The bright light hit me like a truck and I gasped for breath. My ears were ringing and voices were swarming through my head. I felt like I couldn’t move or breathe, like I was stuck. But as the light began to dim and the ringing stopped, I felt like I was in a whole new world, seeing new things for the first time, but as my vision cleared, I realized that I was in the hospital. There were wires all over my body and something wrapped around my arms. I could feel a clear mask over my nose and mouth. I slowly pulled it off my head, feeling a rush of cool air. I looked around the small room but no one was there. I tried to pull myself together, trying to remember what happened, but it was as if I could remember anything recent. I only found a bunch of cards and balloons on the windowsill beside me. I felt more confused and lost by the second, not knowing what to do. But as I tried to sit up, the worst pain in my entire life shot through my stomach and I screamed. I fell back and began to cry as the pain started to fade, and just then a young nurse with long blonde hair burst into the room. She hushed me as I began to calm down. I took deep breaths as my heartbeat slowed. My parents and a tall man suddenly burst through the door with a worried look on their face. 

“Oh my god Charlotte, you’re awake! Can you hear me?” My mom cried with delight and gently hugged me. I nodded and just awkwardly hugged her back and my dad squeezed my hand. 

“How are you feeling?” He asked. 

I tried to make a sound come out of my mouth, but it was almost impossible, like there was a barrier. But eventually, I managed to say, “W-what happened?” 

“Your friend called the ambulance and said that she had lost you for a couple of minutes and then found you unconscious on the ground.” The nurse explained. “But after we bring you in, we found that you have a minor concussion and that someone had poisoned you.”

It felt like someone had just punched me in the stomach. Poisoned? More and more questions filled my brain, but with most of my memory gone, I was still confused, like trying to solve an impossible math problem.

“Someone must of put something in the candy they were giving you.” The man concluded. “We also cannot find which kind of poison was given to you.” 

“Can you remember anything that happened last night?” The nurse asked me. I shook my head. I looked around the room, looking for something that could tell me more about what happened since my voice was basically gone. I spotted the calendar hanging from the wall. It was was November 1st. I then remembered how the doctor was talking about candy, and I realized that yesterday was Halloween! Suddenly, I heard a loud slam and I saw the door had burst open and a  girl around my age with long black hair ran in and came to me. I was startled as she was rattling off question after question.

“Charlotte! How are you? Are you hurt?” But the more questions she asked me, the more I recognized her voice. It was Estrella, my best friend who was always super chatty. 

I just gave her a thumbs up. I could feel my throat getting better so I asked, “Can you remember what happened last night?”

She looked at me with a worried expression that gave me chills, like in a movie when someone tells another person something bad. She looked scared too. It took her a couple minutes to actually speak, but finally she said, “Well, we were trick or treating and basically um-” She started to fiddle with her fingers and my parents and the doctors were looking at her with the same kind of expression, and I assumed that she had told them the same thing that she was about to tell me.

“You wanted to go to this house that was like, super scary. It was dark and old and-”

“The Greenberg’s house.” I whispered. Just like that, another puzzle piece had snapped into place. I remembered wanting to go to the most haunted house in darien, but no one ever dared to even walk near it. 

“Exactly,” I saw Estrellas eyes watering. “I didn’t want to go with you so I waited a couple houses down.” She continued. “You wandered off towards it, but I think it was like, 5 minutes later but you didn’t come back.” Estrella continued to fidget with her fingers. I felt the urge to say, “What happened next?” But I knew that would be too hard on her. 

“I walked towards the house, but I couldn’t see you, so I was getting worried so I kept walking and calling your name, and when I tried to call you, you wouldn’t pick up. But then I found-” She stopped and then burst into tears and my mom hugged her. I felt awful. I watched as my mother comforted her as she began to soften. She came back to me with her mascara smeared under her eyes and her eyes were puffy and red. 

“I’m sorry,” She sniffed. I gave her a pat on the back with the lack of energy and strength I currently had, which rewarded me with a sharp pain along my arm. 

“You don’t have to keep telling me if you don’t want to.” I said. She shook her head. “No, no, I’ll keep going.”

Estrella stood up straighter and continued. “You were lying on the ground unconscious, and your skin,” She stopped for a second, I glanced at my skin, actually noticing it this time. I wanted to scream. It was white as snow. I looked on both my arms and hands, they were all white. 

“What’s wrong with my skin?” I cried. Estrella just looked down at the floor. I could feel my body shaking with fear and confusion.

“Exactly.” Estrella murmured. “And, well there was blood around you and I called the ambulance and-”

“Now I’m here.” I basically finished her sentence. I was still trying to fit all of the information in my head and put it together and regain my memory, but I just still couldn’t remember anything.

“How do you feel?” My mom asked me. 

“Lost.” I replied. “I want to know more about what’s going on.” 

“We all want to, there are police investigating right now and they’ll let us know when they find something.” My dad assured me. 

I looked at the doctor. “When can I leave?”

He looked at his clipboard and sighed. “We still have to run some tests and scans, plus you need to heal, so I would say about 2-4 weeks.”

Honestly I wasn’t surprised. I slowly and carefully sat up, not wanting to hurt my stomach again. Estrella waved goodbye as she left and the doctors kept talking to my parents. The next week was just shots, scans, medicine, and pain. So much pain. I could barely move and I had to go to physical therapy for another week. And finally on December 3rd, my parents were wheeling me to the car on a wheelchair. Everything seemed normal, but it really wasn’t.

I was still concerned on what had happened that night. My memory wasn’t back either. The police had never found anything, and I wanted to figure it out by myself. I was feeling better, but not in my head. I knew that the puzzle wasn’t solved yet, and I had to. 

I was tapping my pencil against the top of my desk. I stared at the blank piece of paper as my mind felt blank and empty. It had been 4 days since I had left the hospital and I was trying to plan my strategy to figure out what happened. I put down my pencil and tried to think. My room was quiet, and my parents weren’t home. It was a Thursday, and I still wasn’t going to school. 

So if I ate poisoned candy, it had to be from someone’s house. I was thinking. And if Estrella wasn’t with me, and I was poisoned, then it wouldn’t be a coincidence, right? My first initial thought was that the greenbergs house had poisoned me, but it wasn’t 100 percent. 

 I sat there for a moment, thinking about how Estrella told me that I went alone. What if I was the only one poisoned on purpose? Maybe I went to other houses after the Greenberg’s house, did I actually go there?

There were still so many unanswered questions that I needed to help me figure this whole thing out. And then just at that moment, I knew exactly what to do. 

I picked up my phone and messaged Estrella, knowing she was at school right now.


Come to my house after school please, I need to talk to you about something


I hit send and put down my phone, hoping that she would come. If she told me more about what had happened, then it would make things much easier. 

Estrella and I haven’t spoken since the hospital. Honestly I was still trying to recharge my memory and remember more, but my mind was like a blank sheet of paper. I put my head down on my head and closed my eyes, hoping to fall asleep.


The doorbell rang and I awoke from my nap. I was startled for a second, and then I checked the time. Good, it was already 3:00.

“I ran down the stairs and to the front door. I peeked through the blinds to find Estrella at the door. Her hair was tied up and she wore baggy jeans and a crop top. I fidgeted with my fingers and felt my stomach turn. I was nervous so see Estrella. I took a deep breath and opened the door. Once she saw me, she smiled at me.

“Uhm, hi.” I said in a low voice, I could feel the tension between us.

“Can I come in?” She asked, a little annoyed, but I stepped aside and let her in. I watched as she took off her boots and left them against the wall.

“So, you asked for me?” She told me.

“Oh! Right, sorry. Here come upstairs.”

We went upstairs and I sat on my bed. She leaned against the wall and looked around, as if something had changed, but nothing really had

“I could feel that she was different. As if some part of her had faded away, and was never coming back. I noticed the purple streaks that were in her hair, and the eyeliner she had put on. Her goofy smile was gone and she wasn’t chatty like she used to be. I could feel a pain in my chest, and a bit of guilt. Was this because of me? Because of what had happened?

“I love your new hair!” I exclaimed. She looked at me, and gave me a faint smile. 

“I changed it last month,” She said quietly. Her smile faded and took a deep breath. “How do you feel? After, you know.”

I looked down at my feet. Feeling the swarm of memories rush through me from when I first woke up, from the pain I experienced. 

“I’m good now, but I still don’t really have any memory.” I told her. “Actually, thats why I asked you to come here.” 

“Okay,” She looked a bit hesitant at first, but she softened and sighed. “What do you want to know?”

“I mean, I basically told you everything at the hospital,” She said. “Why do you want to know so badly?”

I shrugged. “I just need more answers, but did I go to another house after the Greenberg’s?” 

Estrella shook her head. “I’m not really sure, all I know is that you really wanted to go to the greenburgs. We went there, and then you  disappeared and-”

“Yeah, I know the rest.” I sighed. I was just about to ask her another question when I thought about what she had just said. 

“So we went together to the Greenberg’s house, right?” I asked. She looked at me, concerned. And then nodded. And at that moment, I knew what had happened. Who had poisoned me. I thought about it in my head, and it all made sense. I could feel my blood run cold as I stared at Estrella.

“It was you,” My words felt shaky as I looked at her. “You did it, didn’t you?”

Estrella looked at me, and smirked.

“Yes, yes I did.” She laughed. But not a happy laugh, and evil laugh. I looked into her eyes and only saw hatred. My eyes watered as I stepped away from her. 

“Why?” I asked. “H-how could you do that?”

Her smile faded and she glared at me. “Because you’re too perfect.” She walked towards me. “Every time we walk in the hallways, everyone admires you, and our perfect looks, but looks at me and whispers.” She looked at me with anger, and I wanted to run away, but I was trapped.

“I can’t believe I thought you were my best friend!” I cried, tears streaming down my face. “And you tried to kill me!”

“No but I didn’t try to kill you, I just wanted to hurt you in here,” She pointed to her stomach and then smiled. “And here.” She pointed to her heart. She was now inches away from me, staring into my eyes. I tried to look away, but I glanced at the syringe in her hand and I froze in panic. She held it up and grabbed my arm. I screamed and tried to get out of her grip, but it was too strong, too painful. Her fingernails dug into my skin as she held up the syringe. I closed my eyes, bracing for the worst, but then her tight grip loosened, and I heard a thump. I slowly opened my eyes to find my parents plugging the syringe into Estrella’s arm and she fell to the ground. They looked at me and cried as I ran and hugged them. I looked at Estrella’s body lying on the ground and smiled. I felt the pain lift off my chest as I breathed deeply, knowing that everything was going to be alright.