Alice in the Massacre - Chapter 93
The earthquake triggered by the mass of the Duchess had considerably affected the shelter as well. Two days had already passed since Jack had sliced through the space, leaving Alice in the center of the shelter and had since then disappeared.
Alice was lying on the bed in a private room in the treatment room. Several IV drips were attached to her arms. From the looks of it, she was noticeably exhausted.
Next to her, Philrain, who was peeling the apple, looked into Alice’s left eye with concern. Then she presented her with a piece of apple on a fork.
“How about this much, Master Alice…?”
Alice nodded, placed it in her mouth, and bit into it. There was a crunching sound. But soon her face was contorted in anguish. It smelled and tasted like rotten muddy water. In a physical reaction, she hurriedly spat it out.
After vomiting a few times, Alice spat out the contents of her stomach in a huge mess onto the tray that Philrain held out to her. It was a raging nausea. She couldn’t even suppress it.
The gastric juice she puked out was pitch black. Philrain went pale at the sight of it, which reminded her of squid ink.
Rubbing Alice’s back, Philrain put the tray to the side and wiped her face with a towel.
“I’m sorry… I thought a little would be okay…”
“… You don’t have to apologize… Phil, I’m sorry…”
With a deep exhale, Alice lay back down on the bed again.
Philrain regarded her with a strained expression, then brought the tray to the tap and washed off the black substance with water. She then glanced at Raffi, who was seated on a chair.
“… But she needs to put something in her mouth. At this rate, Master Alice will not be able to move.”
Raffi was silent for a few moments but eventually opened his mouth softly.
“I think you already figured it out, but… I’ll tell you something just in case. Alice, hear me out.”
Alice looked sideways at Raffi.
“You’ve used the power excessively. The Seventh has begun to evolve into something different, and I can’t stop it. The data that composes you is no longer that of a human being, but has been rewritten as a Nightmare.”
“No way…!” Philrain gulped and bit her lips. And then she said to Raffi as if squirming. “Isn’t there something we can do about…? Master Alice is going to become a Nightmare… That’s… that’s…”
“She’s not ‘becoming’, Philrain.” Raffi continued with a heavy tone. “She’s already ‘becoming’.”
Philrain lowered her head, her hands trembling slightly in silence.
“This is too cruel…”
Tears flowed down from her eyes.
“Master Alice has been fighting more than anyone else, sacrificing herself more than anyone else… and has been through a lot of horrendous times… and even though she doesn’t truly want to do any of those things, she’s been forced to… and this is the result of it… it’s impossible!”
“Even if it’s impossible, this is the truth.”
“Why are you so calm! Is it because you are one of Nightmare’s kind!”
Raffi’s eyes widened as he was bellowed at by the agitated Philrain. At the sight of his expression, Philrain stopped what she was about to say. And then she gritted her teeth.
“Stop it, both of you.”
At that point, Alice spoke up. She turned to Philrain and said in a hushed voice, “Thank you for being upset for me. You’re very kind, Phil.”
“Why even you too, Master Alice…”
“How can you be so calm…?”
With the question, Alice glanced up at the ceiling and heaved a small breath. And with her remaining left eye, she watched her right hand stretched out on the ceiling. The rainbow-colored fluctuation of the Bandersnatch could be clearly seen rising from her body.
“I knew it was coming.”
“I am not a human being in the first place. I am simply a fragment of data, a counterfeit. Not even legitimate data, just a piece of failed… dust (garbage) created under Raffi’s administrative authority. I’ve been aware of this for quite some time now.”
Raffi shut his mouth and fell silent.
“So I’m no longer afraid of… getting hurt, or dying.”
“… That’s what I thought but…”
Alice’s outstretched hand was trembling. She lowered her hand and gripped the chest of her hospital gown. And then a small shudder went through her body.
“The moment I thought for sure the Duchess was going to kill me, I was terrified…”
Philrain’s face distorted in anguish.
“I was scared… Even though I’m not a human… Even though I’m a Nightmare… I was scared…. I was extremely scared… I didn’t want to die… It’s strange, isn’t it, even though I’m not human… I wonder why.”
Tears fell onto the blanket from Alice’s remaining left eye. Philrain gazed down at her briefly, and then tenderly embraced Alice from behind.
“It’s okay to be scared…”
“Even so, you are a ‘human being’ after all, Master Alice…”
Alice closed her eyes and gently squeezed Philrain’s hand as she hugged her.
Her little murmur was drowned out by the dry sound of the ventilation fan.
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