Chapter 1. The First World
I opened my eyes to the bright sunlight momentarily making me blind. Immediately, I knew something was wrong. Very wrong. For one thing, I was drenched. My hair felt heavy and tangled, and my teeth were chattering due to the cold. For another, I had woken up not from my bed, but from the cold, hard, ground.
I was scared. God, I was so scared. I didn't know where I was, and I didn't know how I got here. The last thing I remembered was walking home from school. Slowly, I got to my feet, swaying slightly. My head felt so dizzy that I was afraid I would pass out. I had been lying on the shore of a lake, and my upper body was entirely wet. My T-shirt was stuck to my skin, and I was dripping water. I looked around to take in my surroundings, but I didn't recognize anything. Trees. Trees everywhere. I was in the woods.
Shivering from head to toe, I hugged myself around the middle. Think, Elena. I told myself. How'd you end up here? But no brilliant answers found their ways to my head. I started to walk around aimlessly. The first step would be to get out of these woods. I'll figure the rest out later. It was quite warm, but I felt very cold because I was only wearing a T-shirt. A wet one, too.
"Hello?" I asked in a tiny voice that nobody would hear even if there were anyone here. Like I suspected, no one answered me. All I got were my quiet echoes. I was alone. I walked around the trees in search of an exit or an opening or something, but there was nothing waiting for me except for more trees. I don't know how long I wandered in the woods. By the end, all I wanted was to desperately get out of here, wherever here was.
I was practically crying when I finally made it out of the woods and saw cars and people. It must have taken me hours. I saw Caroline walking down the streets and I felt like throwing myself at her.
"Caroline!" I gasped.
Caroline looked at me in shock. I must have looked like a crazy person with trigs in my hair and my bare arms scratched by bushes. And I was pretty sure my hair was in huge clumps.
"Elena?" Caroline asked, rushing over to me, "What happened to you? You look like hell!"
I wanted to say a sarcastic "thanks", but I didn't have to energy to. "What time is it? What day? Where is this place?" I asked desperately, my words slurring into each other.
Caroline looked very frightened now, "What? Are you okay? Hey…did you change your hair?"
"Huh?" I asked. I've know Caroline since kindergarten, and I've always had long, straight hair. "Caroline, please, where am I?" I pressed on, pushing the hair matter away.
"Relax, Elena, will you?" Caroline raised her eyebrows, "We're a few blocks away from The Grill. Boy, are you weird today."
Trust Caroline to always shower me with the unpleasant truth. But I must admit that I was indeed weird today. I was terrified. I had woken up in a part of the woods I've never been before, lying in the water, and I had no idea whatsoever about how I got there.
"Can you drive me home?" I pleaded.
"Yeah, of course. My car's just around the corner. Are you sure you're okay?" Caroline asked as she took my arm.
I caught a sniff of her perfume as she led me to her car. Thank God I met Caroline on the way. It made me a little calmer. Maybe I was sleepwalking. I consoled myself. Maybe that was why I woke up in a strange place. There was no reason to overreact about this…right?
Caroline made a beeline for my house. Her driving always made me so nervous. But I was nervous anyway today, so I didn't really notice.
"Um…Call me if you need anything, okay?" Caroline asked nicely and pushed her blond curls out of her eyes.
"Yeah…thanks." I said gratefully. I was about to slide out of the car before I noticed something extremely strange about her. Both of her hands were resting on the steering wheel, and she wasn't wearing the ring Bonnie made for her. She wasn't wearing the ring. The sun was shinning right at her, at us, and she wasn't burning up. How is that possible?
"Elena?" She asked me, sounding a little scared now, "…Are…are you okay?" She asked for the millionth time.
"Where is your ring, Caroline?"
"What? What ring?"
"The ring. The one Bonnie put a spell on so you could walk in the sun." I said hurriedly.
Caroline looked shocked. "Spell?" She asked blankly. "What are you talking about? Do you have a fever?"
I looked down to see whether I still had the vervain necklace around my neck. I did. I took it off and pressed it against Caroline's skin. It didn't burn. Her skin looked just the way it did.
Caroline wasn't a vampire. She was human. This was surreal. I watched her turn into a vampire. I was there. She couldn't have turned back into a human…could she? It wasn't possible. It just wasn't.
"Elena?" She asked again, really scared now.
"I'll call you later, okay?" I quickly took the necklace away from her and put it back on. Then I got out of the car before I could do something extremely stupid, like asking her if she was human or not. I closed the car door and waved to her, trying my best to act normal. She waved back hesitantly before driving off. As soon as she was out of sight, I made for the porch.
I saw rose bushes in my front yard and frowned. I don't remember planting them. And I definitely don't remember either Jeremy or Jenna planting them. There were fences which I don't recognize around our yard too. Weird.
I searched my jeans pockets for my keys and was grateful I still had them. However, it didn't work. It didn't even fit in the lock. Sweat dripped down my face as I tried to push my key into the lock, but it wouldn't go in no matter how hard I pushed it. This had always been my key, and this had always been my house, how could it not work now? Giving up, I knocked raptly.
It was Jeremy who opened the door. I have never been so happy to see him. I threw my arms around him and hugged him. For a minute there, I was afraid that my key didn't work because it was someone else's house.
"Whoa, Elena? I thought you were in you room." Jeremy hugged me back reluctantly, "Are you okay?"
Everyone was asking me that. I let go of him and smiled, "Yeah. I am now." I looked at him closely. His hair was cropped short again, which made him look younger and fresher.
"Did you cut your hair?" I asked.
Jeremy raised his eyebrows, "Yeah, like three months ago. I got tired of the ponytail."
"Ponytail?" I almost choked.
"Yeah…it drove you crazy, remember?"
No. No, I didn't remember. I never had a memory of Jeremy with a ponytail. I was sure about that. Was this a joke I didn't get? Was Jeremy messing around with me? But he looked so serious. What was going on?
"I…I think I'll go up to my room." I said. I was getting a headache.
"Yeah, okay," Jeremy agreed, "I like your hair, by the way."
Why was everyone saying that? My hair had always been like this. Just messier today due to the fact that I woke up with my hair in the lake.
"What do you mean?" I asked wearily.
"Well, don't get me wrong, sis," He said, "I liked the short hair, it was cute. But this is more…you. How'd you manage to grow it so fast?"
"Short hair?" I repeated. I felt like fainting. I've never had short hair. Except when I was a kid, but he didn't mean that, did he?
Jeremy looked a bit alarmed at my lack of response. I didn't blame him. It had been a very weird day for me and all I wanted was to climb into bed and go to sleep.
"Maybe you should lie down or something. Are you feeling okay?" Jeremy asked me.
I nodded and then shook my head. I had no idea what I was doing anymore. I sincerely hoped I had a fever and was imagining things. I started to climb the stairs but stopped abruptly as I got a glimpse of the living room. It wasn't the way it used to be. The couch was different, the TV, the lamp, the carpet…everything. Everything was different. I rushed to the kitchen. It was different there too. The cupboards, the tiles, the fridge…I could hardly recognize this as my home. Did Jenna and Jeremy re-model the house while I was lying in the lake or something?
Hallucinating. I must be hallucinating.
I climbed the stairs again, my heart pounding in my head. Maybe I was dreaming. Maybe everything will be right again when I really wake up. When I reached the doorknob to my room, though, I stopped again. I heard voices. Voices. I grasped the railing on the stairway so tightly that my knuckles turned white. Was I hearing things now? How could there be voices in my room? I wasn't even in there myself.
A low chuckle reached my ears. Was that Stefan? What was he doing in my room with the door closed? I heard another voice, a higher one. A girl's. My head hurt so badly that it felt like splitting. Was Stefan with another girl in my room? This was just getting weirder and weirder.
As quietly as possible, I tiptoed to my door and pressed my ear against it. I could hear the voices more clearly now, and that wasn't Stefan's voice. Burglars? I asked myself. My thoughts were interrupted as I heard a kiss and a moan. Burglars making out in my room? I wondered incredulously. This whole thing was turning out to be bizarre.
Before I could come up with another explanation as to why there were people in my room, the door swung open, almost knocking me off my feet. I caught my balance at the last minute and brought myself to an upright position, rubbing the side of my face which the door had hit.
Slowly, I raised my head to look at who was in my room.
It was Damon.
My eyes widened, and so did his. He was looking at me in disbelief, as if he couldn't believe I would turn up in my own house. Well, I could ask him the same question. I was getting angry now. What was he doing inside my room?
"Who was it?" Asked the girl in my room, craning her neck to get a good look at me.
Angry bubbled inside me. What was Damon and his little girlfriend doing in my room? I looked over his shoulder to see who he was blocking.
My mouth dropped open in horror as I saw the girl sitting on my bed.
It was me.
Hey! Sorry this is shorter than my usual chapters, but I wanted to post this SO BADLY, and this was all I got so far! I promise the next chapter will be EXTRA LONG to make up for this one!