I woke up to blinding lights. They hovered over me like tiny spaceships just waiting to pull me in. When my vision finally adjusted, I realized the lights were nothing more than surgery lamps. Suddenly, they clicked off revealing a figure standing beside me.
“Claire, you’re awake!” My dad was sobbing, holding my hand. I leaned up and looked in the mirror just in front of me. I was banged up pretty bad. “How are you feeling?” Another voice came from my right. I looked over to see a doctor with no name badge. He gestured towards my head as I winced.
“It hurts,” I told him. He smiled and wrote something on the clipboard he was holding. After a few clicks and monitor checks he came back to my bedside. “I’ll leave you two alone for a moment.” As he walked away, my ears seemed to be playing tricks on me. Did I hear him growl? My dad placed a hand on my cheek, his warm touch was inviting and comforting. I wasn’t sure how I got here. Something didn’t feel right.
“Are you wondering why you’re here?” My dad asked. I nodded as he wiped away the tears from his cheeks. He knelt down beside the bed and placed both hands over mine. “There were men who attacked you while you were getting in your car. They say you put up a great fight, but one of them knocked you out.”
I felt the bandages on my head and realized they didn’t make sense for an injury like that. Why would I need this many bandages?
“Oh, don’t worry, it was a bad gash. They had to stitch you up.” Weird. It was almost like he knew what I was thinking. I tried to lean up, but something quickly forced me back. When I looked down a new strap was now around my arms and torso. “Oh, those? Don’t worry honey, they’re just there so you won’t hurt yourself.” Dad smiled. I looked at him in horror.
“I didn’t ask you about the straps, they just appeared!” Dad kept smiling…and smiling until the smile crawled up around his ears. His face started to distort as he started talking in a strange voice. “It doesn’t matter sweetheart. Everything is going to be just fine. Remember, we’re doing this for your own good.” The strange being slapped its hand against my face. I tried to move but the slaps just kept coming. This couldn’t be real. None of it made sense.
I tried to struggle, but the impostor held me down, pinning me even harder to the bed. I moved, trying to break free, but the restraints were too much. I rested my head against the back of the bed and noticed it felt hard. The sheets didn’t feel like a bed at all. I hit my head once more and a sting of pain shot through my head, distorting my vision. Just for a second I was back in that dark world. A hideous creature was leaning over me, it’s cold scaly hand covering my forehead. Then everything was a hospital room once more. I started banging my head against the bed. Over and over until finally the illusion was broken. The voice screamed, telling me to stop.
“Don’t, you’ll break the connection!”
I fell backwards again, this time hitting a hard bloody floor. The rain falling from above was dark red. The stench stained my nose with the smell of blood.
“You little wretch!” The creature was holding its head in pain. “Can’t you see you hurt me too?!” I didn’t care. I started to run once again. Luckily, there was a low red light all throughout this place. I could see where I was going. Something told me I might not make it out of this, but I had to try. I had to keep going…
…TO BE CONTINUED