Later, Albert would have time to think. After the tests and the pain and the surgeries and more tests, he would have time to think about everything.
But in that first waking moment, stretched out on a hard metal table, numb shock filled his mind. Slowly, he registered the blank gray ceiling above him, the lack of cold rain against his face, the faint hum of machinery, his empty arms.
He was alive.
He let his head fall to the side, eyes sliding over the equipment lining the wall below the observation window. A hospital? Wherever he was, he was alone in the room.
His fingers dug into the table unconsciously; the sound of metal scraping over metal didn’t even register. “No,” he snarled, bile building in his throat. “This isn’t real. I’m not—I can’t be here.” He flexed his fingers again, the ghost of Hilda’s body still in his arms.
He was alive, and he was alone.