I Was Trapped In A House With Twelve People Who All Wanted Me Dead

Before she could jiggle the handle, right as her fingers curled around the silver knob, electricity shot through her body. The convulsions started at her fingertips and worked their way down her spine and into her legs. She shivered there, stuck in an electric seizure, for ten counts until she stiffened and dropped.

Wait… I could still do that. I could still count. I knew numbers and letters and words, elementary school knowledge. I forced myself to create lists inside my head and realized I could name dog breeds and sports cars and Disney movies. Crime novels and fighting styles and gun classes. But I found it impossible to list off my family members or my cell number or my age or my weight. Personal details stayed lost in a fog.

I continued to sift through my memories as a coping mechanism, as a distraction to avoid watching Ocean Sleeve check Paws Prints pulse, dip his head, and announce how faint it felt. To avoid the chaos that came next, of someone pointing out the lack of windows, and someone else winding back to punch the wall, discovering steel beneath the sheetrock.

Other discoveries were made, on the edge of relieving and disturbing. Food in the fridge. Cans in the cupboards. Clean clothes in the closets and shampoo in the shower stalls.

Someone set up this place. Someone planned for this. Someone picked us for a reason.

“Maybe it’s the end of the world,” an older woman with black angel wings across her shoulders said, pacing around the kitchen. “Maybe this is a bunker sent to us by God and it’s good we can’t get out because everyone else’s skin is bubbling up and bursting apart from the radiation.”

A teenager with tribal markings raised a brow. “What about an alien abduction?” he teased. “Can’t rule out that either.”

With limited memories, figuring out why someone brought us there felt impossible, so I tried to find a link between everyone in the house instead. Something we all shared. A reason someone would group us together and lock us inside.

I glanced from face to face. At Ocean Sleeve. Paw Prints. Black Angel. Tribal Marks.

“We all have tattoos,” I said, my voice thin and cracked from disuse. “I don’t know, maybe that means something.”

Tribal Marks made a comment about how everyone had tattoos nowadays, how even old ladies sported ink. Heads nodded. Throats cleared. Conversations branched toward other things.

“Wait, no, wait. Our tattoos could help,” Angel said, raising three fingers like a girl scout leader. “It’s doubtful that’s why we’re here, but maybe it can spark a memory. Maybe it can give us a clue about who we are.” She lifted her tattooed shoulder. “I mean, I must have gotten this for a reason. Oh, maybe I was a preacher’s wife! I’ve always had a thing for those southern types with their long…”

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