The authors and characters shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Mel glared around at everyone, Sarah looked nervous at the sight of all these strangers, Rachael and Reaper seemed downright outraged to have been put here and Shard looked to be on the verge of a breakdown.
I clear my throat and look evenly around at everyone. After all, if I seemed relaxed, hopefully they would too. Looking at their files, these seemed to be some of the most mixed-up characters I'd ever met. The boy with the duct-taped rucksack - Alex, I think his name was - slides in next to Mel and looks around at the others.
"Alright," I say, "now, we're going to take this slowly. One at a time, we're all going to take turns to say something about ourselves. It can be anything you like, but if you're feeling brave enough you could let us know about a reason you're here. Is that okay with everyone?"
Nobody gives me much of a response, but I can feel their eyes on me. I can't help but wonder what secrets those eyes hide, what hidden traumas and terrors lurk beyond the exterior. Any sort of session like this is a delicate situation, but I have the feeling that this one is more delicate than most. Judging by the signs from Reaper, Rachael and Shard, I know that they at least know how to handle a weapon, and I doubt Mel or any of the others are defenceless either. Yes, I must tread very carefully indeed.
"Right," I say, "I'll start. My name is Anna, and I have a terrible fear of heights." I look expectantly at the others, "Who's next?"