Lo wakes up some time later, hearing the door click. Someone’s left a plate of food and a glass of orange juice beside her bed. Lo doesn’t trust this and refills the glass with water from the bathroom, then gradually talks herself into eating the food, reasoning that if her captor had wanted to kill her, they would have done so already.
It’s hard for Lo to trust her captor not to have poisoned her food, but she reasons that they’ve gone to the trouble of dragging her here, and deadly poisons might not be easy to find. They’re interested in keeping her alive for the time being.
Having no way of telling the time, Lo feels disoriented. She also notices a “weak shiveriness” in her limbs and is frightened to realize it’s been a few days since she took her antidepressants.
Since she’s reliant on the pills to help her manage anxiety, the thought of not having access to them—and going through withdrawal in the meantime—is a terrifying scenario for Lo.
Lo thinks back to her first panic attacks as a teenager. Around the time she started work on her university entrance exams, “coping with anxiety had become a full-time business, and the walls began to close around me.” She saw a series of therapists, but none of them held the key to a cure.
Lo’s experience with anxiety has been part of a pretty typical life. Even in the course of normal rites of passage, with nothing notably traumatic happening, she’s experienced the feeling of being trapped. She’s found that there’s no magic technique to cure this. Lo’s experience shows that anxiety is a fairly normal occurrence, and also that it doesn’t look the same for everyone who experiences it.
Things seemed to improve during Lo’s university years, but after she graduated and started work at Velocity, things fell apart. She’d tried tapering off of her pills while life was going well, but “cracked” and stopped coming to work within two months. Back on the medication, she felt better almost immediately, so she’d never tried stopping the pills again.
Lo’s previous experience of prematurely stopping her medication sheds light on the fear of being deprived of her meds now—it’s had devastating results in the past.
Lo alternates between panicked thoughts and fitful sleep, unsure how much time is passing. She has a horrible nightmare about the girl from Cabin 10 peeling off her own clothes, hair, features, and finally her own skin, until she’s “just a bloody streak, muscle and bone and sinew, like a skinned rabbit.” Even though no one is likely to hear, Lo screams and screams.
The lack of connection with other people, or even the ability to know what day and time it is, continues to disorient Lo. Her nightmare about the girl suggests that the girl isn’t what she seems, and that whatever is underneath her appearance is still more frightening.
As she’d expected, Lo’s screams get no response. She wonders what she’s done—“I had made myself a target, by my refusal to be silenced about what had happened in that cabin. And yet … what had happened?” Lo seemingly did not overhear a murder, as she had first thought—so who is the girl from Cabin 10, and why has she been hiding? Lo decides that, since the girl is alive and there’s no murder cover-up, it must be her identity that’s important—her relationship to someone else on the Aurora.
Even though she is mentally and emotionally frayed at this point, Lo starts to ask questions and think through exactly what did happen, since it’s not exactly what she had suspected all along.
Lo tries the light switch and realizes the electricity has been cut entirely. She feels increasingly claustrophobic, the effects of medication withdrawal ever more apparent. But she feels a flood of anger towards the girl from Cabin 10 and clings to this like a lifeline. She realizes the girl has been in on the plot all along, after all Lo’s done for her. Lo must have seen something she wasn’t meant to—but if someone else died, then who was it?
Lo put her professional and personal credibility on the line to try to help the girl, and now she feels betrayed. But Lo focuses on her anger at the girl to keep herself from dissolving into panic.