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“I’m sorry, you simply cannot be in here. She isn’t even awake yet. Just give her time. I am going to ask you to leave now.”

I heard a muffled syncopated beeping sound, and the voice of a woman. My chest felt tight, but I could not move. Although I couldn't open my eyes because they were bandaged, it was as if all my other senses were on high alert. The room smelled strongly of antiseptic and hand sanitizer. The woman was still trying to convince someone to leave the room, she sounded annoyed, I wondered why.

Whoever she was ushering out of the room decided to speak. It was a man, he sounded hesitant.

“Okay, but, let us know as soon as she is awake, we need to ask her some questions.” We? So there was more than one of them, and questions? Questions about what? Did I do something wrong? Where was I anyway?

I started to panic and shake, I was terrified because I could not see and it felt as if an elephant was sitting on my chest. I tried to remember what happened before I heard the woman's voice, but I came up with nothing. Apparently the women saw me shaking and rushed over to hold me down.

“Stop! Let me go!” I tried to yell but it only came out as a gurgle.

“Quick! The patient is seizing!”

“I’m not seizing, I’m trying to get away from you!” I thought angrily. I heard a couple of more people enter the room, the next thing I knew I was being strapped down to the bed I was lying in. I was determined to get away until I felt really sleepy and the last thing I heard was the woman sigh and say,

“Sedative administered.”

I was soon awakened by the sound of a woman’s voice. I could tell it was the same woman by the slight nasally sound. However, she wasn’t speaking, but humming quietly to herself a song I couldn’t quite interpret. I didn’t want her to know I was awake, not yet at least, I needed to find out more information about why I was in this strange place. I was turned on my side (how did I get this way?) away from the woman and I tried once more to open my eyes. The bandages had been removed.

I found myself in a hospital room. I surveyed my surroundings. Other than the women, who I now assumed was my nurse, I was alone in the room, I didn’t have a roommate. My chest didn’t feel as tight anymore.

After waiting a bit, I tried to clear my throat.

“Oh! Are you awake? Wonderful!” Damn. I thought she left, wow she is quiet. I grunted in response to her all too obvious question.

“Where the hell am I?” I managed hoarsely.

“Aw sweetie, you must not remember, you are at St. Magnus of Avignon Hospital, in Portland.” Her sweetness disgusts me. “I’ll go tell the detectives that you are awake. They have been waiting for a couple of weeks now, so this is great news.” What detectives? How long have I been here? What happened to me?

A little while later the smiling bag of sunshine returned with a pair of serious looking men in black suits and sunglasses. They contrasted nicely against her light colored scrubs. The shorter man held a briefcase behind his back thinking I couldn’t see it.

“Yo, what’s the short one hidin’ behind his back?” I asked with a hint of disinterest.

“Ms. Lanihan,” the taller, more lifeless one of the pair spoke first, “We are here on behalf of the GADU. The Global Alien Defense Unit. We were sent here to question and monitor you after your incident.” They looked offended staring at my face, it was like I sickened them.

“What are you talking about? Aliens? Aliens don’t exist! Why am I in this ridiculous hospital anyway? What happened to me? I want answers!” I snarled, straining against the straps that still held me down.

“Ms. Lanihan,” the taller one started again, “To put it simply, we have no answers for you either. You were found by hospital staff over a month ago outside the hospital doors around three in the morning. There were claw marks all over your body that were not from any animal known to man. That is why we were called to investigate your strange situation, and the lasting” he hesitated, “effects, it has had on you.”

Hey now, I know it's been awhile since I have had a shower or brushed my hair, but how bad did I actually look? In fact, I didn’t know what I looked like. I looked around the room in order to catch a glimpse of my so called wretched appearance, but I couldn’t find a mirror anywhere, there weren't any reflective surfaces in the room entirely, not even a window. The only source of light was a few dull fluorescent lights that kept me company with their ever present, bothersome humming noise.

“Effects? Elaborate oh tall dark mysterious man” I chuckled.

“That’s isn’t important, not at this moment, at least.” the smaller, more round fellow said. “Let us go back to the beginning, what was the last thing you remember?” I shrugged,

“Honestly, I don’t remember anything from before this moment.” This was the truth, I truthfully did not know what I was doing before I woke up here. I had a grip on reality, I knew who I was and where I was, but after that, nothing. It was like my memory was a blank slate.

The detectives then proceeded to question me relentlessly about my life and about aliens and what happened to me. I, of course, was absolutely no help to this process because I could not remember anything.

The detectives tried to put the basics together for me. I was involved in some sort of alien attack, they experimented on me, based on the DNA they took while I was asleep. This attack changed me physically but no one would allow me to see myself. They kept telling me that I was not ready to see myself.

I spent the next three days plotting on my escape. I had been slowly loosening my restraints that allowed me to never see myself, and soon they were loose enough for me to slip out. When no one was in the room (for the first time in about a week) I took my chance.   

I busted of out of the room. I sprinted down the hall with my only intent being getting out of there and never looking back.

“Skylar!” the taller detective called after me as I ran away, “You can’t leave yet! You aren’t ready to see yourself!” I panted but was determined to not stop until I was free. They were gaining speed on me and I knew that I was not going to make it out. I needed a place to hide. I backtracked a few feet after I turned a corner,

“Wow, this place is huge,” I realized. I found a back hallway and sprinted down the emergency stairs and burst out the door into the open.

My steps faltered. I had no idea how long it had been since I had felt the sunshine on my face and felt the cool autumn air deep in my lungs. “Damn,” I whispered breathlessly, “this is amazing.” I jogged around the building over to the front and noticed that St. Magnus had a fountain in the font, near the emergency drop off, the same place hospital staff found me over a month ago. I stood over the fountain and paused, debating if I really was ready to see my awful reflection. No one had told me what happened or what I now looked like as a result. I made up my mind, swallowed my pride, and looked down.

I screamed. Looking back at me was an alien.

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