overwhelmed by the sinking sensation that I’m alone in this world too. Always
alone. I let out a frustrated puff of breath. I look at my hands, my body.
Everything appears normal, but the grafts on my skin, the itchy scarring and
bandages, they’re all gone. My chest tightens, but I don’t know if it’s out of
fear or relief. In this world, I’m perfect. I’m barefoot as I glance at the
ground. A dirt path stretches in front of me and behind me. It’s smooth without
large rocks or divots. I don’t know where the path leads. To the left is a
blank space of darkness and to the right, the forest stretches on. I head right
since it’s the only direction I have.
It has to be. My mind hasn’t created elaborate visions like this since I first
arrived. Everything I knew became blurry over time. But I don’t know why it’s
put me in this world and not the home I’d built before. Or the school like
Doctor Zain had promised my parents. Clearly, I don’t have control over where I
travel in the VR. Along the path, I spy drops of dew larger than my head
clinging to long leaves. I take a moment to look at my reflection. My hair is a
light shade of blonde, almost white, the same as it was before I entered the
hospital, but my dark roots haven’t grown in yet. They should have after nine
months. It’s longer than I remember it being, hanging well past my chest. I
don’t know if it’s an exaggerated version of myself or the way I look after
nine months of not seeing my own reflection in the mirror. I still don’t know
what I look like.
think are birds, possibly pieces of toast covered in jam, maybe both, pass
overhead. Lightning crackles in the sky. A sense of awe and wonder overwhelms
me. A thrill travels down my spine and I shiver. “Well, well,” a voice purrs,
but I can’t tell where it’s coming from. There are so many places in the thick
leaves and heavy overgrown grass to hide. “Looks like we have a newbie.” “Who’s
there?” I ask, squinting my eyes to see the body behind the voice. I turn in
circles, taking in the shadows and umbrella-like leaves and petals. “You’ll
never see if you don’t look up.” The voice chuckles.