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The murmur of death, a dark shadow overcast,

Ringing long and eternal as life slips slowly past,

It breeds the unthinkable and touts the unknown,

It begins at the end, on a whisper, a moan.


PROLOGUE


Bo was on his knees in the center of the concrete floor, kneeling on a black towel. He was shirtless and covered in blood spatter. Under the slimy red sheen, I could see a sickly greenish black color seeping across his chest, radiating from the left side outward. It was darkest over his heart and it pulsed as if gangrenous death was being pumped throughout his body with every slow squeeze of the muscle. That, however, was not the most alarming part. The thing that caught and held my attention was his face.

As always, when I thought of Bo, my heart clenched painfully. I remember seeing him that day, the horror of it and how terrified I was. But even now, I can’t bring myself to regret stumbling upon him like that. I might’ve gone through the rest of my days in a selfishly numb state of hiding if I hadn’t met him, hadn’t known him for who and what he was. He taught me so much about a world I didn’t know existed and so much more about a life I hadn’t been living.

He taught me to stand up for what I believe in, to shout it out at the top of my lungs. He taught me to feel—the deep, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-singing kind of emotion I had avoided for so long. He taught me about the importance of life. He taught me about the beauty of death. He also taught me about love.

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