Read Chapter 1: Denial


My eyes flutter open. I’m surrounded by blackness. Raindrops pelt my face like some sort of sick water torture. Laying in mud, I’m unwilling to move despite its attempt to engulf me from behind.

The horn, the headlight, the sizzling and snapping of electricity makes its way into my consciousness, as does the pain racing along every nerve. 

Oh my God, what did I do?

A crushing weight on my chest makes breathing difficult. The ambient glow of the headlight registers through my dilated pupils. There’s a body on top of me.

With what little strength I have, I roll him off. Air rushes into my lungs. I’m breathing, but is he?

I grab his wrist. “Don’t be dead,” I whisper.

Unable to recall the events that brought me here, the only thing I know is that I can’t let the man next to me die. I don’t know—or can’t remember—who he is, but somehow, my life is intrinsically tied to his.

The electrical wire slaps, hisses, and sizzles. Another ear-splitting pop and flash as it connects with the car’s metal roof. Okay, I remember that.

I don’t detect a pulse in his wrist while my own heart races. Rolling over, I place my head on his chest. No heartbeat.

“No! No, no, no, no, no!”

Instinct takes over. I hoist myself up and straddle him. Lacing my fingers together, one hand on top of the other, I place them on his chest and deliver a series of systematic compressions.

I count them out. Thirty compressions, two breaths into his lungs. Thirty compressions, two breaths.

“Breathe, dammit.”

Thirty compressions, two breaths.

Everything else around me fades. I’m on autopilot. Where or when I learned CPR, I have no idea.

Thirty compressions, two breaths. 

Please God, don’t do this to me.

I resist the urge to punch him in the chest. That will just break his ribs.

Thirty compressions, two breaths.

My arms burn.

Thirty compressions, two breaths.

What feels like hours have passed, but I’m sure it’s been only minutes. I can’t stop. I’m compelled to keep going. I can’t have death on my conscience.

A wave of helplessness threatens to consume me. I can’t save this man.

I lean over—our faces inches apart—and scream. Ten seconds of ear-splitting desperation escapes through my vocal cords.

Spent, I collapse onto my back. Mud surrounds me once again. The warmth of my tears contrasts against the cold rain slapping my face.

What have I done?

I’m lost, alone, and just murdered a man. Sadness claws at my heart, squeezing the life from each chamber. From deep within me, the connection that links our lives together begins to sever. I don’t know how or why but I’m certain that his death will be followed by another.

But whose? I don’t even know who I am.

Read all 7 chapters of The Hidden Place FREE.
BONUS: 5-Author collection of short stories titled “Dead Memories”.