I could not escape. They were following me, voices that started as a whisper and grew louder and louder until they reached their climax, a deadly crescendo. I knew that when I could make out the words it would be too late.
In panic I started to run, fleeing the voices. They followed me wherever I went as I raced down the narrow, black corridor. But I could see nothing. I did not know where I was going and I did not know how to escape. They were coming for me. The voices could see; the dark did not bother them ... and I was trapped. I could not get out.
My terror started to overcome me. My voice came in short gusts, my heart pounding, and it wasn't from the exertion of running. Then I heard it. A low whisper.
"Michelle..." it said. "Michelle..."
I turned at the sound of my name, but there was nothing to be seen. "What is it?" I asked shakily. "Who is there? What do you want?"
"Michelle ... you are ours ... we will never let you go ..."
And I knew that the whisper belonged to the voices which had tormented me through my life, which had held me in their grasp. I knew they were there, right behind me. It was true. They would never let me go.
There was nothing to be done but scream. I opened my mouth, intending to alert others of my presence and my pursuers. No sound came out and I was doomed. This had to be the end.
I woke sweating, to see that it was all a dream. I was still in the large room at the hospital, with the multicoloured quilt over me. No one was after me. I was perfectly safe.
"I hope-" I began, and then broke off, puzzled because I could not remember what it was that I was going to say. "I hope they sort me out soon."
The previous evening I had gone down to dinner with the other children there. They were mostly stranger than me. I was scared of them. Some of them dribbled, some of them sat talking to thin air, as though convinced someone was sitting next to them. Others just stared at me, like I was an alien.
But the worst bit was that I knew I belonged here, because I was crazy too. Mam had told me that; now I believed her. The dream was evidence.
Soon it would be breakfast and I would be returning to the same dining room for more food. The food wasn't bad, actually, much better than what I was used to at home. But it was facing everybody else that was the worst bit.
The door opened, and the nurse came in. I'd discovered that her name was Katrina. "Michelle, are you okay? You look very pale."
"A - a bad dream. They were coming for me..."