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Tag: Sadie

Chapter 14 – That Would Be Normal

Eleven Months Before Impact Day

“Finally!” Sadie said as I was crawling back in through the window. She was unexpectedly enthusiastic, and I wasn’t quite sure how to take it.

“Were you waiting for me?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes! Every time you leave, it is so boring,” she complained.

That was fair. When left to her own devices, there wasn’t really a lot she could do. She couldn’t pick up a book or turn on the TV or use the computer. She couldn’t talk to anyone, or do anything productive with her time. I definitely felt bad for her, but there also wasn’t a lot I could do about it. I used to just leave the TV on for her, but then Mark started coming in and turning it off anyway.

“Does that mean you’re talking to me again?” I asked.

“Well, I don’t exactly have anyone else to talk to,” she grumbled.

“Nice,” I said dryly. “I can feel the love.”

“So where have you been?” she asked, ignoring me. I wasn’t entirely sure I felt like answering her question.

“Oh, you now. Out and about.”

“Well, you don’t look like you’ve been in a fight, so I’m going to assume you went to see Rachel again.”

The way she said it, it felt like an accusation. That annoyed me. What right did she have to judge me?

“Why don’t you like her?” I asked, my tone making it clear she had better think hard about her answer.

“I never said I don’t like her.”

“You made it pretty obvious.”

“I just don’t think she’s being honest with you,” Sadie said reluctantly. I tried not to laugh. Boy was she in for a surprise.

“About what?” I demanded, pushing her.

“Do you really not notice it?” she asked, backing away a little. “The way she looks at you? All your secret late night meetings…”

Oh,” I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm. “That.

“So you do see it.”

“I was a little oblivious, I guess,” I conceded. Until Sadie had brought it up, I hadn’t actually noticed, but I didn’t really feel like that was deception on Rachel’s part. I doubted either Rachel or I had any idea what we were feeling until we were forced to think about it. “I don’t really think about that sort of stuff, you know?”

“Well, she obviously does,” Sadie said petulantly.

“I know. She told me.”

Sadie did that surprised cartoonish thing where she blinked a lot, as if somehow that would make it easier to comprehend what I’d said. Or maybe she was expecting to realise she’d heard something else?

“What? When?”

“I dunno. A week ago, maybe?” I said, trying to sound casual about it.

“Wow. Okay.”

Evidently, I wasn’t able to lie to Sadie. Even if I did, she’d figure it out eventually. Better to have the conversation on my terms.

“Sadie, I… I think I feel the same about her.”

“You think?

“Well, I haven’t exactly done this before,” I said, annoyed.

“Do you even know if you’re gay?” she asked.

What the Hell kind of question was that? Did she not believe me? Did she not want to believe me? Why should I have to prove anything to her?

“No, I don’t,” I said coldly. “But I know that I like Rachel.”

“But you’ve never even thought about it before,” she protested. “What if she just, like, talked you into it?”

“Talked me into it?” I repeated, incredulous. This was my sister talking?


“Sadie, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, okay? I know what I’m doing.”

Well, okay, that last part was a lie, but the sentiment was true. I wasn’t going to let Sadie make me start doubting myself, not now.

“So are you going to have sex with her?” she asked.

“What? That’s…”

My first reaction was to say, that has nothing to do with it. I stopped myself, though. What if it did? What if Rachel wanted that? Would I be okay with it? Would I want it too? Why didn’t I think of this before?

“Would you even kiss her?” Sadie demanded, still pushing.

“What the Hell?”

“Well, if you think you can date another girl, surely stuff like that should be no problem, right?” she asked, in a strange combination of smugness and defensiveness.

“You know, sometimes I forget you’re only fifteen,” I said, sounding as disappointed as I felt.

“You can’t play the age card on me, Charlie,” she snapped. “I’m dead, not a kid.”

To be fair, she’d never really acted her age, not since she died. It was difficult to say exactly how it all affected her. Being dead, she didn’t exactly have hormones or standard brain development, but at the same time, she was definitely growing, and maturing at what felt like a pretty normal rate. At least, she’d always seemed like the same distance from me, age-wise.

“Well, you’re sure not acting like an adult right now,” I said.

“You’re the one acting like a kid,” she retorted. “I’m just worried you haven’t thought this through.

With that, she finally hit my breaking point. There was no way I was going to take that from her.

“Okay, first of all, if I was dating a guy, you wouldn’t be saying any of this,” I snapped.

“No, because that would be normal,” she said. I was starting to see red.

“Right, because everything in my life is so normal. Fuck, Sadie.”

“I didn’t mean it like that,” she muttered.

“I don’t care how you meant it, to be honest. And anyway, I don’t need to have thought it out. I like her, and this is what I want. End of story.

“No, that’s not the end of the story!” she cried. “You can’t just date a girl and expect everything to work out? That’s not how the world works!”

“I’m not going to give up on a relationship just because there are no guarantees it will work out!” I yelled, then immediately cringed and covered my mouth, as if that would muffle the words already spoken.

“You’re shouting, Charlie.”

“Whatever,” I muttered. “This conversation is over. Thanks so much for the support, sis.”

“I’m just trying to look out for you,” she said.

“Well, don’t.”


* * *
Sadie and I didn’t talk for a few days after that. For the most part, she sat in the corner and sulked. I didn’t care. She deserved to stew a little, as far as I was concerned.

When I finally had another chance to sneak over to Rachel’s place again, I was over the moon. I wasn’t planning on telling her about Sadie’s reaction, but I thought that just being around her would make me feel better.

Just like always, I climbed over the fence, snuck around through the back door, and slipped into Rachel’s room as quietly as I could. With the amount of times that I’d done it, I knew how to be pretty damn quiet.

“Hey there,” I said, closing the door behind me.

“Hey!” she said. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

I cringed involuntarily. She wasn’t lowering her voice like we normally had to. Was her mum not home? Or had she just suddenly become reckless?

“Dude, too loud!”

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” she said.

“Why not?”

“I… maybe slipped a sleeping tablet into her drink,” she said sheepishly.

“You did what?”

“She takes them sometimes anyway,” Rachel said defensively. “And I needed to be able to go out without worrying tonight. She’ll be fine.”

I sighed. “Yeah, I guess.” I didn’t feel good about it. Though, if anyone deserved it, it was Rachel’s mother. Not that anybody deserved to be drugged. Ever.

“I know, it’s kind of messed up. But it was important.”

“So, we’re going out?” I asked, changing the subject. I just needed to not think about it too much.

“I told you, I have a surprise for you,” she said, brightening up. “Here, wear this.”

She handed me a low-cut top and a hoodie. Confused, I looked at them for a few seconds, then back at her. She just smiled, and disappeared out of the room. Not really having much reason to object, I quickly changed, then followed her outside.


Next Week: Definitely Not Unbreakable

Chapter 12 – You Know Me So Well

Eleven Months Before Impact Day

However good I’d felt the night before, it clearly didn’t last through to the next day. I spent pretty much the entire day staring out the window, lost in thought. That probably wouldn’t have been a problem on a weekend, but it was a school day, and I found myself being scolded more than once for not paying attention. Liz and Aidan kept throwing me concerned looks, and I knew there was a lecture coming later.

Thankfully, they didn’t mention it until after school, when we were all back home and hanging out in Aidan’s room. His room was smaller than mine, but a whole lot neater. I was staring absently at the wall when he prodded me.

“Hey, you okay there?

“Huh?” I asked, snapping out of it. “Fine. Why?”

“You’ve been distant all day,” Liz said. “Seems like something might be bothering you.”

“Oh. No, I’m fine. Just thinking about stuff,” I told them, which was technically true.

“What kind of stuff?” Aidan prompted.

“Stuff like you being nosy,” I said, a little more sharply than I’d intended.

“That was a bit rude,” Liz chided.


“Are you sure you’re okay?” Aidan asked, sounding more concerned than annoyed. Was I really being that obvious?

“Just confused, I guess,” I blurted out, then immediately felt my face turn red. I hadn’t meant to say anything at all.

Liz and Aidan exchanged glances, then looked back at me, surprised. Clearly they weren’t expecting me to open up about it either.

“That’s not like you,” Liz said. “What’s up?”

Don’t say anything, don’t say anything, don’t say anything.

“Just… relationship stuff,” I said. Idiot. I still wasn’t going to give them any details, but maybe I could vent some of what I was feeling. It wasn’t like they’d let me back out of the conversation anyway, so I figured I should at least try and get something out of it.

“Well, that’s unexpected,” Aidan said, suddenly looking a little uncomfortable.

“Something you want to tell us about?” Liz asked, also looking a little less than happy. What was their deal?

“No, it’s not like that,” I lied. It bothered me that they both seemed to relax at that “I’ve just… I’ve never really thought of myself as a relationship-y sort of person, you know?”

“You do sort of give off that vibe,” Aidan said.

“I guess I’m just wondering about that, lately.”

“Well, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Liz said encouragingly.

“I feel like there is. I would be rubbish in a relationship,” I said, a little bitterly.

“What makes you say that?” Aidan asked.

“Well, you know what I’m like,” I said. “I’m sarcastic and kind of weird. And not exactly good at relationship-type things.”

“Charlie, what do you think relationships are about?” Liz asked, raising an eyebrow in surprise.

“You know, being nice, talking about feelings, making the other person happy, supporting them when they’re down, that sort of thing. All the things I suck at.”

Pity party, table for one.

“You don’t suck at those things,” Aidan said, “you’re just not used to them. You just need to date someone who knows what you’re like, and who’ll be patient as you figure that stuff out.”

Would Rachel be patient?

“And what if I never figure that stuff out?” I demanded. None of that stuff came naturally to me, and it didn’t seem like stuff you could just learn. What if I just wasn’t cut out for relationships?

“There are people who will love you regardless,” Liz said, and Aidan nodded in agreement.

“I doubt that,” I muttered. What if I can’t be what Rachel wants, and she leaves me?

“Hey, you’re a pain in the arse, and I still love you,” Aidan said.

“I do too,” Liz added. “Just the way you are.”

Somehow, that didn’t actually make me feel that much better. Just because they loved me as a friend didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. They didn’t depend on me the way a partner would, so I’d never had the chance to let them down. If I had, they’d probably feel very differently.

“Hmph,” I grunted.

“No, seriously,” Aidan said. “You’re a wonderful person, and anyone who can’t see that isn’t worth your time.”

I had no idea how to respond to that. My brain felt a little like it was short-circuiting.

“Alright, alright, don’t do that,” I said, shaking my head emphatically.

“What, are we embarrassing you?” Liz teased.

“You’re damn right you are,” I told her. “Saps.”

“Well, we’re saps who love you,” Aidan said. “So deal with it.”

I threw a pillow at him, aware I was demonstrating the emotional maturity of a five-year-old. I did feel a little better, though. It was nice to be reassured I wasn’t a complete failure of a person. At least they would never leave me.

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing video games and generally enjoying ourselves. Liz stayed for dinner, then went home. Aidan and I spent a couple of hours doing our homework together. After he went to bed, I snuck out again.

I needed to talk to Rachel. All of this shit that was going through my mind, it only had one logical conclusion. Rachel was too important to me to lose. I couldn’t lie to her, or pretend to be someone or something I’m not, but if there was anyone I could be honest with, it was her.

There was nobody I trusted more than her. Not Sadie, not Aidan or Liz. I loved them all dearly, but Rachel, she was my…

Well, I didn’t have a word for what she was. That was why I needed to talk to her. Alone.

Half an hour later, I was creeping in Rachel’s back door, praying her mum wouldn’t see me. To my surprise, it didn’t even seem like she was home. I pushed open Rachel’s door and went inside.

“Hey,” I said, surprising her. She looked up from the book she was reading, and smiled nervously.

“Uh, hey. Mum didn’t see you, did she?”

“Nope,” I said confidently.

“You’re sure?” she asked, dubious.

“Dude, she isn’t even here.”


“Well, I didn’t see her,” I clarified.

“She must have a date,” Rachel said. “She never mentions them to me. I think she’s worried I’ll invite friends over if I know she won’t be home.”

“You have friends?” I teased.

“Shut up.”

I crept up closer to her, trying to get a look at the book she was reading. She hastily slammed it shut and threw it in a drawer, glaring at me. I smirked back at her.

“So, are you busy?”

“That depends,” she said cautiously.


“How nicely you ask.” She smiled devilishly at me, freeing her hair from the hair tie she’d pulled it back with, and letting it fall around her face. Somehow, she actually managed to make it look elegant, the way it does in movies.

“I’ll just be going, then,” I bluffed. I had to admit, it was a little difficult to do when she looked at me like that. It was getting harder and harder not to admit how I felt about her.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” she said.

I stuck my tongue out at her, which made her giggle. Then we just kind of looked at each other awkwardly. After a few seconds of that, I remembered what I’d come to say.

“Are you hungry?”

She frowned. I knew food was a sort point for her, but I really just wanted an excuse to get her out of the house. With her mum gone, there was no better night for it.


“C’mon, let me buy you a burger,” I pressed, trying not to sound too insensitive.

“How do you even have money?” she asked, which I had to admit was a valid question. I didn’t exactly have a job. Or an allowance.

“I have my ways,” I said mysteriously.

“You took it from Mark, didn’t you?”

“You know me so well,” I said, sighing.

“Alright, but just this once,” she said, grabbing an old coat from the floor. My heart was pounding in my chest.

Please god let nothing go wrong.


Next Week: What If I’m Bad At It?

Chapter 11 – Maybe Punching Someone Would Help

Part 2 – Vigilante

Eleven Months Before Impact Day

On my next night out ‘on patrol’, as I liked to think of it, I was a little better prepared. I’d strapped my old karate padding on underneath my clothes, and left Sadie at home. I hadn’t figured out a way to improve my visibility without revealing my face, so I still had the ski mask, but I had brought along some rope. All I needed to do was figure out how to tie a person up without first breaking any of their limbs.

Alright, so it wasn’t exactly a drastic improvement, but I didn’t really have a lot of resources at my disposal. Oh, to be a billionaire playboy, or whatever the feminine equivalent of that was. A slutty heiress? Yay for gender equality. Feminism truly is over.

I decided to go in a different direction to the previous night, mostly because I felt like a change of scenery. I told myself it was also to avoid becoming predictable, but I hadn’t been out enough for it to make a difference. Nobody was paying any attention to what I did. Yet.

It was nice just being out in the fresh air, alone and free to think in relative peace. It was a lot harder to be introspective around other people, especially when you didn’t want them to think there was anything bothering you. Liz and Aidan lately seemed to notice every minor facial expression I made, which was more than a little aggravating.

Funnily enough, I hadn’t really given a lot more thought to my newly discovered immortality. I mean, it wasn’t that I didn’t have questions, like why I was like this, or how it happened, or what I even was. It was more that I didn’t have any way of answering those questions, and there didn’t seem to be much point in keeping myself up worrying about it.

I had tried to go back through my medical history, but all I managed to figure out was that my family was perfectly normal, and I’d never been sick a day in my life. So I could probably assume that whatever was different about me, it had always been that way, and it probably wasn’t genetic. Then again, that last part probably should have been obvious, given that the entirety of my immediate family was deceased.

Day to day, I didn’t feel any different to anyone else. At least, I didn’t think I did. I couldn’t know for sure what a normal, mortal person felt like, but nothing I’d ever read or watched led me to believe there was anything different about my human experience. It seemed entirely possible that, were it not for the accident, or my attempted suicide, I would never have found out that I couldn’t die. Though, that did raise some other questions. Like, if I couldn’t die, did that mean I wouldn’t die from old age? Did that mean that I wouldn’t age, or that I’d just keep ageing without dying? Would I end up as a giant head in a jar?

If I was going to stop ageing, when would that happen? At eighteen? Thirty? Fifty? What were the rules for this sort of thing?

So, yeah, a whole lot of questions I had no way of answering, and plenty of other things to keep me distracted. Mostly, I spent a lot of time thinking about Rachel.

The fact that Rachel was a girl barely registered in my mind. It didn’t feel like a relevant factor, or rather, I didn’t think I would feel any differently about it one way or another. What that said about me, I wasn’t sure. To be honest, I didn’t really care.

What I was struggling with was whether my feelings for her were romantic, or just strong friendship. I’d never really pictured myself as the dating type, and I didn’t know if my reservations were coming from that, or if it was just that I wasn’t interested in her in that way. Truth be told, I didn’t even really know what dating her would be like.

The relationship we’d had for five years had been great for both of us. We both seemed to get exactly what we wanted, and we didn’t have to worry about anything changing. Dating, though… Dating definitely meant changes, and I didn’t like not knowing what to expect.

Relationships, at least the romantic kind, end. That’s just the way the world works. Friendships don’t end nearly as often. By that line of thinking, I was a lot more likely to lose her as a partner than if we just stayed friends. On the other hand, now that our feelings were out in the open, maybe staying as just friends would actually be more of a strain on the relationship.

I tried to picture myself dating somebody else, but it didn’t really mean anything to me. I just inserted a blank slate into my imagination, and it didn’t tell me anything. Then I tried to picture her dating someone else, and I didn’t really mind that, either. I thought about her keeping secrets from me, or brushing me off to spend time with someone else, and I didn’t like that, but that wasn’t the same thing.

My head just kept going around in circles, asking myself the same questions and not having any solid answers. All I knew was that I didn’t know what I wanted, and I really wished that I did. There wasn’t even anyone I could talk to about it, because I knew there was no way Aidan or Liz would be able to help. It was just a little outside of their wheelhouses. Sadie already didn’t like Rachel, and I doubted telling her about any of the recent developments would change that. Mark was, well, not exactly a good listener, not unless he thought he could get a story out of it. I didn’t really have a lot of other people in my life. Not that I trusted to that extent, anyway.

Maybe punching someone would help, I told myself, as I rounded the corner to see a couple of well-dressed thugs stepping out of a fancy car, and walking up to the front door of a nearby house. They definitely looked like they were up to no good. I crouched in the bushes, watching them.

“This the place?” one of them asked, looking around suspiciously.

“The address is right,” the other confirmed. “But remember, we ain’t supposed to hurt nobody. Just break a few things, get the fear going, alright?”

“Fuckin’, I know, right?” the first one retorted, clearly annoyed.

They rung the doorbell and waited. Nearly a minute later, a bleary-eyed, middle-aged man opened the door. He stopped in his tracks when he saw the two thugs, and tried to shut the door again, but they muscled their way past him, then slammed the door shut behind them.

I thought about sneaking in and helping the guy, but reminded myself it would probably cause more harm than good. They seemed like some kind of gang enforcers, and if they didn’t finish the job they were sent for, it would only make it worse in the long run. Waiting outside was hard, though.

While I waited, I amused myself by letting the air out of one of their tyres. There was actually a method to my madness, but it was also just surprisingly satisfying. I snuck back into the bushes, and went back to waiting.

The two men didn’t come out again for more than half an hour, and when the front door finally opened, my legs were starting to feel cramped. They got into their car and started to drive off, but didn’t get far before they realised one of their tyres was flat.

I followed in the shadows until they pulled over, just around the next corner. One of them got out, locating the flat tyre and cursing. Time for me to see what I could do.

I snuck up on the guy as he stood in front of the tyre with his back to me, and kicked him in the back of the knee, causing him to drop down. As soon as his knees hit the ground, I grabbed the back of his head, slamming it into the side of the car, stunning him long enough to thread one of his wrists through the loop I’d already prepared in the rope I’d brought with me. I yanked his arm sideways, towards the other one, and grabbed the free wrist. He twitched and tried to pull away, but I was just fast enough to get the other wrist through the loop. All I had to do was pull the loop tight, effectively handcuffing him, which would hopefully give me enough time to-

My ears were filled with the loudest, most terrifying bang I had ever heard in my life. In the same moment, an incredibly brutal wave of force crashed into me knocking me over sideways. My head collided with the pavement, and my body was too stunned to react.

As the shock wore off and the pain began to spread, I realised that I’d been shot. My entire chest ached like it never had before, and I could barely breathe. Where did this fucker get a gun?

I saw the hulking figure of the other man looming over me, gun pointed down at my face.

“Stupid little shit,” he said, and I winced, bracing for another bullet.

“Idiot, just untie me, would you? Half the bloody neighbourhood hear that. We need to get out of here.”

And then the silhouette above me was gone. Not long after that, I heard the car race off. I coughed, and blood splattered out in front of me. I lay there for what felt like forever, shivering and dry-heaving until eventually, I heard a voice.

“Somebody’s been shot!” they cried, and I panicked. “Call an ambulance!”

With a desperate effort, I pulled myself up to my feet, staggering sideways. There were cracks everywhere, the impossible cracks, and I could barely see what was happening around me, but I needed to get away. I couldn’t let myself be found there, not by paramedics or police or anyone else.

“Whoa, take it easy, kid,” someone said. I couldn’t tell if it was the same person or not. It didn’t matter. I started running, ignoring the burning pain in my chest, and the way my limbs all felt like they weight one hundred times more than usual. I wan until I was sure nobody was following me, and then I collapsed.

I don’t know how long I laid there for, barely able to move. After a while, the pain had faded to a manageable amount, and I realised I could probably get up, if I needed to. It was a while longer after that before I actually did.

Sadie was waiting up for me when I crawled back in through the window, though thankfully she was the only one. She took one look at the bloody mess that was my clothing, and just ran up to me and hugged me.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” I told her, irrationally worried she would get blood on her.

“What happened?” she asked, looking mortified.

“I got shot.”

“What?” she cried out, practically shouting.

“C’mon, I’m fine. Now, at least. Hurt like Hell, though. I do not want to do that again.”

“Does that mean you’re going to stop doing this?” she asked hopefully.

“It means I need a bulletproof vest or something,” I told her.

She pushed away from me with a huffing sound, and I laughed. Despite the way things had gone, I felt good about the night. Somehow, it felt like I was a little closer to figuring it out.


Next Week: You Know Me So Well

Chapter 9 – You Don’t Have A Secret Boyfriend, Do You?

One Year Before Impact Day

Sadie spent the next few days sulking, but I hardly even noticed. I felt happier than I had in months, and I didn’t want to let anyone take that away from me.

Liz and Aidan remained somewhat suspicious of me, but neither of them said anything more. That was enough for me, really. They could wonder about what I was up to all they wanted, it didn’t make a difference to me.

For the most part, they went back to being their normal selves, at least around me. We talked about the usual things, complained about school, joked about each other and generally just tried to enjoy ourselves. It was exactly what I needed.

One Friday after school, we decided to stop by a café that we frequented. We stopped by often enough that the proprietor knew us by name, anyway. She smiled at us as we entered, though it was the most pleasantly sarcastic smile I think I’ve ever seen.

“You three again? Don’t you have anywhere better to be?”

Despite her best efforts to look plain, Wendy was a strikingly beautiful woman. She left her short reddish-orange hair wild, and the glasses she wore were clearly fake, but beneath them, she had the features of a supermodel, not to mention the perfect, lightly-freckled skin.

“Is that any way to speak to your best customers?” I asked her, matching her smirk.

“You think you’re my best customers?”

“We are in here a lot…” Liz said, a little nervously.

“We don’t order a lot, though,” Aidan pointed out.

“That’s an understatement,” Wendy said dryly.

“We’re students,” I told her. “Sue us.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

“We’ll just go and sit down then,” I said cheerfully. “I’ll have the same thing I always do.”

“Me too,” Aidan chimed in.

“I guess I will as well,” Liz added. Wendy’s face twitched.

“You expect me to just remember what you like?” she demanded.

“Yep,” I said, enjoying her faux aggravation. I knew that she didn’t actually mind, because I’d seen how she treated customers she didn’t like.

“Lucky for you I have a good memory, or you’d all be getting water,” she muttered.

“Thank you for being such a good host,” Liz said.

“Just go sit down,” Wendy said, laughing.

The three of us took a seat in an empty booth, Liz and Aidan sitting beside each other, opposite me. The moment they sat down, I could tell that something was up.

“So, Charlie,” Liz began, causing me to cringe. “Aidan said you’ve been sneaking out at night. What’s up with that?”

“Oh he did, did he?” I asked, glaring at him. He shrunk down at my withering gaze.

“I may have let it slip,” he mumbled.

“You know Mark is going to kill you if he finds out,” Liz warned, her tone annoyingly authoritative.

“And is he going to find out?” I asked, continuing to glare at Aidan.

I already knew they weren’t going to say anything, and even if they did, there wasn’t actually much of a danger Mark would do anything about it. He wasn’t exactly the hands-on type.

“Hey, I’m not gonna tell him,” Aidan said, holding his hands up. “But he is a journalist, you know. He’ll probably figure it out sooner or later.”

“Well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it,” I said nonchalantly.

Wendy brought a tray of drinks for us, placing them in front of us silently. She really had memorised our orders.

“Why have you been sneaking out, anyway?” Liz asked.

“Is it even safe for you to be out at night? In this city?” Aidan chimed in. I was actually grateful for it, because if I could focus on the issue of safety, I wouldn’t have to talk about why I was out in the first place.

“I’m fine, you big baby,” I told him. “I know how to stay safe.”

“You don’t have a secret boyfriend, do you?” Liz asked, and I nearly choked on my tea. Why would she assume that? Most nights, I was sneaking out to see Rachel, not some boy.

“What? No, why would you even-”

“You turned red!” Aidan exclaimed, just a little too loud. “She was right! Charlie, how could you not tell us about this?”

“He’s not some kind of thug, is he?” Liz asked. “Or an older man?”

How had they latched onto the idea of me having a boyfriend? Why did that seem like the most likely explanation?

“There’s no boyfriend,” I insisted. “Guys, come on. You know me better than that.”

“So what are you doing, then?” Aidan asked.

Suddenly, I wished I hadn’t denied the boyfriend suggestion. It actually would have been a halfway decent cover for what I was actually doing, which they would never approve of.


“If you don’t tell us, we’re just going to keep assuming it’s a guy,” Liz threatened.

“And we’ll know if you’re lying,” Aidan added.

I doubted that, but I couldn’t think of a good enough lie anyway. I opted to go for the safe route, and give them just enough truth to avoid telling them anything important.

“I’m just visiting a friend,” I told them.

“At night?” Liz asked, concerned.

“Wait, guy or girl?” Aidan added, and I wanted to punch him.

“Does it matter?” I asked, annoyed.

“Just asking.”

“It’s a girl,” I said. “I met her through my jujitsu classes. I visit her at night because her mum is… well, she’s kind of abusive, and if she sees me, things get nasty.” I kind of wish that was a lie.

“That’s horrible!” Aidan said. “Why wouldn’t you tell us about that?”

“I dunno,” I just…”

What? Why haven’t I told them about Rachel? There wasn’t anything odd about having another friend, was there?

“Just what?” Liz demanded.

“Well, if she doesn’t want to tell us, she doesn’t have to,” Aidan said, diplomatically. It felt like he was playing good cop to Liz’s bad cop.

“Yes, but if she’s going to worry us by sneaking off in the middle of the night, it would be nice to at least know why,” Liz said, a little petulantly.

“I know,” I said, trying to sound more apologetic than I felt. “I didn’t really think about it that much. I was really only thinking about her.” That part was also true.

“What’s her name? Can we do anything for her?” Aidan asked, always wanting to be able to help. Also always wanting to know everything.

“Her name is Rachel, and no. You’d only make things worse,” I said. I didn’t actually want to give them her name, but I couldn’t think of a good way to avoid answering without sounding suspicious.

“Well, can we do anything to help you?” Lis asked.

“You could trust me,” I said, a little hurt.

“Charlie, we do trust you,” Aidan said. “We’re just worried.”

“What are you, my parents?”

“Friends are allowed to be worried too,” Aidan said.

“Besides, you and Aidan are practically siblings,” Liz pointed out. “That gives him family worrying rights.”

“I don’t think that’s how it works,” Aidan protested, to my surprise. He was even turning a little red.

“What, you don’t think of Charlie as a sister?” Liz asked, sounding a little accusatory.

“Let’s just not talk about this, okay?” Aidan pleaded.

“I agree. In fact, let’s just drop the whole subject,” I added.

“Alright, alright,” Liz conceded. “We just don’t want you to go missing one night.”

I rolled my eyes. Time to turn this around. I was tired of being interrogated.

“Have you noticed how the two of you talk like a unit?” I asked.

“Huh? We do?” Liz asked, confused.

“Like that. You both say ‘we’ a lot.”

“Well, we both feel the same way about this, so…” Aidan said, trailing off and clearly very embarrassed.

“I think it’s weirder to notice it than it is to do it,” Liz said, equally defensive.

“Whatever you say, guys,” I said. At least I’d taken their attention off of me for a little bit.

I glanced over at Wendy, who was serving another customer. She caught me looking, and smiled wearily at me. I was about to smile back when I noticed a crack beside her, which should have been impossible, because she was in the middle of the room. It looked as though the air itself was cracked. Nobody else seemed to notice it.

Recognising my concern, Wendy wandered over. She rested a hand on my shoulder, staring into my eyes through her messy fringe.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” she said. “Everything okay?”

“Probably,” I replied, wondering what in the world was wrong with me. The crack was gone, but the feeling it had given me remained.

“You two taking care of Charlie?” Wendy asked. Liz and Aidan swapped surprised expressions.

“I can’t imagine anyone less needing to be taken care of than Charlie,” Liz said, but she looked at me with a warm, nurturing smile.

Wendy just smiled, filling up my glass of water from her jug. She squeezed my shoulder with surprising strength, and left us alone.

“I didn’t realise you were that close with her, Charlie,” Aidan mused.

“Neither did I,” I confessed. “I like that she’s looking out for me, though. She seems like she’d be good at that.”

“She certainly stares at you a lot,” Liz said. “She tries to hide it, too. Which means it’s not just a coincidence.”

And why would you notice something like that, Liz?

“Alright, don’t make it weird, guys,” I said, feeling embarrassed.

“Just be careful,” Aidan said. “Something about her seems…”

“Off?” Liz offered.

“That’ll do,” he said.

“You guys do realise she gives us a discount, right?” I asked, slightly annoyed.

“Caution retracted,” Aidan said. “She’s good people.”

The three of us laughed, but I couldn’t help looking out of the corner of my eye, trying to catch Wendy looking at me.


Next Week: Can I Ask You Something Weird?

Chapter 8 – A Little Pain Never Hurt Anyone

One Year Before Impact Day

“I can’t believe you’re seriously doing this,” Sadie said, as she watched me getting ready.

“I don’t know what I’m doing yet,” I told her. “I’m just testing the waters, that’s all.”

“What do you think is gonna happen? You’re just going to stumble onto a mugging, beat up some thug, and be given the key to the city? By the way, you look ridiculous.”

“What were you expecting, a cape?” I snapped, wishing she’d just keep her mouth shut for once.

I may have been inspired by comic book heroes, but that didn’t mean I was going to dress like them. I wanted something practical, nondescript, and most importantly, easy to replace. A distinctive look could come later, if I really needed one. I wasn’t exactly going to start that way.

What I had was a sports bra, a black hoodie, and black cargo pants and combat boots I’d picked up from a military surplus store. I’d even picked up a ski mask to hide my face, because despite what TV tells you, a hood is not enough to keep your face hidden, especially when you’re in motion. I’d probably look like a criminal myself, but at least I wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb, and nobody would be able to identify me by looking at me. Hopefully, they wouldn’t even be able to figure out that I was a girl.

“You look like you’re going to rob the liquor store,” Sadie said.

“Alright, I get it. Now, if you don’t mind, I have better things to do than stand around and be insulted.”

“Okay, I’m sorry,” she said, as I started climbing out through the window. “I’m just worried about you, that’s all.”

“Oh, please. What do you think is going to happen to me?”

I crawled out into the front yard, dusting myself off as I started to skulk away from the house. Sadie followed me out, climbing out the same way. Though I had no idea why, she seemed bound by all the same laws of physics as any other person. She was still held down by gravity and she couldn’t pass through walls or any other physical object. Unlike normal people, though, she couldn’t actually move anything, either. No matter how hard she pushed on a door, she couldn’t open or close it. She couldn’t pick up objects, and if they were placed on her, they would just sort of fall through her. So far as I could tell, it didn’t follow any logic or sense.

“Just because nothing can kill you, doesn’t mean you don’t feel pain,” she said, hurrying to catch up with me.

“A little pain never hurt anyone,” I said.

“That makes no sense,” she retorted. I ignored her.

For a while, I just wandered the streets, just generally trying to move further away from home. I had a vague idea of what I was looking for, but I wasn’t sure if I’d recognise it even when I saw it. I was actually glad Sadie was there, just as an extra set of eyes.

I thought as I walked. There are a lot of reasons people do bad things. A lot of crimes are motivated by desperation and oppression, by disenfranchised people who don’t see any better options available to them. People who are generally good can fall into a bad culture, and that can be a powerful motivator for things they wouldn’t otherwise do.

I wasn’t looking to punish those people. There wasn’t anything I could do for them, at least not directly. Interrupting a crime in progress would only lead to preventing that one specific incident, or maybe only delaying it. At worst, someone would get hurt.

The real problem, the one I really wanted to do something about, was the gangs. They’d been growing in power for years, and the police seemed powerless to stop them. Occasionally they would find and raid a hideout, or arrest some particularly careless thugs, but it wasn’t enough to make any sort of real difference.

According to rumour, more than one of them was funded by some of the city’s more excessively wealthy citizens, which did help explain why they were so untouchable. Even still, despite Sadie’s protestations that real life was not like a comic book, the problems in our city had reached an almost comic book level of proliferation. You could find evidence of the gang presence almost everywhere, and they were growing increasingly brazen in their activities.

As if to prove my point, it took only three blocks to find something that looks an awful lot like a gang activity. Three people were trying to break into a very expensive looking car, and from the way they were circling around it, it looked like they knew what they were doing.

“What do you think?” I asked Sadie, in a hushed voice.

“I think you’re gonna get your butt kicked,” she replied antagonistically.

“I mean, what do they look like to you?”

“They look like people who would kick your butt,” she reiterated.

I sighed. “Do you think they’re just some punks up to no good, or are they in a gang?”

“Oh, they’re definitely in a gang,” Sadie said, clearly expecting it to have the opposite effect. Still, it was good enough for me.

I rolled the ski mask down over my face, pulled the hood up over it, and started to creep up on them. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time, but I also didn’t want to just rush in and, as Sadie had so eloquently put it, get my butt kicked.

The three of them noticed me when I was a couple of metres away, sneaking around the corner of another car. They immediately stopped what they were doing to stare at me.

“What the fuck is this?” one of them said, a little too loudly for my taste. “Get out of here, brat. This is our turf.”

Turf? Definitely a gang, then. Good. I could feel better about disrupting their little party.

“Not anymore, it isn’t,” I said, trying to lower my voice and change my inflection. It didn’t matter what it sounded like, as long as it didn’t sound like me.

Things escalated quickly from there. Sneering at me, the one who had spoken pulled out a knife, and charged at me, fast. Sadie screamed, but thankfully they couldn’t hear her.

I reacted almost instinctively. It was obvious from his body language how he was going to swing; a diagonal slash aimed at my torso. Amateur. I was already moving to the side, just far enough that the knife missed me.

His momentum was still carrying him forward, and I needed to use that. I didn’t have the strength to match his. I locked the side of my right arm against his wrist, and my left just behind his elbow, one fluid movement that kept me out of the path of the knife. Inertia took care of the rest; there was a gross crunching sound as his arm broke, and his shoulder popped out.

The other two were already advancing on me, clearly not intimidated. One of them lunged at me, trying to grab me in a chokehold, but she was far too obvious about it. I managed to duck under her arms, twisting on the spot quickly enough to grab the back of her head, using her speed to direct it into the corner of the car. As she slumped to the ground, the third one grabbed my shoulders roughly.

That was a mistake. My fingers clamped down on his hand in just the right places, and with one well-practised turn I twisted his arm around behind him, hard enough to drop him to his knees. Taking advantage of his surprise, I let go of his arm, cupped my hands and bashed them against his ears. The air pressure forced into them would have ruptured his ear drums, stunning him and leaving him entirely too unsteady to do much else.

Without warning, I felt a biting pain in my shoulder. A rough force crashed into me, forcing me forward and into the car. In the reflection of the window, I could see the woman I’d thought I’d knocked out earlier – she’d grabbed the knife, and driven it into my back.

She pulled out the knife before driving it into me again, and I couldn’t keep myself from crying out in pain. She stabbed me again, twisting the knife, and I started to see stars. My back felt like it was on fire, and it was difficult to breathe.

As she pulled the knife out again, I gritted my teeth, and twisted around just far enough that I could slam the side of my hand into her throat. It wasn’t hard enough to cause any permanent damage, but she staggered back, dropping the knife and clutching her throat.

Blood was pouring down my back, and every movement made the wounds stretch, sending deep spikes of pain all through my torso. She and I just stood there, staring at each other and panting. I realised I needed to get away.

An arm wrapped around my neck, and it took me a few seconds to realise it was the guy with the broken arm. I hadn’t expected any of them to be so tenacious.

I bit into his arm, sinking my teeth in far enough to get a firm grip, then jerked my neck sideways, trying to rip out a chunk of flesh. I didn’t manage to cause him any damage, but it was enough to get him to let go, and I staggered away from him.

I had to keep myself from shouting when I saw his face. A crack ran right down the centre of it, but it wasn’t any sort of injury. His skin wasn’t split, and there was no blood. It was just a crack, as impossible as that seemed.

I ran, ignoring the pain and the dizziness. I needed to get away from them before things got any worse. Thankfully, they didn’t try to follow me. I collapsed under a tree about a block away, breathing heavily.

The wounds on my back were already starting to heal. They hurt less, and I couldn’t feel the blood flowing out anymore. Under any other circumstances, I would have taken those as bad signs, but I knew what my body was capable of. After just a few minutes, I felt completely fine again.

“What the Hell was that?” Sadie demanded, popping out from behind the tree. She must have followed me when I ran. That was good. Even though I knew nothing could happen to her, I still worried.

“Beta testing,” I said, wincing as I stood back up.

“Are you kidding me? Can you take this even a little bit seriously?”

“I am being serious,” I told her. “That was important. I learned a lot.”

“Unless you learned not to do that ever again, I don’t think you did,” she muttered.

“For starters, I’m going to need some padding,” I said, ignoring her. “Because ouch. I may heal, but I still feel bruised and sore. I also need to work on my awareness. This ski mask isn’t actually great for seeing around me. And it’s itchy and hot. Also, I need a better way to subdue people, because that was not pleasant.”

“Not pleasant? Charlie, you probably put all three of them in a hospital. You broke a guy’s arm!”

“I think I also dislocated his shoulder, but that’s exactly my point. Fighting like that isn’t exactly helpful, and they aren’t the ones I want to hurt.”

“They aren’t?” Sadie looked confused.

“Of course not,” I said. “People like that are just doing what they have to do. Or what they think they have to do. It’s the really evil ones that rise up, and end up calling the shots. They’re the ones I need to take care of.”

“And how are you going to do that?” she demanded.

“I’m not sure yet,” I admitted. “It’s a work in progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and all that.”

“So you’re going to do this again.”

“Yeah, ‘fraid so,” I told her. “But to be honest, I’m thinking it would be better if you actually didn’t come with me, next time. You were screaming like, the whole time, and it was really distracting.”

“You just got stabbed multiple times, and you’re telling me that I was distracting?”

“It is what it is,” I said.

“You seriously need to work on your priorities,” she told me.

“Right now, my priority is a hot shower. Then as much sleep as I can get before school tomorrow. Any problems with that?”

Sadie just shook her head. I felt unreasonable happy, smiling the entire way home.


Next Week: You Don’t Have A Secret Boyfriend, Do You?

Chapter 5 – You Could Make A Difference Too

One Year Before Impact Day

I held my wrist over the sink, hand clenched into a fist, the tip of the knife resting against my soft flesh. I took a few deep breathes, trying to tell myself it wouldn’t hurt, even though I knew it would.

“Remember, down the street, not across the road,” I muttered to myself. Who’d have ever thought that little phrase would come in handy?

“What are you doing?” Sadie asked, standing right behind me. I cringed.

“Testing a theory,” I told her, meeting her accusing gaze in the mirror.

“You promised me you wouldn’t do this.”

“I promised you I wouldn’t try to kill myself,” I corrected her. “And I’m not.”

“What do you call this?” she demanded, staring pointedly at the knife in my hand.

“Like I said, testing a theory. Or a hypothesis, or whatever.”

I could tell Sadie wanted so badly to grab the knife out of my hands, but of course she couldn’t. She couldn’t do anything, no matter how hard she tried. I hated making her feel that way.

Sighing, I put the knife down. Sadie visibly relaxed, if only a little.

“I don’t think the distinction is really what’s important here,” she said.

“Look, I already know this isn’t going to kill me,” I told her. “I just need to prove it.”

“How do you know?” she demanded, almost frantically.

“Because nothing else worked, either,” I said. Her expression turned from hurt to horrified.

“What else have you tried?”

For a few seconds, I just stood there, debating whether or not I should actually tell her, after trying so hard to keep it all from her. There was no way she was going to take it well, but would good would lying have done?

“I’ve taken four lethal overdoses of medication, held my breath underwater for twenty minutes, jumped off a ten story building and drunk pretty much every chemical under the sink,” I confessed, and immediately wished I’d lied to her. She looked like her entire world was collapsing around her.

“How?” she asked, her voice trembling. “I never saw-”

“You do sleep sometimes, you know,” I told her.

“I don’t understand. Why?”

“Because of what I can do.”

“Do?” she asked, confused.

“Sadie, don’t you get it? I can’t die. Think of the possibilities!”

I already knew she wouldn’t understand. I doubted anybody would, but for the first time, I felt like I’d found something that gave me a reason to keep trying.

“Like ending up in a lab for the rest of your life? Which, for all you know, could be forever?”

“Only if someone finds out,” I said. “And they won’t.”

“How do you know?”

“I’m going to have a secret identity,” I told her.


I took a deep breath, knowing what her next reaction was going to be. Still, she was going to find out sooner or later.

“Sadie, this makes me the closest thing this world has to a superhero.”

“So, you’re going to dress up and fight crime?”

“Wouldn’t you?” I asked, already knowing the answer.


“Look, Sadie. I grew up reading comic books. I grew up wishing that I could be more like Barbara, or Kara, or Diana. Reading those stories, it made me wish there really were people fighting to make the world a better place.”

“But those stories aren’t real,” she said. “I read them too, remember? They aren’t even realistic. You can’t just act them out and expect to get the same results.”

I shook my head, wishing I could make her understand.

“No, that’s not what I’m saying.”

“Then what do you mean?” she asked. I knew she was trying to understand, even though she wouldn’t.

“Those stories may not be real, but I am,” I told her. “And I can make the difference in this world that those stories made for me. I can be someone that people are inspired be. Something to hope for.”

She shook her head, looking at me like I was the craziest, stupidest person she’d ever met. Maybe she was right. I didn’t care.

“Please tell me you’re not serious,” she pleaded.

“Why not?” I asked. “What else am I gonna do with this power?”

“You mean apart from live a long and healthy life?” she said. “Donate your blood anonymously. Let scientists figure out a way to use it to help people.”

“Or make an army of immortal super soldiers,” I said cynically.

“Charlie, real life is not a comic book,” she said, exasperated.

“No, it’s not. It’s uglier, and more chaotic. We live in a world where a person like me would throw herself off a bridge because it was a genuinely more appealing option than being a part of it any longer.”

“You really believe you can make a difference,” she said, her tone almost accepting.

“I don’t know what I can do,” I confessed. “But I know that I can try.”

Sadie just looked at me, sad and tired but less distraught than she had been.

“You are such a nerd,” she said.

“You could help me, you know,” I suggested, speaking without thinking.

“How? I can’t do anything. I can’t even lift a sheet of paper.”

“Not, but you can see, and hear,” I pointed out. “And nobody can see or hear you.”

“So you want me to spy for you?”

“I’m just saying, you could help. You could make a difference too.”

For a while, Sadie was silent, her expression pensive. I just looked at the two of us in the mirror, marvelling at how different we were.

Even when she was alive, Sadie had been my polar opposite in just about every way. Where I was antisocial and rude, she was shy but very good natured. Where I was athletic and a little short, Sadie was thin and frail, in an elegant sort of way. She had long, straight brown hair, whilst mine was always short and messy. I was aggressive, and she was compassionate to a fault.

“I think you need help,” she said, at long last. “I also think you need to talk to somebody about the way you’re feeling, instead of coming up with insane plans to avoid facing the fact that you’re struggling.”

Her words hit me harder than a slap in the face would have. I knew she wouldn’t understand, but for her to go that far…

I left the room in silence, heading back to my room. Sadie followed, looking a little regretful. I aggressively pulled on a pair of sneakers, then reached up to open my window.

“Where are you going?” Sadie asked. For a moment, I considered just ignoring her, but if I didn’t answer her, she would have just followed me.

“To talk to Rachel,” I said bluntly. I knew if anyone would understand me, it would be her, and I needed to feel like somebody understood me, or at least supported me.

“It’s close to midnight,” Sadie pointed out.

“She’ll still be up.”

“So call her.”

“I don’t want to call her,” I told her. “I want to see her.”

“Video chat, then.”

It felt like Sadie was going out of her way to irritate me. I just wanted to yell at her to leave me alone, but even just talking to her was risky enough. I was always worried somebody would overhear me.

“That’s not what I mean,” I snapped. “What are you so worried about, anyway?”

“I just… I think the two of you are a little too close, sometimes,” Sadie said. “It’s not healthy.”

I felt my stomach churn. That was so unfair, and so unlike Sadie, I didn’t even know what to say. I knew Sadie had her issues with Rachel, but that…

“What the Hell is that supposed to mean?” I demanded.

“Nothing,” she said. “I just don’t think she’s good for you. And I don’t understand why you trust her more than Aidan or Liz.”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I like spending time with her. She’s easy to talk to, and she actually understands me. She doesn’t try to lecture me, or smother me.”

“Fine, whatever,” Sadie said, backing away. “It’s not like I can stop you, anyway.”


Next Week: Does Our Friendship Ever Seem Weird To You?

Chapter 4 – You’re Not A Very Good Liar

One Year Before Impact Day

When I woke up again the next morning, there was someone else in my bed with me. I didn’t even need to roll over to figure out who it was, and I knew I could blame Aidan for letting her in without waking me up. I could probably also blame him for her presence in the first place, since he’d almost certainly messaged her about what had happened.

“What are you doing in my bed?” I asked, not really needing an answer.

“Stealing your body heat,” she said, smiling gently.

I’d met Liz on my first day of high school, and grew to like her almost immediately. She gave off the impression of being antisocial almost to an extreme, though it wasn’t antagonistic. She just didn’t seem interested in anything that the people around her were doing. I felt like we were kindred spirits. She must have seen something similar in me, because I became the first and last friend she ever made. With the exception of Aidan, I suppose, but that was more a matter of convenience than anything else, since he was always around me.

In the years that followed, Liz’s detached coolness actually drew more people to her, though she never really seemed to notice. She was one of the school’s top sports stars, a high academic achiever and incredibly attractive by just about everyone’s standards. Her Eurasian features could have led to a future as a model, and she had the most captivating bright green eyes, silky black hair and the sort of athletic build that might have been intimidating, if not for her heart-melting smile. She literally had a fan club, and she couldn’t have cared less.

Probably about half the people in our school would have killed to wake up with her in their bed. In my case, it was nice, but I also knew it was going to come with a drawn out conversation about the night before, and that was something I definitely did not want to deal with.

Meanwhile, Aidan was reclined on my couch, lazily reading a book. Sadie was sitting behind him, reading over his shoulder. That was more or less the only way she could read, since she couldn’t pick up the books herself.

“So, do I need to ask what you’re doing here?” I asked.

“What, I can’t cuddle up with a friend in bed on a Saturday morning?” Liz complained, dodging the question.

“Alright, well, I’m gonna go for a run,” I said, hoping to escape before she had a chance to start interrogating me.

“That’s a good idea! I’ll come with you,” she said, effortlessly dashing those hopes.

“I’ll be here,” Aidan added, not looking up from his book.

“You can get out while I change, though,” I told him. He blushed, then recovered by rolling his eyes and closing the book, much to Sadie’s disappointment.

“What, you’re actually going?” he complained.

“Well, yeah. I could do with some exercise, anyway.”

“And some fresh air?” he asked snidely, parroting my excuse from the night before. I glared at him, and he sprung up from the couch. “Fine, I’m getting out. I’ll go amuse myself somewhere else.”

Sadie followed him out, presumably hoping he would continue his book. Liz and I got changed, her borrowing my spare athletic gear. We left together, jogging towards the park I’d lied about being at the night before.

I tried to set a pace that would be too hard for Liz to maintain and still be able to talk, but she was probably in better shape than I was. We picked up the pace a little more, running in silence for a while, but she started talking before I could get too comfortable.

“So what happened last night?” she asked, all pretences of subtlety dropped.

I sighed. “What did Aidan tell you?”

“That you were evasive,” she said. “So I’m asking you directly.”

“It’s really not a big deal,” I insisted, jumping over a crack that Liz didn’t even seem to notice.

“Maybe not to you.”

“No, seriously. I was restless, so I decided to go for a walk. It was dark, and I fell down a hill. I got a bit dirty, but that’s all.”

It wasn’t that I wanted to lie to her. I just didn’t want to upset her, and if she knew the real reason I was out, she would have freaked out. Plus, if I told her the truth about what I was doing, I would also need to explain why I was fine, and there was no way I was going to tell anybody about that. Not yet.

“You’re not a very good liar, Charlie.”

“Liz, look at me,” I said. “I’m running. You saw me before; I’m unharmed. Shouldn’t that be enough to tell you that everything is fine?”

“Just because your body is fine, doesn’t mean you are,” she said. “I’m worried about why you were out in the first place.”

We came to a stop in one of the more isolated areas of the park. Neither of us were out of breath, but it was obvious she wanted to focus on talking, not running. There was no easy way out of it.

For a brief moment, I did consider telling her, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not yet.

“I just needed some space,” I lied. “It’s been eleven years, and sometimes I still don’t feel like I belong in that house. Sometimes, I just feel like I need to get out.”

“Charlie, you know they both love you, right? You’re as much a part of their family as they are, and you know they’d say the same.”

Liz wrapped her arms around me, hugging me gently. I hugged her back, trying not to feel guilty for manipulating her. It was for her own good, I told myself. I didn’t need to burden anyone else with my problems.

“I’m hungry,” I said, after enough time had passed to safely change the subject.

“Me too,” she said. “Let’s go back and bully Aidan into making us breakfast.”

“Just bat your eyelashes at him,” I told him. “He’ll grumble, but I guarantee he’ll do it.”

“Is that what you do?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Nah, bullying him is more fun,” I said. “And I’m not really the eyelash-batting type.”

“And you think I am?”

“You’re pretty enough to be,” I said. She blushed a little, and turned away.

“Let’s just go back,” she said, and started to jog back the way we came. I smiled, and took off after her.

Bullet dodged, I congratulated myself.

It didn’t feel like a victory, though. It just made me feel more lonely.


Six Months Before Impact Day

“I’m not sure I understand the relevance,” he complained.

“You mean you’re not interested in heart-warming stories about my friends?” I asked sarcastically, fidgeting in my bonds. They weren’t exactly comfortable.

“I warned you about wasting my time.”

“Fine, spoil the surprise,” I said, sighing. “Are you familiar with the Effe family?”

“They’re assassins,” he said. “Contract killers. Some of the best in the country.”

Of course he knew them. I’d expected as much.

“At least,” I confirmed. “Liz was one of them. Well, in training. She was only seventeen, after all.”

He raised an eyebrow at that. “One of your best friends was part of the most respected family of killers in the country. That seems awfully convenient.”

“Like I said, you don’t know the half of it.”

“Well, that’s why you’re telling me your story,” he said. “Now, is it safe to assume that this Aidan will also be important at some point?”

“You could say that,” I said, shrugging.


“I’m getting there,” I snapped. “Trust me, it’s all important.”

“It had better be,” he said. “You can tell me more next time. Right now, I need to make some calls. Your friend, Liz… you referred to her in the past tense. Is she still alive?”

“I don’t know,” I said darkly.


Next Week: You Could Make A Difference Too

Chapter 3 – That Doesn’t Make You Invincible

Six Months Before Impact Day

I didn’t see him again for what I’m pretty sure was a week. It was hard to know for sure, given the lack of daylight or any timekeeping device, but it felt like a week. I only slept twice, but that wasn’t unusual for me. Part of the immortality deal seemed to be not needing a lot of it.

I spent most of that week being subjected to a battery of tests. They took vial after vial of blood, cut samples of my hair and fingernails, scrapings of my skin, saliva… other things I’d sooner not think about. I got crammed into every x-ray type machine I could think of, which worried me at first, but when they didn’t start ringing any alarm bells, I figured they somehow hadn’t noticed. Guess I lost that bet.

I was almost excited to talk to whatever-his-name-was again when he finally opened my door. Not because I had any sort of misplaced affection for him, but just because talking was a lot more fun than being poked and prodded.

“I was beginning to think you’d forgotten about me,” I said to him as he led me to the same interrogation room.

“I’m a busy man,” he replied. “I have a lot of damage to undo, thanks to you.”

I was beaming with pride, but I did my best to make sure he didn’t see it. By the time I’d taken my seat opposite him, my face was completely blank.

“So, what do you want to hear about today? My sixteenth birthday? I played laser tag. I won, but I think that’s because Liz let me win.”

He held up a hand to silence me. I considered ignoring it, but remembered I was supposed to be playing nice.

“Six months ago, you tried to kill yourself. I want you to tell me how you went from that to trying to single-handedly dismantle the largest criminal network in the city.”

“It wasn’t single-handed,” I said, enjoying the shock on his face. “I had help.”

“More like you?” he asked, his eyes lit up with a combination of hope and fear. He would not have made a good poker player.

“There’s no-one like me. But they were special.”

“Special how?”

“I’m guessing you want another story?” I asked.

“I want answers. If a story is how I get them, I will listen. But if you waste my time…”

“Point taken,” I said. “Okay, let’s go back to the night I tried to kill myself.”


One Year Before Impact Day

Half an hour later, I was crawling in through the window to the basement, which also happened to be my bedroom. The second my feet touched the floor, the light turned on, in the most clichéd reveal I’d ever been a part of it. I had to smile at that. Aidan was leaning against the wall, a concerned look on his face.

Like his father, Aidan was thin in that bony sort of way that made him kind of look both like a stick figure, and also taller than he actually was. The blonde hair and fair skin added a somewhat spectral element to his appearance, though I wouldn’t have described him as unattractive. His grey eyes rarely settled in one place, but when they did, they stared with an intense focus that was almost unsettling, which was exactly what was happening.

It didn’t surprise me that Aidan was waiting up for me. I was even grateful that it was him and not Mark, my adoptive father, but mostly I was just irritated. I wasn’t exactly in the mood for conversation, and there was no way he was going to leave without a long one.

“Oh my God, what happened to you?” he asked, his expression mortified.

It hadn’t actually occurred to me that I looked like I’d been in an accident. Obviously I was fine, but whatever had kept me alive hadn’t done the same for my clothes. They were pretty badly torn up and covered in dirt and dried blood.

“Huh? Nothing,” I said, knowing he wouldn’t accept it but unable to think of a convincing lie in time.

“You look like Hell,” he said.

Rude,” I told him, even though I knew he was right.

“Not like that,” he said. “Your clothes are all torn, your hair’s a mess, and you’re filthy.”

“Oh,” I said, as if I’d only just realised. “Yeah, I took a bit of a tumble.”

“A tumble.”

“In the park. It’s dark, and I fell down a hill. I’m fine though, really.” At least that part is true?

“What were you doing in a park in the middle of the night?” he asked, still sounding unconvinced.

“Just taking a walk,” I said, still lying through my teeth. “I just needed some air.”

“Charlie, it’s not safe,” he said, and I knew he wouldn’t ask me any more questions after that. He was too protective, and once those instincts were triggered, that was all he would focus on.

“Oh, please,” I said, rolling my eyes. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

I had to keep myself from smirking as I watched him bristle. When you’ve known someone for the vast majority of their life, you tend to figure out exactly how to push their buttons. Aidan had been my adoptive brother since the accident, and we were best friends even before then. I knew everything about him.

“Do I really need to say it?”

“Aidan, I can take care of myself,” I insisted. “I have like, three black belts.”

Mark had signed me up for aikido classes years ago in a vain attempt to give me an outlet for all of the aggression I was feeling. It didn’t work, but I enjoyed it so much that I also took up jujitsu and karate. I’d never actually been in a real fight, but I still felt pretty confident I could take care of myself.

“That doesn’t make you invincible,” he said, and I struggled to keep a straight face. “If anything, the overconfidence only makes it worse.”

“You are such a worrier. Trust me, I’m fine.”

“Try telling me that when you haven’t just come home looking like you were hit by a car,” he said, and for a moment, I hesitated. That was a little too close to the truth. There was no way he could actually know what had happened, right?

“God, you’re such a nag,” I teased.

“And proud of it,” he said. “Alright, go and have a shower. I’ll make you some food. Custard?”

If there was one thing Aidan was good at, it was taking care of people. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get much of an outlet for that, living with Mark and me. We much preferred to take care of ourselves. That said, I wasn’t about to turn down custard.

“That’s cheating. You know I can’t say no to custard.”

“I’m just looking out for you,” he replied, smiling innocently.

I grabbed a clean t-shirt and underwear from my closet, then pushed him up the stairs so I could get to the shower. As he made his way to the kitchen, Sadie followed me into the bathroom. I started the water running so that we could talk without anyone overhearing me, and began peeling off my ruined clothes.

“Are you going to tell him?” she asked, perching on the side of the bath.

“I’m not going to tell anyone,” I said, wincing as I realised how badly my clothes stank.

“You can’t keep everything to yourself, Charlie,” scolded me, as I stepped into the shower. The hot water felt amazing, and almost immediately I could feel all of my muscles beginning to relax. After only a few minutes, I felt like myself again.

“Just watch me,” I told her.

“Aidan’s worried about you, too. Don’t you think it’s unfair to lie to him like this? If you can’t trust him, who can you trust?”

I wanted to say nobody, but there was one person I felt like I could actually trust. I wasn’t ready to talk just yet, but when I was… I felt pretty sure I knew who I was going to talk to.

I turned off the water, ignoring Sadie’s question. She stared at me as I began to towel myself off, and it was obvious she was checking for any sign of injury. I just kept ignoring her, pulled on the baggy t-shirt and fresh underwear, and threw the ruined clothes in a plastic bag. They were going right in the bin.

The smell of custard lured me back into my room, where Aidan was waiting for me, bowl in hand. He offered it to me and I snatched it out of his hands, suddenly very hungry.

“Okay, yes, this is delicious,” I told him, my mouth full of hot custard.

“Feeling better, then?”

“I told you, I’m fine,” I insisted. “Look, not even any scratches.” I pulled up the t-shirt to show him, smirking as he turned red.

“I see that,” he said awkwardly.

“Oi. Eyes up front, pervert.”

“Put some damn pants on, then,” he snapped, looking away.

“Shouldn’t have to,” I retorted.

“No, I didn’t mean-”

“Relax, I’m kidding,” I assured him, enjoying his embarrassment. It felt harmless and natural, which was just what I needed. I also needed sleep, though. I was going to get precious little of it as it was. “Thanks for the custard. Mind if I sleep now?”

“Yeah, I’ll leave you in peace,” he said, collecting the bowl from me. “Just take care of yourself, okay?”

I stuck my tongue out at him as he left the room. It was nice to feel loved. It was nice to be able to recognise it. Even a few hours ago, I hadn’t felt that way at all.


Next Week: You’re Not A Very Good Liar

Chapter 2 – Don’t You Know What This Means?

One Year Before Impact Day

I lay on my back, staring up at the sky, stars twinkling peacefully above me. There was grass beneath me, cool and a little wet. A weak breeze ruffled my hair. My body felt weak, and far away.

I remembered jumping, and then… nothing. I jumped, then I was just lying on the ground, looking up. My head ached.

Complaining loudly as I pulled myself into a sitting position, I started when I saw Sadie sitting beside me, her expression completely unreadable. We were on the side of the road, not far from the bridge I’d jumped from. I knew that something had happened, because most of the lanes were blocked off, and the flashing lights were blinding.

“Why am I on the side of the road?” I asked Sadie, holding my head though I was already starting to feel better.

“You were unconscious,” she said, her tone icy. “I dragged you here.”

She dragged me? She’d never been able to do that before…


Not that that was the biggest question on my mind, but I had a feeling she wouldn’t be able to answer the one I really wanted to ask. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to cope with the answer.

“I don’t know.”

“I feel fine,” I said. “Why do I feel fine?”

It shouldn’t have been possible. The height that I jumped from, even without the cars, should have seriously injured me at the very least. I patted myself down, but as far as I could tell, there wasn’t a single injury on my body.

“You must have gotten really lucky,” Sadie said, not making eye contact.

“There’s no way,” I insisted.

“Well, how else do you explain it?”

“I don’t know,” I said, as hazy memories began to return. “I remember falling, I remember getting hit, knocked around. I remember the pain. I was hurt. I should have died.” So why didn’t I?

“But you didn’t. Shouldn’t that be enough?” Sadie asked, almost pleadingly.

“This has happened before,” I realised, my entire body suddenly feeling cold and very heavy.


“The accident,” I said. “When you died.”

“Charlie, don’t-”

“No, I remember,” I said. “Not everything, but there are pieces that are definitely true. We were all in the car. You, me, Mum and Dad, and there was no way any of us could have survived. The car was hit by a train going at full speed.”

Sadie cringed. “Can we please not talk about this?” she begged, but I ignored her. I needed to say it out loud.

“I was dying. I was in so much pain, and then, all of a sudden, I wasn’t. They pulled me out of that wreckage, and they couldn’t believe I was alive, let alone unscathed.”

“Charlie, please…”

More pieces were falling into place. Something was different about me. There was no other explanation.

“No, Sadie, don’t you know what this means?” I said, my fingers digging into the grass beneath me.

“That the world is completely unfair?” she said, disappointed and a little irate.

I sighed, beginning to calm down again.

“You. You’re right. I’m sorry,” I said, feeling a little bad.

“It’s fine,” she said sharply. “Just, please, don’t talk about it anymore. Any of it.”

“Yeah, okay,” I said. “Let’s just go home, okay?”

I tried to stand, but she placed her hand on my arm, stopping me.

“Wait,” she said, her expression severe.

“What for?”

“I want you to look at the road,” she said, delivering it almost like an order.

“I thought you didn’t want-”

“Just look!” she snapped.


My eyes adjusted to the bright, flashing lights, and for the first time I could actually see what had happened. Several cars were strewn about the blocked-off section, all at odd angles. One of them was even upside down. There were multiple ambulances, police cars and fire trucks, and overhead, I could even hear a helicopter. News crews crowded around the edges of the barricades, filming everything.

“Thirteen people died because one person threw herself off a bridge,” Sadie said. “Just because you get to walk away, doesn’t mean any of them do.”

I couldn’t look away. All of that was my fault? I hadn’t even considered the impact that my jumping would have. At least, not the physical impact. I’d killed thirteen people, and for what? I hadn’t achieved a damn thing, except to make the world an even darker place.


“No. Don’t say anything,” Sadie said. “Even if you had died, even if you’d gotten what you wanted, it wouldn’t change the fact that they all died too.”

“Sadie, I-”

“Charlie, I get it, I do,” she said, shaking her head. “Life is hard even at the best of times, and yours has never been easy. I know. I was there, remember? And if you really wanted to walk away from that, well, that was your decision. But those people who died? Their families? Friends? Your family and friends? None of them made that decision. So if you ever, ever try something like that again, whether you live or die, just remember that you’re not the only one it affects.”

I didn’t know what to say to her. I felt ashamed of myself, but at the same time, I felt angry. What right did she have to lecture me? She never had to think about whether her actions affected anybody else. She never had to worry about anything at all.

Where did that anger come from?

“I’m not going to do anything like that again,” I said weakly, painfully aware of just how pathetic a response it was.

“Alright, well, we really should get moving,” she said. “We’re not directly visible here, but they will start spreading out soon, and it would be pretty difficult to explain what you’re doing here.”

As I got to my feet, I thought I saw someone watching me, sitting atop the bridge, completely ignoring everything else. She had bright blue hair, and a long black coat. Then, a second later, she was gone, leaving me wondering if I’d really seen anything at all.

Six Months Before Impact Day

“Wait, that’s it?” he asked, frowning at me from across the table. “Who was the girl with the blue hair?”

“No idea,” I lied.

“Then why mention it at all?”

“It’s my story, isn’t it?” I said irritably.

“Fine, fine. So that’s it, then? You jumped off a bridge and realised you had magic healing powers?”

“How else did you expect the story to end?” I asked him.

“I didn’t expect that to be the end. How did you go from that to… where you ended up?”

I laughed. “Oh, you want the whole story. You should have said so.”

He shook his head, pushing his seat away from the table. He got up, and knocked on the door.

“We’ll continue this again next time,” he said. “Right now, I have some tests I want to run on you.”

“Can’t wait.”


Next Week: That Doesn’t Make You Invincible

Step 5 – What Death Fears

Melbourne, 2003 – 12 Years Before Impact Day

Roxie and Felix sat on the branches of a tall tree, watching the accident unfold. She’d seen dozens of deaths now, carried as many souls to whatever was waiting for them. She still felt the loss of each and every one.

“Does it ever stop feeling so tragic?” she asked, as a car pulled to a stop in front of a level crossing, waiting for the train to pass.

“Knowing what comes after helps,” Felix replied.

“The people they’re leaving behind don’t know,” Roxie pointed out.

A car was hurtling down the road, swerving slightly, showing no signs of slowing down.

“Loss is a part of the human experience,” Felix said.

The train was growing closer.

“Still, a family of four, all dead?” she asked.

“I’ll take the kids,” he said.


The swerving car collided with the back of the stopped vehicle, sending it lurching forwards, crashing through the barricade and onto the train tracks. The train’s horn blared, but it was far too late for it to stop.

The force of the collision sent the car flying forward, rolling and bouncing until it landed in a crumpled, smoking heap beside the tracks. The train was screeching to a stop, but there was nothing that could be done.

Roxie and Felix dropped from the tree, landing lightly on their feet, and approached the vehicle. Three spirits shimmered into existence around it. One must still be clinging to life, Roxie realised. Won’t be long now, though.

She approached the parents, a moderately attractive heterosexual Caucasian couple, with fair skin and brown hair. They acknowledged her approach with a mixture of confusion and relief. Carol and Jason Farrow.

“What happened?” Jason asked, his arm wrapped around the shoulder of his wife.

“Are we… dead?” Carol added, glancing back at the wreckage.

“Yes,” Roxie told them, her voice gentle and soft. “I’m sorry.”

“And the girls?” Jason asked, his voice pained.

“I’m so sorry. There was no-”

“STAY AWAY!” a child’s voice screeched, cutting her off. It sent a chill down her spine, and she looked over to Felix, who had already drawn his rapier.

Two girls, looking maybe six and four, were backed up against the car. The older one was standing in front of her sister, defiant and fierce.

“What the…” Roxie muttered.

“Charlotte, I’m sorry,” Felix said calmly. “It has to be this way.”

“No…” Jason said, staring at his daughters.

“Uh, maybe we should wrap this up,” Roxie said, feeling a sudden spike of anxiety.

“But our girls,” Carol said, hesitantly.

“We’ll take care of them,” Roxie assured her. “I promise.”

“What’s going to happen to them?” Jason asked.

“Same thing that’s gonna happen to you. We’re going to take you somewhere safe, and everything will be fine.”

I mean, it’s mostly true.

“Heaven?” Carol asked.

“Yes,” Roxie lied.

Well, it wasn’t technically a lie. Hell basically served the same functions that people attributed to Heaven. The only reason it was called Hell was because… Actually, she didn’t know why it was called Hell. She knew it had about a dozen other names, but none of them were Heaven. There probably was a reason for that, but it didn’t seem important, or pertinent.

“Okay,” Jason said, squeezing Carol’s shoulder. She leaned into him, smiling.

Roxie summoned her scythe, collecting both of them in a single swipe. She could feel their sparks inside of her, and it was a comforting feeling. Every time she collected a soul, she felt connected to them, to the lives they’d once had, to her place in the universe.

“YOU. CAN’T. HAVE. HER.” the older child was screaming, and Roxie turned in time to see Felix actually take a step back. The girl scared him that much? Why?

“What’s going on?” Roxie asked, rushing to his side. As she got closer, she realised there was something different about the girl, though she couldn’t put her finger on exactly what.

“She’s… not dead,” Felix said, eyeing the girl warily.

“What? Then how can she-”

“I don’t know,” he said nervously.

“GO AWAY!” the girl shouted. There was weight behind her words, a force that even Roxie had to admit was a little frightening.

“There’s something wrong here,” Felix said. “She’s not human.”

“Her name is Charlotte, right?”


Roxie approached the girl, letting go of her scythe. It vanished back into her, and Charlotte relaxed a little, but still stood protectively in front of her sister. Sadie.

“Charlotte, listen. It’s gonna be okay. We’re taking her somewhere safe. She’ll be looked after.”

“She’s staying with me,” Charlotte insisted.

“She can’t,” Felix insisted. “She’s dead. We can’t undo that.”

Charlotte folded her arms and shook her head. Her mannerisms were very much those of a child, but there was something else to them, something unnatural.

“I can still see her. I can still talk to her. She’s staying with me.”

“If she stays, she’ll get worse,” Felix told her. “She won’t be happy. She won’t be herself.”

“I’ll make her happy,” Charlotte insisted.

“It won’t be good for her, Charlotte,” Roxie said gently.

“You can’t take her,” Charlotte repeated, widening her stance. Roxie’s skin was crawling. Something was very, very off about this girl.

“Distract her,” Felix whispered, beginning to circle around her.

Bad idea, her instincts screamed, but she obliged. She had no choice.

“Charlotte, talk to me. Are you afraid to lose her?” she asked.

“I’m not losing her.”

“You have to say goodbye, Charlotte,” Roxie said, her heart breaking a little. “I’m sorry.”

“No,” Charlie said.

Felix stood behind Sadie, on the other side to Charlie. He moved quickly, thrusting his blade into the girl’s chest. It was faster than Roxie had ever seen him move. Did fear motivate him that much?

It didn’t matter. However fast he was, the girl was fast. Charlotte whirled, grabbing his blade before it could touch her sister, stopping it. Fear burst forth onto Felix’s face, no longer concealed.

“What the-” he began, but she cut him off.

“MINE!” she shouted, the words booming out into the night.

With a single, savage movement, Charlotte grabbed the sword with her other hand, and snapped it in half. Roxie watched as Felix convulsed, as if his spine had been shattered, and he collapsed to the ground.

“Run,” he whispered.

Charlotte stood over him, cuts appeared all across her body. Blood flowed out of the wounds, circling around her, a gruesome aura that effectively doubled her size. Roxie could feel fury emanating from her in waves, and she was barely able to move.

Helpless, she watched as Charlotte picked up Felix, holding him in the air before snapping his neck and tearing him in half. She flung the two halves away from her, though they disintegrated in the air before getting very far.

Felix is dead. This girl, this thing, just killed a Reaper.

In that moment, she realized it wasn’t Charlotte she was looking at. There was something inside of her, something very dangerous, and very powerful, and very angry. Something Felix had just pissed off. If she wasn’t careful, it would kill her, too.

“What are you?” she asked it.

“DESTROYER,” it replied.

“Why are you protecting her?” Roxie asked, gesturing towards the other girl, tiny and terrified. “You’re not human. She’s not your sister.”


“I need to-” Roxie began, but she was interrupted by the appearance of another young girl. Fair skin, lilac hair, deep purple eyes.

The girl from the hotel? Before I died?

“Don’t,” the girl said.

“Who are you?” Roxie asked, certain it couldn’t be the same person.

“The Child. You collected my soul,” the girl said.

“No, I didn’t”

“You will.”

“How?” Roxie asked, still staring at Charlotte, or the Destroyer, or whatever that thing was. It seemed content to simply stand over Sadie, protecting her.

“Time is weird for your kind,” the Child said. “And mine.”

“Your kind?” What are you?”

“Guardian,” the Child said.

“Which means…?”

“I outrank you. So listen to me, and run.”

“I can’t leave a soul here,” Roxie said, summoning her scythe. If she had to fight both of them, she would. Even if it meant ending up like Felix.

“You don’t have a choice,” the Child said.

“I can-” Roxie began, but the Child interrupted her.

“No, you can’t.”

“What are you doing here?” she asked, one of a thousand questions racing through her mind.

“Protecting an investment,” the Child replied.

Roxie tried to move, but the Child was faster. Her movements were graceful, fluid, and completely inhuman. All it took was a single finger, placed on Roxie’s forehead, and everything around her faded to nothing. A blink of her eyes, and she realized she was back in the clearing, now in the midst of winter.

The souls of Jason and Carol Farrow had left her. Felix was gone. She lay there, staring up at the black and purple sky, snowflakes landing gently on her skin.

Who was Charlotte Farrow, really? What was she? And who was that girl?

If she was lucky, it would be a very long time before she had to see either of them again.


Next Week: Dead Girls Don’t Cry (Impact Day, Volume 2 begins!)


RoxieSo there you go! That’s the end of our 5 week hiatus, and the bonus story that filled the space. I hope you enjoyed it! It’s a bit weird, but it’s all important in the end.

Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed the story so far, consider supporting me on on Patreon, so I can afford to keep writing it. Additionally, you can buy the complete collection of Impact Day on Gumroad. It features a bonus chapter that I’m not releasing online! Also, you can get Roxie as a standalone purchase.

Next Week, Dead Girls Don’t Cry begins! It’s basically like Impact Day, only set earlier, and more full of personal drama and angst. I hope you enjoy it!