Rob continued “Now this may come as a bit of a shock, but I am afraid to tell you that, well, you are dead.” I choked on a breath, in horror and shock. Did he say dead?! “You are part of a program that will help you to recover, and understand that what you did was wrong. When you have recovered, you will be reborn and given another chance at life. You won’t remember your past life, but you will hopefully be ‘programmed’ not to fall into the same traps as last time.” He was looking at me with concerned eyes, but he was fading fast beneath a blur. It took me far too long to realise that the blur was my tears. I needed to get out of there. This was a mistake, I wasn’t dead. Any minute now I would wake up, wake up from this terrible nightmare. I pinched myself, kicking myself internally for using such a well known cliché, but it didn’t seem to work. I had to get out. The chair toppled backwards as I stood up, but I wasn’t startled in the slightest. Everything felt numb as I ran. “Someone, get Shona now! Be quick!” I could hear Rob shouting faintly, as I sprinted down the long white corridor. Someone crashed into me and I was knocked to the ground. My vision was still blurry, but I could just see Shona knelt down beside me before I blacked out.
“Leeela? Wake up for me baby, come on”. I blinked wearily, my eyelids heavy. I could only see a blur in a white background. “Mum?” I croaked. Someone blew a sigh of relief. “No honey, it’s me Shona. Remember, you're not at home. You're at the SR centre. You're not on Earth anymore.” My foggy mind cleared and I remembered what Rob had said. I sat bolt upright, attempting to run, but Shona wrapped her arms round me and rocked me slowly. “It’s going to be okay honey; we’re here to help you. We want to give you another chance.” I shook my head sluggishly. “No, no, no. I don’t want to be dead. I want my mummy back!” I cried, only to be answered by Shona's soft rhythm of rocking and shushing. “After you start making progress, you get to see your friends and family. You get to see them moving on. It’s not to hurt you; it helps you move on from them.” I carried on shaking my head. “Why am I here?” I asked quietly. “Let’s get you back to therapy, yeah? That will help you recover and then you can start your new life.” I nodded, silently. Therapy was the only thing that seemed familiar right now.
Before we stepped into the room, I heard Rob hiss “everyone play nice. Just because you all adjusted doesn’t mean she did.” I stopped, palms flat on the door but not moving. The bright white light made my head ache and my eyesight fuzzy. “Come on sweetie. It’s going to be alright. Everything might be a lot to take in but I need you to promise me you’ll stay sat down in there, and answer Robs questions. It’s important for you and for the others.” I nodded slowly and tried to smile at her, but I couldn’t stop the tears dripping silently down my cheeks. The door squeaked as I opened it. Everyone turned to look at me, as I stood there awkwardly with Shona lightly pushing me forward. Harry glanced up and smiled softly, Megan gave me a nod, David beamed and winked, the two lovers acknowledged me but then looked away, and finally I found my gaze meeting Lisa’s. Her eyes gleamed as she smirked and flipped her hair. She sat upright, smiling sweetly and said “Look whose back! What was your name again? I can’t quite... remember?” Her blue eyes glinted like sharks teeth. “Leila. It was Leila.” Megan said, smiling softly. I smiled back at her and sat down.
Shona grinned at me before leaving, and I found myself again looking round the group. I was trying to read their faces, to find out what they thought of me. Why was I trying to do that? I was never this nosy. I was usually shy and kept me head down, desperately trying to avoid girls like Lisa, and boys who looked like Harry. Boys who looked like Harry were boys who were like Darren. Darren was in the same league as Harry, and boys in that League don’t need to play nice. That was why I... that was why I did what? Why couldn’t I remember? I can remember Darren, sweet Darren with his floppy blonde hair, soft lips and big brown eyes. One day calling me a freak like the rest of them, the next day smiling and asking for my number. But I can’t remember anything else. I can’t think of why my mind is begging me not to look at Harry, not to smile back when he smiles at me. I just know that I can’t, that it’s bad to talk to boys like him. So why, when he glances up and catches my eye before smiling softly, do I smile back?
“Now then, some may call this radical but I believe the best way to go about your therapy is too get everything out in the open and explain why this has happened. Leila, should we start with you? I need you to really think hard about your last day.” I nodded at him, still in a daze, and tried desperately to remember what had happened. I shook my head sadly, eyes glued to the floor in defeat. I could remember snippets of things happening, but that was all. When I explained this to Rob he beamed. “Tell us these snippets then! I'm sure we can help you piece it all together.” Lisa’s eyes were bright with joy, watching me squirm in embarrassment. “Erm, well I guess I remember being at a party. Drinking. Lots of awkwardness, lots of trying to get away from it by drinking. It was on March 3rd, my great uncles birthday. Mum was annoyed that I’d rather go to a party than stay home with them. And then I remember running home from school, sitting on my floor crying, but that was a week later. Maybe even longer. Then it stops, my mind just goes blank.” I sat down in a crumpled heap, annoyed that I couldn’t remember.
“Hm, that's interesting. I think that will be all for today. Everyone needs some time to... adjust. See you here tomorrow. Your angels should be here to pick you up.” Rob said, as I groaned inwardly. Why was I the only one who had had to speak? Shona was at the door, smiling brightly as always. “Hey sweetie, how’d it go?” her voice was dripping with sugary sweetness. I mumbled “alright thanks” quietly. She smiled sympathetically. “It’s going to be alright. The sooner you recover, the sooner you can get out of here, so just try to listen in therapy and say the right things.” I nodded briefly, not concentrating. “Listen, I know what you're going through. Well not exactly, but yeah. Maybe you should go to the rec room? I doubt it’ll be good for you to stay in your room. Sometimes, it’s better not to be alone with your thoughts, y’know? Come on, this way.” She motioned me to follow her, and being the confused obedient little girl I appeared to have morphed into, I of course followed.
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