| BLACKOUT: Chapter 1

BLACKOUT: Chapter 1


Paint it Red!

I was a killer. I woke up knowing that before I knew anything else.

There was a moment between sleeping and waking where I swung lazily. The dark was my hammock, moving back and forth. One way was a deeper darkness, a longer sleep. But there was more than darkness there. There were trees past the black, hundreds and thousands of trees.

And an ocean blue as a crayon fresh from a brand new box. A ship rode on its waves with sails white as a seagull’s wings and flying a flag as black as the seabird’s eyes.

There were dark-eyed princesses named after lilies.

Waterfalls that fell forever.

It was a place where no one could find you. A safe place. Of all of it, vibrant and amazing, the one thing I wanted to sink my fingers into and hang on for my life was that last: a safe place.


But all that disappeared when I swung the other way, where there were sibilant whispers, an unpleasant clicking…insectile and ominous, and a cold, bone deep and imbedded in every part of me. If I’d had a choice, I would’ve gone with sleep, safe in the trees. Who wouldn’t? But I didn’t have that warm and comforting option. Instead I was slapped in the face with icy water. That did the trick of swinging me hard in the wrong direction and keeping me there. I opened my eyes, blinked several times and licked the taste of salt from my lips. It was still dark, but not nearly as dark as when my eyes had been shut. There was a scattering of stars overhead and a bright full moon. The white light reflected as shattered shards in the water washing up over my legs and up to my chest. It looked like splinters of ice. It felt cold enough to be. There was the smell of seaweed and dead fish in the air. More seaweed was tangled around my hand when I lifted it, the same hand that held a gun. A big gun.

A priest, a rabbi, and a killer walk into a bar…

A killer woke up on that beach, and that killer was me. How did I know that? It wasn’t difficult. I slowly propped up on my elbows, my hand refusing to drop the gun it held, and took a look around me to see a stretch of water and sand littered with bodies, bodies with bullet holes in them. The gun in my hand was lighter than it should’ve been. That meant an empty clip. It didn’t take an Einstein to work out that calculation. The fact that the bodies weren’t my first concern–it was pissing and food actually, in that order—helped too.

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