Author: Syrai

Fandom: Original Anguish Series

Rating: PG-13 for now - language use. I say the F-word a lot. Should I raise the rating? I dunno.

Genre: Fantasy Supernatural

Status: Work in Progress

Summary: Third part of Anguish Series - One day Callie wakes up in a place she has never seen before; with memories of life she knows isn't hers. After being labelled as mentally unbalanced, it's left for Callie herself to find out what is it that happened to her and reveal the big secret.

Disclaimer: This is mine, from beginning to the very unfinished ending. Yes.

A/N: This chapter might be boring to you, BUT, as usual, it had to be done in order to progress with the big plot here. There is one, trust me!

Shadows Call

Part 3

At the moment I'd say things are a little bit too weird for my liking. By 'weird' I mean like really fucking twisted, and by that I obviously mean I have no goddamn clue whatsoever as to what's going on around me. The bitch – no wait, I take that back... she's a nice woman, really, I don't know why I have to call her that all the time... well, anyway, Eve, she tried explaining me some simple stuff but I get the feeling she's keeping something very, very important from me. Something I definitely should know. And I guess you could say I wasn't in the mood to actually listen to her ramblings when she actually tried talking to me. Well, goes without saying that I'm not one of the easiest to handle with and you should've noticed that by now.

But you know, I don't think that Ruth was that much easier to handle either, so really, Eve should've been prepared to face me and my wrath. Sure, I am grateful for the fact they got me out of that depressing rathole, but it doesn't mean that I wasn't confused or scared... it just... doesn't mean anything.

After I finished yelling... and after we had glared at each other for a few more minutes… well, actually, I glared, she just stared back sighing every once in a while. The point is, that's when I finally gave up and decided things were not going my way. I realised that they weren't going anywhere at all, unless I'd let them. Or, at least, pretend I'm following the float here. I'm good at pretending, I did it for a whole month back at the stupid institution - pretended to be one who actually believed she needs to be cured of something. So, I'll pretend for a little bit longer, then. It's not like I'd blindly trust this woman, because I don't. I'm not sure why, though, because she hasn't hurt me or anything... but still, I've got the same feeling as if she was the girl with whom my husband cheated me on when I happened to walk into the room and catch them in action, which is also weird considering the fact it's never happened. I do not have husband.

No. Nicholas does not count.

He's not my husband, ok? He's her husband. Was. I dunno. I'm confused.

Ok, so here's the deal as I heard it. If I let them poke around in my brain I get to walk away from all this crap. That's what she said to my face only she might have used different verbs... and adjectives... but the punch line went pretty much according to that. If I cooperate things will go down smoothly, but if I don't, well… that's how she put it. Yes, she finished the sentence with a lingering 'well' as if I was supposed to know what comes after it. Well, we'll shoot you? Well, we'll force you? Well, we'll let you go and curse you in our minds? Well, then it's a bummer? I mean, a well what? I've never met these people before, how the fuck am I supposed to know how they deal with 'or elses', you know?

I'm a little skeptical, perhaps. I just can't see them letting me go - she says I'm not a prisoner or anything, and yeah, I can walk around the place as much was I want to, but for five days we have not gotten anywhere. The house is pretty cool though, I'll give them that. It's like a freakin' mansion and there's others here too. If I didn't know better, I'd say it's some sort of base or something. What's strange though, I realized that to an outsider it looks like a hotel. Well, technically, the place is a hotel.

Okay, this is what I gathered. I've been held in a mansion that really is a hotel - they say I'm not a hostage but in reality, there's not a single way out without being noticed and shot. I rather keep my knee caps, thank you very much. There's people here that obviously work for Eve and really, there are even guests, but no one seems to notice what's going on around here. Not even me. Just the ones that work with Eve or for her or whatever. It's almost as though it was some sort of cover up thing, you know? They're keeping the place up by having the damned hotel and that's how they get money, I think. Now, I haven't actually figured out who 'they' are yet, or how many of 'them' is there, but so far I've met Eve and few others. Twelve, at least, but you know, they don't really talk much. No, they walk instead of talking. Well, they do yell at times, sometimes at each others, sometimes at me for being on their way, but mostly they just walk.

Uh huh. They walk around the halls with documents and papers and looking busy and the security dudes or guards or whatever they want to be called, they look at me with this odd, odd, odd look in their eyes. They don't tell me their names and the name tags they have on, I suspect don't really tell us who they are. I mean, one of them was Mister Jones and one Mister Smith. I kinda get the feeling we're being lead on here.

Who knows, maybe even the guests are paid actors and this is just one fucking game to them.

So for the passed five days I've been here with Emily, living peaceful life as if I was one of the guests - only held here against my will and being followed 24/7. Fine, not completely against my will. It's been nice here, at least compared to my last known residence. The other guests don't notice what's happening and I've been told not to say anything. I could, of course, you know, go and yell it out loud but I'm not sure what would happen and how many would get killed.

Which, again, is weird. These people say they're the good guys and sure, they're fine and nice and all, when they're not shooting me or ignoring me or anything, but I get the feeling they'll protect their identities with whatever it takes and I'm not sure I can live with that. Not that they'd ask my opinion on that one, but that's why I've been a good girl for the time being. I've tried to lurk around to see what's going on, but I always get stopped. It's like the whole place is wired up with cameras and really, whenever I try and approach some 'staff only' area I get stopped by these freakin' gorillas. Mister Jones and Mister Smith, naturally. They come and ask me what I'm doing, where I'm going, if I value my life, if I'm hungry… all the usual. Then they flash their guns hidden underneath the jackets and so, I just smile and say I was looking for the bathroom again and flee. It's a ritual we do at least 15 times a day. Ha. Assholes. They should really just shoot me.

Really. They suck at what they do. If I were them, I would've already got the information out of me… I'm not sure how though, but I know I would've. Well, fine, I've got at least ten different methods running around my head, telling me what I would've done in order to get the information out of another person and none of those visions involve having the person the kind of freedom I have, doing the stuff I've been doing here. I would've been harsh, efficient.

Violent.

Which disturbs me almost as much as it makes me wonder. Have I know conscience at all? Sometimes… as much as I hate to say it, my way of thinking goes as if I was one of the bad guys. And so, you know, I've been trying to figure out some stuff. Maybe they are the good guys. Maybe they are hiding something from me. Maybe, in fact, the secret they're refusing to share is that I'm one of the bad guys and they're just trying to protect me from the shock that would cause. Now, that'd suck.

She did say I killed Nicholas, but... If I had killed someone, wouldn't I at least remember that much? Guess it doesn't work like that, huh? So, I dunno... I rather not think about it, really.

It's all very freaky and not normal, I tell you. Emily's been enjoying herself like she'd been in heaven, though, which at least gives me some much-needed comfort. She loves to talk with the other guests (they could be held here against their will, too, now that I think of it) and whenever there's people around, she's the sun brightening everyone's day. The center of all attention. I like it. I like watching her happy and smiling, so it's fine. Plus, she hasn't been doing anything bad lately and that's always good. No jumping from windows, no learning to fly, no nothing. She's been acting like a normal human being for once in her life and besides it being very spooky at times, it's also really nice. Worrying, but nice. Ok, fine, she taught this one 9 year old girl to play poker and cleaned her out of her money, but that's not bad. That's just fucking mean.

Oh, but she did give the money back later that day. Said the girl needed them more than she did. That it was all just for fun. Then, they played again and she let the girl win, because she felt bad for what had happened - she said she had cheated before, but I don't see how that could've happened. For one, Emily's not the type to cheat because she's the sweetest person there is, and second of all, I sat there watching their game. I would've noticed. She said she didn't do it on purpose. Um, ok? I nodded, that's all.

I don't know what to do. There's no way I could run away and really, why would I want to? They've been treating us well, we get food, we have a roof over our head and it's all been going down very nicely. No one has been forcing pills down my throat, no one has been wondering why I'm Callie, not Ruth. They seem to accept it, like my situation was something they see every day. That's probably why it's so confusing. What do they really want from me and when? Who the hell are they?

Today at breakfast - oh yeah, they actually follow this formal 'breakfast at eight in the dining room' ritual, although mostly I'm just being rebellious and skip them if possible – it's actually quite nice to go down into the kitchen to snag something to eat after everyone else's done. I don't know why I enjoy sneaking around so much, but it feels homey and I'm good at it.

I take it they have these lovely habits we have to follow cause they want to keep an eye on us and I don't plan to be an easy target. It's a hotel of some kind in very deserted area and there really aren't that many guests, just two larger families and one young couple so I'd say tracking our movements shouldn't be too hard here. They have it all, you know; the breakfast and formal dinner and everything that comes with it. Anyway, today at breakfast, I was trying to lure Eve into telling me what the hell this place really is about and what's the real deal with these people and them. Normal people don't go and break you out of a mental institution only to lock you up into a hotel, is all I'm saying. She, sitting next to me, leaned closer, smiled brightly not to worry the others and told me to hush the fuck up, since there were others around and that she'd tell me later. Fine, I added the fuck. The word she used was actually hell.

It's been, let's see, five hours now and I'm still waiting for the 'later' to appear – don't think it's coming any time soon. I'm sitting in the terrace in this amazingly comfortable soft chair - it's a garden of some sort in front of me, I suppose. A little terrace surrounded by all this green stuff, trees and flowers and bushes and of course, the ocean - which I assumed to be a lake. Well it's not. It's ocean – it smells like one. And I think it goes around the whole damned hotel, but I can't be sure since when I look out from the front door, all I see is trees. And a road. But lots of trees and mountains or hills or whatever. But I think the ocean is behind them… So we're in some sort of small island? Oh well. That's disturbing.

It's windy, it feels like it was blowing from all the possible directions at once. Yep. Definitely an island.

I don't think small, deserted islands ever promise good things.

People always get killed in those movies. By freaky monsters or evil scientists, you take your pick.

There are other things around here, too, that disturb me; the walls have been silent. I don't know why, they just don't like me anymore I guess. Or then only the walls of the institution talked to me. These walls are fucking rude. I ask them questions - I even introduced myself and they just stared at me. Silently. Not a word came out. So I still talk to them though, it's only been few days and they might be shy. I can feel they're listening to me, but they're just simply not saying anything. Fucking idiots. Do they not realise the amount of pain I've been put through already?

"Callie?"

I turn my head just a little, only enough to see Eve standing behind my chair. Weird, I didn't even hear the door open. I really must be losing my touch. Which, again, is weird, because I'm not sure what my, eh, touch is. Yeah, I'm losing my game and the strangest thing is I don't even know what the hell that said game is. Frustrated, much?

"Yeah?" I call back despite the fact it's very unnecessary for me to say anything at all – she already knows I'm there. I don't have to invite her to sit down on the chair next to mine, she does it anyway. Not my chair anyway, so who am I to say who can sit on it? Something in her eyes makes me quirk an eyebrow... She looks at me with this sad smile in her eyes, but she's trying to hide it... the usual bright smile is plastered on her lips, but somehow it seems fake to me. I don't get it, why would she be sad? What's up?

She sits there for a minute without saying anything, probably trying to figure out what to say next or how. She's wearing a red sweater which goes pretty nicely with her brown hair and blue jeans. If she was to walk by me in the street, I wouldn't look her twice. She looks so normal and yet I know she's anything but...

"I think we should talk now," she speaks up and as to explain why, she adds, "Robert took the guests riding."

Ah, Robert, Robert, Robert. Now, he's the only one whose name I actually know and think is real one, too. I don't know what exactly his job in this place is, cause to me it seems he does everything. Mostly he takes care of the horses, as far as I can tell. Whether he's part of Eve's suspicious gang or just a clueless staff member, I do not know, but he seems very sweet and genuine. He's an old man with gray hair and this super cool attitude and you can't but love his war stories and insane jokes. He's over 60, but the way he talks and moves, it's like he had never turned 30. It's unreal - the world still has people like that. It reminds me that you are as young as you feel. It's good, it's healthy... healthy.

Right. Emily. What about Emily?

"Where's Em?" I ask promptly. Sure, we can talk, but first I need to know she's ok. So what? Call me paranoid, I don't care, but I'm worried. It's Em, everyone should be worried. All the time. Everywhere.

"She went with them. She said she had a horse."

A small chuckle escapes my throat as I roll my eyes. Of course, I should've seen that one coming - I do know a little something about Emily. But the keyword would be little, in this case. Where the others go, she goes too.

"She did," I confirm absentmindedly and then, frown in confusion, "Does... Did… I dunno, I think her parents sold it when they realized their daughter is a damned lunatic and needs to be hospitalized." I pause and Eve glances at her side, looking like she'd have no idea whether she's supposed to say something or not. She's not, because I'm thinking. I can't remember what Em told me - she talks a lot at times if she feels like it and when that happens, I sometimes just sorta let it float in from one ear and out from the other. A bad habit, yeah, I know, but what I can do? Occasionally she's tiring, especially when you can't understand a word she's saying.

I sigh. Whatever, we were not going to talk about Em so none of it matters much. "Anyway," I turn my attention back to Eve, trying to sound casual, bored even, "So, tell me. What now?"

Carefully I push a lock of hair back behind my ear to keep it from falling to my face every second. The wind does not like me today. Then Eve fidgets slightly and I forget to worry about the hair. No, she doesn't actually fidget... she just... it's like I can suddenly see her tense up, feel her uneasiness even though she's trying to so hard to keep it to herself. We finally hit the spot, didn't we?

It takes a moment before Eve finally takes a deep breath and turns to look at me with a tilted head. The sad smile is back. "I think this is your last chance."

My last chance? Sure. I simply ignore her comment. No one tells me shit like that, no one. I'm the queen of my own life, dammit, and just because I've been through some crappy stuff doesn't give you the rights to take that away from me. So, I do what I do best. I avoid, distract, play the game. "What's this place?"

She looks confused at first, but answers anyway. "Our home."

Ah, I figured that part all on my own already. But it's more than a home, isn't it? "Yes, but there are guests," I point out, hoping I'd get some all-telling reaction that would lead me on the right racks. "Why?"

I'm not sure why she answers, but she does. Maybe because she finally understands the way I am; that she won't get me to do as she wants if I get nothing in return. I'm not that easy, not that childish. Maybe she senses that I really don't trust her at all. Or maybe it's for a reason I have yet to discover, but at this point, it hardly changes anything.

"Because we need to keep this place up and running," she says it as if it was something I should've already known and shrugs, "We need money just like every one else. We need to eat, too, you know? We're funded by the government, of course, but what we need to get our jobs done… " She takes another deep breath to give time for the meaning of her words to reach my understanding. It doesn't, though. Something's not right. What jobs?

Who and what the hell are they? A group of some sort of, yeah, I got that. But what are they here for? What's their mission? The ultimate goal? World domination? Ha, that would be fun.

And a cliche.

"We need a lot more money than they can give," she continues filling the morbid silence, "And so we have these little… well, places around the world."

AHA, I saw it! She hesitated. Just for a moment there, she did hesitate, not sure of what to say. Places? Around the world? Doesn't really tell me much, does it? When a person answers to your questions with such undefined, meaningless sentences, you know there's something she doesn't want to tell you. I knew that already, of course, but it just puts weight on my assumptions. Sometimes I rock.

"Around the world?" I ask, again, trying not to sound too eager or curious, "What places?"

I don't expect her to give me an honest answer, but she already confirmed a few of my guesses. Places around the world, she said. A big secret organization operating globally around the world? Sounds like TV series to me, if you ask. But of course, no one asks.

"Firms and such..."

Did you notice how she did it again? Firms and such... but nothing solid, nothing of value. "Ah, we again," I point out with cynical tone in my voice trying to annoy the answers out of her, "Who is we?" It works with some people, but she's been too well trained to let me bugging frustrate her to the point of blurting it out.

Yep. They've taught her too well. She fidgets in her chair for a split second probably hoping I didn't catch her uneasiness, but again, I did. I wonder how the hell has taught her all this shit and how am I able to detect the little tricks she does? The ultimate question would be, who taught me?

"We're a… a group. You worked for us." She lets out a small laugh right after – she noticed it too, huh? "I mean Ruth did," she corrects quickly with an apologizing smile. At least she's playing nice, acting all sweet and understanding. Woah, a little desperate? She really wants that something out of my head that bad.

She's not exactly telling me truth, however, she's still telling me stuff she's obviously not supposed to tell... which I find strange. Either I suck and not a word she's said has been true or then this is some sort of trick to get me cooperating. Can't say which one I wish it would be... both sound nasty.

"I thought you're not supposed to tell."

She smiles again, tilting her head. Fake. She looks so fake now and with every minute passing by, I find myself disliking her more and more. The feeling grows stronger, the feeling indicating she's done something to me for which she should be slapped around the room with a fucking large trout.

"I'm not. But I can see you're not willing to go through with the operation unless I tell you more. There's really nothing else to that. You worked for us and you have something we need to know."

She sounds a little southern – a southern who's lived in London for a few years or like someone's who's trying to hide the fact she's British. Is she faking it all, the way she speaks and gestures? What's the point? Is it really that important I never find out who she really is or from where?

"What?" I'm not supposed to get annoyed, but though I know, it doesn't do me much good. I'm supposed to keep playing the game, calmly, and tire her into telling me what I want to know. Maybe not knowing what's happened to me is taking it's toll on me; my focus isn't what it used to be... that sounded a bit wrong. Let's say it's not what I'd want it to be, ok?

"What is it that I know?" I ask and this time it's suddenly me being desperate. She hears it too. If I were smart I'd shut up… "What is it that Ruth knows?" Perhaps being smart has never been my strong point, then.

First she looks around, as if to make sure no one's hearing us, but of course there's no one around. She wouldn't even have started this conversation if there had been. Maybe she was just trying to buy some time to figure out what lie to tell me next... picking the most fitting one from some damned basket she's carrying inside her head with the tag 'available lies'. Sucker.

"A location," she says then, "Nothing more but a location of an enemy. It sounds insignificant, yes, but it can change everything."

Okay, good, now we're either getting somewhere or this woman has an imagination the size of a big city. Now, let's see if she's willing to fill me in on the smaller details too...

"Enemy?"

The look on her face morphs into an angry one and this time, it doesn't seem fake. She truly is angry, this isn't an act. Her eyes flare up and the line of her mouth gets so thin, as if she was holding back some nasty words. At least she's telling me the truth about something. We really are talking about enemy, here.

There's only one but. "Just because he's your enemy-"

She catches my drift even before I finish the sentence. "He's enemy to you, to us, to our country," she snaps startling me, "He's an enemy and not just to me, but to everyone. He kills and he does it for fun. He's part of this… this…" she twists her hands, waving them in the air, searching through her mind to find the most describing word, "well, just big group."

Wasn't that original.

My obvious cynicism frustrates her. My way of making her see how I feel. "The bottom line is," Eve sighs in annoyance, "they want us all dead."

I got that part, yeah, but that doesn't answer the important question. "Who? Who are they?"

The fact she's finally showing some real emotion tells me a lot. I can smell it's my chance to squeeze the information out of her, but only if I do it gently... She wants to talk, she wants to tell me and she wants me to agree with her. That's always the case. You always want others to agree the guys you see as evil are evil in others' eyes too. Makes you less worried about being wrong. You can't be wrong if someone agrees with you.

"They... They're different from us," she says quietly, rolling her shoulders in defeat, "They're not… humans."

And there it is. The thing she has been trying to avoid through the whole conversation.

Can't blame her for that one though. Now I know it's not me that should be locked up, it's her. She's crazy. But as they always say, you always play along with a crazy person or they'll pull out a knife from their shoe and slit your throat and eat you for not believing. I've been in the institution so you could say I learnt a thing or two.

"How is that possible?" Hmm, hope my voice didn't sound too dismissing... it's not like I'd be in a position to laugh at her face, when I think of it. I'm convinced something or someone took over my body and erased my memories... That there was another mind in my body... Although, in all honesty, I can't even be sure it is my body to begin with. Doesn't that make me as crazy as she is?

"They just aren't," she insists, obviously oblivious to the fact I don't believe a word she's saying or that I'm not paying that much attention to her at this point anyway, "And they can't stand the fact we're not like them. They want us all to be like them. And so they kill us or stain us. But that's not important. What's important is that we need that location and you can give it to us." Then she pauses, pensive. There's more to tell, isn't there?

"You were sent on a mission when you were 17."

My head snaps up the minute she says it. Got my attention back, that one.

"It took you a long time to get where we wanted you, but you managed," she tells, "Ruth did, I mean. She was so good, the best we had."

I don't care about that; I don't care about any of that right now. I was 17... she said I was 17. If she knows this, she must know more, something else! It's weird how during a moment as bizarre as this, everything you thought was important, all those little things that you wanted to know a minute ago, don't seem to mean anything at all.

"How… how old am I?" I have to swallow the pressure in my throat to be able to breath normally. I've never really thought about that before because it didn't matter, not in that place. I never asked them, I figured they'd just lie anyway.

She looks down, biting her lip and for the first time, she's not feeling fake, but sympathetic. Almost as if she did care and it's strange for I had not expected it. "Ruth's 29, almost 30," she explains softly, "Hard to say about you, exactly."

I clear my throat. Suddenly it doesn't matter what she thinks of me or if she understands the game I had going on. Now I'm just craving for answers to those questions I've been asking myself.

Nicholas… "What about Nicholas?"

"He was older," she answers simply and I give her a sour look. We both know that was no where near what I meant… no wait, is she serious? The look she's directing at me is full of pure and utter confusion. Well, I guess I overestimated her brightness.

"Not what I meant…" I explain, sounding as calm as I possibly can, "you said… you said I…"

Her expression changes immediately; I can tell she caught my point the second her face hardens, eyes narrow and body tenses again. "We thought he was one of us. He wasn't," she states firmly leaving no room for doubt or questions, both which I have plenty.

"He betrayed this country, us… you." She's biting her lip again, which is a clear sign there's obviously something she feels like should be added, but at the same time, she doesn't want to say it. Out of consideration, perhaps? Or just an order not to tell me too much?

Finally she sighs, giving in. "He betrayed your family," she says flatly, "I can't forgive that. You shouldn't either. You did the right thing, putting a bullet between his eyes."

The pressure is back there in my throat, stopping the air. Stop thinking about the man in the suit, stop imagining a bullet hole on his forehead, stop it. Okay, not working. Guess I need to find something else to focus on… "My family? Do.. do I - I mean… does Ruth… have children?"

Sarah… Tommy… Nicole… it wasn't a dream, I knew it wasn't. And those flashes I've been seeing every once in a while, they aren't dreams either. They're memories… not mine, but hers. Why do I have to carry them? It's not fair. Whatever Ruth did, was her fault; why should I be the one to suffer the consequences of her fucked up actions?

"Yes, she did."

I don't have time to register her expression, the past tense she used or the tone of her voice, all I care is to find out more about Ruth. The more I know, the better I'll understand, right? The greater the chance I'll remember what's happened to me, whether I am this person they claim I am or not.

"How many?" I ask.

"Two with Nicholas," she answers, "The eldest one wasn't his."

I don't know how much I should tell her about my dream or about the memories that keep shadowing my mind, hanging there somewhere in the back of my mind refusing to be fully acknowledged. But right now, I don't think I have a choice. If you want something, you have to give something, right Callie?

"I had a dream… I've had a few, really," I start hesitatingly, "I think Ruth had the oldest one when she was about 16. I might be mistaken…"

Why are there tears building up behind my eyes?

"No, you're not", while saying that, she leans closer and places her hand above mine; it's lying against my knee that's bent against my chest, gripping it, "She was 16 when Nicole was born. We don't know who the father was."

"Oh..." What the fuck am I supposed to say? The hell I'm supposed to feel when someone tells me something like this? I refuse to be Ruth - if I was her once, I won't be again -, but yet I feel like we'd be talking about my life, about my kids… I miss them and I don't even know them! Weirdly, I wish I did… If they're still alive, that is. Ruth did have kids, she said, she did. Does it mean there are no kids anymore?

If Nicholas betrayed Ruth and their family, then it means he betrayed our - no, her - children too. Are they dead because of him? That would explain the sudden twinge of hatred with no destination, poking my insides, hurting. I do my best to retain my composure but with every passing minute, it's harder and harder. It's not my hatred towards Nicholas, is it?

Ruth… she hated him? She was so happy in my dream, she felt so loved and the man she loved, betrayed her? That's why I'm about to suffocate, isn't it?

"Dreams will help return your memory," Eve says squeezing my hand. I'd like to push it aside but I don't. A little comfort can't hurt… although, must be said, her comfort doesn't seem to help at all, if something, it grows the storm within me instead of easing it.

Still, through the grateful smile, I can't help but add what I'm thinking. "It's not my memory that will return," I say sourly, making her frown slightly, "It's hers."

Now she draws her hand back placing it on the side of her own chair in somewhat frustrated manner and suddenly I can breathe with normal pace again. Weird how simple touch seems to throw me off. She breaths in, slowly, straightening up her back with a sigh. "I accept the fact it's all very conflicted right now but, we'll sort it out…"

And that's what I should want, isn't it? That they'll sort it out? I want to know the truth, yeah, but it doesn't mean I want things to go back, because… what will happen, to me, you know?

And, well… "If… if Ruth was here first, then what am I?"

Yeah, hate it when one needs to consider all the possibilities, but I have to. Even the ones I'd rather throw in the bin and step on. Multiple times.

"Honestly? It's difficult to say… you're nothing like we've seen before." Well, great, that doesn't feel very helpful, now does it? I'm a freak of nature, how flattering. "I'd say, and I'm sorry for saying this, but I'd say you're Ruth."

So not what I wanted to hear. So not what I want to believe. Though the same thought did cross my mind, I hate hearing it from someone else's mouth and I guess that's why I simply have to protest. A question of principle.

"But…" That's the furthest I get with my poorly based protest. Don't have any clue what to say or how to deny it… It could be true.

"What I mean is that you've been Ruth," she hurries to explain, "you saw something horrible and forgot. Forgot all about it, all about you, because that's how mind protects one. You may feel like you and Ruth aren't the same person right now, but it might be that in the end, the memories that return will just unite you two and you'll learn that Ruth, in fact, is you."

"That sounds fucking ridiculous," I snort. It's a lie, naturally. It doesn't sound ridiculous at all, it's the most sane explanation any one could give me. It's also the same thing Bennington first suggested and even then I refused to believe it.

"If you've known Ruth, you should know whether or not I'm her." Yeah, shouldn't you notice how I have same gestures and expressions, same way of speaking and moving? Same attitude?

You can't just forget yourself completely, can you?

"Would it make a difference," she starts suddenly, "if I told you that the operation might bring back your whole memory?"

She doesn't get it, does she?

"Would it make a difference," I bite back poisonously, "if I told you that maybe it's not what I want? Maybe I want to live my own life the way I please and leave this shit behind?"

And really, the truth is, that's exactly what I'd want to do. Get up and walk away, leave all this, leave Em, leave everything. But I'm not that kind of person, am I? I've been raised differently. I don't know by whom or where, but I know I could never forgive myself if I did that. Plus, Ruth, she'd never forgive me either and if she's planning to live inside my brain and make me feel things she's feeling like she has so far, then I better keep her happy, too. When I was a little girl, did I ever imagine something like this would happen to me? Did I know this is even possible?

Why do I keep talking about my childhood? I don't even know if I have one! Gods, I can feel a headache coming closer. It's making itself known by hitting the side of my head every time I think too hard, every time I try to remember. Imagine hitting your head against a solid brick wall every time a thought involving yourself crosses your mind. Not a nice feeling, I tell you that much.

I'd like to go back inside, speak with the walls and hear them whisper. Can't do that, can I? Fuck these walls for giving me the silent treatment when I need them to help me sort out my thoughts.

What would happen if I let them go through with the operation? What's the worst thing that could happen? Could I really live the rest of my days like this, not knowing?

"If I agree to do this, you'll let me and Emily go." It's a condition, but treated as a question when Eve responds. "If you do this, I'm sure we can come up with some sort of agreement that will satisfy both you and Emily, as well as my bosses. Deal?"

To that I sigh. Don't really have a choice. So yeah, whatever, let's do it then. Gotta lose some to win some.

"Deal."