Chapter 1-Erin

I've been in the back of this van for who knows how long. It's very uncomfortable, actually. I don't like getting jostled as the car either lurches forward or screeches to a stop. I haven't the faintest idea why, but this whole kidnapping affair seems somewhat nostalgic. The door at the side opens, and I close my eyes, pretending to be asleep. Suddenly, some men grunt, and my body is lifted into the air. Dangling limply from their careless arms, I allow myself to be carried with as much dignity as possible. Some people can be plain rude, but I put up with it anyways. Listening intently as they roughly set me down, I pick up several lines of a muted conversation.

"Look, we can't just ring the bell. It's a mental hospital. They'll want information. What do you want to do?" A deep, baritone voice carries out into the empty air.

"What if she dies? Hypothermia or something along those lines," a higher, more youthful, but still obviously male voice asks in mild concern.

Exasperated, the latter replies, "Sure isn't my problem. We were supposed to get this abomination here, and I think we have. Let's get back before someone shows up. It'll be a mess if we get caught. "

"But-!" The younger man cuts off his sentence with a grunt of pain, and I hear the other's loud, frustrated retort.

"If you want to risk everything for this thing then do it. But I'm out of here."

There's quite a bit of unbroken silence for a while, but it doesn't last. I hear the car peel away quickly, the tires screeching loudly. Those idiots. What am I supposed to do now? Obviously, I'd been… ditched here, but I had nowhere to go. To top it all off, I'm starting to lose consciousness. Looks like the weird pills those goons forced into me a few minutes prior was knock-out medication. Suddenly exhausted, I cave to the sounds of screaming.

Everything is black for miles around. She appears and stares. I open my eyes. She's suddenly gone. Instead, there is a nurse, pressing a wet cloth to my damp forehead. It feels nice and cool. The lady sees me, and smiles gently. "Hello, there. You'll be safe here. It's okay if you want to sit up, dear." I accept her offer, gladly stretching my aching body. She continues to smile at me and begins to hum a catchy tune. Despite this display of friendliness, I show no emotion on my face, although my insides are jumping at the prospect of possibly making a new friend. Instead, I bore my eyes into the nurse's and I see her shocked expression at how red mine are.

No one has red eyes; not even me. I have auburn colored eyes, which are more red than brown. My eyes are the only part of my appearance I actually like. Ultimately, I suppose I look like what one would expect a malnourished 15-year-old girl to look like. My hair is stringy, lank, and dull black. It droops limply down just past my shoulders. I have thin cheekbones that sink into my face, making me look skinnier than I actually am. I'm still rather bony for my age, though.

The woman steps outside, obviously a little unnerved, leaving me under the watch of about a dozen video cameras. I knew it. She didn't want to be my friend anyways. Despite the knowledge, I feel some sense of betrayal and let out a loud huff. I have a splitting headache, and I just really want some good, quiet, napping time. I don't see that happening anytime soon, though, so, instead, I close my eyes and begin to wander. Much to my surprise, my consciousness steadily fades.

Occasionally, when I've had a rather stressful day, the fatigue makes it impossible for my brain to really think. However, there are also those days where my mind is racing ten million miles in a single second, even as my body fights for rest. This is one of those days, and I suddenly snap awake. I look up and find that she is staring down at me, as if sitting on an invisible cloud.

Uncomfortable under her intent gaze, I take in where I am. Everything is gone. It's eerie. Like I'm standing on air, but I can feel the floor, but there is no floor. There's nothing, in fact. Just darkness, but I can still see everything. Weird. My eyes find the girl's, and she grins widely.

"You've been asleep for quite a while, you know," she smiles softly. Her smile is not one of gentleness, but more of a smirk, displaying a different trait altogether that I can't quite place my finger on. I reply, "I didn't know that there was a time limit."

This time, she sneers, and "Well, the longer you sleep the better it is for me."

"Why do you care about how long I sleep, then?"

"Ha! That's like asking why people die! They just do, even if others don't want them to. Likewise, I care, even if you don't want me to…"

I must admit, this girl does have an excellent point. Quietly, she swings her lithe legs back and forth in a motion that reminds me of a pendulum, swinging back and forth, back and forth… Then, she begins talking again, but I don't hear anything she says because of my tiredness. I think she realizes this, because she lets out a sharp cackle, then, much to my shock, quickly leans down the large expanse and clamps her hands over my eyes. Then, her voice whispers in my ear quietly. It's almost as if she's speaking as my own thoughts. "Sleep, my sweet little puppet… sleep…"

I open my eyes again, and everything comes back. The machines, nurses, and, the endless, yet tangible whiteness of the space. However, the girl has disappeared, and instead, a plump man wearing a plain brown suit comes into the little room; a briefcase is in his hand, and a hat matching his suit rests on a bed of extremely short black hair. The hat hangs lopsided on his head, precariously balancing on a single edge. He's sweating profusely, and his stomach spills slightly over his pants, dripping small droplets of perspiration onto the floor. I scoot my blankets over, not wanting to get the sweat onto the clean cotton. "Hello, my name is Detective Scotts, and I'm here to ask you-"

"Oh, come on Scotts. Be a little less serious! She looks frightened to death. Hi, sweetie. My name is Mrs. Carol, and we're just going to ask you some questions and you answer them the best you can, all right, honey?" The first thing I notice about her is her age. A leathery, wrinkly, old hag stands before me. She has dirty blonde hair, a sour mouth, and a twitching eyelid. I blink hard while Mrs. Carol requests my release for questions. Detective Scotts refuses, saying something about being concerned for safety. Immediately, I ask, "Is there something dangerous where we're going?" Mrs. Carol nudges Detective Scotts, and he appears to grudgingly give in, and nods his head towards… security guards. I have no idea what they are for, but they come towards me.

Mrs. Carol jabbers on and on about one thing or another to Detective Scotts, but I soon lose interest in the conversation and begin to tune them out. Although I do catch some words like "Child Protection Services" and "underage," but that's really it. Detective Scotts keeps me in his peripheral vision at all times, which is actually rather annoying. I reach up to scratch my nose, when I hear a sharp sound. Startled, I look around, to see what made the noise. Detective Scotts has his gun out of its holster, and so do several security guards. Mrs. Carol turns around, shooing their weapons away. Something clicks in the back of my mind, and I black out.

When I wake up, I'm inside the same room as before. Someone is watching from the window, and hurries away as soon as they catch my eye. I'm rather hungry, but I don't see any food. My stomach grumbles a bit, but I tell it to be quiet. It's not like I'm starving. I hear the sound of high heels clacking loudly against the floor, and Mrs. Carol comes in, accompanied by a few security people. They seem weary and cautious, but almost everyone here has that look about them. She smiles, displaying her disgusting yellow teeth, and says, "Hi, Eris. It's Mrs. Carol. Your first session is today. If you would like, I can take you there." Her breath stinks, but despite that, I'm very shocked because she called me Eris. No one calls me Eris. My name is Erin. Where did they get a name like that?

Without waiting for an answer from me, she gestures for me to follow her, and I do. Mrs. Carol leads me out of the comfortable room into a hallway with a gait oozing with pompous authority. She stops abruptly in front of a door almost immediately, and says, "You can enter whenever you're ready, dear." Quietly, I open the door in front of me. It slides smoothly, without any noise. Suddenly, a warm hand firmly grips my own freezing one. "Well, howdy do. Call me May. I'm the interviewer. I work for Slice! Magazines and News. Mrs. Carol said something about some interviews and how it would be a big privilege to do something like this, right? Well, I'm going to be interviewing you for about two or so weeks. Basically, I'm writing an article, and I need your help."

Bewildered, I simply nod my head to everything this person said, although I have absolutely no idea what she's talking about. She has a personality that exudes hyperactivity, joyfulness, and general eagerness. At the same time, she seems to be very serious, holding a pen and pad carefully in a hand. Her hair is a luscious honey color, golden and wavy down to the middle of her small frame. She wore what might be considered "trendy" clothes, but having been in unflattering, itchy, polyester material my entire life, I wouldn't know. Her eyes are as deep and clear as the sea after a violent storm; they're still deadly, but calm and gentle.

She says, "So, what's your name?" Her voice is coaxing and comforting. "Um… you can call me… Erin. Erin…" I stutter, tripping over my words.

Eyes glowing excitedly, she jots down a couple of notes. "Erin. What a nice name. Well, do you like your name?"

I nod, and respond, "I like how it's nice and short, although it isn't as short as yours… I guess it's also easy for me to remember, and not too unique, so it's not like I'll draw attention or anything."

"So you mean you feel as if you need to blend in with the crowd?"

"Not necessarily… I mean, it's better to blend in than to stick out, right?"

"I see… well, can you describe why you think that, or…?"

"Um… I don't know, it's more like, if you stick out a lot it's not a good thing…? I think I heard that somewhere… blend in as much as you can?"

"I see… Alright, next question! What's your favorite color?"

"My favorite color would be… um, is white a color?" I bite my lip, trying to remember if it is. I know that either white or black isn't a color.

"Sure, I'll count it as one. Can you tell me why…?"

Over the next few hours, May fires questions at me until I'm sure that there are no more questions in this world to be asked. She has used all the paper she brought, along with what the people here could provide. She just wouldn't stop talking; it was like one of those tests where you spit out the first words that come to mind. After those long inquiries, the security guards escort her out the door.

I put my head down on the desk, slightly exhausted after the heated questioning. Yet, I am very happy. She could be my friend. I've always really wanted a friend. Giddy, I grin to myself a little. Lifting my head a little, I see Detective Scotts and Mrs. Carol arguing, but it's hard to make out the words. And angry finger is pointed at me, and Mrs. Carol vehemently shakes her head angrily. Intrigued, I stand up and begin to walk over to where they are, the pleasant smile still on my face. Detective Scotts sees me move and shouts, "Sedate her! What, are you people insane? She's going to kill us all!" Several people wearing practically the same outfit rush around me, and I stare around, confused. A woman comes up and stabs a hypodermic needle attached to a syringe into my arm, and pushes the plunger down, a clear liquid entering my body.

Eyes flashing, I blank out as all thoughts exist my mind but one. KILL. I struggle as the people crowd me, lashing out with my limbs. But the more I kick and flail about, the more tired I feel. In spite of the anger pumping through my veins, I soon become fatigued and slump to the ground. The last thing I feel is the cool floor against the hot flesh of my cheek.