I woke up in the aftermath of some disaster--an earthquake? a flood? a nuclear explosion? all 3?--and realized that I had almost no idea what had happened, and little idea about myself. I remembered my name, which was Allison, and I had a vague recollection of what I looked like (slim, dark hair, dark eyes) and of course, that there had been *some* sort of disaster, but beyond that, things were pretty much a mystery. Standing gingerly, I tried to run a hand through my hair, which snagged. The resulting pain was so disproportionate it caused me to stumble and nearly fall over.
"Want some help?" piped up a nearby voice. Following the sound, I looked down and to my left, and saw a girl, probably about 5 or 6, watching me with huge, almond-shaped, silvery-blue eyes. As I stared at her, she sighed, and shook her head knowingly. "You don't remember me, do you?" she said, and added, "I'm your niece, Maura."
Didn't ring any bells with me. "If you say so," I said cautiously, examining the hand I'd just snagged in my hair. It was sticky with congealed, and congealing, blood.
"You hit your head," Maura said helpfully.
"I assumed," I said, a bit grimly. I had the mother of all headaches, and I was thirstier than I'd ever been in my life.
"That's because you've been knocked out for almost 12 hours," Maura said, and offered me a bottle of water.
"What the fuck?" I said, and I was rewarded with a very childish giggle, and Maura clapping her hand over her mouth.
"Don't swear, Allison!" she said, behind her hand. "If Lindsey comes back, she'll give us both a lecture. She treats you like she's your mother, sometimes!" She was still giggling, but I was thinking.
The name Lindsey *did* ring a bell--Lindsey, still taller than me, older by 10 years, more beautiful and intelligent and everything else I'd wanted to be, now living in a commune like some hippy out of our parents' childhoods; and no doubt having children out of wedlock, that she permitted to use her first name. It was certainly plausible, anyway.
"Not children--just me. That's why she named me 'Maura'--it means bitterness. She said she was sorry, when I asked what my name meant, and she said she was depressed when she named me, but it's okay. She says I get to pick a middle name when I'm older, and I'm going to pick a nice one, and then everyone will have to call me that."
Alright, this was too freaking weird. How was the kid doing that?
She looked up at me, startled. "Oh. I didn't think of that. If you've forgotten me, you've forgotten I'm telepathic, too. Well I am. I'm a super-perceptive telepath, sometimes clairvoyant, and occasional medium; and only about 10 people in the whole world know it." And she beamed at me for a minute before shaking the water impatiently.
Feeling somehow chastised, I took the bottle, and had a swig. Before I could do much more than that, the little girl said sharply, "Oh, no. Come on, Allison--we have to get away from here."
Not knowing what else to do, I followed her, as she began walking due East.