It has been a bad couple of days, and the main thing on Denice's mind is how to make it stop. Except, there doesn't seem to be a way to; usually, she needs to either figure out what she did to get punished and find a way to show that she knows it - but she's pretty sure she didn't do anything, and they're punishing a bunch of other kids the same way who didn't seem to do anything either - or wait it out - but there's only so long she can wait out not being fed.
It does make it easier to ignore them, though, when they aren't teasing her with candy trying to get her to do incomprehensible things. Easier but not safer; she returns her attention to the adult sitting across the table from her, who, from her posture of mild exasperation, has probably been trying to get Denice's attention. She notices she's succeeded, and relaxes a bit and starts talking, though as usual Denice only catches perhaps one word in three - something something eclipse, something something soon, something something dinner - and then starts again trying to get her to repeat nonsense sounds.
She plays along. Bah. Puh. Boh. No M&Ms today. She zones out again. It's hard to focus when she's this hungry. Bad things will happen if she doesn't, though. Boh. Puh. Pah.
The session ends, eventually. As the therapist is packing up to go, a roll of hard candies falls out of her coat pocket without her noticing.
When it happens, she has no idea what it is. It's a little like being drugged - something has changed, about her mind and how it works - but mostly not like that at all - no tiredness, no difficulty moving, no clouds of fog making it hard for her to think. She pokes at it, inside her head, trying to figure it out, but it's only when she looks around the lounge that she realizes - this must be the same group of kids and staff that were there a minute ago, but she can't recognize any of them; she can't even tell the kids from the staff.
From their reactions, they can't either. Most of them are panicking. It's going to be dangerous here, in a minute.
She'll get in trouble if she leaves... if anyone recognizes her, that is. If they can figure out that she's not supposed to be doing that.
She's probably never going to have a better chance to escape. She makes for the door, starts heading up the road, away from town.
It takes them twenty minutes to work out that she's gone, another twenty to figure out how to catch her, ten more to find her and restrain her. Half an hour more for the psion to show up and lock her down. And then everything can go back to how it should be.