Angela stared at the peeling grey paint for a long moment before turning and marching down the stairs. She glanced up at the front of the building. Fatima’s apartment seemed to occupy the entire upper floor; the blinds were down on every window.
Before she even realized what she was doing, she floated up the side of the building, hovering in front of the leftmost window. She reached out and knocked on the glass.
After a minute, the blinds rose, and Fatima peered out. She was a stocky woman, at least forty years old, with brown skin a shade lighter than Genesis’s. Her dark hair was tied back into a tight ponytail, and her eyes….
Disorienting visions exploded into Angela’s mind; strange creatures, alien vistas, non-Euclidean geometry. She felt gravity’s pull and she reached out for the window ledge. Her fingers scraped on stone and she stopped falling. She tried to look around but she could barely see for the chaos in her head.
She heard a window open. Hands grasped her arms and hauled her upward. She landed hard on a concrete floor, pain shooting up her tailbone. She lay still for a moment until her vision started to clear.
“The hell were you thinking?” Fatima said, standing over Angela with sweat beading on her forehead. “You could’ve gotten yourself killed.”
“That… that usually doesn’t happen,” Angela said, and sat up. “Do you have a pen and paper I can use?”
“No,” Fatima said. “Get out of my apartment.”
“Please,” Angela said.
Fatima sighed and reached for a nearby desk. She handed Angela a notebook and a 4B pencil. Angela started sketching, just moving the pencil around without really knowing what she was trying to accomplish.
“What are you drawing?” Fatima asked.
Angela didn’t answer. Couldn’t answer. The pencil moved faster, unconsciously. She almost felt like she was in a trance. When she finally stopped moving, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Fatima grabbed the notebook from her lap.
“Where did you see this?” she asked.