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Chapter Twenty: Natalia

Two girls from my high school found me in the hospital inside of a Rebel base I was brought to after the incident with the TWA officers at the safe house. The alarm bells in my head were ringing loud and clear. Was it possible for the TWA to follow me here? Had I put all of these innocent people in danger without realizing it?

The girl with brown hair was staring at me, intensely, making very deliberate eye contact. I kept looking at her and then to the red head, but her friend looked just as confused as I was. Suddenly, the girl with brown hair collapsed into a pile of limbs on the floor.

"We need help over here!" I crouched down with the red head. "Does she have a history of fainting?"

The girl shook her head. "This is the first time."

A few nurses and a doctor ran over. "Take her to a bed. Check her vital signs," barked the doctor.

I brushed my hair back from my face. "I'll be over in a second." They lifted the girl up and out of the way. The red head visibly bit the inside of her cheek. "We'll do everything we can for her." I ran after the nurses and doctor.

A nurse was taking the girl's blood pressure when I arrived to provide assistance. "Blood pressure's 100 over 70."

"Heart rate's 84 beats per minute."

The doctor was flashing a tiny light in the brown haired girl's eyes. "Pupils are responding."

I sent feelers out to the girl. It was obvious something was wrong with her, but the doctor and nurses weren't finding anything at the moment. The girl's body was completely normal, which the medical staff already figured out. I had healed the welt on her chest completely and I found no further damage from that injury. The only thing left was her head.

I rest my hand on her temples, something was wrong. Her mind was shifting too quickly for me to slip through with minimal effort; I pushed harder. I found a blockade in her mind, one that was too strong for a human to place themselves.

"What the...?"

I felt the girl's mind sucking me in. I pulled my hands back and tried blocking whatever was ailing this poor girl from my own mind, but it was too late for me to do anything. Her mind dragged me inside whatever sent her into this state.

I appeared in the middle of a dark room, alone. The only light in the darkness was around me in a tight circle. "Hello?" Suddenly, memories flew by me at high speeds. I looked around to see they were my own. "Hello?!" I screamed. Someone had to be orchestrating this. There was no way the blockage would've followed me to my own mind. This girl was a patsy to input something into my mind. It was the only logical explanation.

A single memory presented itself to me. It was cloudy, unlike every other memory racing by which I found odd. Usually, I had a very detailed grasp on all of my memories. Something inside me told me to reach for it, so I did. This memory was why I was here.

I was sucked in without hesitation.

I was lying in my bed, staring up at a white ceiling above me. I kicked my tiny feet in a futile attempt to get up. I'm in my nightmare? It was loud outside my door as if there was a battle brewing outside. For all I knew, there was. Banging and shouting occurred right outside my door, scaring me. Someone was trying to get in.

A lady in her late twenties suddenly appeared over my crib. Her emerald eyes glistened in the small amount of light coming from a night light next to my crib. "I'm so sorry, my darling."

I reached out for a long lock of her auburn hair that just escaped from behind her ear. "Thalia, we have to go," said a man among the shadows.

A tear escaped the lady's, Thalia's, eyes and traveled down her button nose onto my onesie. It soaked through the cotton fabric, leaving my skin directly underneath the fabric cool and wet. "We love you, darling. We wish you could come with us...but it's safer for you here." A loud bang came from the direction of the door along with the sound of splintering wood. "Come find us when you're older." She kissed my forehead before turning to leave. I caught a glimpse of a bundle of blankets in her arms but what was inside remained a mystery.

I screamed on the top of my lungs for Thalia and the mystery man. I kicked my legs and flailed my arms against the hard bottom of my crib, bruising my chubby arms. My eyes burned with tears and my throat was growing sore from the high pitched scream leaving my mouth. I kept it up though, hoping Thalia and the man would return to me and take me with them.

The door was kicked in fully, sending chunks of wood into my crib and all over my face. I screamed louder, frightened on top of the feeling of abandonment. "Clear!" The sound of boots rang throughout my nursery.

A man with black hair walked over to my crib. His greenish blue eyes were familiar and calming, the way my father's always were. His nose was crooked as if he'd broken it years ago and never bothered to fix it. His face wasn't covered in wrinkles, but they were beginning to pop up around his face. If I had to guess, he was in his early fifties.

The man leaned over my crib. "Sh. It's okay." I leaned my head against the gold crown embroidered on the chest of his black shirt. I no longer felt frightened or sad as this older man held me tightly. "You're safe, Natalia." And I believed it.

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