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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

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Jordan flinched and shielded her eyes. The glow of lightning lit the darkness behind her lids, persisted in dots of color as she slowly lowered her hand. She blinked, disoriented. Death was a lonely country road?

It was no wonder she was confused. Only moments ago, she’d been crossing the street on her way to meet the bus. When the speeding Porsche had sped 'round the corner, then gunned for her with an angry growl, she'd known she was dead. Only the lightning had struck before the car. Had it somehow knocked her out of the way?

She drew a shaky breath and looked around. No, it was dark here, and stormy. The sun had been directly overhead in Spokane. The city had disappeared completely, leaving nothing but whispering trees and a crawling sense of unease.

A cold wind worked its way through her jeans, stealing her warmth. She tugged her light leather jacket closer and thanked God for the vanity that made her wear her cashmere and silk sweater, though it had been a little warm this morning. Unfortunately, the suede boots didn't fare as well, quickly becoming waterlogged in the rain.

A flash of lightning illuminated the outline of a tremendous stonewall lining the dirt road. A quick glance showed nothing behind her—no lights which would have indicated people. A hundred yards ahead, a wrought iron gate pierced the wall. As she drew closer, she could see that the panels were unlatched, swaying slightly in the wind, almost in invitation. When she was close enough to touch it, the torches above the gate flared to life, illuminating the gravel path. She glanced up and started slightly at the fierce gargoyles flanking the wall on either side.

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