I remembered the room, the overpowering smell, the sense of panic in the air. The panic of the many ill, the many on the verge of death. Was I? Was I, on the verge of death? I didn't know. I didn't know anything anymore. It seemed like I had aged overnight, from a child to an old woman. Was it overnight? Had it been days? Months? Years? Was I even still a child? I didn't know, and I was scared of the consequences. The consequences of finding out the answers to all of my questions.

I had been so eager earlier, yet now all I wanted was to drift back to sleep, to console myself with the fact that nobody could reach me there. But then, they could, couldn't they? Because of him. The hooded-shadow. Yes, that is what I would call him. He penetrated my dreams. So would I be any safer asleep? He seemed to be on my side. Seemed to be there to protect me against danger. What danger? I knew no danger, I was just a little girl. He was talking about adult danger, about a thing of which I knew nothing about. Serious danger. Except; I did know danger. I knew them. Those things, in the woods.

The details were hazy now, but I knew the basics of the matter. I had been curious about them. My friends were nervous when I bought the subject up. My parents, too. Everyone told me I shouldn't go into the woods. I should never set foot in them, ever. Or I would never come back. I laughed the threats off. I was tough, or so I thought. Everyone admired me, and I knew it.

The truth is, I put on a front. Really, I was just an innocent. Still, you have to keep a reputation if you want to remain popular, remain the kid who everybody loved, the one who was always talked about, who got away with everything. The bold, brash, darer, even more popular, witty and brave than the boys. Than the most, most, most popular boy. So I went to the woods, to see what all the fuss was about. I realized it now, that I shouldn't of. That I should have just abandoned my curiosity. Nobody expected me to go into the woods. They only became interested when I announced it, of my own accord. Announced that I, Molly Thomas, would investigate the woods. Mum and Dad didn't know. None of the adults know. I saw them as unnecessary obstacles, those that would try to stop me. I was determined that nothing would stop me.

So I went, and I was so scared. I wasn't thinking straight, I lost my way, there was something there. Something terrible, and scary, and I knew that it would hurt me. I ran, screaming. I didn't care for my popularity now, for my reputation. I just wanted to go home, to the people I loved, to my friends, my young childhood innocence, and forget about all of this. But I couldn't. I was trapped with those monsters in the woods. Then everything was blank. I could remember nothing, just hazy fog and white noise where I should have heard.

That was wrong, and I knew it, even then, weak and young. I couldn't help it. I began to cry, to sob so much that my body racked uncontrollably, and made the machines around me buzz yet again. Many nurses and doctors were immediatley around me then, fussing over the machines, but this time, it didn't make me sleepy, and that was annoying, why before but not now? Surely I wasn't ready? I was a mess.

The nurses spoke soothing words, wiping my face with tissues, platting my hair and stroking my back. The doctors just carried on probing me, my head, back, tummy. Ouch, my tummy! I puked all over the bed. Their prodding had made something shift in my tummy, something which apparently didn't agree with my insides. And the throbbing in my head! I winced, and they frowned, looks of concern mirrored off of each of their faces. What? What was wrong? They could tell I was scared. They went over to a corner of the room, far away from ear-shot. It seemed like ages later that just one returned, and began to order the nurses around.

They bought needles; big, sharp needles, and strange looking machines and masks. I couldn't help staring at them, curious, and nervous, too. I was moved to a new bed, and the Doctor started talking to me. I listened, intently. Maybe he would be able to finally give me some answers...

TO BE CONTINUED IN THE FORTHCOMING WEEK...STAY TUNED :)