A Doll's Red Heart (A Day of Life Under the Invisible Sun #4)
He's walking to her room, stinger-whip in hand. He thinks of the love he saw in her eyes, remembers the warmth he felt from their hugs, and tries to comprehend that it was nothing more than the projection of his own emotions. He recalls the revelation, that secret he wishes he could unlearn:
"She doesn't feel love. She - It - doesn't feel anything."
Yet she smiled, she cried, she had spoken with such gratitude when he offered shelter in his own House. The wonder in her eyes when, her hand clasping his, he had showed her the rebuilt streets of Satyrine. But they told him all of this was akin to the actions of an automaton. He half remembered the interactive fictions one could find in Shadow. But then Shadow, according to his fellow Vislae, was nothing but a Grey fiction where you played at being alive.
The memories - apparently mere dreams in truth - have a raw freshness that the wild experiences of Actuality are oddly unable to match. Only she is just as Real, he thinks as he opens the door to her room.
She's sleeping, her back to him. She's kicked the blanket off herself, making him worry her pajamas won't be warm enough to keep her from catching a cold. Needless to say he doesn't even raise the stinger-whip as he walks over to her and takes a seat on the edge of her bed.
She seems about two to three years older than the son he lost in the Shadow, the child he watched waste away. All those tubes. Even now he hears the incessant noise of all those machines.
He runs a few fingers through her hair, softly humming the song that had lulled her to sleep an hour before. He begins to wonder how could one ever deny the inner experience of another, how any Vislae could truly know what the Red Sun's "demons" did and did not feel. The child rolls over so her face can be seen. She bears a sleepy smile for the father who had rescued and then adopted her.
But in truth that smile is like that of the shark, a predatory grin that contains neither malice nor love.
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