Little black dots.

It looked like a splattering of tiny ink spots on the ceiling above them. There was a cluster of dots, maybe ten or twelve, slightly to their left, then a trail of dots, another seven or so, inching across the ceiling to their right.

Like ants, they thought. A line of little ants marching away from the anthill.

They looked back to the bathroom mirror. No little black dots. One big one. A bruise. Over their right eye. And a cut on their lip. A scrape on their right cheek where they’d hit the pavement.

Assholes, they thought. Better to just watch me fall than touch me. They liked to think they were used to the way people stared, they way people made that inch or two of extra space when they moved through the crowd, as though their gender was somehow contagious, as though someone could catch a refusal to fit a norm.

Non-binary and clumsy, they thought to themselves. Fucking great. Fucking nice. What a combination.

When their eyes focused away from their own bruised face in the mirror and focused on the wall behind them, they saw more little black dots. I don’t think they were there when I came in. Scattered on the wall like a star pattern in the sky. Where the dots there when I came in? Random. A reverse night.

It didn’t matter. This place was always a bit of a dump. Probably mold or something. Water in the walls. They could come back in a few weeks and find the whole place boarded up, the source of a dozen health violations, that “place we used to go after the bars close.”

Not that I’ll be going out much for a while. They gingerly touched the bruise getting darker over their eye.

On the wall, something was changing. The reverse sky was finding a kind of order. Little dots that were random were sliding left and right, up and down. And the reverse sky was now a shape more recognizable, little dots forming a figure, an outline of black against the cream-white of the walls.

Their figure. Their outline. Little dots tracing their border, a reverse shadow on the wall.

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