ALL SEEING EYE Excerpt: Prologue
“The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands.” —Benjamin Franklin
“Truth lies at the bottom of a well.” —Democritus
I never saw it coming.
Pretty ironic for a psychic, isn’t it? People would say it was what I was paid the big bucks for. It was my job. I should’ve whipped out my damn crystal ball. I should’ve known, but I didn’t. Sometimes you don’t. A sky that turns from blue to green in a heartbeat, while a tornado with your address lands like the hand of God to swat your house to pieces that scatter half a mile away. A simple cough shows up on a chest X-ray as the future shadow of a grave marker. The ocean inexplicably retreats miles from the beach, only to return at a thousand times the fury and blot out the sky itself. And there are days you wake up surrounded by family and by the time twilight creeps in you’re alone.
For the rest of your life.
No matter how careful you are, sometimes the bad . . . the horrific, they sneak up on you. Sometimes they come boiling out of the shadows, out of the dark corners, and there they are. There they goddamn are.
There were no shadows today, but there was darkness, the kind you bury six feet under—in the dirt and in your mind. It doesn’t do any good. That darkness never stays down. It digs its way out, handful by handful. It may take it years, but it always comes back. You feel the bloody fingerprints of it on your subconscious as it rips its way free. You hear its choked and gleeful laughter at how you thought you’d left it behind—that you’d dare imagine things could be different.
Because in the end, it would always be the same as before.
It was the same as before.
Right now. Right this moment.
That guy who said you can never go home again? What an asshole.
The sky was the same blinding blue. Exactly the same. The air still with the same choking heat. The grass an identical faded green splotched with crisp dead brown. I’d lived every summer of my life until I was fourteen with that sky, that heat, that ground. I’d lived every day of every year since then knowing I’d never see it again.
Unlike the sky and the earth, which belonged although I didn’t, not anymore, the knife and the shotgun shouldn’t have been there. Couldn’t have been.
It didn’t stop the bright sliver of metal lying on a dusty kitchen counter. It didn’t stop a hand from yanking a shotgun out of a closet with a warped wooden door. Everything in its place—just as it had been the first time.
I saw the slash and spill of blood as the knife—her best knife, her meat knife—hit a throat and sliced. I felt the lead pellets rip into my ribs under my arm as I lunged at a man who had lost his mind to carry the mind of a dead boy instead. It hadn’t done much good. I was on my feet, and then I was falling. I went from the sight of the worn boards and dirty window glass of a run-down shack to that of a stained ceiling. I wished it had been blue summer sky.
From standing to lying in a house as dead as the people who’d lived in it.
From whole to a little less than.
I touched the pain, a player all its own in this game, and my hand came away red. Who knew agony had a color? It did, though, and it made sense that it would be the same as blood. Crimson as the ever-present Georgia dirt turned to liquid mud, the kind to run like a river after a hard rain. I closed my eyes, but the red remained.
The knife had happened before.
The shotgun had happened before.
I didn’t like guns. I didn’t have to be on the receiving end of one to realize that oh-so-fascinating bit of news. I’d recognized that since I held one for the first and last time sixteen years ago.
I heard the shotgun being pumped again. An echo of the past. My past.
I’d known this whole nightmare would end in violence, I’d known it would finish in a pattern of blood and brutality, but I didn’t imagine that it would end here. My own place of violence—my own personal hell.
And I never saw it coming.