Do you know where we are?
The words wake her from her restless sleep. The room around her is light, with bright sunlight filtering in through sheer purple drapes. Pulling the drapes aside she looked out over a quiet garden area, with a running river and a strange pagoda like gazebo. She almost forgot to breath when she saw the woman standing in the center of the pagoda looking out into the unfathomably deep bamboo forest the garden ran into.
She pulled on a silken gown to cover her nakedness and walked out the nearby door into the sunny day. A glimmer of trepidation took her heart as she approached the woman, some part of her mind telling her it can't be true. In the time between seconds, Jane turned to smile her coy smile, the one she'd only seen the morning after that night so long ago. Emotions as powerful as the Potomac raged inside her, gushing out as a stream of tears while her legs gave out.
"There, there now," Jane says as she strokes Shandra's hair. "It's all right, shhh, it's all going to be alright."
"But you're... you're.."
"I know, I can only assume this means you are too. Not what I thought it would be, being dead... it's so... peaceful."
"I don't understand, why? Why am I here... I don't... I don't deserve..."
Jane's laughter was... perfect, infectious, and somehow almost powerful. "You can imagine how I felt. All this, I don't deserve any of it... especially not you. I knew you were coming though, Shandra, I could feel it for so long."
The two held each other for a long time. The began to reacquaint themselves, first with words, then with tender affection and even more tender kisses, continuing on through the night to the inevitable climax. And then they held each other, content in each others' care as they drifted into a blissful sleep.
And then she awoke, still in the predawn hours. It was strange that she could focus on the third woman so easily, but could not bring herself to feel alarm. The svelt young woman simply sat, unconcerned with her nudity, across the room starring.
"Who are you?"
"Do you know where we are?"
The phrase tugged at something... something terrible. Something she didn't want to know. "Who are you? Why are you here?"
"Do you know where we are?"
The memory clicked, and she cried out in rage. Her sleeping lover awoke and stared up at her, transfixed by the anger in her face. "Is something wrong, Shandra? What's going on? Who is this?"
"Not enough time! It isn't fair, it isn't right! Why!? Why must it be me!?" Shandra's cries were futile though no less pained, she knew already what she needed to do.
Finally in a voice barely above a whisper she asked, "will I ever be back?"
"That is a decision you will make on your own. Now, do you know where we are?"
"Shandra, look at me, what do you mean 'ever be back'? Where are you going?"
Her only answer was a kiss, not the passionate kind that had ruled the night before or the tenderness of the afternoon. It was a heavy kiss, a kiss of promises.
"Yes, I know where we are." Shandra said. The other woman nodded.
Shandra's world erupted into pain.
* * *
It was a long time before Shandra stood again, her broken arm making it difficult to pull herself up while injuries made breathing or moving difficult. The room around her looked almost completely destroyed, with a pair of dead bodies not to far from her. She didn't bother with the enemy, he had been cruel in his life, but she found herself kneeling again next to the other. The third woman, the former side kick, the hero who had dragged her this far. The tears wouldn't come, the despair in her heart crystallizing into resolve.
She wouldn't cry. Not until they were all defeated, until nobody else would have to cry because of them again. Maybe then she could return to paradise.