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Prologue: From the Handwritten Account of Eddie Farris

The doctors say this will help me heal.

In the days since I awoke from the white haze, the world has been a blur of blinding lights and muffled noises and distorted memories fading in and out of reality, in and out of my dreams and nightmares. Machines beep and hum. Voices carry down the hallway. Somewhere, someone screams for reasons I can only begin to imagine.

I’m trapped in my own little hell.

My dreams are haunted by visions of the recent past. Nothing solid. Every moment is like gazing into a broken mirror. Echoes of confusion. Flashes of movement.

Those echoes grow louder and the flashes become brighter with each passing night.

I’m eighteen years old and the doctors say I’ll recover from my wounds, but my side aches as if the bullet is still in there.

The drugs create a fog in my head and yet I can’t imagine the pain without them. The pain comes in waves, blinding me.

I can’t remember much.

Not yet.

But I might know a way to recover the memories, to rebuild what I once had.

The act of writing has helped me through a lot of problems over the years. I’ve expressed my hopes and fears through fictional characters that would be familiar to anyone in my life who cared enough to read what I’ve written.

So I’ll write about the day my life changed forever.

What I can’t remember, I’ll piece together along the way.

I’ll write this like any other story I’ve ever dreamed up.

I’ll pretend it’s all make-believe.

But:

This is real.

This is what happened.

This is why we had to run.

Why I’m here now.

Why I’m alive and others are not.

I’ve lost everything that ever mattered to me.

But I’m going to get it back.

* * *

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