Update: This was the original prologue, but it was changed to the first chapter when at the last minute, and with a substantial lack of forethought, I wrote a new prologue, available here.
Lucy couldn’t move. There was a ringing in her ears, and behind the ringing faint voices. She could tell her eyes were open, but she couldn’t see. She couldn’t even blink. She felt as if she was floating for a moment and then she felt the weight of her body and the solidness of a long board being slid behind her back. Hands were running all over her gently trying to roll her onto the board. It made her extremely uncomfortable. She tried to fight, tried to tell them to stop, but couldn’t speak. Someone was strapping something thick and soft around her head and neck that muffled the sounds even more. Thoughts, images and voices without any apparent connection drifted through her mind.
Her mother and her laughing while taking a drive to get some late snack at an all-night truck stop. The anticipation of pancakes and chocolate shakes. Mom liked to dip fries in hers. Yuck.
“This one looks stable, help me with this one.”
A boy with a yo-yo in the headlights. A sound of screeching tires, then red and blue flashing lights.
“Blood pressure is dropping fast…”
She could feel the cool night air on her skin now, a dull ache in her joints.
A beautiful woman with long black hair she’d never seen before, with cold…cold grey eyes.
“I’ve lost the pulse, quick…no that…over here…”
Something else…a dog, no a pig, no a duck…with a butcher knife? A sound like a cat being strangled underwater.
“We’re losing her…”
A man with a silver, beak-like visor instead of a face.
“She looks ok. Take this one to Harrisburg…”
A man with no face at all.
“Careful, together on three and…1…2…3, LIFT!”
Two teenage boys: A pale, handsome, shirtless young man who almost sparkled, with wild, blond hair and a carefree smirk. The other dark, red-haired, with brooding eyes.
“One vehicle accident, northbound, overturned car stuck in a tree…”
A young, olive-skinned boy with cropped hair and strange clothes…wearing eyeliner?
“Two passengers, both white females, one middle age, brown hair, the other 13 or 14, sandy haired…Pennsylvania registration…”
A vast beast or animal with many arms and wings covered under dark drapes and shrouds lurking in a room full of candles. Two candles waver…one goes out, the other burns on…faintly.
“We have the younger one heading to Harrisburg now…”
A blue-grey city full of broken tombs and statues on the edge of a vast swamp surrounded in flames of ice. Monsters of horrible size and configuration gathering around the city…children…blind children everywhere…running and screaming. The boy with the yo-yo is there, the woman with dark hair too.
“15, maybe 20 minutes out…”
A foreign sunny land, a father kneeling over the body of a boy, the boy’s throat slit, the last of his blood spilling, his father’s groans of agony splitting the heavens. He is changing into…something.
“I think she’ll make it, possible mild concussion, possible broken ribs…the other one, however…major internal bleeding…”
A vision of her mother in blue monochrome. She speaks her name, “Lucy,” as if from very far away.
“You still with me honey?” says another, much closer voice she doesn’t recognize.
Lucy struggled to wake up and called out weakly, “Mother?”
“Your mother is in another ambulance…”
“MOM? Are you there?” she called out again.
“They are going to airlift her to Philadelphia…”
“Stay with me honey, it will be alright.”