Chapter 1.3

A right to know? Anna looked from the healer to Michael, trying to understand what he was saying. A right. She had a right to know, but what was it she needed to know? Her head was spinning and she rubbed the sore spot gently.

“I just want to know…”

“You need rest,” the young healer stepped towards the bed. She was looking increasingly uncomfortable and the mocking glare from Michael didn’t help.

“I want to know… Where are my parents?” Realisation hit her like a brick wall and her eyes widened. She had been here for a few days at least and she remembered having visitors. Just not her parents.

“We will talk when you have slept.”

“Why aren’t they here?” The panic sank into her voice and she sat up straighter. “Where are they? I want my parents here!”

“Melissa, you need to…”

“Anna! My name is Anna.” They kept calling her Melissa and they had done so when they had thought she was sleeping too. Melissa. Mel. Someone had called her Mel and talked about missing her and making sure everything would be alright.

But she hadn’t recognised the voice.

“I want my parents. Where are they?”

“Anna…”

“No! Tell me!”

“They won’t tell you anything,” Michael shook his head. His voice was quiet again and the mocking glare was gone from his eyes.

“Why not? I need to know. I need to… I…” Anna trailed off as the sound of running feet got nearer and nearer, her eyes turning towards the door. Before the last word had left her lips, Michael bolted out of the door, nearly running over a young man. There was a shout and the guy took off after him, leaving Anna alone with the young nurse.

“Please tell me…”

Chapter 1.2

She looked at Michael, her eyes narrowing into a beginning frown. “It’s not in London?”

“London?” He almost sounded surprised.

“Where I live. Where I was attacked.”

“No,” he clenched his jaw. “It’s nowhere near your home.”

For a moment it looked like he was going to continue, but then he shook his head and stood. “I should leave.”

“But…” He hadn’t explained. Hadn’t answered any of her questions. Why was she here? What had happened? Why had she been attacked?

She remembered bits and pieces, a flash and pain like her head was going to burst open. People talking and someone crouching next to her. A stranger.

She remembered waking up in this bed, but not having enough strength to move or even open her eyes. She remembered the whispers around her talking of healing and unrepairable damage, of revenge and apologies. She remembered Michael there.

“Wait! Please…”

The door burst open before she had the chance to finish and a young woman dressed in white entered the room, her eyes trained on Michael. “You are not supposed to be here! Go!”

“That’s not for you do decide,” the soft voice had turned into growl and he stepped towards the healer, towering over her.

“It’s been decided already. You know that, Michael. Go now.” The young healer’s gaze darted towards Anna and somewhere nearby was the sound of running feet.

“No.”

“You must! You are not allowed here. No one is.”

“She has the right to know!”

[Additional Information] Pre-story – The attack

The attack wasn’t actually an attack at all. At least that wasn’t how she remembered it.

It had been dark when she had woken up, the book she’d been reading the night before was still on the bed beside her, but the lamp had been turned off. Her mum, she presumed. Checking in on her like she always did.

At first she couldn’t imagine what had startled her in her sleep and woken her, but the muttered curse from somewhere in the dark reminded her and she sat straight up. It had been a crash. The sound of one of the many plants in her window meeting with the wooden floorboards. 

Someone was in her room.

And then came the flash as bright as the sun at daylight, blinding her and paralysing her, making her fall back onto the bed unable to move or make even a single sound. Her head felt as if it was going to explode and darkness settled around her, blocking out every single ray of light.

“Damnit!” The voice was close, someone kneeling beside her.

“What happened?” Someone else was there, but further away.

“She woke up,” another curse and a shuffle, the first voice was shaky. “I panicked.”

The pain in her head made her dizzy, but still she strained to listen. She tried to move but couldn’t.

“What do we do?”

“We have to take her with us,” the second voice was calmer.

“But if anyone finds out… I hurt her!” The stranger cursed again.

“I know… But we can’t leave her here. She needs a healer.”

“I’m s…”

And then the darkness turned white and the words disappeared.

Chapter 1.1

She wanted to scream.

The hand pressing over her mouth was suffocating and she gasped for air. The sound of her heart beating in her chest was deafening and pushing everything else away. She hated being caught like this, hated feeling trapped. She had been trapped in her body in this room that wasn’t her own for days now. Or weeks, she wasn’t sure. Time had stopped mattering long ago and all that was left was a nightmare.

She wanted out, wanted to run.

And yet she didn’t move.

“Shhh,” the voice had lost a touch of the softness, but it was still quiet. Quiet and tense. She didn’t know the boy, didn’t know why he was here. He had been speaking to her before she woke up, but what he had said was lost in dizzy clouds of dreams and thoughts. Had she just been dreaming? Was this a dream?

“Don’t speak. They’ll hear you.”

As if she could speak with a hand pressed over her mouth. She turned her head slightly, trying to catch the eyes of the boy. Blue. She didn’t know him just like she hadn’t known any of the other voices she had heard in the darkness.

“I’m Michael,” the hand loosened a little and she drew away, eyes frowning. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“Where am I?” This wasn’t the local hospital back home. She wasn’t even sure it was a hospital at all, though she remembered hearing the word healer.

“Circe Hall.”

“Circe…” She paused, the name wasn’t familiar except for the memory of a brief mention by her English teacher once he had taught of mythology.

“Circe Hall. You won’t have head of it.”

Chapter 1

It was dark when she opened her eyes. Dark and cold. At first she couldn’t see anything but the empty black space surrounding her, but slowly, as a minute turned to two and then to three, her eyes got used to the darkness and the black turned grey and shadows took form. Shadows, looming over her, whispering, muttering. She had heard them before, but now she could see for herself.

There was nothing. No one.

“Melissa?”

No one except the person who had made her finally will her eyes open. The voice – soft and quiet, often barely above a whisper. And yet she heard it loud and clear, as if it spoke just to her.

“Melissa.”

A bit louder, but still only a whisper, as if the boy was afraid to draw any attention to the darkened room. It wouldn’t do to have the outsiders come in, no. She turned her head slowly, her body stiff from days not moving. It was just a boy, hardly much older than herself.

“No,” she wet her lips as she looked into a pair of eyes as blue as her own. “Anna. My name is Anna.”

And yet Melissa was all she had heard since she had been brought here. All she had heard since the attack. The attack… Her chest tightened painfully. A flash of light, a loud bang and then the pain in her head. She flinched and sat up, ignoring the protests of both the boy and her body.

“Where am I? What happened? … Who are you?”

But the only response she got was a hand placed tightly over her mouth.