The bullet ricocheted off a metal plate in McSorley’s head and struck an innocent college girl, killing her instantly.
The pundits called it the strangest murder ever recorded. The prosecutor called it an open and shut case. They were both right.
The only problem? Joshua was innocent.
Now, three years into his life sentence, Joshua experiences a powerful occipital-lobe seizure—wild hallucinations flash before his eyes, visions of McSorley conducting strange, frightening medical experiments on him.
McSorley vanishes from Walton University, and a strange new corrections officer named Slaven confronts Joshua with questions: Did you merge with the pivot? Are you working with the enemy?
A vast conspiracy has followed Joshua into prison, and soon he can’t tell the difference between his nightmares and reality.
A mind-bending plot that you'll never forget ~ John Staughton
An amazing debut novel ~ Laura Stapleton
...all the intrigue that you could hope for. ~ Robin Perron
Excerpt: Chapter 1
The seizure raced up my spine. The sound of breathing filled my head. Somewhere in the distance I heard my wife, shouting for help. Just before the seizure swallowed me whole, she called my name: "Joshua."
Doctor McSorley leaned toward me cupping my face. "Can you hear me?"
I was sitting on an exam table. A jar of Muppet Band-Aids sat on the counter; a painting of Big Bird adorned the wall.
McSorley smiled and ruffled my hair. "Should I fetch your mother?"
I caught sight of myself in the mirror above the sink - thin and gaunt, blue eyes and dark hair - and understanding crashed into me. I was a child. Impossible. "I feel strange."
"You vagaled down." McSorley adjusted his glasses.
"You passed out." The last time I had seen him, he had been covered with liver spots, his accusing voice a strained croak. Now his eyes shone blue and his voice rang and he loomed over me like a giant. A breathing mask hissed like a snake in his hand. "If you're feeling better, we will proceed."
I tried to stand.
He shoved me flat against the table and pointed toward a glass box the size of a small filing cabinet, pulsing with white light. "We're going to plug you into this machine." A grin spread over his face, final as the grave. He held the mask over my mouth. "Remember what I told you. Focus on the words end simulation until you hear them in your head. You;ll wake up. Everything will be fine."
The breathing mask suctioned onto my face with a pop.
I was a live wire splayed on a concrete floor, arms flailing. My wife was trying to cradle my thrashing head. "Somebody help!" she called. "He's having a seizure! He's going to hurt himself!"
My body arced in spasm. The florescent lights on the ceiling brightened until they punched holes in the world, and the I was sinking, sinking back into blackness.
I stood in a drizzling rain, surrounded by three- and four-story building with their names engraved into stone archways - Redman Hall, Cory Hall, Fullman Hall. The rain had just started; droplets quickly darkened the walkways. Most of the students sitting at tables stood and hurried beneath the eaves of the library.
I recognized the campus: Walton University. I remembered it from photos.
Doctor McSorley - old and haggard - burst through the doors of Redman Hall, squinting into the rain, a stack of books under one arm. When he saw the gun in my hands, he stopped walking and clutched the books to his chest.
I'd always been blamed for shooting him, Now was my chance to actually do it.
I pulled the trigger. The gun kicked. The crack of the gunshot echoed between the buildings. A cluster of starling exploded toward the sky. McSorley's books dropped into the gutter.
Behind me, someone screamed.
I turned and saw a middle-aged woman, blood pooling on the pavers beneath her head. Her arm twitched, but her eyes were stone dead.
How had the bullet hit her? The angles was impossible.
The campus and the sky swapped places. I stumbled through the rain toward one of the tables, holding my head, trying to understand.
"Joshua!" It was my wife;s voice. "Say something!"
I sat up, clutching her hands, seeing only her face. I wanted to say her name, but I couldn't remember it. "Crystal?"
"My hallucinations were so vivid. I...I shot McSorley. McSorley was experimenting on me when I was a kid and - "
"McSorley experimented on you?" Crystal's eyes widened. "Oh my God. I have to show you something."
I let go of her hands and looked around. For a moment I didn't know where I was, but then I saw the concrete walls and steel bars, the long line of convicts in the holding cell, and the corrections officer palming his baton in the corridor, watching me with interest.
I was in prison.
This was my home now.
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