Since I left the last installment off on a bit of a “huh?” note, I thought for my second FFFriday I’d post the second half of Chapter 1 of Erased. If this is your first time here, you can click here to go back to the first half of the chapter.
Wearing only a pair of thin, white pajamas, the person in the mirror was no more or less than a complete stranger. It was an incredibly disturbing situation. She found herself leaning back and forth and side to side to prove that the young woman in the mirror was in fact herself.
Her skin was a bit pallid, her hair limp, but otherwise she thought she was fairly pretty. She was short, maybe a little over five feet, and neither fat nor thin. Her hair was long, reaching nearly the middle of her back, and was a light brown hue. But the thing that really caught her attention were her eyes. They were a vivid, bold blue, lined in thick black eyelashes. They were bright eyes, kind eyes, but also, they were eyes that had seen a lot. A lot of what, she wasn’t sure, but she could tell that these eyes had witnessed things that most hadn’t, and wouldn’t want to.
She stared at her reflection for a long time, willing herself to recognize those eyes, trying to understand what could have happened to her that would erase her own face from her mind.
An eternity after she’d first found herself staring resolutely at the pristine white ceiling, she finally walked over – on legs that still weren’t quite steady – to the single door in the small room. She held her breath as she twisted the knob, but mercifully the door swung open. Unsure what to expect, she leaned slowly and peaked out through the opening. A hallway…stretching mindbogglingly far in each direction, as pristine white as the room she’d started out in. Doors were interspersed at thirty foot intervals. She strained her ears, but still there was no sound other than that steady hum. The lights, she thought.
With bare feet sticking to the spotless floor, she stepped out into the hallway and noticed a note board hanging on the wall next to her door. Interested, she pulled the board down and saw with a little shock that the first page had her picture on it. The girl in the picture looked prettier than the girl in the mirror. She was standing straight and proud, smiling slightly, with her hair up in a tight bun high atop her head. Next to the photo, in large black letters was a name: Toreshi.
“Tor..e..shi..” she said slowly, in a voice that was crackly from disuse.
The name felt weird and unfamiliar in her mouth. She wasn’t even sure she was pronouncing it properly. Was it Torr-Ee-She, or Tore-She? Tor-Ae-She maybe? Or maybe she was mistaking the placement of the word and it wasn’t even a name at all. Maybe it was some kind of weird designation? More confused then ever, she began flipping through the rest of the pile of papers, but everything else seemed to be written in some strange language that was part letters, part numbers, part indecipherable symbols. Disappointed, Toreshi (she figured she may as well assume it was a name), folded the papers under her arm and began a slow walk down the hallway.
The first door she came to had another note board, but it had been ripped to pieces and was littered all over the hallway floor. Toreshi sorted through the discarded papers for a few moments, but it was similar to hers, written in some strange language that made no sense to her. She couldn’t find the full front page, which she assumed would have a picture, but she found one scrap of the name. It was ripped across, but the first four letters were Chao.
Quietly and carefully, Toreshi pushed the door open a few inches and peered inside. She furrowed her brow and pushed the door open further. The room was identical to the one from which she would come, except for the minor fact that it had been utterly demolished. The table had been upended into a corner, the IV machine was in pieces on the floor, and the mirror had been shattered by what looked distinctly like a punch of rage. Her suspicions were further confirmed by a small pool of blood on the floor directly beneath the center of the crack.
There was no one in the room, and as the blood was fresh, Toreshi assumed it’s former occupant had vacated quite recently.
Toreshi stepped back out into the hall and began gathering up the papers in the hallway. She didn’t know why she felt the need to take them with her, but something inside told her they might be important, so she tucked them in the back of her note board and continued on.
She’d only gone another ten feet down the hallway when she was assaulted by an earsplitting scream.