Chapter One

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 Since starting university last year, there were many nights when I would get blackout drunk and wake up in a friend's dorm. I somehow knew before opening my eyes that this was a different kind of morning.

An ache spread across my temple and intensified to an unbearable fire behind my eyes. My mouth was dry, and a burn ran down my throat as I took in a deep breath. There was an itch below my nose. I reached up to scratch it, but something dug into my wrist. I yanked my arm but didn't get far before cold metal pressed into my flesh. I pulled my arm again, and there was a clang of metal. I pulled my other arm toward my face, but the same uncomfortable metal ring held me in place.

Pain shot down the side of my skull. I struggled to open my eyes so that I could look down at my wrists. When I opened my eyes, I was met with darkness. I had the urge to reach up and touch my face, but I was stuck. I tried to pull myself and the back of my hand ached.

I was gasping for breath. A faint steady beep was beside me. I opened my mouth to speak, but only a faint noise came out. I closed my mouth and tried to build up saliva to wet my tongue.


I wanted to yell, but I could barely bring my voice above a whisper.

"Help me." My voice was hoarse. It didn't sound like me. "Please, somebody."

I balled my hands up into a fist and pulled my arms. There was another clang of metal and sharp pain in my wrists.

This wasn't me waking from an alcohol-fueled night. I didn't have anything to drink yesterday. I remembered walking home from practice with my music blaring in my ears when someone grabbed me from behind. A large hand had gone over my mouth and it was followed by a sharp pinch in my arm.

A pressure built up in my chest as I continued to try and pull myself free. The beeping beside me picked up its pace and was going faster.

"Please!" I cried. I twisted my back as I tried to push myself off of the bed that I was lying on. "Please, help me!"

The beeping grew even faster.

There was an echo of footsteps. I held my breath and lied back down on the bed. The footsteps grew louder as a person came closer to me.

"Please, please let me go," I said.

The footsteps stopped and wheels squeaked. A hand rested against the top of my head. I jerked to the side and away from the person. I gritted my teeth together as the pain ran down into my neck. The hand pet my hair and I tried to pull myself away from the person.

"Calm down, Diana," a male voice said. "You need your rest."

"Where am I?" I asked.

"You're in recovery," he said. "The operation was successful. That doesn't mean you're in the clear though. I have only got one patient this far before and she died a day after her surgery."

My lip trembled. The man tucked a piece of my hair behind my ear. He adjusted something below my nose, and I guessed that it was an oxygen tube.

"What did you do to me?" I asked. "How do you know my name?"

"I wasn't reckless. I found your health card in your wallet," he told me. "As for the operation, I will tell you about it later. I don't want you worrying to affect your recovery."

"Please -"

"Your pulse is high and your oxygen is low," he cut me off. "Take deep breaths."

I bit down on my lip and pulled my wrists against whatever was restraining me. The man's warm hand covered my wrist that was the closest to him.

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