Prologue

Sometimes, when things don't go our way, they really don't go our way.

More than anybody, Lasairiona Smith knew this. Things had really not gone her way - starting with her birth.

Liisi Smith had been born to a doctor and his receptionist during the dawn of the Revolutionary Maladies. As a child, she was told by her superstitious grandmother that her mother had died because Liisi herself was a "dark seed" and that she would die during the birth of her own child when she came of age. This made Liisi the slightest bit fearful of what lay in store for her future and she became horribly afraid of stepping foot outside of the house. Liisi swore celibacy at the age of seven and would not talk to a boy until she was sixteen.

Luckily, her father knew just how to cure emotional paralysis, and soon Liisi found herself in posession of seven different drugs each day. Her life became one big pill case, which soon became one big dollar bill when she found out that there were people at school willing to buy prescription drugs (especially those with weight-loss benefits) for large sums of money.

So, at the age of thirteen, Liisi found herself enjoying the perks of self-employment.

And at the age of sixteen, she found herself in prison for numerous counts of racketeering and one account of criminal arson (which was untrue, but because she was a drug dealer and extortionist the judge was very unwilling to listen to her side of the story). Of course, it wasn't "real" prison - although Liisi would be transferred there within the next five years of her sentence - but a prison for children and teenagers. It was a horrible place, sweaty and overcrowded on even the coldest of days and with food that resembled gray matter with spam.

She even got a friend - the first male she'd spoken to in nearly ten years. His name was Sid and they bonded over their common criminal activities and jail sentences. The days started to blur together soon, as Liisi found that the more she stayed out of trouble, the more her jail sentence became more like an extended stay at boarding school. The girls were prickly, but livable, and the boys were disgusting, but ignorable.

Before she knew it, she was just about to age out of the children's prison. At nearly twenty years old, Liisi feared she wouldn't be able to survive as easily in the grown-ups jail as she did in her current home.

Then she got that letter. That horrible, horrific letter from her father.

Her sister was dying. Samaire, barely twenty-seven years old with two kids and a husband, had a tumor in her brain.

That's when Liisi made the decision to leave.