The pain was a constant in Jane's life. Womanly pains, childbirth pains, man pains, the pain of cleaning, the pain of cooking.

Oh, god, her life was so boring. She was turning into her mother, that bitch of a drama queen. Nothing would make her mother happier. She may as well just end it now. If her mother saw her, she would die laughing. Her fat slob of a husband walked in the front door, took one look at the house, torn apart as it was for cleaning, and walked right back out. She threw a white plate at the door as he left. There was nothing for him here, not since that night. Now she was medicated, a happy little housewife, working away at nothing at all. Busy, busy, busy. The docs made sure of that. Tweaked her brain when her husband brought her in, just a bit, just a tiny, little, bit. They re-arranged her until she was sane, and here she was, cleaning. Like there was anything left to clean; the bots took care of it all, but it did give her something to do until she expired. Kicking off was how her mother had gone. Screaming at the top of her lungs, peeling the paint off the walls. Yelling at anyone who would listen, shouting how it wasn’t like that, she hadn’t done those horrible, awful things, how she was perfectly normal, there was nothing wrong with her. Nothing wrong with her darling little girl either. It was all someone else's fault, these bloody things just… happened, sometimes. She screamed and wailed, hysterical as they dragged her away to a padded room. Chemically sedated and in shock, Jane never saw her mother alive again, she hanged herself four days later. The body swaying gently to-and-fro, in time to the trees outside her window, moving with the breeze. There never was a sunny day again. Standing there, vacuuming the cheap linoleum floor, her thoughts drifting and pondering. How would she go? Like her mother? Like her father? A bloody pulp under the booted heel of those he spoke out against. Nothing to be ashamed of, that, dying, standing for something. Too bad, all Jane stood for was photos at the mall kiosk. There was nothing left to stand for these days. Or against, the colour had been taken out of the world. The sun permanently hiding behind the clouds, trapped, as it were, in some far away star system, as she struggled along in the absence of its light.

Leaching the colour out. That’s what she was doing, her hands were, anyway. Scrubbing at stains in her clothes, imaginary or not, she wasn’t sure, but the spots had to come out. The colour must be purged from the cloth, making the cloth pure again; capable of love. Odd, that, love. Building up the idea of another person in your head, so much you become obsessed. Looking at it through those eyes, outside eyes, love really was a kind of madness. Not that she knew. A flash of her husband's face, anger. Her hands were raw now, scrubbing themselves as much as the clothes. She looked down at the water, frowning, the bots took care of these things; why was she cleaning? She couldn’t figure it out, maybe it had something to do with the doctors? They'd fixed something with her, she just couldn’t put her finger on it. Her husband told her they had fixed something anyway.

She just had to find the way out, there was nothing down here for her. Why was she on the floor again? It kept happening, they said it might, if she had certain thoughts. Hands grab the formica counter edge, arms too long, far away, pulling herself up. She sees fingers reaching into her pocket, their tips caressing a capsule, the few pills sequestered there, out of sight and almost out of mind. Her fingers twine around it, feeling the firm solidity of the metal casing. Taking it out and unscrewing the lid, she tosses the black capsules into her mouth; the nanobots dissolving almost instantly. They melt into a wet, smooth liquid, slippery on her tongue as they move around her teeth; working up into her nasal passageways, some pushing against the roof of her mouth, to more quickly absorb into her brain. A few, dormant, programmed for slow-release, stay under her tongue. She hates this part, pressure building in her sinuses, growing nausea in her gut.

She sits down on the floor before she passes out, as the bots began to fix her anew.