I remembered everything. My name, where I lived, my family. But life would never be the same again. I had been scarred, and continued to be scarred, with the memories of being in love with Terry, the knowledge that I was willing to let him drink from me and the guilt of going against my nature by being cruel to people. I didn't think I would ever properly recover.
There was one even less fortunate than me, because he was still going through what I had escaped. Person Number 3. I had to stop thinking of him as that, shake Terry's hold on me and control of my thoughts and feelings. The boy's name was Ryan. Ryan. I felt sorry for Ryan and couldn't hate him, even though he probably still hated me. I felt a certain ... connection with him: we had both been the most susceptible to Terry's hypnosis and suffered in the same way.
When I had fully recovered, I approached him.
"Hi," I said, sitting down on the floor in front of him as he deliberately stretched out on his couch so I couldn't sit next to him.
Ryan said nothing.
I felt a pang of sadness and sympathy. "I know how you feel," I told him.
He remained quiet and glared at me contemptuously.
"It feels wonderful, doesn't it?" I murmured. "Like you're special. But it's fake, you know. Terry loves no one."
"You only think that 'cause he was playing with you. He loves me."
"He told me he was playing with you. Don't you see? He's lying to us all."
Ryan laughed slightly. "You're the liar here. Why don't you go play with your new friends and stop pissing me off?"
"Because I feel sorry for you and want to help you," I murmured, answering his rhetorical question
"Go pity someone else."
"I won't. I have to help you. If I don't, I might as well go back and let Terry hypnotise me - if I don't offer this help, I'm no better than one who refuses it out of lack of free will."
"Well, you've offered your 'help', so now you can go away feeling like you've tried. Now piss off"
I shook my head. "I'm not giving up."
I stood up, but before walking away, I said "I'll keep trying. The second I give up is the second I stop being me."
"Okay, you have fun with that"
I refused to think that that had been unhelpful. How productive something was didn't always make itself obvious. In a little while, I would try again. I could ask for help, but my personal experience of feeling the same made me want to do this alone. Like it would help me recover from what I'd been through.