44 By Jools Sinclair ~~~ PROLOGUE
I know I’m lucky.
Lucky to be alive, lucky to be able to walk again, to inhale the juniper-laced air and watch the soft leaves change into crispy ones scattering in the wind. I can spend afternoons with Jesse as he plummets down the steep hills around town on his skateboard. I can watch Barcelona soccer games on satellite, eat pizza, and even see those dumb reality TV shows late at night.
I’ve been on the other side and I’m grateful that I’m here. My life is good, most days.
But this morning wasn’t like most days.
The wind had a bite and as I stood at the edge of the river, ice pellets drilled into my face. The sky was slab gray, with low clouds pushing down around me.
She was there. Floating under the footbridge, snagged and hidden in bony branches and moving in a subtle, unnatural rhythm that the dead dance to when submerged in water. The river rushed around her, forming small riffles at her feet, as if she had always been there, belonging like a large boulder or a rooted tree.
In my vision the night before, I watched her die. It started soon after I drifted off to sleep. The night was pitchfork-sharp and her fear radiated in waves through me as she ran, trying to get away from him. She slipped, falling hard onto the icy pavement, her screams lost in the hollow, empty night as he wrapped his arm around her neck until she fell quiet into his arms.
These visions that started months ago have me following in the footsteps of a serial killer I’ve yet to see, as he roams the city looking for his next victim, never satisfied and always needing.
I stood in the shadows and watched like it was a scene from a movie. I knew I could do nothing. He picked her up and brought her to the water, held her head down. Then he sat next to her, stroking her hair.
But this time, I was ready. I only needed a glimpse. If I could see his face in my vision, I could find him in reality. I summoned my courage, forced myself to swallow the bile that shot up in the back of my throat and followed him as he strolled arrogantly away.
The moon was bright, beams threading through the trees, leaving thick shadows. Instinctually, I backed into the darkness as he suddenly stopped, even though I knew he wouldn’t be able to see me. His breath leaked out in ghostly wisps as he stood silent.
Finally, he turned around, his eyes hooking into mine. He saw me. Somehow he cut through my murky vision and saw me.
But I saw him too. And now I knew who he was.
He stared a while, still and contemplative, as I fought my urge to run. But he didn’t come after me. The bastard just stood there, and then smiled, before stepping away and disappearing into the lonely night.
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