I awoke in an unfamiliar room to a chorus of angels.

White walls, white floor, white sheets. Wires led from my hand to a beeping monitor. An IV (Morphine? Some kind of painkiller, if the fuzziness of my thoughts was any sign) dripped away into the tube in my arm. A nearby window framed a dark, overcast sky.

A hospital? Why am I... oh. The locker.

Winter break had just ended, and I had hoped that the bullying campaign led by my former best friend Emma would cool down as well. But when I reached my locker I found it filled with used and fermenting pads and tampons. The smell alone made me vomit, and someone, probably Emma's compatriot Sophia, took the opportunity to shove me into the mess and lock the door behind me. I had waited in there for hours before someone finally let me out, and those fucking bitches were probably going to get off without even a slap on the wrist. And there-

There was the chorus again, a dozen feminine voices singing in near perfect harmony. But even though it sounded rather close I could not see its source. Hesitantly, I said, "Hello?".

The voices paused for a moment. "It can speak?"

"Um, yes?" I looked around the room for the source of the voices, but I didn't see anywhere it could come from.

"It can understand?" The voice sounded even more ecstatic.

"Of course I- Where are you, anyway?"

"I am right next to you, silly. I have never found a talking spatial distortion before, this is so exciting!"

Well. This was weird enough that it was probably a dream. I didn't want to think about the possibility of it being a hallucination, and what that would say about my mental stability. And hopefully my tormentors wouldn't have been able to set up a prank in here.

This wasn't their style, anyway, so I decided to treat it like a dream- go along with it and try to enjoy the ride.

"So, do you have a name?"

"Tekeli-li? A name? I might have had one, maybe more! But I cannot remember. Does it have a name?"

I frowned. "My name is Taylor. So you don't have a name, then?"

"Oh, that is a nice name! And yes, it has been so long that I cannot recall if I even had a name." The voices paused. "Then again, the passage of time is somewhat subjective here."

"Well, it'll be a pain if I don't have anything to call you by. Let me see if I can think of something." Her voices were almost musical, so maybe... "How does Aria sound?" Probably not, maybe something el-

"Oh, that is a wonderful name! Thank you!"

Ah. That works, too, I guess.

"I must go tell my sister about this! And then I'll bring her to meet you, too. Be sure not to wander while I am gone!"

"What? Wait, I... and you're gone, aren't you."


In the morning, I awoke to see my father sitting beside my bed. He smiled down at me, and I gave a small one back. After a short hug, he sat back down, and we talked. Mostly, he just wanted to make sure I was okay, but eventually, the conversation drifted... elsewhere. After telling me that I'd been here for a couple of days, he trailed off and clenching his jaw. We both sat in silence for a while, but eventually he seemed to calm down, and he continued.

I never liked seeing him like that.

Apparently he had been able to get some money from the school after the... incident. Enough to pay the hospital bills, with a little bit extra, but even so it was rather blatantly hush money so we wouldn't go causing problems for the school. Dad wanted to sue the bullies, but no witnesses were coming forth. Without hard evidence we really didn't have the money for the lawsuit.

Dad was furious, but the news just made me feel depressed. I wanted to go home.


The doctors wanted to examine me once more before releasing me, but we were able to get me released a little after noon.

The school was allowing me a week off to recuperate. At the very least I didn't have to deal with the trio for a while. Unfortunately, Dad had to work, so I was left alone for most of the time.

The next day I was cutting a cucumber to use in my lunch. I'd probably go to the library later, since I'd read most of the books I had over the winter break. Sighing, I propped my head up on my left arm, letting my other arm (and the knife) rest on the counter.

"Hello there! Did you miss me?"

The unexpected shout made me twitch, violently and involuntarily, sending the knife straight into my arm.