16. A Water Bottle, Anyone?

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     Did I run a marathon?

     That's my first thought when I come into semi-consciousness. Everything aches, and I feel so stiff, I don't think I can move if I try. Even fluttering my eyelids takes a great deal of energy, and a sound comes up from my throat, one of pain.

     "She's awake." I hear a woman's voice.

      "It's too soon. The medication hasn't worn off. She'll be back under in a few seconds." A man's voice.

      Then darkness.

    *            *          *           *             *

     This time, when I wake up, it's not as painful.

     I open my eyes and see a white ceiling above me. Wait, I know this ceiling. It's the same ceiling I've stared up at for hours when bored.

Why am I in the lab?

    I try to sit up, but fire shoots up my back and arms, making me go rigid as I gasp. The door opens and I make out the blurry figure of my dad through tear filled eyes.

     "Ashley! Thank God you're awake! Lay down and don't move!" He says, and I all too happily follow his orders. He rushes out of the room, only to return in a few seconds with the doctor in tow.

I recognize him as the same doctor who conducted x-rays on me before Zero went berserk.

    The doctor, a balding, tall man yanks his arm out of my dad's grip with an irritated huff, before walking over and checking the annoying beeping machine that I'm hooked up too.

     "How are you feeling Ashley?" The doctor asks.

      "Sore" Is all I can croak out.

 My dad leaves the room in a rush, returning with a whole jug of water. He helps prop me up, and I wince as pain strikes down my back,but then I start to sip the water and the jug is finished in a few seconds. My throat feeling slightly better, I sigh, laying back down.

     "You took a few bad injuries, Ashley. One of your shoulders was nearly dislocated and you almost fractured your spine. Not to mention the mark on your neck, which luckily is not a puncture wound. Fortunately you should heal within a few days, although you will be feeling extremely sore ." The doctor finishes.

    My eyes go wide while he's talking, and I remember everything from the night before.

Sylvia is a Darkling.

And she's here for Zero.

And to get Zero she has to kill me.

    "What happened?" I ask, wondering what everyone else saw and what illusion Sylvia wove.

     "Peter heard a scream and saw you hanging over the side of the boat, with Dr. Collins running from the scene of the crime at the same time. The security team apprehended him before he could get off the boat and he's now admitting to assaulting you."

     Poor Dr. Collins. I recall Sylvia saying something about him not being able to keep his eyes closed and his mouth shut. Did he know what Sylvia was? Or did he have a theory?

    Only then do I notice what I'm wearing. I look down to see I'm in a night dress, probably since we have no proper hospital gowns. I'm glad to see it's a night dress I own, and hopefully it was at least a nurse who changed me.

     "Ashley!" I hear someone shout down the hall, then a few scuffs and grunts. Suddenly, Peter, Shy, and Jack come bursting into the room, panting slightly. Jack has a bloody nose and black eye, which makes me quirk an eyebrow in confusion.

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