A harsh, bright light seemed to burn on my eyelids. I felt a dull ache throughout my whole body, and I couldn't find my fingers to curl them. The loud beating of my heart, slow and steady, seemed to roar in my ears. I felt frozen; unable to move and cold from the sudden fear of realising this was not where I fell asleep. I anticipated the quickening of my breath as all of the horrible possibilities flowed through my head, but it stayed as it was before: slow and steady; almost as if it wasn't even mine. I tried to think of what I could possibly do, but my brain felt slow and tired, like the thoughts were flowing through treacle. I was numb.
I tried to wiggle my toes, turn my head, clench my fists... Nothing. Was I drugged? Dead? I had no idea what to think - I must be going hysterical. I could not open my eyes, nor could I open my mouth to let out the scream that was building. I could barely feel the rough covers on the hard bed I was lying on, and felt neither warm nor cold - simply numb. I strained to smell any scent to give me an idea of where I was, but there was nothing; nothing but the sound of buzzing and a relentless beeping. Was it coming from where I was, or created by my own imagination? None of my other senses seemed to be working, but it sounded so distant that it couldn't possibly be inside my own body. It sounded a world away.
I tried to remember anything about how I got here, but I came up blank. The last thing I could remember was falling asleep, exhausted, with my English textbook on my lap after cramming for my GCSE exam the next day. Have I missed it!? Will I miss it? My internal panicking was interrupted by a door opening a few metres away from me. If I could have moved I would have jumped – the sound was unusually loud to my ears and unwelcome in the room. The rhythmic buzzing and beeping had almost faded into nothingness as I got used to hearing it, and the room seemed impossibly silent until then. That noise was definitely not my imagination. The sound of two sets of footsteps followed the significant creak of the door opening, and I could hear a female voice - one I did not recognise. Her voice sounded strained; as if she had had to repeat the sentence she was saying one too many times.
"I'm telling you Ma'am, her status is exactly the same as the day before, and the day before that, and the month before that." Month? Was she talking about me? I have not been here a month, that I am sure of. "Her heartbeat remains steady, as does her breathing. All her vitals seem in good health... In any other situation it would seem promising but.. this isn't exactly the usual situation." They're monitoring me? What are they doing, experimenting on me? Oh my God, it's like in one of those horror films: they're going to see how long I can survive without water, or how long I remain sane with absolutely no senses.
"I know, I know. I just want my daughter back. One mother to another you must understand that." My panicked thoughts froze as I processed whose voice that was. My mother. That was my mother's voice.
My eyes flew open and the scream that was struggling to release itself finally surfaced.