WHEN SHE WOKE UP from what appeared to be a deep slumber, the first thing she noticed was that she was not only wet but covered in mud. She coughed twice before looking up at the dark sky. Heavy drops of rain fell on her face, washing away the dirt, and she closed her eyes as she felt the cold.
She got up slowly and breathed heavily, only to realize that she couldn't see anything ahead of her. She looked down at herself and saw that she was wearing a light denim jacket and dark slacks that barely provided any warmth to her shivering body. Nevertheless, she buttoned up her jacket and put her arms around her chest. Where was she? What was she doing here?
She started to walk and noticed a dark shape ahead of her. As she made her way to it, she wondered why she was here all alone. She stretched her arms straight ahead so that she could feel the structure before her. As her hands touched it, she felt the coolness of the metal and looked up and saw that it was a gate or something similar. Her fingers curled around the metal and tugged at it, only to find it jammed.
She breathed heavily again and pushed with all her force, but her efforts seemed futile as the gate creaked and did nothing more. She stopped pushing and gazed overhead. Perhaps she could scale it? She put her foot on one of the metal bars and started to climb. This was easier than she had anticipated. Once on top, she sort of rolled herself to the other side and jumped. Her knees buckled and she stumbled, almost falling headfirst.
The road ahead of her was dark and a few streetlights flickered ominously, but showed her a path nonetheless. She started walking slowly and cautiously. It was too quiet--almost deafeningly so--and the rain showed no signs of letting up. She saw a light and walked towards it, wondering if it was, perhaps, someone who could help her. Just then, she heard a loud blare. She covered her ears and gasped as a car veered off the road and almost hit a tree.
"Get off the road!" a man yelled through the window. "What are you, stupid? You almost got me killed!" he began.
Throughout his tirade, she found she could do nothing else but stare blankly at him. She was about to open her mouth and ask for help, when he drove off, leaving her a little more disoriented than before. What had just happened? She stood silently for a while, staring at the back of the car before turning around. She should go now, but where?
Before she knew what was happening, her feet started to move and, once started, she found herself unable to stop. It was as if her legs knew her destination even before her brain could comprehend. A few minutes later, she found herself near a row of houses. People lived there, her mind said, and she wondered if one of these houses belonged to her. But her legs hadn't stopped and she went on walking. It seemed easier somehow to not make the decision herself, but have the decision made for her. The streets seemed familiar, but she still hadn't felt that sense of belonging that one feels when they are near something close to them.
Her heart would tell her the destination that so far only her legs knew about. The street ended and she came to a deserted lot. Had she missed her house? Did she have a house here? As she walked, she gazed upwards and realized that the rain drops were coming down much slower now. The clouds were starting to part and she saw a patch of dark sky dotted with twinkling stars. She put her hand to her head. She couldn't seem to think straight, yet she knew what the stars and clouds were. How did she know all this? She let out a small gasp as she realized she couldn't even remember if she had a name.
Suddenly, her legs stopped and she opened her eyes to find herself standing across from a large house. She stared at it. Did she feel like she belonged there? Perhaps. She looked through the downstairs window and saw a lone lamp light. She walked towards it and, once she reached the window, put her hand on the cool glass.
She swallowed, only to realize that her mouth and throat were dry. She put her face closer at the window and peered inside. Someone was there. A girl, sitting on a couch, was crying. She was wiping her tears with a tissue, as she looked at what appeared to be a picture frame in her hands.
Silently, she tore herself from the scene before her and walked towards the door. She saw a switch next to it, but ignored it. She found the metal ring around the door more interesting and put her hand on it, picked it up with her fingers and dropped it. It made a soft thudding noise as it hit the door and she repeated the action.
Inside, she heard a scuffle of feet and a dull crash as something hit the floor. She heard hurried footsteps near the door, a pause, and footsteps again as they moved away from the door.
"Who is it?" the girl called out softly. "Kara? Is that you?"
She turned around to see the girl peering at her through the side window and jumped. Someone was talking to her. Did she know this girl? Was her own name Kara?
Just then she heard a metal chain being pulled across the door and a click of the door knob as the door opened slightly, as far as the metal chain would allow it.
"Kara… is that really you?" the girl asked.
She detected a hint of dread in the girl's voice, but simply opened her mouth and pushed her hair away from her face with her hand.
"Oh my God! Oh God!" the girl gasped. "It's you! You came!"
The door closed for a few seconds before it was opened wider and the girl hurriedly came towards her. "You came! It worked! It really worked!"
"Do… do I know you?" she managed in a whisper.
The girl looked at her strangely. "Yes!" she said. "I'm your sister."