And Other Stories


Rachel couldn't get any more sleep. She had gotten back in bed, but by now clearly wasn't going to drift off since she hadn't already. Still, she didn't want to get up and be stuck finding a way to kill time through the morning. She wanted to fall asleep. But if she was being honest with herself, what she really wanted was to wake up. To bask in the relief of this all being a surreal nightmare that would end, and then she wouldn't have to wonder or worry about it anymore. But that wasn't coming. She could pinch herself just to be sure, but that had to be a myth.

And she wasn't going to entertain the idea that she was stuck in a dream. That wasn't a good idea. Still, things didn't make sense. It had to be a coincidence. There was no way Raven was actually seeing the same monster she was. Something with similar traits, apparently, but that didn't mean the things themselves were just the same. There had to be so many different ways to join up all those same dots. But there were frustratingly little ways to confirm the difference... Asking more about it would be stupid, anyways. Pretending that she had noticed a clear difference was the right idea, since at least now only she would be worrying about it. If Raven hadn't seen right through her. And Raven wasn't still worrying about it anyways, which she definitely could be. Rachel knew an idea didn't need to make sense to get itself stuck in your head.

Rachel turned over in her bed and opened her eyes to stare up at the ceiling. She wasn't crazy. She knew she wasn't crazy. Nightmares and a couple hallucinations didn't make someone insane, and she knew that. So she just needed to stop feeding the thought that she was, to stop dwelling on it and thinking too much about it and cementing the connections in her head. Rachel thought the brain worked like that, anyways.

She made herself get up, with a groan. She wouldn't have much hope of putting her mind on other topics if she was just laying there. She had to distract herself, with... Well, with something. Food would be a good start.

She didn't feel like making something, but there were probably some toaster waffles or something sitting in the freezer still. Maybe not, but the promise of a no effort (if no-quality) breakfast would get her into the kitchen to do something, at least.

There was an indistinct, unfamiliar voice, getting a little louder and clearer as she went. When she got to the kitchen, she recognized it as that monotone voice, counting "two six seven nine seven six two" and so on. 'Counting', anyways. She looked over to living room, and sure enough, Rachel was the one listening to it. She was curled up under a blanket on the couch, with the radio perched on an armrest. The TV was on, but she had it muted.

Rachel poked into the living room to see what was on the TV, but it was just the weather. She liked the music they played snippets of whenever the anchors weren't speaking, but it wasn't a huge loss. Still...

"Hey, Raven. Good morning, again."

Raven looked over suddenly, as if she hadn't noticed her yet. Then she gave an embarrassed smile. "Oh, hi Rachel. I hope you don't mind the radio."

Rachel shook her head. "No, it's fine. It's not for me, but it doesn't actually creep me out." It actually did, just a little, but she wasn't going to begrudge Raven something to help stay calm. More than that, it was a little worrying that she apparently needed that at the moment. Rachel had always thought it was just a thing to get to sleep, for her.

"Cool. You can watch something, if you want. I was just giving myself something to look at. Though, can't hurt to know we're gonna get a bit more snow, right? Perfect weather for Thanksgiving."

Rachel groaned. "Oh my god. I forgot that was coming up. We aren't going to do anything for it, are we?" It was really up to their parents, since there obviously wasn't going to be any pan-family stuff going on. If they wanted to do something in the spirit of the holiday, she would play along, but didn't think that was likely. They definitely weren't going to do a turkey, anyways.

Raven just kind of shrugged from within her blanket cocoon. "If there's a plan, I'd imagine we'll be told today. I don't really care. Well, I guess you know I'm not in the mood, but hopefully that won't last half the week."

"Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Well, anyways, I don't have anything I want to watch. I'm going to make breakfast, do you want anything?"


"Okay, let me put it another way. What do you want for breakfast? I want to actually make myself something, and it will be easier to bother with that if it's not just for me."

Raven laughed. "Gotcha. Well, I didn't eat, so... do we have some breakfast sausages? That's what I'm feeling like. With toast or eggs or pancakes, or just by themselves, whatever you want to do."

"Okay, sure thing. Coming up."

"Thanks, Rachel! I actually really appreciate it."

Rachel felt weird once she was back in the kitchen, but she was not going to pay any attention to whatever was nagging at her. No, she was just going to make the breakfast sausages, lazily scramble eggs in the same skillet, and then made toast to pair. She took a single sausage for herself, but the rest were for Raven. She ate a lot less than her twin, after all. And then two glasses of apple juice. Sure, orange was the breakfast staple, but apple was better and the whole household knew it.

Trying to keep herself occupied with thinking about the food was mostly working, but... She sighed. Some beef getting eaten and nobody fessing up was not a mystery, and certainly not one she was going to bother pondering. Besides, now she had everything done, so that would be worse than pointless. She stepped back into the living room, where Raven seemed to have all her attention back on the TV again. Or maybe that radio... "Hey, Raven, breakfast is ready. It's at the table, or, well I'm not going to stop you from eating on the couch."

Raven jolted a little again, but this time grinned right away. "Oh, you know me so well! If you wouldn't mind taking it over, anyways. I'm really quite cozy."

Rachel got her twin's plate and glass in hand and came over. Raven had apparently conceded that she would at least have to bring her arms out from under the cover, and took the plate and cup. After a moment's thought, Rachel decided to eat on the couch too, very carefully sitting down at the other end. The eggs were pretty decent, if she said so herself. And Raven liked the sausages quite a bit, apparently. And the apple juice was the right call, though taking it to the couch had just been asking to spill it on accident.

It was nice. It was really nice, actually, to eat something and just relax with her sister. Except for that fucking voice going on without any hesitation or flubbing. It had to be a recording they just kept playing. But... Why? What possible point was there in it? There was no way it was supposed to be a relaxation aid.

Once they had both finished breakfast, Rachel decided to ask. "Hey, Raven. What is that favorite radio station of yours, anyways?"

"Huh? Oh, I don't know. It's just... this. The numbers station, I guess. Why?"

"Just curious. I mean, it's kinda weird, right? Does it ever give something other than all those numbers?"

Raven shifted in place, and put her arms back under the blanket. "Not that I've ever heard. I guess it is weird, though. I never really questioned it. I just like it."

"Well, I have no idea why you like it, but since you do, I'm glad it's there. Especially these days."

Raven was silent for a few seconds, and then nodded. "Yeah. Especially these days."

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