Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Morning. Barely. Half two and Lily was only just getting in. She had been working her tedious job at a local restaurant, it wasn’t great but it paid the bills and put her through university. Long gone were the old days when she spent her days at boarding school with friends, holidays with her family. Long gone. Her parents were dead, killed, and her sister had disowned her, she had lost contact with her friends. She spoke to Dave occasionally but that was it. Her life now was empty, she knew no one but those on her course and her workmates, but none of them could be considered friends, she got up each today to study and work, study and work. She didn’t exactly hate it, but she could hardly claim she loved her life.
So, half two in the morning, she returned to her poky little flat and, after giving her cat some milk, headed up to bed. Exhausted, she fell asleep instantly.
She walked down a busy street, weaving her way between the playing children. She didn’t seem to be in control of where she was going, as though someone else was controlling her. There was music playing loudly in her ears, a group she didn’t like – Raven Yestaday. She continued walking, driven by some unknown force. Her arm lifted and she waved at a woman a few years older than herself. The woman was dressed in some old, faded jeans and a string-top that was semi-covered in mud. She was gardening. The woman waved back when she saw Lily.
She walked towards the woman, crossing the road, and then everything happened all at once. The woman’s warm smiling face changed into one of scared horror as she shouted something Lily couldn’t hear for the music blasting in her ears. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the playing children running onto the paths beside the road but by the time she saw what they were running from it was too late.
A car hurtled down the road and slammed into her, knocking her body to the ground. Lily, though, remained upright and when she looked down she saw she wasn’t the one who had been hit. On the floor lay a young man with earphones hidden under his long blonde hair clear-blue eyes looking at her with a mixture of sadness, pain and pleading, his face was bloodied, his clothes were torn and he lay at odd angles. He was dying. Lily knew it, and so did he.
No one seemed to be coming to help him. He lay there in complete agony and, as she looked around, no one was coming to his aid. Or at least, not fast enough, they were moving in slow motion so she crouched beside him. She put her hands out to tend to one of his cuts but they just passed straight through him. She tried again and again but the same thing happened. Unable to help she backed away from him slowly. That’s when he tried to speak.
She moved back in, her ear right by his mouth and heard him croak, “Help me.”
She looked at him, “There’s nothing I can do.”
“Help me.” He repeated.
“How?” she asked, tears running down her face at the knowledge that she couldn’t do anything.
But there was no reply. She watched as his eyes slowly closed and felt as his heart slowed to a stop. Then everything was back to its normal speed and people came running towards him, passing straight through her. Then she heard a terrified scream from the lady doing the gardening. “Nooo!”
Lily awoke with the screaming in her ears. In her tired state she struggled to read the display on her alarm clock; 04:00 it flashed. She groaned, she’d been struggling to sleep for weeks now and the one day she actually managed it she woke up because of a bad dream. How childish. She rolled over, trying to sleep once more but it wouldn’t come to her. “I hate this,” she muttered, giving up and getting out of bed, heading for the kitchen.
She made herself a cup of coffee and headed for the living room. She switched on the TV but she didn’t watch it, it was just on for background noise. She stared blankly, nursing the coffee, holding it for warmth. Her cat, Sooty, jumped onto the couch beside her.
“Hey,” Lily said quietly. “You’re a good boy aren’t you? You always know when you’re needed.”
Sooty curled onto her knee and she laughed as she stroked him. As she thought and stroked Sooty she noticed the TV was flickering. She looked at it and watched as the picture of a young girl grinning insanely faded and the TV went black. Then a face appeared on the blackness, blonde hair, clear blue eyes and a pair of earphones in his ears. The man from her dream. “Help me,” the voice said but Lily couldn’t tell if it was in her ears or her head. She blinked and when she looked back at the screen the young girl was back again.
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