Hey guys! I'm putting my very best foot forward with this story. I worked really hard on it, so if you see ANYTHING wrong, please tell me in the comments. Actually it's pretty long- but this "prelude" is perfected, so I figured I might as well post it while I'm putting the final commas, adjectives, etc on the rest. Not mine.

The minute Claudia gets back from California she bypasses a bewildered Leena and swiftly ascends the stairs to her room. She should really be downstairs pretending she's okay, making sarcastic jokes and witty comments, but she's not okay. So it's no use pretending she is.

Not to herself, anyway.

She sits on her bed and props up against the headboard, willing her brain to think of anything but what the video game conjured up, and the memories associated.

Three times she thinks she hears the charging of the electrostatic machine and compulsively swallows the fear away.

Time for bed. That's it. She must be overtired.

She gets into her pajamas, turns the lights off and just for precaution, unplugs all the electrical devices in her room.

Then suddenly she notices her bedspread is white- like the eerily sterile walls of the psych ward, of the straight jacket she wore, of the padded room she was forced to stay in, of the doctor's coats swishing towards her. And she's scrambling up out of bed and tripping towards the light. She breathes heavily for a moment up against the door, and wills herself to calm down.

She can just make out worried voices arguing about checking on her. Keep it together Claudia. She warns herself.

The door opens and she dives towards the bed, her breath instantly even and her faced pressed to the pillow. She hears the squeak of hinges and the inflections of Pete and Myka intertwining in whispers.

"You think she's really asleep?" a feminine voice asks.

"Well… I can jump on her and find out!"

"Pete!" –smack-

"Hey… you think Steve can tell when someone is fake-sleeping?"

"Just be quiet! She's asleep, okay? "

Claudia doesn't know if Steve can tell if someone is fake sleeping, but she certainly doesn't want to find out. And this pillow does feel rather good. The weight of the day seemed to sit on her eyelids alone. They stubbornly refused to open.

She should…

She should… get up.

In two minutes.

Alright, it was really short. The rest is really long, I promise. Will be updating soon, (possibly tomorrow) so keep an eye out. Please let me know what you thought! (Even if you didn't like it. I need that feedback too.) Thank you for reading! :D