It had been three days since Del left when I collapsed on the kitchen floor. I managed to crawl my way to the bedroom and haven't left. The longer she's away the more desperate I feel. Like a part of me is slowly dissolving into a puddle of pain. Every nerve was on fire, each breath felt like sucking in razor blades. My chest began to heave, laboring to keep me going. Every inch of my body soaked in sweat yet I felt like I was laying in fresh snow. All I could do was curl up in the fetal position, praying for this to pass. I'd felt the separation anxiety before but it was never this intense. I tried to clear my mind and find a focus point but each time my mind went right back to Del. My insides curled and twisted leaving me in a writhing heap. I kept falling in and out of consciousness. My concept of time was gone. I didn't know if it had been hours or days that I lay there, clutched in wave after wave of agony as my body shook uncontrollably. But then, there were hands pulling at my arms and legs, at first I thought maybe it was Del but the pain didn't subside. Then arms craddling my back and legs as I was lifted and fell against what I could only describe as velvet stone. Hard but soft at the same time. Hoarse male voices, not much louder than a whisper sent my head splitting. My arms shooting up to cover my ears as I let out my own high pitch scream. Before the world descended into darkness around me. I woke up choking on my own vomit, my body still ricocheting as each nerve ending danced on pins and needles. Somewhere close by I could hear a whispered argument but the words weren't registering. My eyes watered, even complete darkness was too bright. Another chill made its way from my chest outward, followed by another bucket of sweat. My teeth began to chatter and I could taste copper. Too much more of this and my body would give out, I wasn't strong enough to fight what ever was taking over me. "I said now!", A woman's voice broke through my mind. I know that voice. Please! Please help me I tried to cry out but my lips wouldn't move. I would do anything Mrs. Vancik asked if she just stopped the pain. I was beyond my understanding of anguish. I felt a hand roll me onto my back as a light flashed through my eye lids. I tried to turn my head and hide from the offendning light but there was no escape. A voice sounded by my ear. My head jerking away out of reflex but I could still hear the attempts to console and soothe me. Then pressure. Like a ton of bricks landing on my collar bone. There was a hand on my waist pushing my body back down and then nothing. Everything was gone, leaving just a blacked-out quiet. There was no pain, no sweat, no fear, no heat or chills. As if it never happened. It couldn't have all been a dream, could it?
I floated there, like I was in suspended animation. My mind a cool, clean slate with out a blemish to be found. I didn't have a care in the world. Tiny spots of memory began dancing around me like little black and white movies caught in soap bubbles. I watched as I blew out the candle on my first birthday, learned to swim, learned to ride a bike, won my first and last spelling bee, got my first period, kissed a guy for the first time, kissed a girl for the first time, got black out drunk, came out to my parents, and dropped out of highschool. Then came the memory of when I met Del. I was being chased by a goose at the lake and ran right into her. Del!
Suddenly there was a dim light shining behind the image of her in my mind. I crawled on my hands and knees, still stuck in my own mind, trying to reach her. The light slowly growing like a cartoon rabbit hole until I could place a hand on either side and pull myself through... My eyes popped open. Everything was so different. Every color was amplified, every smell stronger. I hadn't even sat up but I was dizzy. The room around me was earthen. Modern furnishings covering every inch except the floor, where I lay in a hole shaped like a grave. I blinked trying to adjust, my brain protesting what was clearly in front of me. A dresser, a tv, family photos, a vase with flowers, floor to ceiling shelves lined with books, a needle point hanging from the door that read 'Den Sweet Den'. There was a small kitchenette and what appeared to be a private bath.
I sat up, but my head swam, causing me to lay back down again. Screwing my eyes shut. Breathing through the nausea. That's when I smelled it. Grilled bar b q chicken marinated in honey, lemon and rosemary. My stomach grumbled and my nails extended, gouging holes in the palms of hands. I looked at my hand as my nails retracted and the holes closed of their own accord. "Well that's new.", I said out loud, my eye brows furrowing at the sound of own voice. I sound like me but not me. As if someone else were speaking for me. This was really turning out to be one hell of a dream. Which it had to be cause if it wasn't that meant... "No! No! No! No! No! No! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!", I screamed. This can't be... But then I'd... Aw come on! I could feel a new heat flowing through me as my temper reared up, my canines pushing their way out making me bite my lip. The blood coated my tongue. I sprang from the hole, landing in a crouch as the door flew open. My body pivoting like a Kung fu ninja master towards the source of the sound. A growl emanating from my chest as I took in the sight before me. Del. Only she didn't the smell the same and this imposter was very pregnant.