Pressure made the room constrict around Anne. Her heart, a small dense stone, sunk through the black tide.
“See? What does Isaac know?” Tonya slapped her shoulder. “You do have tentacles, just not ones that stick out."
Anne gritted her teeth. “What are you talking about?”
“You’re not dying. Trust me.” Tonya pulled a buckle loose.
“Then what was all that about?”
“Dr. Fuller is wrong. He thinks you’re human and you’re not. He knows something is different about you though.”
“Not human?” Anne shook her head. “Then what am I?”
“I don’t know. But we need to get you out of here before the biopsy. Once they get a real piece of you, they’re not going to let you go.”
Once her hand was free, Anne made short work of the rest of the restraints. She pushed herself up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Cold air against her bare back raised Goosebumps on her skin.
“We just need to find your clothes.” Tonya rummaged through the bedside drawers. “I’ll take you somewhere to buy some new ones to help you blend in. Probably Walmart. Sorry I can’t afford better. Poor college student here.” She shut the last drawer with a thump. “I hope you’re up for walking. I don’t have a car and I doubt Isaac will be much help. I laid the guilt on pretty thick, but he’s hard-headed.”
Anne stared blankly. The stream of words jumbled together and rushed over her, leaving her gasping for air.
Tonya opened a door and glanced over her shoulder. “Right, I keep forgetting. You have no idea what I’m talking about. You’re an alien with amnesia.” She laughed. “You’re a walking cliché. My creative writing teacher wouldn’t like you.”
The black tide receded to be replaced with red. “I’m not in the mood for jokes. So just be quiet.”
“Well, crap,” Tonya said. “Tell me what you really think, why don’t ya?”
Anne rolled her shoulder, the joint popping. Her left arm tangled in tubes and wires. She scowled and pulled the strange things off. Warm fluid and blood mixed and ran down her hand. Alarms protested, setting her teeth on edge.
"Aw, come on. I didn't mean for you to do that just yet."
The door flew open and Anne jumped to her feet.
"What's going on in here? Why did you let her out of the restraints?" A dark-haired woman rushed forward and pressed a button on the wall. She tapped a few buttons and silenced the alarms.
"It would have to be you, Courtney," Tonya said.
Courtney ignored her, and reached a hand out to Anne. “You shouldn’t have ripped out your I.V. Let me see."
Anne slapped her hand aside. “I’m fine!”
“Calm down.” Courtney reached into her pocket and drew out needle.
Not again. Anne dashed through the door only to run into a wall of solid muscle. Strong arms wrapped around her, trapping her. She reflexively drew in a breath, bringing with it the heady scent of a man. Her eyes slid closed and she picked out individual notes of soap, spice, and sun-warmed skin.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
She looked up into bemused hazel eyes, her panic draining away. He was...