The ambulance siren blares above me. The paramedics move rapidly to secure the oxygen mask over my head, and I see the blurry outline of a man wrapping gauze around my legs. “Hazel, focus on me.” But that takes too much effort, and the searing pain in my lungs is enough to make me lose my grip. I feel myself slip away.
I’m stuck in limbo. The room around me wavers and shifts, as if it could all float away at any second. As I look around to find myself sitting in a bar, a woman bursts into the dimly lit room. She has a commanding presence, and in my state of confusion I cant help but be terrified. “Check the paper”, the woman says. I quickly scan the headlines and find myself reading the details of my own obituary. My whole body grows cold as I realize where I am and who she is. I’m dead. This is it.
The women in front of me sees the panic on my face, “Relax!, your name isn’t going to stay there”. How can I possibly relax? “Where am I”, I demand. She doesn’t answer my questions, but instead explains that my life has been spared because The Plan has been changed. Her tone softens as she tells me that she was a foster child as well. “You have to be willing to let some things go”, she tells me. As she talks in front of me I find it hard to focus on what she’s saying. I sort of just sit there in a daze the whole time. She finally shoves a drink in my hand and tells me I wont remember any of this. Suddenly everything disappears around me.
I wake up to the familiar sound of the hospital and Brian’s relieved face looming overhead. Brian tells me that I’m going to be okay, but that I have fallen down the stairs and sustained severe injuries. Before I can reply, a strange feeling overcomes me. I feel as though an important memory is slipping away from me, and I try to reach out for it through the foggy haze of my thoughts. But its gone, and all I’m left with is a snapshot image of a woman in a bar and a chilling sensation that spreads across my body.