The following writing contains mature subject matter that some readers may find unsettlings: drugs, suicide, sexuality, vulgarity, nudity and other mature themes. Reader discretion is advised.

          This writing is fiction. Names, characters, settings and events are either used fictitiously or are products of the writer's imagination. Any resemblance to real events, settings or people, dead or alive, is coincidental unless stated otherwise.


Prologue: The Vignette


"Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!"

                     -- Ashok's Most Recent Fortune Cookie


          A fading, red sheet was curled across the bed like a hook. It barely covered the limp form of a young man. The bed was high from the floor, a large queen-sized mattress. A tangled mess of comforter, sheet and legs ended the bed in a shabby, cracked end-board.

          I wish it would end, he thought. A fresh start would be so nice...

          The shining claw of broken metal lay upon the bed, in a drying red and brown stain. Scars stung upon the outstretched arms of the young man, and bloody scratches left a frightening impression. Sunlight penetrated the linen curtains. A hazy, dim light lit the room.

          The end table had an antique lamp, a broken ceramic frame barely holding up the wires and dead light bulb. Beside it, pill bottles lay askew; open, closed, tipped over. Anti-depressants, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, various non-prescription painkillers and an unlabeled canister of something unrecognizable; all fallen over in a frenzy.

          What in the name of Al-- it was too late. The young man's hand had already reached desperately into the pile, knocking down plastic jars and grabbing at whatever it could reach. His thoughts parted and his mind frayed. The half-naked, scarred body lost its senses, one by one.

The End

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