Set roughly a month after Chapter 16

Bryony fell to her knees, nails digging into her temples. Her carer, Samson, knelt next to her to check on her. She barely noticed. She could see face after face inside her head, although no such people were in the room. So why did they feel so familiar? She had never met one of them? Had she? A few of the many faces looked just a little like the other men and women she trained with. Bryony was already too frantic to realise. She gripped her head harder as the faces thrashed against her skull. She clawed at the skin as though she could tear into her head and throw the hallucinations out of there. Samson pulled her hands away to keep her from hurting herself. As her vision blurred, she pushed her carer away and stumbled to her kitchen drawers, fumbling blindly until her fingers closed around a kitchen knife. She yelped in pain as metal bit into flesh. But the pain made the faces go away. Just for a second, then they came back, more insistent than ever. Not knowing what she was doing, Bryony plunged the blade into the flesh of her own belly. More blood flowed. Samson tried to grab her but, with her flailing limbs, he couldn't keep hold. The blade went in and out over and over again while blood stained her clothes and skin, even dripping onto the laminate floor of her flat. The faces were gone, and Bryony was getting dizzy. Her suddenly heavy eyelids closed and the woman slumped to the floor. Unconscious, Bryony fell against the cupboard doors while the blade fell from her fingers and blood pooled on the floor around her. The phone was already ringing in Samson's hand.

She woke up slowly, mind oddly fuzzy and not actually remembering falling asleep to begin with. Her bed felt much less comfortable than usual and there was an odd, sharp smell on the air. The smell was distracting and irritating, especially when she wanted to go back to sleep. Would Samson be waking her soon? Bryony reached up to rub her nose, as though that might get rid of the funny smell. Something tugged at her arm and it felt heavy. With some difficulty she opened her eyes, only to notice that this room wasn't hers. The walls, ceiling and carpet were all white and grey blinds on the windows didn't hide the fact that it was dark outside. Oddest of all, the whole of her right arm was covered in bandages and, through her fuzzy eyesight, she could just make out a red tube sticking out of the bandages and leading out of sight. Bryony shivered and whimpered softly, squeezing her eyes closed again. Her memories might have been gone for good but her body still hated needles. There was other breathing in the room besides her own. Hesitantly opening an eye in case there were more tubes and needles, she saw a familiar man fast asleep in a huge armchair. Samson was here. The memories started to come back, just a little. Why had she tried to cut herself up like the pieces of meat Samson cooked for dinner? Those faces, all those faces. Where had they come from? Who were they? Somewhere deep down, they had felt so familiar, but they weren't. When had she started seeing them? Why wasn't she seeing them now? She couldn't remember anything. If only Samson was awake, he would know what to do.

A few days later, Samson took Bryony home. The health people insisted that she be moved in a wheelchair. That was irritating. Bryony had spent days in bed, she wanted to walk now. Maybe Samson would let her at home. Trying her best with the words she knew, Bryony had asked Samson about the not-there faces. He had just said it was something called stress. With the life the two of them lived under the higher powers, she had never felt anything like this before. She would try and remember to ask what stress was later.