Department of Human Services

“Turn off the lights.”

“I’m… that makes me uncomfortable. I’d rather not.”

SLAM of palms against the desk. The room is muffled; the noise is less than it should be. She can feel Proyas’s rage through the legs of the chair. She turns off the lights without speaking. Proyas stands and turns his back to her.

“I don’t –“

“Wait, damn you. Wait!” She can see his shoulders, hunched against the light from the hallway.

“Alex –“

“Be quiet!” His breathing fills the room, rough and unsteady. “Your liver processes things differently. Some things it’ll eat most of. Others…” He raises his hands above his head. With the lights off she can track his veins, green and luminescent.

“Jesus!”

“Phosphorus.” When the lights flare back on she is momentarily blinded. Her finger stabs for the panic button, waits. Wait, wait, she tells herself. Be chill. “My liver wouldn’t eat it, just passed it right into the blood. Yeah? In the dark I glow. Metals under my skin.” He sits across the table, his hands moving aimlessly over the plastic. Back and forth he rocks, back and forth, eyes riveted to her left shoulder. “Glow in the dark, in the dark, glow in the dark.”

“Maybe they –“

“No, I’m doomed.” He leans across the table, breath like cat urine. “No one’s this lucid.