Wandering aimlessly through the street looking for a safe place to hide. They’re going to find me any minute now, surely they have to be getting closer. I’m running now, running along the dark, desolate, cobble-stoned street looking for any nook or cranny to fit myself into. Turning into a shabby alley, I’m lost for a second. For that split second in time I forget everything, I forget why I’m running, forget why and how I ended up in this shady, dead-end town that stinks of lies and deceit, for that precious second, I just stand there. Then everything comes crashing down so hard black spots start to appear in my peripheral vision. Images, sounds, feelings; Eric’s body, the gun, the betrayal; they all blend together. No, I can’t do this right now, can’t remember Eric. I have to focus on me, a skill I’m scarily good at; and just like that, I’m in Survival Mode.


Survival Mode is… instinct, primary, intuition; whatever you want to call it. I don’t know the dynamics of it, and its saved my life too many times for me to care.

By the time I react to what my body is doing, I’m sprinting full speed toward the forest outside of the city. That’s what Survival Mode does to you, gets you out of tricky situations fast, too fast for your conscious mind to keep up. No super strength or speed or anything like that, it’s all you.  Just your intuition kicking in and intuition can’t wait for your conscious mind to catch up. No shots are fired behind me, I can’t decide if that’s good or bad. Could they possibly have someone (something?) waiting for me? Is that why they aren’t shooting, figuring that I’ll be captured before I can make it too far? When I get to the edge of the forest I veer suddenly to the right jogging another 200 meters, catching my breath.  As silently as I can, which believe me is pretty darn quite, I climb up the nearest tree to get surveillance. Footsteps are closing in from my left, so they were waiting for me.

“I think I heard something over here.” says a sleazy male voice I can’t identify.

“She won’t get far, after all the kid’s only, what? 13?” the second man laughs.

Won’t be laughing when I kick your face inside out will you? And since when am I a kid? Last I heard kids weren’t being hunted for, they sit at home, watch cartoons and have a 9pm bedtime. But then again it’s been a while since I checked into the normal world. Still, when did you hear of a kid being #4 on the FBI’s Most Wanted list? (I’m pretty proud of that myself, and I didn’t have to kill anyone to get there either. Can’t tell me that doesn’t take skill.) And I definitely don’t look 13 (I mean sure, I try to look young for my cover and it usually works; not that I’m old, 16 isn’t old) but 13? That’s going too far.

“Nobody gets past this hell site, I’m getting kind of freaked out myself.” says Sleazy.

Ha! Pussy.

“Never know what’s going to crawl out, or where from, gives me the shivers. You think boss’ll get mad if we don’t get the kid?”

Not. A. Kid.

“Eh, what’s it matter if we get her or the wolves? Either way she’ll be out of our way.” says Sleazy.

Wolves? This could get interesting..

“Boss wants to talk to her, get some information on what she knows about this Eric guy.” says Shivers.

Eric? They know about Eric? How do these two filthy lowlifes know about Eric? What gives them the right?

“Don’t know why Boss cares, if you ask me those two are too much trouble for what they’re worth. I’d get rid of both of  ’em, let them battle each other to the death, something to liven up the place, eh?” says Sleazy.

Oh  Sleazy, this is precisely why you’re the grubby thug and not the Boss. First off, you have no idea how much we’re worth. Eric, the real Eric, and me put together are your unstoppable sassy nightmare. Well, I’m sassy. You want us to fight each other to the death, huh? We’re not animals, Sleazy, put us together and we’d get out of here faster than you could blink.

“All right I’m outta here, not any stupid kid gonna make me stay out here for long,” says Shivers.

Oh, so I’ve got power as long as I’m here in this “hell site”? Can’t be that bad…

I listened as Sleazy and Shivers walked away. It sounded like two were trying to purposefully step on every branch and leaf in the forest.


I dreamt about the first time I met Eric.


Turning my coffee cup completely vertically I tried to get a final drop of my Grande Hazelnut Latte, otherwise known as Heaven In a Styrofoam Cup from this magical place called Starbucks. When nothing came out I gave up, that was my third cup of coffee and it was only…6:30pm. Great. I put on Cirque Du Soleils’ “Delirium”, their best album, for the third time and tried to concentrate on my homework. I would rather be sprinting to death at track instead of reading about Irans’ Cultural Revolution, but what can you do? High school sucks. Just as my eyes crossed yet another unfamiliar hard-to-pronounce Middle Eastern name,  some books landed on my desk. I just about jumped out of my skin. Yes, this is a library, but books don’t hop up on tables by themselves.

Then my brain caught up with me and I realized that logically there had to be a person that had dropped the books. My eyes followed them up to a black button up shirt, broad shoulders, and a strong jaw line that made my heart stutter. I wasn’t sure if I could go on but as my eyes moved at their own accord I saw the clearest, most confident, blue eyes I have ever encountered  in my life starring back at me. Oh God, please tell me I don’t look like those “flying” books just scared the hell out of me or, even worse, I better not looked impressed by him.

“Hey, mind if I sit down?”

Ooo, deep voice too. I wouldn’t have thought the library would be this busy on an early April evening. As I glanced around the bookshelves and desks..wait let me rephrase that. As I glanced around the bookshelves and empty desks, there wasn’t another single person here except for a guy who looked like he was giving it his third try at college.

I raised my eyebrow, “There isn’t anywhere else for you to sit?”

Oh yeah, there’s my defensive sassy-ness showing itself. Seriously, I was having enough of a hard time concentrating and then this one shows up? Is this something my teachers set up to make sure I failed? As if all this wasn’t hard enough. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a little eye candy now and then and this guy looks like a perfect candidate for some beach stalking but he has the worst timing. I mean I have Mohammed Mossadeq, Mohammed Reza Shah Palavi, and Mehdi Barzagan to be learning about. I don’t have time to be distracted by anything else.

“Is this seat taken?” says Gorgeous.

Wait, hold on. Is that a British accent I hear? Well if he came here to distract me and doom me to fail my essay he can consider his goal accomplished. Just listening to British people talk is enough of a distraction for me. As if he doesn’t seem perfect enough…he’s probably a douche anyways.


“Then there’s no problem.” says Mr.Gorgeous-With-A-Hot-British-Accent.

Then he just sat right on down, replacing my very important books with his…English Literature, Art History, and Psychology books? He sure doesn’t look like he should be studying literature, art and psychology. He looks like he should be amusing girls at night clubs with his………..you guessed it…………British accent.








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