Year Two: Rebels - Cara Wylde


I woke up with a start. Lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, trying to remember where I was. The room was shrouded in darkness. I breathed in and out slowly, my chest rising and falling. I blinked. Once, twice, and with every blink of my eyes, some of the fog in my brain seemed to clear. Minutes passed. An hour passed, maybe… I felt like I now dwelled outside of time, so minutes and hours as measurements didn’t mean much to me. They were concepts from another life, concepts that were just coming back to me now, and I was trying them out again to see if they still applied. Mostly, they didn’t. At some point, light started coming in through a square window right above my head, and it first projected on the wall in front of me. I closed my eyes and checked in with myself. Did I feel like getting out of the bed? Did I want to go back to sleep? When I noticed both options left me cold and indifferent, I decided to sit up and check in with myself again. I felt… empty.

Propped up on a pillow, I looked around, taking in every detail of the room with increased disinterest. I only kept studying and assessing my surroundings out of inertia. I was here, awake, my eyes were open, and what did a pair of open eyes do? They took things in. What things? Physical objects, I guessed. The world.

The world… What a foreign, unrelatable concept.

The room was small, white, and impersonal – an empty table, a chair, a wardrobe, and the bed I was sitting in. On the wall to my left – a white door slightly ajar, revealing a sink and a toilet. On the wall in front of my bed – an equally white door that was currently shut. It seemed to be the only way out of the room. The window above my bed was so small that maybe only a child could’ve squeezed in or out through it. I inspected the bed. White sheets, coarse to the touch. They had been washed and bleached too many times. I looked at my own hands. I stretched my arms in front of me and looked at my carelessly chopped fingernails and dry skin. I touched my face. It felt just as dry. My lips were chapped, so I sucked them between my teeth to wet them. I ran my hands through my hair and discovered it was oily and matted to my head. It hadn’t been washed in a while. I needed a shower, I thought. Hand lotion, face cream, all those good products that made my long blond hair shiny and my skin smooth.

“What’s happening?” I whispered, and my voice sounded strange to me. It was hoarse and low, like I hadn’t been using it enough. “Where am I?” The information was there, in my brain. I just had to dig for it, make an effort. Some of my motivation to exist and take action – any kind of action – returned as I realized I had to solve the mystery. My memory seemed to be… in pieces.

I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and looked at my bare feet. Just as unkempt as the rest of my body. Soft, light hair had grown on my legs freely, looking like it hadn’t been shaved in forever. For a second, I felt a pang of pain in my chest. It hurt to realize the state I was in. But the pain quickly faded, and I was left empty once more. I stood up and made my way into the bathroom.

There was no mirror.

I stared at the white wall for a while. Just stared, blinking from time to time, thinking about nothing. I forgot why I was there in the first place. Forgot what had prompted me to get out of the bed and into this closet that posed as a bathroom. Minutes must have passed…


What was a minute? What was it made of? Seconds, I remembered. I let out a short, weak laugh. If nothing else, it snapped me out of my trance. I turned the water on and splashed some onto my face. There was a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste on the sink, and I guessed they were mine. I brushed my teeth, then patted my face with the only towel I could find. I turned on my heels and went back into