Chapter 31 (Part One) - Shasta Needs You

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I slept. I ate. I laid there. It felt like I was always trying to sleep. My mind played tricks on me, and most of the time I wasn't sure if I was dreaming or awake.

I had no control over the lights in my room, and they turned on and off at no set interval just like the other room. It was the same with food, but my thoughts were becoming so cloudy that I couldn't say.

Exhaustion was my constant companion, and, in some ways, that was nice. It stopped me from having to think too much. But at every waking period, I went through my meditation.

My name is Talia Woodman.

I am an eighteen-year-old woman.

My home is Chernibden, Tel-Eile.

I am here to find my mother, Eluena, and Edith.

I am here with Mindy and Sienna.

I am here to stop the water payment.

Sleep seemed the one thing I did, but also the one thing I could never get enough of. The blasts from before the bath and Identification had changed; varied was probably the word.

Sometimes they were still blasts of pulsating and screeching noise. But now they sometimes held messages.

"Shasta needs you."

"By helping Shasta, you help Tel-Eile."

"You are the solution."

"Find your purpose; Shasta can help."

My head swam with the messages. I knew what they were doing, and it frightened me with how much I wanted to accept it. My mind was so hazy, and it even felt hard to turn on the sink. If I hadn't known what their purpose was, then I could see how easy this would be to accept.

Sometimes it felt like whoever blasted them out knew when I was meditating. It never failed to happen, making me jerk and almost fall off the bed. Blasts and screeches sometimes preceded the messages, and it always made my head ache after the suffocating silence in my room.

I hummed to myself or made noise. Otherwise, the silence rang in my ears, putting me on edge with too many thoughts racing through my head.

Where was Tobin? When would the door open again? What will be next? Woud they forget about me and leave me in here to rot?

This went on for days, by my best estimation. I had used up the entire bottle of lotion. They had said to apply it once a day after the first day. What a joke. I had no idea what a day was anymore. Whenever my skin felt tight and itchy, I applied it. The redness had gone after a few applications, but now it was peeling. I felt like a snake shedding its skin.

The door swung open, and there was Tilly, both welcome and unwelcome. Her presence meant something would happen. Dread and excitement warred in me. Progression was good in the strictest sense of what I was trying to do, but something new couldn't mean anything fun was about to happen.

"Shower time," she said, her lips pressed in a line.

Oh gods, I hoped it wasn't like the bath. I stood on shaky legs. Obey.

"Feeling ok?" she asked with a quirk of her lips. Blasted woman.

I wanted to growl at her, but compliance rang through my head.

"No," I said placing a hand to my forehead feeling the cold sweat that now seemed to be permanent.

Tilly came forward and placed a hand on my forehead and then slid it down to my cheek. "Well, I feel no fever. Let's get that shower. That might perk you up. Besides, you'll be seeing the doctor afterward."

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