Amanda's eyes flickered open. She let out a soft moan. Her head throbbed and her mouth was dry.
She looked up at the ceiling in her room, with its familiar cracks. Something was wrong. She felt cold.
It was dark outside... What time was it? Amanda turned her confused head to look at the alarm clock, feeling a damp patch on her pillow where she'd drooled into it. The clock's red display said 5:25, with a PM symbol on the right. A panic hit her - what day was it? In the dim light, Amanda's left hand groped for her phone, where another red LED flashed furiously. She examined the screen:
6 MISSED CALLS
But... why hadn't she heard the phone ringing beside her??
Amanda's long, graceful arm reached for the switch of her bedside light. Her deep blue eyes filled with brief, stabbing pain, as she took 40 watts in the face.
With effort she turned and lifted her heavy head. Amanda's brown hair stuck to her moist left cheek as she blinked and tried to banish the green spots from her eyes.
She lay on her bed, fully clothed, in shirt, shorts, tights...right down to her smartest black pumps. Why hadn't she taken her shoes off before going to bed?... Or even got into the bed? Amanda realised that she couldn't remember going to bed; in fact, she couldn't remember anything at all.
And then she saw it -
Her room was turned upside down.
Amanda's student dorm could never be described as organised; but this was different. Drawers were upturned on the floor. Cupboard doors hung ajar. Boxes of private, secret things lay opened.
She gasped. Was this a nightmare? She propped herself up on her elbows and surveyed the devastation. Had she been looking for something? She wouldn't trash her own room like this. The growing burst of adrenaline gave her much needed energy. She swung her long nyloned legs over the edge of the bed, placing her feet on the floor. But her head spun and she wasn't ready to stand.
Something was terribly wrong. But Amanda couldn't understand what had happened to her or, indeed, why.
She had to try... try to remember! She closed her eyes; but there was just a blank.
Then, from the blankness, an image formed:
It was a face - a female face.