Cory blinked his eyes open.
He was standing in the middle of some moors; heather rolling into gentle slopes in the distance. The sky was a roiling grey mess of intertwined clouds. The hills stretched out as Cory slowly turned; marvelling in the raw beauty the place possessed.
A young girl was stood behind him; round blue eyes fixed upon him intently. Her nose was small, delicate, and her rosebud mouth was unsmiling. Long blonde hair fell to her waist. Her hands, in delicate lace gloves, were clasped in front of her. Her pink dress was frilly, falling to her knees.
Cory was convinced she was a large doll until she blinked.
“Um…” Cory said. “Hello?” Bad vibes just radiated off this child.
“Hello,” The child said. Her face was expressionless: painted on.
“I’m, uh, Cory,” Cory said, unease swirling leaden in his stomach. “What-what’s your name?”
“Becca.” Her voice was small. “Ms. Nashita said to come get you.” Becca turned around and started walking away; delicately picking her way through the heather.
Cory stumbled after her. “How old are you, Becca?” he called.
She stopped and turned to face him. “5,” she said.
“And, uh, you were sent to get me?”
Cory’s stomach began to tighten. “Do you live here?”
“There.” Becca pointed to the dark beginnings of a forest.
“Okay…” Cory said. “I’m gonna go.” He turned and ran, pushing through heather, away from the blank child that set his teeth on edge and spoke like an adult.
Cory checked over his shoulder. Becca stood amongst the heather, watching him run, face passive. He shivered and ran faster.
The path turned and a red phone box came into view.
Cory surfaced in biology: Naveed on his left and Riz on the other side of the table. His head pounded and the world was shiny around the edges.
“You alright, mate?” Naveed whispered.
Cory nodded, looking at the page of biology notes in front of him.
“You just suddenly stopped writing.”
“Headache,” Cory mumbled. He blinked and Becca’s emotionless face flashed in front of him. “Gotta go.” He stood up, dropping his pen in his notebook and leaving the class, ignoring Mr Hyatt’s indignant calls.
His last memory was showering yesterday evening. Cory looked up, saw Becca standing part-way down the empty corridor and turned back around, eventually stumbling upon a bathroom.
Cory pulled out his phone and checked the time.
He remembered showering in the evening two days ago. Cory took a shaky breath in.
Cory was forgetful. He was constantly misplacing things, forgetting hangout plans, and who people were. He forgot how he got places, where he bought that item, and jokes with his friends that he was there for. Hell, he sometimes passed through days in such blurs that he forgot them.
But he’d never lost two days before. His memory had never neglected to file away two days.
Once he’d stopped shaking, he returned to biology and assured his friends that he was fine, despite feeling like a stranger wearing his own body.
He looked at his notes; then looked again.
That wasn’t even his handwriting.