Hannah shut her eyes so tight that she couldn't even peak out of them while she grasped onto her older sister with all her might. She knew what was going to happen, and she didn't want to look. The last thing she heard was a far off woosh, and then silence. It was like falling asleep. One second, she could hear the airplane, and the next she couldn't even feel her fingers. Somehow, her sister wasn't there anymore. Everything was black, but it wasn't Black Friday anymore. On top of that, Hannah couldn't even hear a single sound. Eventually, she even gave into the darkness.
Before the little girl knew what was happening, she felt her senses return. Hannah noticed her chest rising and falling, but she didn't open her eyes quite yet. Something warm and soft covered her. Maybe if she just lie there, her sister would come wake her up and prove that the horrible events of yesterday were all just a bad nightmare. Maybe, just maybe, it was all over and she just fell asleep in the back of Ethan's new car on the way to California. With all her heart, she wanted to believe that was the truth, but she couldn't hear the soft rumbling of an engine or feel her head bounce a little on the road.
Groaning, she pulled the covers over her face and rolled over. Her shifting made the bed shake, which didn't help her attempts to fall back asleep at all. In fact, moving only made her even more uncomfortable. For a while, she tossed and turned before another sound broke the relative quiet. A creak of a door, the soft thud of footsteps. The bed creaked as someone sat down on the edge by Hannah's feet. It was probably just Lex, so Hannah didn't mind that much. Still, she tried her best to ignore it and fall back into a dream, preferably where Black Friday never happened at all. Maybe, if she wished hard enough, there wouldn't even be a day by that name at all.
"Hannah, honey...it's time to wake up," an unfamiliar voice called. It came from where Hannah assumed Lex was sitting, but that didn't make any sense. She knew what her own sister's voice sounded like, after all. Unless, the person that sat at the end of the bed wasn't Alex.
Cautiously, the young girl opened one eye. It would be an understatement to say that she was simply confused. She didn't recognize the room she was in at all, though she could only see a little. Unlike her own room back at home, nothing was broken and everything was neat and tidy. There was even a nice desk with a laptop and some art supplies. Drawings and posters were hung up on the wall around it. There weren't even dirty clothes littering the carpet; they were all folded neatly into the hamper. Even what she could see of the bed was nice and clean. It was nothing like what she was used to at all.
Back in her alcoholic mother's house, she didn't have anything close to what anyone would consider nice. The best she had was her school supplies and the occasional second-hand clothes that Lex managed to earn enough money for at Toy Zone. Toy stores didn't pay much, but all that money went to either food or just the family's addiction problems. Now that she thought about it, she couldn't smell even a hint of that awful alcohol her mom and sister would drink, and there wasn't even a whiff of smoke in the air. Instead, a feint scent of lavender seemed to come from one of those Febreeze air fresheners that was plugged into the wall.
Even stranger was the woman sitting by Hannah's feet. She only got a glimpse of her, but that lady most definitely wasn't her sister. When the girl closed her eye and shifted again, she felt a horrible shiver down her spine as the woman gently ran her hand up and down along Hannah's back. Even though she initially wanted to pretend like everything was just a dream, clearly she couldn't exactly ignore it any longer. Especially not when the stranger was uncomfortably close. Hannah winced at the light a little as she opened and rubbed her eyes.
"I-I'm up..I'm up!" the girl protested, attempting to get the woman away from her. Now that she was more awake, Hannah could see the woman better. She was beautiful and had the softest looking red hair. Even the nurse's uniform she wore was clean and spotless. She was smiling softly, but something was off. Even though she didn't look very threatening, just looking at her made Hannah feel almost sick. Maybe it was because she just woke up, or how confused she was already, but it took Hannah a few seconds to realize why her stomach started twisting into knots. Suddenly, it hit her like a ton of bricks. She had seen this person before, but only once, in the Hatchetfield Mall. Although, she couldn't really figure out what the lady's name was.
When she realized who was touching her, Hannah instinctively moved back as far as she could. Unfortunately, the bed was in a corner so she could only move closer to the wall and pull the covers up. The nurse's expression changed from her kind smile to almost genuine worry and she slowly pulled her hand away.
"I'm so sorry! Did I scare you, Hannah?"
Hannah only pulled the covers over her eyes in response. Whenever she looked at the woman, all she could see was the monster that tried to kill her over a dumb toy. And whenever she thought about that...well, she started panicking to say the least. She didn't want to remember that day. It was too soon. Why did she have to deal with this so soon? Every other time things had mostly been the same for a while. But not this time. This time, she had to face her fears right as she woke up. She didn't want to ever go back to that horrible mall, in her memories or otherwise.
Even though the girl couldn't see her anymore, the woman sighed and muttered,"I really am sorry...I guess I'm not very good at this yet. I forgot that you don't like that."
Huh? What is she talking about?
Hannah didn't really understand what she meant. It didn't exactly make sense. None of this made sense at all. Where was she? What day was it? How did this lady know where to find her? Fear swallowed Hannah instead of the other way around. Since she moved, the bed creaked again as the woman got up. Again, Hannah could hear footsteps. When the footsteps were softer, she got up and started to fix the bed. After all, in such a tidy room, it just wouldn't be right for the bed to be a mess. Just when she was almost done, she heard the woman's voice again behind her,"Oh and-"
Hannah jumped in surprise. Maybe Black Friday was actually starting to scare her. Nervously, she quickly turned around to see her in the door frame.
"Breakfast is almost ready,"
Hannah nodded and finished fixing the bed, even though she still wanted to just go back to sleep. Then, she looked down and realized that she still was wearing the t-shirt, overalls, and cover-up that she had entered the mall in. How did she even fall asleep in jeans? Just imagining that is so uncomfortable. Luckily she apparently didn't make that choice consciously. She scanned the room, looking for a wardrobe or closet or something. There was a dresser right by the bed. It must have been just out of Hannah's vision earlier. It was on the opposite wall than the desk. She took a minute to rifle through the drawers. Quickly Hannah noticed that all of the clothes in it were way nicer than anything she had ever owned. Even the socks were neatly folded and almost looked new. Definitely not from Good Will.
After checking to make sure the door was closed, she changed into a nice pink sweater and some comfy looking jeans that she found. Of course she grabbed one of the pairs of socks, but realized she didn't know where her shoes were. It didn't take long for her to find the shoes and Lex's backpack by the bed. Her old sneakers looked just as beat up as they always did, but they were slightly dirtier than usual. When Hannah sat down on the bed and picked up the first shoe to put on, she noticed something odd. They were just normal black and white sneakers, but there were a couple tiny drops of red near the tip.
Hannah froze in place when she saw them. She didn't even have to think about what they were, she just stared at the shoe blankly. There had only been one red substance near her at the mall after all. On top of that, there was only one person she was close enough to for it to get dropped on her shoe like that. Suddenly, she remembered her hat. She wasn't wearing it when she woke up, so maybe it was in one of her pockets. Running back to the hamper she dropped her clothes in after changing, she checked the pockets. Nothing. That worried her a little, maybe she lost it in the chaos. Then she noticed that Lex's backpack was in presumably Hannah's room. That was a little odd. When she unzipped it, nothing was there except a scrunched up old hat - exactly what Hannah was looking for.
Hannah didn't really care if her hair was messy, but she had to wear the hat. After all, it was Ethan's, and - her eyes felt heavy and warm all of a sudden. Just the thought was enough apparently. But she didn't have time to think about that. If that nurse came back into the room because Hannah was taking too long, she wasn't sure what would happen, but it definitely wouldn't be good. By the time she actually put on her shoes and left the room, she wasn't even sure how much time had passed. She didn't even check her watch the whole time.
The door clicked as Hannah ventured into the unknown. As she walked, the wonderful smells of eggs, bacon, and powdered sugar wafted through the air. When was the last time she smelled something so good? Thank goodness for her sense of smell, because she was able to figure out where the kitchen was. The nurse was cooking, and there was a little island in the kitchen where three plates had been set out. Although nothing was on the plates just yet, silverware was set up and there were two cups of orange juice.
"Just sit where ever you like, hun. It'll be ready any second now!" the woman called over her shoulder while she finished what looked like French toast.
The whole room smelled amazing. The sizzling food looked fantastic. Hannah was pretty sure she hadn't seen this much food in the morning unless it was one of the rare days she got to go out to IHop or something with Lex and Ethan. Usually, they never had enough extra money to go, so it was only for very special occasions. Sometimes they didn't even have breakfast. Still, last time she saw the woman, Hannah almost died. Maybe it was poisoned or something. Or at the very least some kind of trap.
Hannah grabbed her hat and fumbled it around in her hands before she could find the courage to speak up. When she finally did, her voice was soft and she mumbled,"U-uhm...i-is it a special day ...or something?"
Still cooking but almost finished, the woman laughed,"No. No, silly. Thanksgiving was only two days ago."
"R-right..." the small girl muttered quietly, almost inaudibly.
While the nurse finished the last of the preparations for breakfast, the girl clutched Ethan's hat in one hand and sipped her orange juice with the other. She didn't want to let it go. She tried to remember the lady's name, but all she remembered was that terrifying time in the mall. Before Hannah knew it, all three plates were packed full with delicious looking treats. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and french toast with powdered sugar even. Just looking at the delicious-looking pile of food was almost enough to make her forget who cooked it. Then again, she couldn't even figure out the woman's name.
"Thanks..." Hannah said, trailing off as she tried once again to remember her name to no avail.
"Becky is fine," the woman offered,"You don't have to call me Mom or anything." Becky looked a little sad as she said that, but it was really more awkward than anything else. At least Becky didn't think Hannah forgot her name. Instead of talking, she decided to start digging into her food. She started with the toast and smiled back at Hannah from the other side of the island.
There was still one plate set with food, and the little girl glanced at it and wondered who it was for. Maybe they should wait for them? Becky must have noticed what she was looking at, because she stopped eating for a second. "Oh, Tim will be out any second, it's fine."
That wasn't very reassuring. Even one person was a lot to handle, right after spending most of the day before hiding in a kiddie tunnel from people trying to kill her. And she really only knew one person named Tim. They were in the same class at Hatchetfield Grade School together. In fact they had been ever since school started. It wasn't like they lived in a big city or anything. There really only were two grade, middle, and high schools respectively.
Not to mention, Hannah still looked at the food and poked at it instead of actually eating. Still, because of how they were sitting, she could see Becky on the other side. Even if the food was too good to be true, it might make the nurse even more upset. That knot in her stomach never really went away. She still didn't exactly feel safe. Maybe she could ask Webby about it later, but she didn't have time for that now. If she didn't eat, she would probably be in a lot of trouble.
A few minutes after Becky started eating, a little boy wandered into the room nonchalantly. He wasn't fully dressed, but he had shorts and a tank top on. Almost immediately, Hannah recognized who he was. That messy, unkempt hair was pretty obvious. Tim sat down quietly, and glared a little at Becky, but at least he didn't think Hannah was out of the ordinary. He just started to eat his food and drink his juice.
Becky only gave him an awkward smile before noticing that the little girl still hadn't started on her meal.
"It'll get cold if you don't hurry," she said with a light smile.