A white light wakes you from your sleep, a pounding raging through your skull. Your eyes adjust to the sudden light and you realize you’re in a room. Four walls, two doors, and sunlight streaming through the open window. A warm breeze fills your senses and you sit up, a sense of fear washing through you. You don’t recall what happened last night, nor any of the nights before. Amnesia has fallen upon you.
Female. You can feel that’s what you are as you clutch at your sternum to grasp air. You can’t recall your name.
Swinging your legs over the plain, gray-sheeted bed, you run your fingers through your hair, which is apparently medium-length and a deep shade of brown. Wavy. Tangled, like it hasn’t been brushed for a week.
You listen for voices, for footsteps, but you hear none. Are you in a house or an apartment? What city? What town?
Rubbing your temples, you stand and look around, trying to be as quiet and cautious as possible. There’s a vanity across from the bed, the wood painted a light white. The mirror reflects your face and you find yourself staring at it for a good moment. Not even your own face seems familiar to you. You admit you’re pretty... but no drop-dead gorgeous like you used to want to be.
You take a sudden breath at the thought. Did you just have an inkling of remembrance?
On the vanity, there is a piece of notebook paper, looking like it was ripped from a notebook in haste. In quickly scrawled words, you struggle to read the handwriting. A smear of something dark on the paper sends a chill down your spine.
You’re in danger, the note reads. This is not your house. This is not your home. Get out. Go to the address below. Help him however you can, but whatever you do... don’t fall in love with him.
The strange message ends with an address scrawled at the bottom, the pen strokes darting off the paper. You tentatively touch the place on the vanity where the ink stains the white painted wood. A sinking feeling fills your gut and you feel queasy, lightheaded. Could you trust this note?
A door slams somewhere. Steps. You’re in a house. Someone’s entered.
Your eyes dart to the window after a quick sweep of the room to see if there’s anything that could assist you with navigating. On the nightstand next to the headboard is a phone.
Blood stains surround it.
You swipe it, keeping your stomach down, just as the heavy footsteps approach the door and something begins to jangle. Keys.
You had been locked in this room.
“Time to clean up the mess,” a voice outside the door says. A second person chuckles and sighs.
A hand flies to your mouth as you stifle a sob, fear overtaking your senses. You slip out the window and try not to slip on the shingles beneath your feet. You try to keep your hemorrhaged breathing silent as you slowly crab-walk downward, making your way to the drain pipe. If you can open the phone somehow, you could pull up GPS and find the address. Even better, you could call the police.
You hold down the power button to turn the phone on as you make your getaway.
You grip onto the gutter and drop to the ground, pain shooting through your body. You sit there for a moment to catch your breath and you realize they aren’t running after you. If you were locked in the room, wouldn’t they chase you if they realized you weren’t there?
You lean against the house and press a hand to your chest, your labored breathing slowing down. You need to get away from this place. Whether or not you remember anything, you definitely know this is a bad place.
Clean up the mess? You ask yourself. Did they mean the blood stains?
You look yourself over for any wounds, but find nothing but scars that look like they’ve been there for years. Two on your bare kneecaps and one on your arm. A blue-flowered skirt shields your thighs from the world and a tight turquoise t-shirt covers your torso. Shoes aren’t a luxury though, as you stare at your blue-painted toes.
Apparently blue is my favorite color, you sigh to yourself as you stand, staying clear of windows. You break into a sprint as you reach the sidewalk and don’t stop until you’re two blocks over, huffing and puffing. Placing your hands on your head, you glance around. No one has followed you, yet again.
Confusion overwhelms you.
The phone in your hand vibrates, startling you. Your left hand crinkles the paper with the scribbled writing. You didn’t realize you’d taken it with you, you were so afraid. A sob escapes from your throat as you sink to the concrete below, no foot traffic around you.
You Know: The code is 123456. Kept it simple for you.
The message pops up on the screen, the phone vibrating once again. Your heart shudders when you read it.
Your hands shake as you stare at it. Where it’s supposed to have the person’s name, there’s the word You Know.
Another message comes through.
You Know: Don’t call the police. We’ll fix everything tonight and make sure you’re safe first.
Don’t call the police? you ask yourself, eyes darting around. Who’s texting you? Can they see you?
One more look at the two messages show you they aren’t from this morning—they’re from last night.
Quickly, you unlock the phone, the numerical code working as the icons settle into place. A picture of you standing next to a guy you’ve never seen before is on the home screen, both of you smiling. You press the phone button and click on the only name available—You Know. There are three rings before the line goes dead. An automated message tells you the inbox is full.
Heading into the phone’s messages, now that you’re absolutely sure this is your phone, considering it’s you on the backdrop, you’re expecting to see texts to and from several people—but there are none other than ones from You Know.
Scrolling upward, you see there are more messages from this person, the texts starting from three days ago. You quickly read through them. There aren’t many.
You Know: Cora?
You: Who is this?
You Know: ~.~ you know
You: No, I don’t know.
You Know: Ahhhhh, yeah you do. It’s none other than your buddy from third grade when you lived in Hawai’i, remember?
You: Gah, that’s right. Only you would spell Hawaii that way.
You Know: It’s the right way.
So your name is Cora. Such a bold name. And you know this guy in your phone, apparently from third grade in Hawai’i. Were you born there? Where are you now?
You Know: By the way... you need to watch out.
You: For what?
You: For what?
You scroll down to find no answer. The date changes to the next day.
You Know: Hey, Buddy!
You: What were you talking about yesterday? What do I need to look out for?
You Know: What if I told you I was coming down there? I’m moving again. Finally graduated and I think I want to set up shop in your town. Sounds like a nice place.
You: It isn’t because I’m down here, is it?
You Know: Let me pop that ego bubble for you, buddy. The crush ship sailed a long time ago, so no worries. I’m not the stalker type.
You: And yet you tracked down my phone number and texted me out of the blue.
You Know: In all fairness, we would talk every day up until senior year. It’s your fault for not changing numbers.
You: So what do I need to look out for?
You Know: Just always be cautious. You’re a girl so it’s easier for guys to overpower you. Not that you aren’t strong or anything...
You Know: But make sure you don’t go outside at night and make sure you lock your doors and all that jazz.
You Know: Don’t forget.
You: You sound weird.
You Know: I am weird.
You Know: Don’t freak out if you don’t hear from me for a few days.
You Know: And if I drop off the face of the earth...
You Know: Don’t come looking for me.
You: Is something going on?
The time changes again.
You Know: You called. Is everything okay?
You: I’m scared.
You Know: I’m coming
You Know: Hang tight. I know where you are. I’m on my way.
Time changes again, this time right above the messages you received when you turned on the phone.
You: I can’t get into the phone. I can only reply from the notification when you get a text.
You Know: I’ll fix that. Are you safe?
You: Idk. But the phone’s about to die.
You Know: Okay. Stay still. DOn’t make a sound. I’m on my way.
You Know: I’ll text you the code when I’m able to enter it. Turn off the phone until I get there.
You Know: If you’re forced to move from that spot, turn it back on.
You: Okay. Please hurry.
You Know: I am. Just breathe.
That’s when the next two messages from You Know are posted, the ones that came through once the phone was opened.
You open the phone app and look through the call history. The first day the messages came through, it seems as though you two talked on the phone for about four hours. The next day, it was a few minutes throughout the day after You Know texted. Apparently, you two were close. Apparently, since third grade.
So you’ve graduated high school, you assume. You didn’t look old enough to have graduated college when you saw yourself earlier, and you assume You Know is the same age. Tapping his name makes the phone begin to ring and you press it to your ear, standing up to duck around the corner of a building as two people begin to head your way. They don’t seem to be after you, but right now, it won’t hurt to be extra cautious.
The phone goes straight to voicemail after three rings, an automated message telling you the inbox is full. It’s the same as before.
You dial 911, but just after pressing the call button, the pone app closes out. You try it three more times before you realize the phone won’t let you call the number. And since you can’t recall any of the numbers you probably knew before this strange case of amnesia, the only other option is You Know.
You take a deep breath and look around once more, taking in your surroundings and making sure no one is looking at you or watching you or trying to get your attention. Realizing you still have no one searching for you or watching, you continue to snoop through the phone.
The only pictures available in the photos app is the one on the home screen of you smiling next to the guy. You wonder if that’s You Know, or if it’s someone else. There aren’t any other apps on the phone, just the standard ones.
Uncrumpling the paper in your hand, you touch the red stains and the scrawled writing. It’s barely legible... could that be your handwriting?
With shaky hands, you type in the address into the GPS. It’s a ten-minute walk from where you are. You could just search for a police station, but you wonder if something will happen to the app too if you try.
Wanting to attempt it, you search Police Station, but it comes up with no results. A chill works its fingers down your spine and you take a deep, shaky breath. So many red flags. So many. But there’s something about the paper and the address that makes you want to trust it. Could you have written it? If so, why?
Can you trust yourself?
The phone weighs heavy in your hand. You could walk around aimlessly until you find a police station or someone to help you, possibly running into the guys that you assume kidnapped you or something, or you could go to the address.
But what if you didn’t write it?
Thank you all for reading the first chapter of my new series. The paperback and ebook will be released Nov. 15, 2018 if you'd like to support me in buying it. It'll be on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, iBooks, and several other sites where you can purchase the series.
The next books are also available early on Radish if you can't wait for the next chapters and books! I'm really excited to do this series and I can't wait to hear what you have to say.
These chapters will most likely have typos.
I really hope you enjoy the book! What would you do in a situation like this?