the photo isn't really that remarkable to her at first glance. red-orange smudges on black, almost like a glowing eye. molly glances at it only once; she has so many things to do and it's not even in the top ten of things that are concerning her. lily squirms in her arms, she sets the phone down, and turns her attention to changing lily's diaper.
getting lily changed (telekinesis wasn't cheating was it, lily is getting so big, can anyone tell who's her father by looking at her?), packing gryffin's lunch (she hoped he liked this one, his grades were so good, he's so smart, she hopes she's doing things right), that was all at the forefront of her mind even if her mind kept rolling over the fact that bodhi had been shot at (at the hospital, who shoots up a hospital, hasn't bodhi gone through enough?), even as she was still trying to wrestle with what to do with red (his release is coming up, does she tell him, does she keep her mouth shut?), even as she was mentally trying to calculate what she would need to bring in her wallet (id, where was her id? bring cash in case for gryffin, don't forget to get the shop keys--). all of that was swirling in her mind, not the image of the black hole.
it bubbled up once or twice, between grocery stops and texts. something to easily push away, only to nod along absentmindedly when the girl at the grocery store talked about it.
other things take over: lily needing to be breastfed, trying to swing by the shop to make sure things were good, texting nora.
it's only when she's finally home mid day, lily down for a nap and she closes her eyes that the image lodges itself into her mind. molly can't stop seeing it when she closes her eyelids, seeing the red and orange, burning in the dark. she can feel madelyne, in their shared headspace, shifting uncomfortably. mol lets her uncomfortable thoughts fall over her: her concern, her wariness at being pulled to the photo.
"stop worrying," she murmurs. "i'm tired. just--tired."
madelyne shifts again. molly can feel her fingers, like ghosts, running through her hair. she sinks into the feeling, pulling away from the burning red orange in her eyelids, away from what it into the lull of sleep. she sinks into the darkness, into quiet.
it's shortlived; she finds herself jolting awake to the sound of a phone, fingers fumbling around for it. the number on the screen is unfamiliar--but the area code isn't: new mexico. irritated, she shuts the phone off, telekinetically slapping it back onto the charger as she throws her head back down onto the cool pillow.
the darkness doesn't take her again. instead, the photo burns in her eyelids again: only brighter than before. it's not still: what she sees is a true ring of light, curled around a dark so black that nothing escapes. she arc towards it in her mind, wants to reach out to stroke that ring, wants to know what it is like to be close to such inescapable darkness.
the murkiness in her head grows. she can feel herself start to take deep, gulping breaths as the thought expands, as the need grows. to touch it. to be there, to--
lily's cries shatter her thoughts. molly sits up with a gasp, suddenly aware of the cold sweat on her forehead, her shoulders, her nose. she's on her feet, bolting down the hallway to scoop lily into her arms, gripping her as tight as possible. she buries her nose into her hair, breathing deeply as she bounces her in her arms, trying to calm lily and herself.