first of many
Late nights wheren't something new. Especially in January. Memories were strongest at night. The month was always hard, each time it seemed to get easier, it got more difficult. This year was looking up, looking like something that would finally be better. Time was healing old wounds. Every loss fell into the same week, less than ten days between three. How she survived it, she still didn't always know, but somehow. Somehow she was strong enough to survive, maybe it was the years between maybe it was how she was raised. Maybe she'd never know.

Two days ago, an anniversary of loss. Two days ago, she celebrated four years without Daniel. In five days she'd have another anniversay, seventeen years since the loss of her father. And just two days later would be twenty years since the loss of her mother. She was used to counting the years, to knowing that January was the worst month of the year. So why was tonight the night she was waking up with a killer headache? Why was this the night that she wanted to scream at the pain, she was used to pain. Pain was a welcome comfort for most of her life. But this was different. So different she didn't understand it.

As her dark eyes blinked in the even darker bedroom. Blinking a few times, she brought her hand to her head, rubbing her fingers through her hair as she closed her eyes tight willing the pain away. "Breathe," she told herself. She wanted to focus on her breathing, that she could control, breathe through the pain. Her training was kicking in, how to survive pain. She'd been shot before, she knew pain, this would pass. A headache always passed. As it started to dull a little, she wasn't sure if it was getting better or she was getting used to it, she moved to sit up. Her feet flat on the floor as she let out a breath. "Come on, Cami" she spoke to herself. She could do this, get out of bed. Walk to the bathroom, it wasn't far. A few steps.

Step, wait, step, wait, step, it took her breathing and waiting to make it to the bathroom. To shuffle across the distance that on a normal night took seconds. She fumbled against the wall for the switch. It was there, she knew it was there, it was always there. When the bright light lit up the small space, her eyes closed again, blinking against the harsh brightness that invaded the dark. When she finally got her eyes to adjust to the sudden change, she looked at herself in the mirror. It was strange, almost like she was seeing double, or a superimposed version of herself. She was there, looking back, but she wasn't right. Tilting her head, she felt like she was looking through someone else's eyes. Like it was her inside, but not her outside, even though she recognized herself.

"What's going on?" she spoke aloud. Her voice sounded off, like it was her but not. Maybe she was getting sick? No she wasn't sick, she didn't feel sick. But she had a headache, could that be the prelude to something? It's not what you think the voice in her head said. She shook her head, her blonde hair hitting her face. Blonde? the voice asked. She wasn't a blonde, she was a brunette, nearly black hair. But no, standing there she was a blonde. She looked similar enough, same eyes, same skin, but it wasn't her face. It was a different face. Cassandra, not Cassandra Camilla. But not Camilla either. How was she both but neither? Could she really be both but neither? Maybe she was going crazy. She had to be going crazy. Did she drink too much? Wait, she hadn't had a sip of anything. She knew she hadn't.

She had no one to talk to about this. She felt crazy. She had all these conflicting thoughts in her head. This wasn't normal. How could she have thoughts of two different people? She had to be crazy. Dissociative Identity Disorder, that's what it was right? Multiple personalities. It could come on from stress, she knew that. She'd read that during her training back in the day. But she wasn't stressed. How could this be? If she was that stressed wouldn't she have to have done this back when Daniel died? Why now? You aren't crazy the voice told her. But she had to be. "Go to bed," she told herself. Just sleep it off, maybe this is some twisted nightmare. She turned the lights off and crawled back under her covers. Bed, she had to go to bed. She'd see in the morning. She'd be fine when she woke up and everything was normal.

When morning came, she blinked as she woke up. Her head still hurt. And the voice said Still here, still not a nightmare and still not crazy.