"What is it?" Slipping through the bedsheets, the pillow, the mattress. Colorless, with no tinge of understanding; diffuse like the smoke escaping from the controlled brush fire at the end of a cigarette; lukewarm in the same way as a sinking swell of humidity in midsummer. Thermodynamically impossible, my left brain responds. "What is it?" It takes me a moment to recognize the sound. Strangely hollow, I realize, because its lower frequencies are entirely absent, amputated at the knee by the Procrustean nature of cheap radio speakers. The mutilated body stares back at me from the opposite end of the ruthless standardizer's bed, its head tilted at an oblique angle against the headboard. A mop of hair, left to grow unchecked since the brutal operation, spills in every direction from pores nearly clotted over by splotches of disembodied blood. "What _is_ it?" A deliberate mispronunciation this time, not _iz_ but _ihs_ with the sibilant hissing of the _s_ turning into the entropy-swamped sizzle of white noise. A howl of wind sweeps past the hotel balcony, bringing with it an incredible blizzard of snow. I watch as a curtain of dark, swirling gray conceals the suburban landscape from view. Churns it back and forth, I imagine, turns the buildings and roads and people into a slurry with the consistency and color of wet cement trailing from the rear of a mixer truck. I breathe. There is nothing to breathe. No. I breathe. "Empty." The window collapses inward in a hail of glass and sparks. A large television screen slumps forward onto the floor from the space behind it, revealing blank stretches of unpainted wall. The mouth before me, the red of its lips almost indistinguishable from the red of a fresh wound, inhales, sucks the sounds of the weather away from a pair of now-useless ceiling-mounted speakers. "Empty," the mouth spits. The head slumps off of the shoulders on which it sits, falling onto the ground between the bed and a nearby wall, rolling about for a few moments with the dull sound of stiff plastic. It comes to a stop facing me, the glimmer in its eyes gone, now nothing more than a piece of a mannequin that managed to fall out of an overfilled dumpster. I take the body in my arms, the body that remains headless underneath the sheets, and pull it towards me. Still warm, but without strength in its muscles. I slowly remove its clothing, blotches distinguishably stained crimson even against the dark colors of the fabric, revealing pristine skin underneath. I run my hand down from its vestigial neck, drawing a line down the center of its chest and stomach, stopping when there is no more flesh to trace with my fingers. "Empty." I repeat the word, forming with my tongue and lips and teeth what is now, to me, nothing more than a series of vague sounds, divorced utterly from any useful meaning. "Empty." And yet still functional, my left brain concludes.