For once, bright lights blind me.
I am not used to so much light; after all, I've ever known is the never-ending blackness of My world. Everything is a sea of white, and I wonder where I am now.
The hazy blurriness sharpens every second I fight through it.
To my left is a short, muscular boy with a sandy buzz-cut. His dark blue eyes are brimmed with tears, but they are also hopeful, relief flooding through them. He clutches my hand so tight it hurts.
The boy looks like a train wreck honestly. A severely train-wrecked, sleep deprived, jittery teenager. His dull red t-shirt is stained and wrinkled. Through the sterile atmosphere, I smell a slight waft of B.O. from him. As he opens his mouth to speak, I hear another voice.
Instantly, I remember the stones.
"Anna? Anna, are you ok?"
A white-coated man looms over me, and probes a few machines behind me. He appears to be in his late 50's: salt and pepper hair, stubble on his chin, and the works. He looks back at me, his eyes full of concern.
"Anna, my name is Dr. Raine. I understand you probably have a lot of questions, you just narrowly escaped death." Dr. Raine addresses the boy next to me. "Would you like a few seconds with her? She seems fine, but if she needs anything just hit the button and we'll send a nurse right away."
I am so confused.
So terribly, horribly, utterly confused.
My whole world is shifting and changing with every breath I take. But I still my tongue for now.
The blonde haired boy nods curtly. With that, we are alone.
"Hi, sis." He grins tiredly at me, still holding my hand. "Do you uh... remember me? I'm Cy. Cyrus Banks. Your twin brother?"
He pauses for me to reply. Words aren't forming in my mouth, though I want them to. What is he talking about? I don't have a brother. Do I?
"Cyrus." I croak out, my voice scraggly and hoarse. My head feels as if someone is taking a sledgehammer to all my legible thoughts, obliterating them from existence.
The boy, my twin brother, breaks out in a beautiful smile, tears spilling over. "Y-y-yup. That's me. God, Anna I thought you were done for. I honestly thought you weren't gonna make it to our next birthday, the big 1-8. But you pulled through. My sis, the fighter. Jesus, I... I don't know what I wouldda done without you since Mom and Dad are gone.."
Lost in thought, Cyrus trails off, leaving me hanging.
What about Mom and Dad? Who are they? Why am I here? What happened? What WILL happen?
Who am I?
So many questions bombard my head with no answers.
"Can I- Can I see a mirror?" I don't know what comes over me, but I want to see myself. There's that word again in my mind. Myself. Such a funny word.
Cyrus bunches up his bushy eyebrows in confusion. "Uh, sure. One sec. I swore I'd call Valerie the second you woke up. She's gonna be so ecstatic, probably will tackle you or something like that. Then I'd haveta kick her out again. Actually, nah I wouldn't do something that cruel. Well, anyway one second."
More questions. Who is Valerie? She was kicked out before? How does she know me?
None of which get answered, but Cyrus hands me a tiny square mirror from his bag. As he dials a number on his phone, I inspect my features from top to bottom.
I have the same exact eyes as Cyrus. Deep, indigo blue that seem electrified, yet complacent. The calm before the storm, captured in a color. I glance over my cheek bones, nose, and ears. All are angular and gaunt, like a starved animal. Did I look like this in My world?
The whole top of my head is covered in gauze and bandages.
I stare at myself , mesmerized (Is this really me?) while Cyrus is speaking in whispers excitedly to an unknown entity on the phone.
I look at myself like I am a foreign species. It is very plain to see that Cyrus is my identical twin, but I'm still trying to grasp the idea.
Drowsiness is tugging at my eyelids and slowing down my fast-paced thoughts.
Just as my brother finishes his conversation, I am almost falling asleep. "It's ok. I'll always be here for you Anna, no matter what. Val is comin' as soon as possible. If you need anything just ask me ok? Love you."
"Who's Valerie?" I whisper. I feel a strong urge to know. Like a cat trying to chase a million different mice, but can only focus on one at a time.
A warm, soft fuzziness descends into my mind. I close my leaden eyes. I swear I hear, "Your girlfriend, Anna."
When I awake the second time I find that I am alone, Cyrus is asleep on the futon.
I try to sit up and stretch. Every bone in my body hates this decision, aching with a vengeance. My head throbs when the realization of what all had happened crashed down upon me. Tears well in my eyes unexpectedly.
Who am I?
I don't even know.
Wait, yes I do. Sort of.
I am Anna Banks. Sister to Cyrus Banks. Seventeen years old. Dark blue eyes.
My list stops abruptly when I run out of things I know about myself. That strikes a nerve in my heart, I've never felt so alone and confused. Is this the stones' way of triumphing in victory over me? Did they finally win? I hope to God they didn't.
I feel so broken, so shattered. So completely defeated.
Hot drops of water roll down my cheeks silently.
"I won't give up. I've gone through too much to throw in the towel now." I promise myself.
Suddenly, the door in the right corner opens. I expect Dr. Raine to come waltzing in.
However, it is not Dr. Raine that comes waltzing in.
It is a girl, soaked in rain, her waves of dark brown hair billowing over her shoulders.
I swear I feel my heart stop. Even if the beeping machine didn't detect it with it's constant stream of BEEP... BEEP... BEEP, I know my heart skipped a beat.
She closes the door gently, and turns to see me. Gasping quietly, she stands there, frozen. I am sure I have the same expression as she: amazed, shocked, and ridiculously happy all at once.
The girl takes a few tenative steps forward. "Anna? You're... you're ok!" Then, she just about (as Cyrus had said) tackled me where I laid.
"Val," I smile. "I missed you."
I have no idea where this comes from, but I know it's true.
I don't know this girl, but I feel like I do. I wish so badly to take her in my arms, but I can't.
The girl sits down at my bedside and holds my right hand, stroking it softly. She presses her lips against my hand, crying, "Anna Banks, you better not leave me again like that, or I swear I'll lose it. I'll just completely lose whatever sanity I have left."
"Don't cry, I won't ever leave again." I tell her, gripping her hand firmly.
Cyrus sits up, groggily muttering, "Ugh, gross, puppy love."
"Oh, shut up, I bet you were bawlin' like a baby when she came back, Cy!" Valerie replies, sniffling softly.
Cyrus turns a scarlet red, but brandishes a brave smile. He turns my way and asks, "You ok, Anna?"
I feel a grin creep onto my lips. Things are so different than they were back in My world, but I think I like it alot better than going it alone.
I have so many questions for Cy and Valerie about my life, their lives, and life in general. However, as I'm looking at two of the closest people in my new life, I feel brave and I feel strong.