Prologue

No color but red existed. As far as she was concerned anymore, she was blind to any color but red. Even as the white front door was ripped from its golden hinges, rusted with orange, and people in navy blue uniforms filtered in through the hole where the door had been, all she saw was red. Red on her hands, on her pale face, on her green shirt and black jeans, and on everything that existed in the living room of the small gray house.

A police officer stood in front of her as his team examined the scene. He turned to his partner, a tall man named Evan Meyers, and asked, "What do we have here?"

Evan looked down at his notebook, reading off what he had been told about the situation by their captain. "The neighbor, Greg Jefferson, called about half an hour ago at 7:13 p.m. claiming that the Sain's, the family that lives in this house, were making a lot of noise and disturbing him. The captain didn't think much of it, since Jefferson is always calling with a different complaint, and figured it was just the old man being anal. Then fifteen minutes later Jefferson called again saying he was hearing blood-curdling screams coming from this house." He looked around at the carnage in disgust, shaking his head. Four bodies lay scattered around the tiny living room, each with dozens of wounds cut into them. "Needless to say, we were too late. Everyone, aside from this girl, is dead."

"Who is she?"

"Her name is Alicia Sain. She is fifteen and she goes to the local high school here in Hammonton, sophomore year. The bodies have been named as her mother, Emilia, her father, Jonathon, and her two sisters, Katherine and Elizabeth." He closed the notebook and waved over the forensic analyst. "Hey, Alina, come here. What do you have so far?"

A short Spanish woman joined the two officers as she put a fresh pair of gloves on her hands. "It's nasty," she stated simply. "This wasn't just a burglar attempt gone wrong or something of the like; this was a full-blown massacre. Someone was out for revenge, and they definitely got it. Each body has distinct wounds from a heavy-duty butcher knife, which we found discarded in the corner by one of the victims. Each body has the same number of wounds, in the same exact place. Whoever did this knew exactly where to hit to cause a lot of pain in a small amount of time. They died quickly, but they went through excruciating torment."

Evan nodded and looked back at the small girl on the floor in front of them. Alicia Sain, the only survivor of the massacre, sat, hugging her knees, on the blood-stained carpet against the wall. She was drenched in the putrid liquid, just as the rest of the room was. There was a look of sheer terror on her face; her green eyes were wide and filled with tears, and in her hands she held tufts of her own blonde hair, which Evan could only assume was from her pulling it out in stress or fright. "Alicia?" he asked softly, squatting down in front of her. He pulled out the small flashlight he carried around on his belt and flashed it in her eyes several times. He was relieved when her eyes dilated and she blinked. That meant she was just in shock. He took his handcuffs from his pocket and cuffed the girl's hands behind her back, gently pulling her to her feet. "Let's get her back to the station. Maybe we can find something out there."

҉

"I-I… I don't know…"

Officer Evan folded his hands on the table and looked at the girl gently. He wouldn't get anywhere if he demanded answers from her. "Miss Sain, please try to cooperate with us. We're only trying to help and find out who killed your family. We're afraid that whoever murdered them might try and come back to finish the job."

Alicia looked at him, her body still trembling. She'd been shaking violently for the last hour or so since they brought her here. "What does that mean?" she asked quietly, her small voice barely rising above the normal noise of the police station outside of the room they were in.

"It means that, since whoever it was didn't kill you, there is a good chance that they will try and finish you off. The majority of criminals out there don't like to leave witnesses or survivors to the crime."

"Oh my…" she gasped, shuddering. "I-I would like to help, Officer Meyers, but I don't have a clue." Tears sprang into her eyes. "I can't remember anything. The last thing I remember is waking up in my house covered in blood and realizing that they were all… gone." She started to bawl, tears spilling down her cheeks.

Evan sighed and stood from the table. "Don't move," he ordered and walked out of the room. He returned moments later with a steaming mug of hot chocolate in his hand. He placed it in front of the girl and sat back down. "Drink up. It will make you feel better."

Alicia took several sips and waited for the tears to stop falling. "If there was something I could do to help, I would. But I don't remember anything about what happened tonight."

Evan was about to say something when the door to the interrogation room opened and his partner peeked in. "Hey, the captain wants to see us."

"Miss Sain, I'll have to ask you to stay here for a few minutes while I talk with my boss," Evan explained to Alicia. She nodded and he left the room again. He found the captain and his partner waiting for him in the room next over, on the other side of the two-way mirror that most interrogation rooms are equipped with.

Captain Montgomery looked at the girl, who sat by herself rubbing her temples. "You find anything out?"

Evan shook his head sadly. "Nothing. Says she can't remember what happened. According to her, she woke up there after everyone was killed and can't remember a thing about who killed them. I can't tell whether she's telling the truth or not."

"It's a shame," the captain said, crossing his arms. "I was hoping to have this case wrapped up quick, but it never works out that way. We'll just have to look further into this. Meyers, can you-"

A high-pitched scream came from the other room and Alicia crashed to the floor. Her eyes clenched shut and she dug her fingers into her hair. She felt like her head was going to explode. Her thoughts were on fire. She continued to scream until someone came to relieve her of the pain with a tranquilizing shot.

The pain slowly decreased and she was aware of two people in the room, talking quietly to each other about admitting her to a hospital. She didn't care and, as she started to drift into unconsciousness, an enormous white castle on a lush green landscape began to encompass her mind.