Grace opened her eyes, blinking to clear her blurred vision and fuzzy mind. She could see that it was night and could smell the rain-soaked earth beneath her, which felt cold, damp, and squishy. She also could smell something burning—something acrid and foul with undertones of roasting flesh. Trees towered over her. Tall, skinny pines looking unsteady as they swayed on the biting wind. This couldn’t be hell. Or Los Angeles (not that the two were mutually exclusive). Try as she might, the knowledge of where she was and what had happened refused to come forth. It was as if her memory had torn along with her clothes—and whole strips had blown away.
All she knew was that she was still alive. But for how much longer? Not much, judging by how messed up she felt. Grimacing against the pain, she cast a glance down her body. Her clothes were muddy and tattered, blood seeped from her chest, and her left arm looked distressing similar to the pipe under the bathroom sink in her apartment back home. Lowering her gaze, she saw something that made her gasp: her hips lay at an impossible angle—like a Twist-n-Turn Barbie tossed aside. She searched her memory for any clue to what had happened to her, but her mind kept tuning in and out like a weak-signaled radio station.