In a battle for a better existence, Rain Shattuck once again uses her special ability of changing the events of history through her memories. The stakes are higher now. Not only must she use Memory Visits to rescue her boyfriend and her twin brother in the past, but she must also join forces with a band of outcasts in a war to end corporate corruption in the present.
Unfortunately, combat on all timelines comes at a cost. Whether in the past or the present, each attempt Rain makes at securing justice pushes her further away from the people she cares about. Can Rain find a way to save her world without losing everything she holds dear within it?
14+ due to adult situations
A stream of morning light from the bay window illuminates dust particles floating in the air. A cool breeze lifts the sheer curtains, sending goosebumps along my arms. On the couch next to my recliner, Dal’s and Evin’s voices rise in an intense conversation about their latest virtual reality simulation, some sort of modern spin on the classic Dungeons and Dragons game. Evin glances over at me just as I check my watch.
“Is it time to go already?” he says.
Evin’s voice resonates in my ears, filling my body with his energy. It’s all I can do to keep myself from gazing into his deep, gray eyes. I want to run to him. I want to press hard against him, nuzzle into his neck, and breathe him in.
I have to control myself. “Almost,” I say, avoiding eye contact by busily folding the thin blanket that I had draped over my bare legs. If Evin notices the blank stare of my Visited self, he could react, changing the course of events.
“I’ll get us some waters,” Dal says. “It’s going to be hot today.” He jumps up and heads to the fridge. I wish I had started the Visit later in the memory. I don’t want to be left alone with Evin. It’s too tempting to join him on the couch and wrap myself around him. But, then again, why not? What can it possibly hurt to forget the stupid door trick and convince the boys to just stay inside today to watch a movie or something? Maybe this new plan will work better. Evin and I can snuggle together safely until the Memory Visit is over. I just can’t let him notice my lifeless eyes.
Dal returns with the waters and hands one to me and one to Evin. My brother’s eyes are brightly expressive, which proves my suspicion. While the Dal in the beige dentist chair is somewhere inside this Dal, observing from a deep recess of memory, he is not a Mark.
“It’s going to be too hot walking back home from Rosie’s. How about we have breakfast here instead?” I suggest.
“No way,” Evin says, rising from the couch. “Dal owes me a stack of Rosie’s pancakes, and I’m cashing in.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Dal says. “Rub it in, why don’t you? I really thought I had you in that last round.”
Evin crosses to me and reaches out for my hands. “Come on, Lazy Bones. Let’s go. Don’t you want that strawberry waffle you’ve been talking about?”
It’s too hard to change the plan. I’ll have to go with it. I grab his hands and let him pull me up to my feet. Instead of embracing Evin like my body wants, I brush past him to beat Dal to the door. Even that brief contact with Evin makes me catch my breath.
The brass doorknob feels cold to the touch. Through the small opaque window centered in the golden oak, bright blurred colors glow in the mid-morning sun. Evin is so close behind me I can feel the warmth of his body. For a second, my right hand, following messages from my heart instead of my head, loosens its grip on the doorknob. I take a deep breath, remembering what I’m here to do. I unlock the deadbolt with my left hand and turn the handle with my right.
As I yank open the door, it bounces off my strategically placed foot and slams shut again. I grab my left thumb and yelp in feigned pain. My yell stops short when the front door opens again, this time to Mrs. Munroe’s round puffy face. Her pin-cushion eyes emit a blank stare. I know that stare. Mrs. Munroe is not in control of her actions. At least, this Mrs. Munroe isn’t. Sometime in the future, WaterPure agents get ahold of Mrs. Munroe, bribe her or blackmail her, maybe even torture her like they are known to do, and make her a killer. I don’t have time to think about how WaterPure knows our plan because the gun is already firing.
I slam my shoulder into the door and pin half her body against the door jam. Her right arm is still free, firing at odd angles like her elbow is on some sort of swivel. Bullets pierce couch cushions, puncture walls, and shatter the living room window. With my right shoulder braced against the door, I bring my left arm up over my head and slam it down on her elbow. The gun clatters to the floor and slides into a pool of blood that is growing around Evin’s motionless body.
I can’t move. I can’t believe what I’m seeing, and I can’t move. Next to Evin, Dal struggles to his feet, holding his side. He’s been shot, too, but I don’t know how badly. He’s looking at me with fear in his eyes. No, he’s not looking at me. He’s looking past me. A formless shadow creeps alongside my own on the hardwood floor, stretching toward Evin. I fall to my knees in front of Evin’s prone body. I am reaching for the gun when I hear Dal’s scream.
Or is it my own? Mrs. Monroe’s foot on my spine flattens me onto the floor. The shadow of her hand holding a knife, the perfect size for cutting cake, takes shape on the hardwood beside me. I reach for the gun again, but it’s gone. As the shadow knife drops to its target, me, a single gunshot rings out. I look up just as the smoking revolver slips from Dal’s hand.