The white sky burst open, revealing the milky layer to be thick clouds, with a clear azure sky above. A large, burning thing descended. An eye with wings of flame, that’s how I’d describe it. It stared down at my with its rainbow-colored iris, a burning blue silhouette of a person seemed lodged within the pupil. I was compelled to gaze at it, transfixed, paralyzed. The eye felt like it was piercing my brain, probing me, trying to fish out something that I was sure was not there. Leave me alone, I whispered in my mind, hoping it’d just leave me alone. It didn’t. I felt something surge down my body, ripping it all apart, limb by limb. I felt the need to scream, but I had no mouth. I needed to run, but no legs would take me anywhere. The feeling was nauseating.
I woke up in my bed and instantly threw up on the floor. I glanced around – everything seemed normal. It was the middle of the night, my bag lay as I had left it in the evening. It was all a dream, I thought. I got up and glanced at my phone. It was five-thirty. Not much point going back to sleep, huh. I slipped on the same stuff I wore yesterday – a pair of tattered jeans and a khaki top. They were clean enough. I made my way to the bathroom, making sure that I wouldn’t wake up Angela. For some reason, I felt really weak. Every step towards down the corridor felt like an enormous chore, my feet dragged behind me. But still, I pressed on.
The light bulb flickered as I turned on the light in the bathroom. As it illuminated the mirror, I gasped. There was something wrong with my face. I couldn’t really tell what, but I had the feeling I was looking at a stranger. Even though everything seemed okay – my face was the right size and shape, the skin was also pretty much normal, if a bit pale, but that wasn’t strange. My hair was still long and brown, and my eyes were still green… Too green, somehow. That was it. There was something wrong with my eyes. I leaned in to look closer, but then my head spun again. I could feel the contents of my stomach run up my esophagus. They soon landed in the sink. My vision became a blur and for a moment I felt like I wasn’t in control of my body. I saw myself run out of the apartment and down the street to the monorail station, the streetlights speeding by, forming luminescent line against the pale sky.
When I was finally in control again, I threw up another batch. I was huddled in some corner, my hands were shaking. My whole body felt limp, I could barely stand. What the hell is happening?!
“Ellie?” a female voice called from behind. I turned around, my head pounding mercilessly. I first only saw a blur, but then everything came into focus. I saw a girl, she was probably just a bit older than me, though it was hard to tell due to her attire. Her black cloak with a big, furry hood was unzipped, and there barely anything else underneath. A tight black top that seemed to be little more than a corset with straps, an equally black ruffle mini-skirt, showcasing the stockings on her long legs. Her hair was a weird shade of blonde, a fiery shade, almost ginger but not quite, separated into an impressive pair of twintails. She stared at me with big blue, almond-shaped eyes, her face was covered in heavy make-up with her lips gleaming in the light, dyed crimson with lip-gloss. Black crosses dangled down her ears and from the choker on her neck. I had no idea how she knew my name. You don’t forget a presence like that.
“Do I know you?” I asked her. She stared at me for a second, the wide smile she’d had on her face fading. Seeing her so disappointed made me feel bad for her, even if she was a total stranger. She gave me a sad little smile and sighed.
“No wonder you can’t recognize me,” she said. Her voice seemed to match her appearance perfectly, despite sounding very normal, natural, which couldn’t be said about her clothes. “I guess I do look a bit different. I’m Candy. Ring any bells?”
I stared at her, doing my best to ignore the throbbing pain in my head and dig through my memories, in search of this poor soul. Candy… I guess it does sound a bit familiar? But I’m pretty positive I’ve never seen this person before in my life. “Uh… Sorry. I can’t really remember.”
“That’s alright,” she smiled and went up closer. “Well then, it’s good to meet you stranger. You need a hand there?”
I was about to tell her I was okay, but then I lost my balance and would have hit the ground pretty painfully if it weren’t for Candy. “Thanks. Guess I do need a hand.”
“Alright, where should I take you then?”
“Home,” I heaved. “It’s nearby. I’ll tell you where to go.”
It was good to have someone to lean on. We were quiet for most of the walk. I couldn’t help but wonder, though. She wasn’t just a stranger who just happened to help out another stranger. This girl clearly knew me. I tried looking harder at her face, and while she did look more and more familiar the more I looked, I still drew a blank.
“Can we stop here for a second?” I asked as we reached an alley. I was starting to feel worse again. I felt like I’d need to throw up again soon.
“Sure thing,” she said as she let me go. I slid to the ground. “You okay?”
“Yes,” I said as I squatted, grabbing my head, trying to breathe properly. “Hey, you said you know me, right?”
“Well, I guess you could say I know you a bit,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, we never got to talk much. It was mostly through Angela that I know you.”
“And how do you know Angela,” I looked at her. She went silent for a while, visibly pondering where to start what she was about to say.
“Well, I guess you don’t remember anything from it, huh,” she squatted beside me and looked me in the face. “Do you think you could try and recall something from ten years ago?”
Ten years ago… I thought. And in that instant, everything started spinning again. Another blow pierced my brain, just like in the dream. All was red, and I was falling. In the distance I heard Candy shout. Then there was nothing. I floated in a black abyss, silent and still. The last thought I remember was Great, I fainted. Knowing my luck I’ll wake up in five days.