''Ok, weirdo, I think you have the wrong person.'' I back away as his intensely grey eyes take in every inch of my being. He's looking at me and talking to me like we've been friends forever, and for every step back that I take, he takes two steps forward.
''Vi, don't you recognize me?'' He reaches out and I recoil. ''It's me, Toby.''
''I don't give a damn what your name is, if you keep following me, I'm going to scream... or do something to make you scream.'' I hate having to put the edge in my voice that makes me sound dangerous, but it's not easy growing up the way that I did, and ninety-percent of putting on a front is perception.
And as he puts his hands up and backs off a few steps, I can tell the front worked.
I check over my shoulder to see an open path and contemplate making a break for it, but then eyes of other townies land on me, and hands rise to cover mouths. The whispers start, and the crowds move in. My chest constricts, and it becomes hard to breathe.
And then I hear the most heartbroken voice scream over the hushed gossips. It's her name they're screaming – whoever this Violet girl is.
Then the blonde woman, with the clear blue vision, stands in front of me with tears lining her cheeks and relief in her eyes. She grabs onto me like I'm something precious, and refuses to let go no matter how much I pull away.
The rest of the people in town rush for us, too, as though they have a fear of missing out on whatever the hell is happening. It all becomes too much to deal with when the flashes of the cameras send me dizzy.
Oxygen is in short supply now, and even though Teddy-or-whatever-his-name-is starts screaming for them to get back – to give me space – they just keep coming.
The dark spots invade my eyes, and I've got nowhere to go but down. My body hits the cold, hard concrete with a smack and then, everything around me disappears, and the only thing I can see is black.
I wake up attached to some fancy-ass machines in a fancy-ass hospital bed. I'm even in a solo room. I almost snort at the sight of the fresh flowers on my bedside.
The last time I saw the inside of a hospital was when I was seven. I was in for a broken arm and tetanus shot because I rode my bike, without a helmet or pads, straight into a rusty old fence at the bottom of Annie's street.
Since then, I've never been back. There's no such thing as being too careful when you're broke. Hell, if I could, I would wrap my whole body in bubble wrap, or bounce around in one of those bubbles that keep me from getting hurt or sick.
But here I am, getting treated like I'm some kind of millionaire in a freaking solo room.
I hear whispers coming from the hallway outside of the door, and I train my ear on it.
''She appears to not know who she is,'' says an official voice. My guess is the attending doc assigned to my – or rather, Violet's – case.
''What does that mean?'' A panicked, feminine voice asks. ''Has she had some kind of psychotic break?''
I shrug with a laugh on my lips. After all I've been through; it's not impossible.
''Look,'' interrupts a deep voice. ''She's been missing for two months. Our lives have been hell. All we want is our daughter back... when can we take her home?''
''I'm not sure that's for the best,'' the doctor tells them. ''She doesn't believe she is your daughter. According to the multiple fake ID's we found on her person, she believes her name is Taylor, or on a few of them, just Tay.''
YOU ARE READING
Identical strangers. Identical Nightmares. Tay Donovan dreams about her death twice a week. The first time, it's her as she knows herself; covered in tattoo's with bro...