outside world-- the din of traffic, of early morning birdsong, of the voices of the city, of the hallmarks of life, none would intrude upon her here and now. Here and now, she took a perverse sort of enjoyment in the utter, wretched silence of her home, a place that might as well have been uninhabited for all the life its single occupant seemed possessed of.

How terribly irksome and pathetic it was, that even now, thirteen years later, when she had long since resigned herself to an existence that could barely be called alive at all, Wu still opened her eyes every morning to a pang in her guts, to memories of a time she didn't feel this generally dead-- to the ardent wish that, if only for one last time, she could see those devilish blue eyes, or that flaming red hair, or that bold, irrepressible spirit, anywhere but in her memories.

She sighed, and reluctantly pulled aside the bedsheets-- and in doing so, doomed herself to at least one more day of knowing there would never be any more of that again.

Silence, however, was nowhere to be found by the time Wu prodded open the door leading into Idlewood Books and strode in to begin her shift-- not with the headphones that arched through the wiry bristles of her greying hair and enveloped her ears in the pleasant embrace of violent, pounding music. God bless whatever genius had invented the portable MP3 player; Wu had many a happy memory of spending school days as a fifteen year old up on the highest limb of a tree, with nothing for company but booze, smokes, and her trusty old Walkman, but memories weren't worth much compared to simple convenience. Her fingers closed around the cool skin of the player as she, however reluctantly, hit the pause button on its console and reached up to pluck away the headphones. The sunglasses that devoured up half her face, though, remained squarely in place as she made to clock in for yet another day of drudgery.

When she returned to the front desk and set up at one of the registers, however, an all too tediously familiar voice greeted her. "Hey, sunglasses--" Marina was standing at the other cash register, leaning over with her forearm against the wide bar of the desk and smiling at her laconic coworker as she approached. "Heard we're gonna be havin' some new blood on this shift as of today. Some new girl. Met her yet?"

Wu stared blankly at her for a moment, Marina's expectant gaze reflected in the inscrutable depths of her sunglasses, before she answered in a dry rasp, "Nope. Haven't." Marina admitted a certain self-aware chuckle, and retorted, "My mistake; you'd probably have answered with that either way." She sighed, and straightened up, glancing through the sparsely populated bookstore, giving it a quick once-over. "Well, she should be showing up anytime now. Can't wait." She shot another smirk Wu's way, and added, "No offence, sunglasses, but you don't exactly make the best company a coworker could ask for."

"That hurts," Wu drawled in a thick morass of garbled accent and languid delivery, sounding rather like she couldn't have possibly cared less what Marina had said. The other woman merely chortled again and turned away, leaving Wu to hope that this new person would indeed show her face soon-- maybe she and Marina could hit it off and they could both leave Wu well alone.

As if anything ever really goes the way it's supposed to. Knowing her luck, whoever the new person was, they were just gonna be another headache to a woman who just wanted the entire world to fuck off forever.