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Chapter One: All at once upon a time.


Wessex College

Virginia

May, 1994


Hallucinations suck.

Hallucinations in the shower suck worse.

As I soak under the warm spray with my head down, hair in my eyes, everything gets heavier like gravity got stronger around me and nowhere else. This is a warning and there’s nothing I can do. My fist cocks back and I punch through the column of water. Below the showerhead, my scarred knuckles meet the wall and the thud rumbles through the empty stalls. Blood drips down the tile.

Before the change, I looked forward to showers where the world fell away down the drain. No murders, no cops, no Rascal, no Professor Campbell and no red dots appearing right before my eyes. A shower was a shower, safe and warm, but now it’s not safe.

Nowhere is safe.

The spray narrows with a quick spin of the metal knob that’s hot to the touch. It squeaks to a halt and the shower head cuts off the stream. Pruned hands cover a face that I don’t recognize and then glide over the top of my head to swipe away the excess water. The empty shampoo bottle and sliver of green soap are abandoned by the drain.

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