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Chapter Twenty-Seven: Diana

I'd been writing in pain for a while now. I was unsure exactly how much time had passed since I was consumed by the darkness. Every body part screamed out in pain as if every fiber of my being was on fire. It all stopped only moments ago when I was dropped into a vast, empty void.

I spun around, looking for a tiny bit of light to guide me. This has to be a joke. "Hello!" I shouted into the abyss.

Flashes of light and blurred images zoomed past me at high speeds. "We love you, darling." I spun slowly in a circle, searching for the person who spoke. The voice was foreign to me and yet it rang throughout my mind loud and clear, as if I'd always known it. "We wish you could come with us...but it's safe for you here."

I kept spinning like an idiot, looking for who the voice belonged to. "Hello!" I screamed louder. I kept on spinning until I was falling. I flailed my limbs, knowing it was completely futile.

A loud bang came as light finally appeared. I could only see auburn strands above my face; the ends of the hair ticked my button nose. "Come find us when you're older." I was dipped before returning to my original, upright position.

I was being held in someone's arms, without any difficulty. Blankets surrounded me, radiating warmth and comfort. There were loud noises and screams coming from behind me, but I was unafraid. I was unafraid because I was safe in the arms that held me.

We started moving in an unknown direction. A baby shrieked behind us, but we kept moving. That was the first time I really felt sad and scared. We were leaving her behind. We were leaving her all alone.

I closed my eyes as wind smacked my face. We were moving much faster than walking could achieve. We had to be running, but why? Why were we running away from her?

"Stop right there!" shouted someone from behind us. The air crackled with electricity, but it didn't matter. We stepped through what I can only describe as a black hole before the electricity ever came near us.

The woman holding me was huffing and puffing along with one other person, who I hadn't heard or sensed what so ever. "That was too close."

The woman bounced me up and down. The weight of everything that just happened burdened my mind and conscience. My eyes began to burn and there was an aching in my throat. I opened my mouth and screamed.

"I know, but I couldn't leave her without saying goodbye. She needed to know we care about her too."

"I'm sure that's what she'll be thinking when she remembers we left her with him, Thalia."

I was beginning to feel a little bit better. The bouncing was very comforting. "You're not making this easier."

"I'm just saying, she's going to feel abandoned by us whether or not you visited her one last time. If we'd left when I said, we wouldn't have had those guards chasing us. What if Diana had gotten hurt?"

Thalia held me closer to her. I could hear her rapid heart beating against her chest. "She didn't."

"But what if?" yelled the angry man. He was making me upset again.

"I don't know what I would've done! Is that what you want to hear, Nate?"

An arm wrapped around me and Thalia. "No. I'm sorry. I know this is hard for you." A tear slipped off Thalia's cheek and landed right on my forehead. It was cool as it touched my warm skin. "We'll see her again. I promise."

We stepped through another one of those black holes. We were now outside of some house from what I could tell, but it was a little blurry to me. I was laid down on a porch in a basket that magically appeared out of thin air.

Thalia squatted down next to me. "We love you, Diana." I got a kiss from her and then Nate. They were about to leave me like they left the other baby I was attached to in some way.

I reached up for them. I could see the stars above me and Thalia's auburn hair hanging around her face. Nate wrapped her in a half hug as they both took a few steps back, vanishing from my sight.

"Come find us when you're older."

That's what they told the other baby right before they left her; they were leaving me too. They knocked loudly on the door beside me before hopping in another black hole. Thalia and Nate were gone for good.

I kicked the air and threw my tiny fists up above me into the night. I shrieked as loudly as I could muster. They couldn't leave me here. They took me away from wherever we were originally for a reason. Why would they leave me here? Why?

The door opened beside me, showing the inside was lit by candlelight. "Sh. You're okay." I was picked up out of the basket. "It's okay." I was bounced up and down in a soothing manner.

"Eliza, who was at the door?"

The door closed behind me. "Someone left a baby on our doorstep." Something was plucked from my blankets. "Her name's Diana."

Eliza held me out so the man she was talking to could see me I looked up at both of them wide eyed and scared. The people staring at me were my parents or, better yet, the ones who raised me.

Slowly, the memories of Thalia and Nate began to fade until they were nonexistent. The shrieking baby left my mind along with my biological parents. A wall of some sort fell down between the faded memories and the rest of my mind, placing a pressure in the back of my mind that I quickly grew accustomed to. I stared up at my parents smiling and happy, none the wiser.

I fell from the memory and back into the darkness. I was down on my knees, tears staining my cheeks as I stared at the nothingness surrounding me. "What do you want from me?! Why are you doing this?!" I screamed up at the darkness. If this was someone's idea of a cruel joke, it was successful at punishing me.

A white room appeared around me. "Please stop. I don't want to see anymore."The door at the end of the room opened up toward me. "Please."

"Diana, please come back to me." It was Stella's wavering voice coming through the door.

I pushed myself up to my feet. "Stella?" I stumbled forward. "Stella." I reached the door and threw myself through.

My eyes fluttered open for a second before closing once again. My eyelids were heavy as if I hadn't slept in days. "Stella," I mumbled.

Stella's hand clutched mine harder. It was almost like she was anchoring me to this world. "Diana?"

I turned my head toward her voice, unable to open my eyes. "What happened?"

Stella stood up. "Let me get a doctor."

Her fingers slipped out of my hand, leaving me probably for the first time in a long while. My fingers were cramping after being allowed to finally stretch out. How long has she been holding my hand?

I opened my eyes as the doctor was being dragged to my bedside by Stella. "You gave us quite a scare, Miss Payne."

I cleared my throat. It felt like sand paper. "What happened?"

The doctor grabbed my chart. "All of your tests were inconclusive. Even our Molecular on staff tried to help and ended up in the same situation as you."

I grabbed the sheets beneath me. "So you don't know what happened?"

The doctor put down my chart. "You fainted but the cause is unknown."

I closed my eyes for a moment. "Thank you, doctor." The doctor walked away.

Stella took her seat next to me. "Are you okay?" She could see the distress written plainly on my face.

I blinked away a few tears. "I saw things, Stella, things that don't make any sense to me."

Stella reached for my hand again. "Natalia said someone messed with your mind. She couldn't do anything for you. She even got herself caught up in it."

My mouth was considerably dry. "Do you have any water?"

Stella lifted up a Styrofoam cup from the table beside my bed. "Here you go." She handed it to me; I took it with a shaky hand. "Do you want to talk about what you saw?"

I shook my head. "Talking about it only makes it real." I took a sip of the warm water. It'd been sitting there for a while. "Did Natalia tell you what she saw?"

Stella shook her head. "She wasn't in a sharing mood." She paused for a second. "Who would do this to you?"

I took a sip of the water again. "Whoever it was has a sick sense of humor." I sat up in the bed. "How long have I been out?"

Stella fidgeted in her seat a little "About a week."

I held the cup in both of my hands. It was the only thing that felt real in this moment. "I need to find Natalia."

Stella jumped out of her seat. "I'll go find her for you." She scurried out of the infirmary. She seemed happy to stretch her legs.

I ripped the cords off me. The machines I was attached to started beeping loudly; I ignored their complaints. I flung my feet over the bed and walked out with my knees buckling as I went.

Images of Thalia and Nate flashed across the back of my eyelids as I blinked. Who would tamper with my memories like that? What was the purpose of destroying the world I knew?

I stumbled around until my knees finally gave out. I crashed to the ground and stayed there, wrapping myself up in the fetal position and wept. I wept for the world I knew and for the loss of people I never met.

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