Janine didn’t know exactly where she was–or if she was in the process of waking up. But she knew her eyes could not see. Never a good sign. She tried to feel around for something–anything. Nothing was there. She inspected her eyes with her hands, wondering if she had forgotten to open them. But it was as opened as can be. She can’t see. Fear crept all over her. She could feel the shadows dancing, engulfing her. Or was it just her imagination kicking in?

“Vic? Kai?” She called out, hoping one of them could help.

No sounds. No responses from them either. Nothing. How could it be? How could any of this happen? Have they left for good? Like they had already awakened and she was left in this strange place to figure out things on her own?

“Vic! Kai!” She shouted this time, her voice panicking.

Some sounds could be heard now. Yet still no signs of Vic or Kai responding to her. Those sounds were almost like crickets chirping. She can’t be sure. She cranked her ears to detect the location of the sounds. But before she could determine the direction of the crickets, it was replaced by sounds of water flowing. It sounded like it was some creek. She stomped the floor then to find out it was no longer solid ground like when she first arrived, or when she encountered some other weird place. The ground was now dirt. The musky air filled her nose to confirm her suspicion that she was in the woods.

“Alone in the woods with no light or source of vision,” Someone’s voice echoed her way.

A girl’s voice to be exact.

“Who is it?” She asked shakily, finding the voice creepily familiar.

“Oooh…sure is creepy,” Someone else said, laughing playfully.

“Who are you people?” Janine asked, her fear increasing by the second. She was not afraid of more people. She was…

Then it hit her cold. The two people she just heard were herself and her friend, Melanie. And that was a fragment of their conversation from the past. She was telling Melanie of her fear. And now she had landed exactly in that situation.

“No,” She muttered, sniffling.

She discovered then that she was crying, had been crying. How could she cry at that very moment? At the very moment when she should toughen up and find her way out of the mess? How could she be this weak? She must believe Vic that she was not dead. That they were not dead. And they would find a way out. Even if the other two already escaped without her, she had to try harder. If they had escaped, that meant she could too.

Wiping her tears with her hands, she tried to focus again. Trying to adjust to being a blind person, she focused on listening as much as she could. And it started with not making noises herself.

Slowly though, her vision returned. And as rapidly as the scene had dazzled her with its creepiness, she found herself stuck in a room situated with the wildest luxuries ever imagined. She was in some sort of mansion. It looked like she was standing in the main hall of a castle, more like just a regular mansion. Awestruck by the change, she didn’t realize that voices had picked up around her. Bits and pieces of conversations spread around the room. She turned around abruptly to find people dancing. She was actually in a ballroom, not the main hall like she had guessed.

A sense of familiarity washed over her as she approached the ballroom’s entrance, looking in and studying its details. She didn’t know why. It just seemed like she’d been there before. Like during a time when she could barely remember. Possibly so?

Then she stopped. She finally understood. It was the mansion. More specifically, the mansion by the lake where she used to reside when she was little. It also dawned on her that she was revisiting one of those senseless parties that were held to show off status and wealth. And just at that moment, she turned around in time to see her mother walking in with her brother and stepfather. She braced herself, waiting for the upcoming acknowledgment and the usual chastising of her lack of manners. But it didn’t come. Instead, the group of three just walked right past her without any traces of recognition. She turned as they passed by and tried to call to them, getting their attention. It was too ironic that she should want their radar eyes on her. But it was just too unbelievable that they would pass up the opportunity to give her a hard time, especially her mother. And then there was her brother, Mick. Mick wouldn’t just ignore her like that.

“Mick!” She called out again.

Her attempts seemed to be in vain because they did not seem to be the least moved by her anxious calls.

“Come on!” She yelled, stomping on the floor surface–and not caring if she was damaging the waxed, gleaming wood floor.

But then it happened again. Just like when she had made a change when she was still with Vic and Kai, her surroundings changed. Again. this time, the wind howled at a maddening rate. She covered her ears and whirled around, trying to regain herself. Then the scene slowed down again. She was still in the ballroom but this time it was empty. But not quite. When her vision cleared again, she could see the same three people from earlier staring at her with grudging eyes. Like right straight at her. This was when she realized that they could see her now. Was that her will that had worked? She couldn’t be sure but she braced herself for the upcoming words. At least Mick would support her. Backing her up like a good brother was always his forte. If it wasn’t for him, at times she would’ve given up all hope already.

“Mom,” She said as she was about a foot from the three.

“You’ve dishonored the family,” Her mother began.

“Mom…”

“You’ve left us.”

“I…”

Instead of arguing anymore or try to defend her case, she turned to Mick then, waiting for him to help her. But he didn’t seem to get her message. He just stared straight ahead with cold eyes as her mother continued with the lecture. Then it happened. No, no scenery changes but more like a crowd forming out of nowhere. They were from the party. She recognized some of the faces. Yet their faces no longer reflected the apparent happiness often seemed at a party. They were staring disapprovingly at her just like her so-called family. She could feel the overwhelming attack as they inch closer to her–as if wanting her to submit to their requests.

“No…” She muttered, taking another step back.

It wasn’t until her back hit the wall that she realized she couldn’t escape. Not quite. No, not at all was more accurate. Fear rose within her, trapping her into suffocation.

“You’re a shameful person,” Her mother continued in that voice.

The others joined in as if participating in a chorus. She couldn’t back off anymore. She was already at the wall–and she couldn’t push them out. All she could do was cover her ears and close her eyes to will them away. However, the chanting wouldn’t stop. She couldn’t be more terrified. And the fact that she couldn’t even remember to stomp her way out of it was quite pitiful and pathetic in many ways. But only if there was a passerby to observe her state. There was no one to help her. All of the current members were still chanting that hateful rant and intensifying her insanity to its max.

“NO!” She finally yelled out, her head throbbing to the point of obscurity.

Everything was so confusing and so disturbing at the same time. Then she realized she was crouching down on the floor, trying to shield herself from the waves after waves of attack. Just like a pitiful wounded animal people often talked about at work. But she couldn’t move or breathe or push her way through the crowd that was trapping her into non-existence.

© Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Posted: Thursday, January 19th, 2012

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