My eyelids felt as if giant weights were resting on them as I slowly forced them open. Every part of my body ached, but my head and stomach were unbearable. It felt like some sadistic 4-year-old was stabbing me repeatedly with a white-hot iron.

This must be Hell, I thought, groaning at a particularly painful jab.

Oh, it's not, but I'll make sure you wish it were.

I was alive, but I would have rather been dead. I groaned again and closed my eyes.

The next time I opened them, my mother's face was looming in front of my. I gasped – which sent pins and needles throughout my body – and winced back into my pillow.

"Oh! Sweetie!" Tears were streaming down her face as she threw her arms around my neck. My mom is not a pretty crier. Her eyes get all swollen and her face turns red and blotchy. Her inability to cry pretty was probably why she never made it into show business, as was her dream. "The doctor said it was an overdose, probably attempted suicide, but I just know it wasn't. I know you'd never do anything like that. I told him, I said, 'Anna's a good girl. She wouldn't do anything like that.'"

Oh, how I did not want to explain to her what really happened.

Too cowardly? I know you are. Suicide is a coward's way out, and you couldn't even do that right.

I ignored her and looked around. The air smelled lemony-pine fresh and the walls were with whites and demure blues. I cringed. Even before my father's death, I was never fond of hospital, but after his death last year, it's been even worse. I could feel my heart rate speeding up.

"Mom?" I croaked out, interrupting her, "Can you call a doctor?"

She nodded. "Of course, baby." She pressed a button above my bed and the next thing I knew, the doctor was by my bed, injecting something into my IV.

"This should make you feel better," he said.

I immediately felt the effects of the sedative. My eyelids grew heavier, my breathing slowly. Strangely enough, She grew silent.

"Brandie," I breathed before drifting off into sleep. "Her name is Brandie."

While I slept, sedated, I dreamt I was back in second grade. There was this girl named Brandie in my class. She was my worst enemy. She cheated off of my test (she honestly couldn't figure out what 7+7 was), she pushed me around at recess, and she stole my lunch money. Worst of all, she spread horrible rumors about. I know, I know, second graders barely know what rumor is, but Brandie was sure able to spread some nasty ones. Basically, this girl made my whole second grade a living hell.

I woke several times during those first few days in the hospital, always unaware of time and place. Once I woke just as Shannon and Lily were entering my room. I moaned and closed my eyes. Of all the people I didn't want to face, they were on the top of the list.

"I'm sorry girls," I heard my doctor say," she's very heavily sedated. She won't be fully capable to take visitors for at least a couple more days."

Thank you, Dr. Moore, I thought to myself, before drifting back into sleep.

As the doctors slowly weaned me off the morphine, I was awake for longer and longer periods of time. While that meant I could catch up on some of my schoolwork, it also meant Brandie, as I now called her, spent more time yelling at me.

Why do you even bother doing schoolwork? She asked. They're just going to haul you off to the loony bin as soon as you're cured.

"Do you now what caused the War of 1812?" I asked her, scratching my head with my pen. "I think it was the embargo."

You're even carrying on conversations with me. And you've named me! Thought it is a rather nice name. But you're certainly insane.

I ignored her and turned on the television.

But Brandie's incessant ranting wasn't even the worst thing about the hospital stay. The worst thing about the hospital was that my insanity seemed to manifest itself in my actions. Every time lunch came, I had to grip the rails of my bed not to pick up the fork and stab the orderly repeatedly. I even considered using my remote to bludgeon my roommate, who would not stop coughing.

"I thought hospitals are supposed to make you better," I observed, doing the crossword one morning. Brandie hadn't shut up all night, and I didn't get a wink of sleep. "At least I'm going home tomorrow."

"Anna," Dr. Moore asked, knocking on my door. "You decent?"

"Yeah," I said, "Come on in."

He opened the door and began to do the regular routine; checking my pulse and vital signs, taking my temperature, the usual.

"So, Doc, can I go home tomorrow?" The nurse had already said I was ready to be discharged, and I was anxious to put everything behind me and go home.

"Well there's just one more thing, Anna." Dr. Moore pushed his glassed up and looked at his clipboard. "I've noticed some odd brainwave patterns, and you've been talking in your sleep, saying disturbing things."

My heart started racing. I knew where this was going.

"Call your mother, Anna. We need to talk."


A/N: I like this chapter a lot more than the last one, but it's still mostly filler. PLOT DEVELOMPENT NEXT CHAPTER! Yay.