I awoke to the sunlight shining down on me. I was warm…warmer than I had been in a while. I stretched my aching fingers and felt the layered quilt resting on me. It was soft, but the edges were frayed from wear and tear.

I slowly sat up, taking in the surrounding room. It was small but comfortable. None of the furniture matched and it all seemed to have been thrown in hastily, but each piece played a certain role. Across from the twin bed I was resting on was a small wooden dresser with an antique mirror hanging above it. The mirror was framed in gold and had intricate swirls carved in. Shoved in the framework was a series of snapshots, showing a variety of people I had never seen before…except for one.

There was a quiet rapping at the door, and whoever was on the other side didn't wait for an answer. The oak door swung open slowly and in stepped the man I had seen at the lake and in my backyard. He stopped when he saw me and stood there awkwardly, "I see you've awakened." He said, clearing his throat in the process.

My throat was dry, my head was spinning. Where was I, and why was this guy still here? And most of all, I was dying to know what had happened to me. How was I still alive? I opened my mouth, but couldn't think of just one thing to say. Each question seemed just as important, it was a matter of finding which to ask first that kept me tongue tied.

The guy grabbed an old and seemingly unstable chair and pulled it close to the bed, it's back facing me. He sat on it, resting his arms on the backside, his eyes locked on me, "How are you feeling?"

"Fine." I managed to choke out through the cracks forming in my throat. As if on cue, the guy stood up and picked up a metal pitcher that had been resting on a wooden side table. Beside it was a small coffee cup. He poured what looked like water into it and handed to me. I reached out feebly and grasped it in my tired hands, then lifted it to my mouth.

As the water poured in I imagined myself being sucked in through a funnel of it, the blueness both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. But the terror overwhelmed the beauty and just moments later I found myself choking. I wanted the water out, but it was already halfway down by the time I realized it.

The guy stood up in a rush and smacked my back a couple of times. He obviously hadn't learned the Heimlich maneuver or any form of CPR… which means he didn't know that the back smacking technique wasn't an exact science and chances of it working were very slim. I wanted to call him stupid or tell him to stop hitting me so hard but the water made that task impossible.

"Oh for God's sake." A blond girl said from the doorway. She reminded me of a supermodel, with long golden strands of hair pouring over her shoulders and down her back, a slim figure, and the kind of height that made her tower over most guys. She was wearing a plain black hoody, a pair of sweatpants, and a severe look of annoyance on her face. She approached hastily and pushed the guy out of the way, then swung her arms under mine and pushed in and up, forcing the water back up through my windpipe and out of my mouth. I greedily gasped for air, sucking in more than my lungs could probably manage to hold.

"I was handling it." The guy growled from beside me.

"Your handling would have killed her." The girl remarked, a sneer in her tone. She returned her gaze to me, "You going to survive?" She questioned, eyeing the half empty cup of water still resting in my grip.

I nodded slowly, resting the cup on the side table, "Can I have something else to drink?" I asked quietly, my throat still a bit raspy. Each word burned as it came out, but the general pain was residing as the minutes passed.

The guy nodded quickly then waltzed out of the room, leaving me alone with the blond beauty, "I'm sure you have a lot of questions." She said with a sudden sweetness. I turned and met her eyes, they were a sharp green that instantly reminded me of the forest, "And we have questions for you." She added with a sigh as she stood up, "We'll straighten everything out at dinner. That's when Marcus will be back."

"Was that Marcus?" I asked, "In here…before?"

The girl simply smiled and shook her head, "No, that was Liam."

I opened my mouth to ask who Marcus was but she held up her hand, I could sense that her sweet façade was beginning to fade, and her original annoyance was pushing itself through, "Dinner." She said finally before turning out and nearly running into Liam, who had returned with a can of something.

He scooted out of her way and walked in, a nervous smile tugging at his lips, "Here." He handed me the can and I turned it to read the label, it was Coke. I jammed my finger under the tab and forced it open then took a few relieving chugs. I could only handle so much before the carbonation began to burn in my throat.

The room was silent as Liam watched me. I wasn't sure what to say and he obviously felt the same. To be honest, I was scared out of my mind. I didn't know these people, where I was, or if they even planned on letting me go. The girl said I'd get answers at dinner, so my guess was I wasn't allowed to leave until after. But would they really stop me from going? They seemed nice enough.

"You seem conflicted." Liam said, his crystal blue eyes peering up at me.

I pushed a few stray strands of my strawberry-blond hair away from my face and turned to him, "Are you going to hurt me?" I asked quietly, hoping to get a negative answer.

He took the can away and scooted closer, his eyes locked in mine, "Clara…I know this is weird. And you have every right to be scared or upset, but you can believe me when I say you'll leave this place untouched. And you'll never have to look back if that's what you choose."

His words were soothing, but there was something about him I didn't trust. Why had I seen him in my backyard? Had he been spying on me? I wanted to ask him more but I couldn't bring myself to do so. I was afraid of what the answer might be.

I awoke once more just a few hours later, unsure of when or how I managed to fall asleep. I did know that I smelled bad and felt as if I hadn't showered in ages. Hanging over the edge of the bed was a crisp green towel and a note that said "Bathroom through the white door." With a quick look around the room I located the white door located in a small crook in the corner.

I slowly crawled out of bed and snatched the towel as I passed it. The bathroom itself was small and cramped. There was a large tub with clawed feet and a matching white sink. The toilet gleamed underneath a wooden toilet seat and a small mustard colored rug rested beneath it. I dropped the towel on the floor and shed my clothing then reached behind the cream colored shower curtain to turn on the water. I stepped in cautiously and looked up as the showerhead viciously sprayed at me. Suddenly, I wasn't so sure I wanted to take a shower anymore. I wasn't sure if I'd ever want to take a shower again. Truth be told… I was frightened. Standing under the water made me nauseous, it made goosebumps force their way to the surface of my skin…it made me want to cry. I turned the water off and sunk down until I was sitting in the tub.

Flashes of the lake shuffled through my vision. I had grown up around lakes and pools, and the human body was mainly water. So why did it come to life and try killing me out of nowhere? And why was I showering in some strange house? How long had I been gone? Were my parents worried? Did I miss school? I instantly thought of Rick, I had left him to follow Liam. Was he mad?

The questions raced through my head and I couldn't focus enough to answer any of them. Instead I just stood up and hopped out of the shower, grabbing the loofah as I did; if there was going to be any kind of bathing, it was happening in the sink.

I know, this is one sad excuse for an update, especially since I haven't uploaded in a month. But, I'm graduating this year, one month from today to be exact. It's crunch time. And if it comes between sitting here and spending an hour or so of my time on a chapter, or finishing my homework I have to choose my homework. I may not update again until after June 17th, so don't say I didn't warn you. And don't hate me if this chapter doesn't meet your expectations... please D:

Twitter: GoAgainsTheWind