A//N: Before I launch right into this, I'm going to explain a couple things:
1) This is set in a fictional city called Carthage in the Pacific Northwest. Carthage is split up into three main parts: the Hampton district (suburbia); the Hyde district (the rich inner city); and the Salem district (the poor, crime-ridden inner city).
2) Sh/it's gonna be weird.
3) Although the title seems to suggest it, this is not another damn paranormal angels-and-demons love story thing. It is focused around crime, and while it does fall vaguely into the category of sci/fi, it's much more than that.
4) "But, Artemis, you already wrote half a novel and like twenty billion different short stories about crime! Do something new!" Shut up.
5) Yes, I know there are some similarities with already existing works (particularly two). So here. Let's get it out of the way. Here are my influences for this; if you know these, you will know a bit of what to expect: Orphan Black, Veronica Mars, Fringe, and Se7en. (Also, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet will play a large role in this.)
6) I'm jumping right into this thing. I know I've started my previous novels slowly, but this one is going to take off and keep on going. Hope you enjoy it.
Prologue // Fair Verona
“Mercer, my mom’s dead.”
The news seemed to echo through the empty locker room. I was alone—I’d worked as a lifeguard at the gym so long that Janine finally trusted me to lock up, and I’d stayed late to clean the pool. Since my homework load was minimal and Janine paid me extra when I did maintenance tasks for her, I figured I could spare some of my time to stay a bit later.
The phone call caught me completely off guard. It was surprising that I’d even heard it ringing from inside the locker room in the first place. I’d left it there because I didn’t get calls. Jamie rarely called me; we spent so much time together that phone calls were far from a necessity to our relationship. Dad called me when he had to—meaning never, or at least close to that. I kept the phone for emergencies, and clearly it had to be just that if someone was calling me so late.
“Sam? Is that you?” The only time I talked to Sam Lauderdale was our literature class, where we sat right next to each other and were usually forced to do group work together. I’d given her my number on a whim one time but never expected her to actually use it. If she’s resorted to calling me—someone she talked to only on occasion—things must’ve been rough.
She didn’t respond to the question. Instead, she just continued with her previous statement. “She’s dead, Mercer. She killed herself—public suicide, just like the other two.”
“Sam. What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’m at the McDonald’s by Jamie’s house in Salem right now. The police just called me with the news. Look, I know we don’t talk a lot, but I need you to come here now. Sh/it’s getting bad, and I’m scared, okay? She’s the third one in the last two weeks. I already called Moby and Jamie. Jamie’s here and Moby’s on his way. We need to talk.”
I took a deep breath. Sam Lauderdale, calling me for comfort in a personal crisis. Of course. I hardly knew her—and I certainly didn’t know her mother—but I knew exactly why she was calling me.
“I don’t know anything about the suicides, okay? I hardly ever see my dad, and when I do, he sure as hell doesn’t talk about the cases he’s working. If you just want information, then I’m not the person to talk to. Sorry, Sam.”
I heard her sigh through her tears on the other end. “I need you to come here, Mercer.”
“McDonald’s by Jamie’s. Just get over here fast. I don’t know what’s happening, but I think you’ll know what to do.”
Why? Because my dad has an in with the Carthage Police Department? Keep dreaming, Sam. “All right. Do you want me to call someone first? Or—”
“Just get over here, Mercer. I’m scared.”
Scared. That was the second time she’d said that. Not upset, not angry, not confused—scared. “Why are you scared, Sam?” I could understand horror or frustration or shock, but “scared” was a whole separate level of emotion.
“Look, I don’t know if I’m supposed to talk about it.” Her voice got quiet, and I swear I felt her fear all the way in the locker room across town. “I know you won’t tell anyone, but… Just keep it on the DL, okay?”
I nodded. “Yeah. Okay.”
“You know Verona Beckett?”
“Yeah. Wish I didn’t.”
She paused. “Her name was written all over my mom’s shop. Just ‘VERONA,’ over and over again. I never mentioned her to my mom once. She couldn’t have known—?”
I shook my head. “She couldn’t have.”
“You need to get over here, Mercer.”
I grabbed my bag and keys from my locker, starting for the exit. “I’ll be there in a minute. Stay put.”
“Okay.” I heard her sigh one last time, and soon the line was dead.
Edited by Pretty.Odd., 24 March 2014 - 08:49 PM.