Chapter One

Sunday, February 19, 2040
3:03 A.M.

A dozen tormented women stand before me. Their faces have been cut off. One in particular stands out: She’s wearing a red coat while the others are black and white, even their hair.

They fall dead, but my eyes can’t leave the last girl in line as her body collapses to the ground, limp and lifeless. Her red coat turns to blood. . .

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Brittany Griffith


Victim Eleven
Tuesday, April 6, 2049
6:21 P.M.

My car greets me with a never-ending hiss. Panting, my legs are so tight from my run I don’t want to fix a flat. But amidst the other vehicles surrounding mine, I’m certain it’s my tire deflating. Bad luck is closer than my shadow. I should have stayed in bed this morning, but I’m too hard-headed to accept defeat.

My shirt sticks to my sweat as I tilt over to inspect the damage. I don’t have to look far, as one tire is over halfway flat. I open the trunk, wishing I had backed into the shade, and hope I have a patch kit somewhere in the heap of junk I vow to clean out every time I find myself rearranging it to accommodate groceries. Trunks never smell pleasant, or at least none that I have owned, but this one has stunk for weeks. If I can identify and negate the cause, then I still somewhat win—even if I can’t find the patch kit. I slide over a box of towels, unsure how or when they snuck in here, and spot an apple core, browned and gooey. Am I this big of a slob? I don’t eat apples.

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Veronica Steyer

Victim Nine
Wednesday, March 20, 2047
11:38 A.M.

“I don’t cheat!” The words come out louder than expected. I stand at the teacher’s giant solid oak desk, trying to conceal the anger fixing in my jaw. But it’s pointless as my humiliation sets in with two dozen students staring.

“You’re done here,” Professor Callahan states in a pacifying timbre, as if I’m exaggerating the severity of my punishment, and points at the door.

“I thought you trusted me.”

“You’re done—”

“Why are you lying?” I screech, no longer attempting to hide my fury.

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