It was raining. I found myself on a street bench in front of a clothing store holding a red cell phone.
Wait...who am I?
I immediately looked at my appearance using the store window. My eyes were ravenous, looking for something to remind me of my identity. From my reflection, I discovered that I had straight, shoulder length brown hair and purple eyes. I was unsure of my age, but I was anywhere from my late teens to early twenties. My petite hourglass figure was dressed in a black trench coat, black nylons, and black knee-high, lace up boots. Under my trench coat, I was wearing a spaghetti-strapped, knee-length white dress. I suddenly became aware of something cold on my neck; a necklace that had a corked jar with red glitter in it. Fairy dust, I thought to myself, a child's toy. In my jacket however, there was something that no child would have: a dagger. It bore the inscription "Lilium est veritatem." I had no clue what that meant. All of a sudden the name "Dolley Madison" popped into my head.
Dolley Madison? The wife of James Madison, fourth president of the United States? Wait. How did I know that? I went up to a random person on the street. "Excuse me, sir," I asked. "Do you know anything about Dolley Madison?"
"I'm sorry, but I've never heard of anyone with that name," he said, and walked away.
Suddenly, the phone that I was holding vibrated. Putting the dagger away, I sat down on the bench. I had received a text message that read, "Do you want to play a game?"
Thinking that maybe I had ended up with someone else's phone, I responded, "Who are you?" I then proceeded to look through the phone for information, but everything, including contacts, was empty.
Barely thirty seconds had passed when I received another message. It was from the same phone number as the first. "I am the leader. So are you going to play?"
Then the phone rang. "Hello?" My voice was shaky.
"Are you going to play?" The person that asked the question was using a voice filter, but I had a hunch that it was the same person that had sent me text messages.
"What kind of a game is this?"
"One that promises eternal life, the resurrection of someone dead, or one wish. And fifty grand. That's only if you win, though. Are you going to play?"
"I don't know who I am or where I'm from. Speaking of which, I don't even know where I am. Will this game help me recover my memory?"
"You are currently in Boston, Massachusetts. As for your memory, I don't know if you'll remember anything, but it's worth a shot. You can wish for it back if you win. So will you play?"
"Great! So what's your name? Or if you don't remember, just make one up."
"...I don't remember." I thought for a moment. I would use the names of them, girls that got lost in other worlds, girls that probably felt similar to the way that I felt now. "Dorothy Alice Darling," I said finally. "But you can call me Dolley."
"Well, Dolley, I'm guessing that you don't know your age."
"That is correct. I'm guessing that I'm somewhere between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one."
"Seventeen and twenty-one? Alright then. By any chance, do you have a weapon?
What kind of game was this? "Yes," I said gingerly. "I have a dagger."
"Good! One less thing that we have to provide!"
"So, how do I get to your headquarters?"
"Straight to the point, huh? Look beside you." Then the phone went dead.
On the bench next to me was a thick manila envelope. Had it always been there? I couldn't remember. As cautiously as I could, I opened it. Inside was a large packet explaining the entire game and the point system that went along with it. Apparently everyone started with ten points, and gained more by participating in "events." It was a team effort, so if one failed, the team did too. Along with this was a train ticket with a departure time of 7:00 PM for today. I was in car 8. A phone number was provided as well. According to the rule packet, it was my cell phone number. The last four digits were 8915. Had the phone that I had been holding been planted? I began to question my memory loss when I noticed that something was still in the envelope. At the bottom of the envelope was a wad of cash. I counted it. One thousand dollars exactly.
I glanced at the phone for the time. 6:00 PM. I had one hour to get to the train station and hopefully get a little drier. I hailed a taxi and asked him to take me to the station on my ticket. Half an hour and twenty dollars later, I arrived at the correct platform in the station.
The train itself looked almost normal. The one abnormality was that it had windows tinted black. Just then, I was tapped on the shoulder.
"Do you need help finding your car, Miss?" A man that appeared to work for the station had come up to me to help. I guess I must have looked a bit lost.
"Um...yes please." I did honestly need help.
"Car eight, I see. No luggage? Right this way..."
Upon entering the car, I noticed that it was quite large. There was a spacious dining area, sleeping cabins, and a lounge area. I headed for the latter. I'd find out where I would sleep later.
It looked like the other passengers in the car had gotten the same idea that I had. There had to be about twenty of them. All of them were around my age, and most of them were sitting by themselves, not talking with anyone. I followed suit and sat next to a window. I was almost surprised that I could look out of it.
"You're new." A voice. Someone was talking to me.
I turned to look at the person speaking to me. It was a boy around my age. He had blonde hair and blue eyes.
"Who are you?" I asked dryly.
"I'm Theo! I'm the leader of Group Eight, your group! Welcome!"
"Thank you. I'm Dolley."
"That's an interesting name. I'm guessing that it's a nickname?"
"Yes. I don't remember anything about myself, but I'm using it as a nickname for the official one that I've given myself."
"That's kind of cool! The name part, not the memory part. Listen, even though we're all a team here, don't go around telling people your 'official name.' It could cause trouble. We all have nicknames here. Except for me. But that's a complicated story that I don't want to tell right now."
"Just between us, though, watch your back." He dropped his voice. "You seem like the sanest person here." He walked away.
Just then, I looked around at the other members in the lounge area. A boy holding a pair of scissors. A guy that had hair that covered his eyes. A girl with dangerously dark eyeliner playing with tarot cards. All looked suspicious. All looked like they could murder someone in cold blood.
Just what had I gotten myself into?