What the hell?
I grabbed the thin mattress. This was so not happening. It was a vision. A druggie must have been on this table before me and had some weird hallucination. That had to be it. That was the only rational explanation.
Hands do not turn into claws. Especially not my hands.
Panic made it worse. My knuckles popped, and pain rolled up my arms.
“I know this has come as a shock. You have to understand that she is extremely dangerous—”
Dangerous? My panic turned to anger. Rage boiled my blood. It consumed me.
The pain grew. A growl escaped me as I squirmed in my bed. My growing nails shredded my gloves. My knees popped, sending shooting pain through me, and I screamed.
Mr. Dawson appeared by my side. “Shit,” he said under his breath. “We need a tranq in here. Now!”
I tried to sit up, but he dodged my swinging monster-arms and pinned me in place. I growled again, struggling to get free as he brought his nose to mine. All I could see were his eyes as they turned from hazel to bright olive.
Mr. Dawson made a low rumbling noise that rippled through me. The pain and heat lessened, clearing my head enough so that I could think about what had just happened.
This was a nightmare. My hands had transformed into beast claws.
And that anger. I’d never felt anything like it before. Not in any of my visions. Not ever.
I shivered. Was Mr. Dawson right? Please, God, don’t let Mr. Dawson be right.
The nurse, stinking of fear, rushed in, and stabbed my arm with a needle.
I couldn’t stop the tears as they rolled down my cheeks. Mom’s soft whimpering caught my attention. They were standing outside the curtain, staring at my deformed hands. Only a piece of the shredded white glove hung around my left wrist. Dad’s arms held Mom up as he stared openmouthed.
They looked how I felt.
If this is a dream, I want to wake up now.
“Oh my God. This is my fault.” Dad turned to Mr. Dawson. “Please. Help my daughter,” he whispered as the world faded from view.
I threw the covers off, gasping for breath. Sweat covered my body, thanks to some half-remembered nightmare still fading from my thoughts.
Where was I?
Right, hospital, for my shoulder. Because Dastien had hurt me at the party. I moved it slowly, but it didn’t even twinge. That was a good sign.
I hopped out of bed and the ties to my hospital gown got caught in the IV stand next to the bed. Thankfully it wasn’t hooked up to my arm. I grabbed the tie, and managed to somehow ram my elbow into the hard wall. Tingles exploded up my arm. I rubbed my funny bone as I glanced around. The room was excessively closet-like.
I backed up to take in the room, and fell on top of a springy metal box. Sighing, I turned around to kick the obstacle, but stopped before I made contact.
What the hell. Why was there a cage in my room?
I squatted down to take a closer look. There wasn’t a bowl or food in there like a normal dog kennel, but it was big enough for a large dog. Maybe a Great Dane or a Mastiff. But the cage was spotless inside. I reached out to open it without thinking. The metal bars of the cage were cold on my bare hand, and I pulled my hand away. I hadn’t gotten a vision, but something much worse.
I remembered huddling in the cage. Shaking. Pain. And I remembered needles. Lots and lots of drug-filled needles.
It was way past time for me to get the hell out of here.
I wasn’t going to get far in a hospital gown. I needed something less conspicuous. I frantically searched the wall of cabinets opposite the bed. Anything would do.
I hit the jackpot in a bottom cupboard. A fit-and-flare black cotton dress was neatly folded in the cabinet, along with my favorite worn-in boots and a pair of gloves. I didn’t have time to wonder how my stuff got in there or how I’d gotten to wherever the hell I was. If someone had caged me up like an animal, I wasn’t sticking around long enough to ask questions.
I pulled on my clothes and ran to the door. The knob wouldn’t move. I jiggled it, twisting one way then the other.
Locked. I was so screwed.
High heels click-clacked down the hallway toward the door.
I needed another way out. A tiny window let light in beside the bed, but it didn’t look like it’d open.
The footsteps were getting louder. I was running out of time and options.
I grabbed the IV stand and smashed it through the window, shattering the glass.
The person coming down the hall was running now.
I didn’t look down as I pushed myself onto the windowsill, careful to avoid the glass edges.
The door flew open and a tall, thin woman in a lab coat ran through the doorway. “Tessa! Wait—”