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Christine half-remembered the crash, but had no idea where she was or what was being done to her. The flood of pain from her face blocked her rational powers. The perception of restraint threatened her sanity. A single phrase roared through the torture.

"She's coming awake!"

She surged upward against whatever was holding her. Strong hands pressed her back. Something metallic attached to her face, pulling upon it, tore loose and fell off to rest against her ear. Her scream could have shattered stone.

A needle pierced her arm. Her terror flew beyond any recall. She dropped back into the darkness, certain she would never see light again.

***

Christine awoke already crying. When she opened her eyes, the duty nurse was standing over her.

"Miss, are you in pain?"

The professionally kind, concerned face swam in a sea of her tears. She shook her head to clear her vision, and instantly regretted it. Pain shot through her as if from an axe blow to the skull.

She took several deep, gasping breaths before answering.

"Y-yes."

Tears ran down her face in rivulets. They soaked into her bandages and stung her in a hundred places.

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