By Paige Taylor

I wake up in a dark, twisted alleyway. I struggle to make out even my own hands in front of my face. I’m not sure how I got here, but something feels….out of place, to me. I feel my way for the exit, crawling on my hands and knees, until I see the light.

I step out onto the bustling New York City street, people talking and laughing as they go about their daily business. The confusion in my mind grows. No one seems to notice me. But I guess that’s just as well— a faceless person in a faceless crowd.

I turn to ask someone where I am. “Excuse me, um…” The man walks right past me, as if I’m invisible. “Hm. Strange.” This happens several times. “Excuse me, miss…?” A woman stops, stares at me, and walks right through me. A shudder runs down my entire body, and I crumple to the ground. “Help! Please!” Thousands of feet trample through me, making icy shudders travel through my whole body. I begin to cry.

A hooded figure approaches me, and I look up. “Hello. I am Grim.” There seems to be no eyes behind the hood. The figure offers me their hand. “Care to join me?”

“Y-you can see me?” I gasp in awe.

“Care to join me?” The figure grabs my hand, and I gasp. A course of evil runs through my veins, his hand radiating death. I yelp and run away, passing through countless people. I hear a siren in front of me, and an ambulance rockets down the road. I gasp.

“No, no, no!” I race the ambulance down the street. Grim is nowhere to be seen. I follow the ambulance down an alleyway and I stop dead in my tracks. In front of me is a person. They lie face down in the ground, limbs splayed out in odd angles. Something seems…unnatural. The figure radiates danger, yet something is so…compelling. I lean down towards the body, and brush the hair from her eyes. I gasp.

It’s like looking in a mirror. The exact same green eyes, the exact same auburn hair, the exact same birthmark in my neck, staring right back at me. With her milky, clouded, dead eyes. This is Hazel. I am Hazel.

“I am Grim. Join me.”

“No! No, no no no no!” My head is spinning a thousand miles an hour. Random flashes of memories race through my head. Police sirens, a mother crying, news titles. “GIRL FOUND DEAD, SUICIDE VICTIM………….OUT OF WINDOW…” I fall to the ground, crying. “I can make it stop.” I stare at the hooded figure.

“Y-you can?” The noise fades to a dull roar.

“I am Grim. Come with me.”

Something attracts me to this figure. My head isn’t on straight, the noise is still shooting through my skull. But I know I should. What once felt like a horrible death, now feels right. I take his hand. The world fades.