Luna’s eyes ached open. Immediately, she was blind and panicking. She started groping around, her clothes missing again. “Where am I?” she croaked.
A fuzzy, distant voice mumbled something she did not hear. Her thoughts were racing too quickly. She fumbled to her ring finger. Empty. He’s gone.
“Annalie Somerset” she feigned in a clipped monotone.
Did she feel burn marks on her thigh? It felt as though the skin was melting. She still could barely see. The muffled voice kept asking questions, but all she could hear was the male voice telling her to get out. The quiet woman was sobbing. The little boy asked where Daddy was again. Far away, someone was eating Chef Boyardee. The smell of it made her nauseous. It was being eaten directly out of the can, the fork sliding against the tin making her ears shriek.
“Why do I smell Chef Boyardee?” she finally managed
The muffled voice paused, footsteps, then she felt a warm blanket on her shoulders. She realized she felt sticky. Was she bleeding? Did she get raped again? The headache was coming now, so the answers might not come to her any time soon.
She stood quickly and thanked the muffled voice for the blanket. She wrapped it around her, and started walking. Hands tried to stop her, but she shook them off easily. Moving and breathing, she was finally able to get her sight in order. She saw a brick wall, the night sky was clear. The moon was high and bright, casting a peaceful haze despite the chaos. “Ma’am, you need to be seen by someone, you’ve been unconscious for -”
“I’m fine.” turning towards the short, kindly looking man, she gazed into his eyes warmly. “There is nothing you need to be concerned about. Tell the man inside that you will have a room for at least a month, and he’s to ask no further questions.”
She spun around and walked before he could ask any further questions. The blanket gave her enough coverage, and while she had been black, she saw the kids. She kept hearing them, and they were not doing well. Their foster father seems to be a drunk with busy fingers with her daughter. The man started barking orders at her, making her halt in pain. Gripping her temples and rocking, she tried to make sense of the conflicting information. The questions started immediately as did the twitching. Not yet, not yet, not yet she whispered. She started running, believing her car should be around the corner.
The air was cool, which helped her calm. She realized how absurd she must look, running, barefoot naked in a blanket toward a car. She remembered her neighbors desperately trying to make small talk with her after multiple rendezvous with her tumbling out of bushes naked. She had seen more than a few neighbors scouring her trash can to count bottles. The funny part was, she never threw the bottles away. She kept them all neatly stored in her basement for good luck. Her car was where she hoped it was, and she climbed in and turned the heat on. A spare outfit was in the empty backseat, and she immediately felt the pain of the missing car seats.
She grabbed her journal to jot some notes down, trying to remember everything before she lost it. She dropped her pen, and frantically checked the glove box. Breathing a sigh of relief, she saw a tinfoil square. She finished writing, and started the car to head home. Her legs were tacky on the seat, but she surmised the blood was not hers. Her thighs were burned, and she wasn’t sure about much else. The quiet woman was talking most now, telling her about the children and giving her the address. She wrote while keeping her eyes on the road, as she tried to get a plan together before she went black again. It has been happening too often lately, she lamented. There was a time the black only came every so often; she had gone years without.
She quickly snuck into her basement window, to avoid being seen by anyone. Finally getting to her bed, she laid down to try to put her pieces together. Curling into fetal position and feeling the tears coming, she felt her chest cave in, as she lost her ability to breathe again. She quickly grabbed the Swiss army knife off the nightstand, and jabbed it into the back of her thigh. She had no air to call out the pain, but as she felt the blood puddle beneath her, her eyes rolled back, and she shuddered. “It’s about time…” he growled angrily.