Copper and porcelain covered in acid: the world met her nose in scent before all else.
Slowly, the rest came, as cold tile against her face, arm, and side, moist with tart and acrid fluid, sticking to her skin. Something electric hummed above her. A hollow pipe echoed with a distant tap, vibrating against her ear.
She opened her eyes to stare at dusty shadows beneath a toilet and sink. She drew her depth of focus in on the mess of bile and blood around her. Wait... blood?
She sat up and more thoroughly studied her surroundings: a small bathroom with floral curtains, two partially-drunk bottles of something-or-other on the sink counter, a spilled shot glass of something else, and vomit made of melting nachos that, tragically, never had a chance at getting into the toilet in the first place. The lid was still down.
And blood. Had that come out with the sickness, or was she wounded? She inspected herself quickly, fighting a dizziness not quite from drunkenness.
Blood splattered her new blue cocktail dress, along with more vomit. She still couldn't tell where any of it came from, so she stood, carefully using the sink for leverage, to look in the mirror.
Horror sank into her at the blood surrounding and smearing down from her mouth. More, strangely, covered her neck, but in lieu of injury, she had to assume some righteous back splash off of the toilet. This did not much assuage her fears. She could not brush this away as mere blood from hoarse retching; somewhere, inside or out, she must be wounded.
She checked herself again, with hands this time, but found nothing. No pain but an ache in the gut, which only worried her worse. An ulcer, she guessed.
She stared once more at the mess of herself in the mirror, and decided that if tonight were to end in a hospital, she could try to look a little less like a crack-smacked hooker that crawled out of an alleyway... hell, what she'd give not to smell like it. But the one towel had been used thoroughly on the mess itself. She settled for splashing her face with water. The cold of it didn't bother her; she barely noticed it.
As she turned to the door, her foot hit something hard. Curiously, she bent down to the speck of gold, and saw that it was her tooth filling.
She hoped that explained the blood, some dental injury that knocked her filling out. She decided to leave it there, as compensation for the mess she made.
She stepped out into the hall, noted the silence, crept into the living room. More bottles and glasses covered the table and counter top in the kitchen, and passed-out bodies covered the couch. She recognized one of them as David Hall, whose apartment this was. She didn't deign to wake them, and flitted out of the building hastily, hoping to avoid the other tenants. She did not want anyone to see her in this state.
She successfully escaped to the parking lot and saw the far side of the sky turning pale already. Unfortunately, after three full loops of the lot, she did not see her car.
Fortunately, her cell phone remained on hand, and she resigned herself to calling her roommate. After a painfully long wait on the ringtone, Carmen's voice came through. "Hello?"
"Carmen, it's me, Sierra." She was surprised by how perfectly undamaged her voice sounded. No rawness at all.
"Finally done with the party?" came Carmen's voice, which despite the hour, didn't sound tired.
"I got shit-faced and painted the toilet... and I can't find my car."
"You sound remarkably non-drunk."
She felt remarkably non-drunk. "I guess I sobered myself up when I threw it all back up..."
"Are you still at David's place?" Carmen asked. Sierra heard keys jingle over the phone.
"Yeah," she said. "I'll be out on the steps... thanks."
"No problem. See you soon."
She reburied the phone in her purse and sat on the stone steps to wait. Somehow between waking up and sitting down, she decided not to visit the hospital after all. She didn't feel sick. She felt no pain. In fact, she felt more clear-headed and able-bodied than before... before...
She realized she couldn't remember the party, nor any of yesterday, at all. She recalled planning for the party, days earlier, and buying this dress. She remembered asking Carmen to come along, who declined in favor of "raid night", a weekly ritual of lengthy battles performed by her club of internet gamers, or whatever. She felt secretly relieved that her friend's late-night gaming habits meant a reliable carpool at odd hours.
The familiar sand-colored Nissan from the early Nineties rolled into the lot. Carmen waved from the driver's seat, but her smile dissolved into a frown of disgusted concern. As Sierra opened the door and climbed in, Carmen leaned against the opposite door, her nose held up and back as much as possible. "Oh. My. God," she intoned.
"Did you stab someone with a beer bottle?!"
"I honestly have no idea. But my tooth filling came out."
"You smell like a bulimic's bukkake party. Ugh, roll down your window!" Carmen was already rolling down hers. Sierra followed suit.
"I don't remember anything," she said. "From the party, from yesterday, nothing."
"I'm surprised you woke up already... and not throwing up again already. You're not nauseous, are you?" Carmen asked seriously.
"No. I don't feel... that bad at all, actually." She felt this was almost distressingly true: under the grime, she felt unusually well and alert. No, 'alert' was too weak a word - extrasensory came closer. She noticed how she noticed details at a distance more finely than she should, heard more acutely the sounds around her, and smelled... well, she could've lived without hyperosmia in the presence of her own rank self.
Maybe she'd taken some powerful wonder-drug at the party. Or maybe she was so ludicrously drunk she only thought she'd gained superhuman senses.
Carmen filled the ride home with tales of her raid. Listening to it, Sierra pictured Carmen as the bard of a mighty knight, regaling others with their victorious stories. It both fascinated and completely confused her.
While Carmen retired, Sierra took an thorough shower. While Carmen slept, Sierra tried and failed to do the same.