Hyleigh stood motionless in her bedroom. Her hand covered her mouth and her breaths were labored—coming more and more quickly with each passing second.
No. No, no, no, no.
She closed her eyes tightly to stop the room from spinning, and tears spilled out from beneath her lashes and ran down her cheeks.
But she’d heard it. No matter how she tried to stretch her imagination, she could think of no other explanation. She just hallucinated, and it was the voice she attributed to the Warrior of Light.
I did this. I wanted too badly to hear from him. I was obsessive with the way I read his letters. They’re not even from him. How stupid can I be? Did I actually believe he’s been writing to me?
This was escalating too quickly.
Is this the beginning of a psychotic episode? Am I going to hallucinate for the foreseeable future? Why did I think it was okay to do this?
She was becoming hysterical.
No, Hyleigh. Beating yourself up isn’t going to fix this. Be kind. Have some empathy.
But she'd heard it. There was no one around, and she’d heard a voice. She looked at the letters stacked on the dresser.
Maybe I should burn them. Maybe…
But when she thought about letting go of the letters, her mind became a desert. There was no life there. Her heart lurched into her stomach. The tears dried up. Everything was dry, desolate.
She shook her head emphatically.
I can’t go back to feeling that.
So she’d keep the letters. But what…her eyes flew wide. She bounded out of the room and made her way to the kitchen. With trembling fingers, she reached for the serum. She fumbled with the cork that held the bottle closed, set the bottle down, wiped her sweating palms on her pants. Then she tried again, attempting to steady herself. She yanked the cork out and lifted the bottle to her lips, then threw her head back and took a long pull of the serum.
But how would she see the letters while fully medicated? Would she still believe they were from him? That they were meant for her? Could she still find solace in them? She didn’t know. But she was resolved to keep looking, and could only pray that the emptiness didn’t return.