She wakes with a start. Pulse hammering, eyes wide, muscles taut…Where is she? What woke her? Who is watching her? These questions and more flood her brain, seeming to ooze out of her very skin as puzzling perspiration. The noise, the pain, the light, had it been real? Is she even alive? She looks down at herself. Everything is just as she remembers. Long red hair, pale translucent skin, strong yet slight frame, even her favorite jeans and most comfortable t-shirt, everything is as it should be…isn’t it? Something seems strange, the shirt, the jeans, even her skin seems so very normal, but normal is not the norm for Tressia. It never has been. Nothing fits her this well, not even her favorite jeans. Didn’t they rip several weeks ago? She always has scrapes and bruises. She never outgrew the clumsiness of adolescence, but she can’t see a single mark on herself now. She stops examining herself and looks around the room. Her queen sized bed for one, her dresser with rounded corners from so many meetings with her hip bones, her clip on lamp precariously perched on the headboard due to its broken clamp, it all seems so…normal. The window with its black lace curtains shows Tressia it is still night, the door…the door? Where is her door? It should be to the left of the dresser but all she sees is more of her maroon painted wall. How is that possible? Doors can’t just disappear. No matter how weird her life has been, she knows that this just isn’t possible. She strains her mind trying to grab onto the last thing she can remember…noise, pain, light, all jumbled together. That isn’t really any help. So she thinks back a bit further, as far as she can…. Memories flood her consciousness, her mother, jokingly calling her ugly causing Tressia to never consider herself beautiful… her father always smiling in the background until he was no longer there… her stepfather, gruff and tough but mostly harmless, uprooting her life over and over again…her cousins, always looking down their noses at her…various family members, always looking at her with pity overshadowing their love. She sees herself turning into an adult at last…the freedom of moving out and being on her own…finishing college and actually landing the career she wanted…finding not one but two loves that fill in the holes in her heart…cutting out the people in her life, her family and friends, who don’t value her choices…that horrible day when all her happiness vanished…Wait. Better not to rehash that, Tressia thinks, trying to focus on more recent events. She works diligently all school year, liking her job but no longer loving it. But it is summer now, nothing to do for 2 months except remember. Tressia sees herself filling the hot days with meaningless Facebook trolling and cheap ramen noodles…rarely going out, always an excuse for her colleagues trying to force her back into society…this week she hasn’t left her home at all…no one has visited, which was common since she pushed everyone away…except…The doorbell. She remembers the doorbell ringing. Was that today? Was it this very night? What had happened after that?