She woke up in the room again. She was facing a large group of men in lab coats. They were staring intensely at her, writing notes into notepads and laptops. She could see her face on the TV across from her- as well as the concerned-looking faces of several world leaders.
"She's awake again, " she heard one of them say. "Marianne?"
She looked at the man who had come to stand beside her. "Yes? I'm...when did I get here?"
He spoke calmly. "Marianne- I'm going to need to put these headphones and blinders on again. We don't know how much you're sending to them unconsciously and we can't risk have the aliens listening in on our communication. You understand, don't you?"
"Wait! No I..." Marianne started to protest but a hand was placed over her mouth while her hearing and vision were suddenly obscured. She had always been afraid of the dark and she barely restrained her panic. It wouldn't help to keep talking, though- they would just bring the gag back and that only made it harder to breathe. Marianne took deep breaths.
It's ok, she told herself. It's almost over. It has to be almost over.
Marianne lost time there in the shapeless darkness. Then suddenly, the headphones and blinders were jerked off. Marianne blinked, trying to adjust to the abrupt harsh light.
"Tell them we won't be threatened. We don't negotiate with terrorists," the man said evenly.
"What?" she exclaimed, panicked by the implications.
Suddenly there was a hand around her throat. The man's face filled her field of vision, eyes cold like a snake's.
"Tell Them," he insisted.
She dutifully thought the message at the presence in her head and suddenly everything went black...
She woke up in a corner. The walls were grey and sterile and the light was low.
She felt a sharpness on her neck. She looked down.
She had a knife at her throat.
Then she realized-
She was holding a knife to her own throat.
She cried out and dropped it. There was a rush of footsteps down the hall and shouts. "I've found her!" Men appeared around the corner. She noticed some were cut and bloody.
They grabbed her and forced her up on her feet. She was surrounded on all sides but still managed to see the body as they walked down the corridor...
She blacked out.
She woke up. She was in the room again. She was restrained. She could see scars on her arms.
The man was looking her right in the eyes.
"No," he said, resolute.
She woke up again. There was a IV drip attached to her. How long had she been there.
The man looked panicked. "I know you can be reasonable..."
She woke up again. There were far less men now. Her throat was scratchy, like she had been yelling for a long time.
The man stood in front of her. He looked pale and ashen. He looked like he had been crying.
"Please," he told her. "Please don't..."