When she was scared she disappeared. Not quite invisibility or a cute aversion to being scolded, this was like being cookie-cuttered out of the world.
There had been that town square in Germany with British and Australian travellers. Like a threatened guppy in front of the sleazy local she had sunk into her surroundings. Her companions had been vaguely aware of her dimming silhouette in the lamplight before she wasn't even there in memory. They may have wondered at the half-drunk beer spilled on the table beside them. Her hand still cradling an absent skein she awoke in the hostel bed, the distant and disappearing rush of waves in her ears.

Standing on the prow of the Wayfarer, she inspected the skyline. The squall up ahead almost looked like a tsunami if she squinted. She squinted some more just to be sure, and slowly it came into view. The wave's gaping mouth was huge, cavernous above the glassy ocean surface. As the quickly-impending reality hit her she stumbled and slid to the other end of the craft, colliding painfully with the rudder. There was no way she'd be able to escape the drag, already inverting her sails as she was pulled forward. As she groped for a steady surface the dinghy lurched and rolled, throwing her headfirst into a solid blue wall.

There was that night her friends had encountered a mugger on their way home from a bar. She found herself on the last train home feeling seasick. How lucky she'd left early, they told her. She wasn't even in the photos when they later appeared online; The Night We Were Robbed! minus lucky Karen!!
She had learned to play along with this quirk of her own reality, taking the relocations in her stride and even relying on it occasionally. But there seemed to be no logic to it; karaoke was off limits entirely. Her driver's license had been a nightmare. Every time she'd flicker out of the car and back to the driveway, shaking salt from her hair, wondering how she'd find yet another instructor.

Suddenly she was aware of everything once more. Her open eyes stung with salt, her open mouth choking and trying not to swallow more. She scooped handfuls of water out of her way, seeking the surface until her fingertips hit something solid. She kicked frantically, following the curved hull up and into oxygen. Her breath caught in her chest, heaving brine out of her airways as she pulled herself free of the water.


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