You know that feeling where you just know something is wrong? That something is just somehow…off? That's the feeling I had right then, and I hadn't even opened my eyes. But things just got worse when I did open them.
First, I closed them immediately to ward off the sun's harsh glare. I also tried to pull my hands up and block my eyes, but that hurt too much. I didn't know why at the time. But I powered through it all. I slowly opened my eyes and forced them to adjust to the light. I didn't move my head at all, but my eyes were moving too quickly for me to comprehend.
I saw the blue sky and white, puffy clouds. It was surreal. I honestly thought it was a dream at first, although, that couldn't have been true since I knew for a fact I had just woken up. And, by the state of my mind, I knew I had been asleep for a long time.
I remember I blinked a few times to get rid of the fuzziness in my eyes. I breathed in new air. That was a mistake. Once I did that, I couldn't seem to get enough. I was breathing in deep breaths and I shot up into a sitting position to avoid coughing. I didn't know how I knew to do that. Instinct, probably. And now, my hands had flown to my throat. The skin was rough under my hands while my hands seemed to be just as calloused.
So, I looked down at my arms and hands. My wrists were covered in bruises and marks. They went all the way around, like bracelets, and they were reflected down on my ankles and feet. Cuts decorated my hands and feet. I held out my hands in front of me for inspection. There was blood embedded in my nails, and skin, too. I didn't see any scratch marks on me, so I assumed I had clawed someone else.
Oh God, I thought as realization hit hard. I was attacked. I was sure of it.
I felt around my body, over a blue cloth shirt and white jeans. I had to make sure nothing was broken or bleeding. I did find that there was dried blood on my pants, staining them a pinkish red. The blood must have been old.
A sound of cracking and snapping twigs came from my right and my head whipped around. Trees surrounded me, and I was disoriented. I couldn't tell which way was which. But, I appeared to be in a clearing of a forest. I listened again for any other noise. Nothing came.
"Hello," I tried calling out. My voice cracked and squeaked. It was quiet, too. I suppose I hadn't been talking much lately. I coughed for a long time before clearing my throat. "Hello," I said again. My voice was stronger, but it was still quiet. I would have to work on it later, but whatever made that noise was gone.
I got up and realized the sun had started to go down in the west. It was weird that I knew basic facts, or even which way was west. I couldn't have explained it. I'm going to stick with it being instinct; seems more plausible.
I had to get out of there, before it was dark. Bad things happened after dark, I knew that, too. I started to head north.
It had been hours of walking, hiking, and trudging through the forests before I though I made any progress, but, when I did, I knew I did. See, I could hear cars. Like on a highway or road. So, obviously, I picked up the pace and burst through the trees. I was right; there was a road. It went straight, north and south, stretching into the distance. And what I had mistaken for cars, was one car, already too far away to flag down. I still tried, though.
"Hey!" I tried yelling. Of course, it was futile. My voice was still scratchy and I could even hear the music blasting from the stereo:
Baby, I'm preying on you tonight
Hunt you down, eat you alive
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals
Maybe you think that you can hide
I can smell your scent for miles
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals
My eyes widened as I hear the song. I knew that song. Scenes of blood and darkness flashed before me, blocking out my vision. Pain. I don't know why, but pain was associated with that song. My eyes closed to block out the visions, but they just got stronger. Sounds came back to me. I was screaming and crying, someone was laughing in the background. I opened my eyes and looked around. My vision was blurred, so I gingerly touched my eyes. They were wet; I was… crying. I don't even remember crying.
Something twisted deep in my stomach. I ran to the edge of the road and knelt down. I vomited right there and ended of with dry heaves. I suppose I hadn't eaten in a while.
I sat down and tried to piece things together. I was attacked, probably abused. It couldn't have been long since I remember that song. I didn't cry again, but instead, steeled myself for the dark and cold night.
The sun had almost completely vanished and the moon had popped up in the distance behind a few mountains. Stars were out and the sky was black as pitch. My body shivered reflexively in response to the sudden cold. But I stood up anyway. I wasn't tired, I had practically just woken up. I began walking again.
Meanwhile in Chicago…
Zeke tried to calm down his friend, holding him by the shoulders. Four had been a mess for the past three months since his beloved Tris had vanished. She hadn't left a note, or anything, which led the police and her friends to believe she was taken.
Four was currently throwing things around their apartment. Zeke wanted to join him. Tris was his cousin. They were closer than most, too, along with Uriah. But he had to stay strong for his friend. Four and Tris had been dating since sophomore year of high school. Of course it would be hard on him. But it was hard on everyone else, too. They had a group of friends Tris had grown up with. They all attended the University of Chicago together and her vanishing had destroyed most of them. She was the life of them. She was crazy and up for anything. She made college feel like college. She had somehow also managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA. Everyone wanted to be her. Everyone liked her and she loved her life. She wouldn't have run away, either. It was confusing, but there was nothing they could do. Except wait, that is.