Prologue

Maggie struggled to open her eyes. They were crusty and sticky at the same time. She remembered that feeling. When she was a little girl, she often cried herself to sleep. One particular night stuck out in her memory. She cried for hours and the next morning, her eyes were stuck together as if a prankster had glued them.

She finally managed to peel them apart and desperately looked around but everything around seemed painted black. She opened and closed her eyes, but as hard as she tried, her eyes would not adjust to the light. She tried to turn but her whole body ached. The pain radiated waves of heat throughout her body. She struggled to look around but all she could see was darkness.

It took the effort of her entire body to lift her head. It throbbed and she grabbed it with both her hands. She gathered all her strength and with one motion, she brought her upper body to a sitting position. Her head screamed in agony; the rest of her body pulsated violently. Her eyes finally started to adjust and she was able to catch a glimpse of a light shining ahead of her. She focused intently on it and tried to make sense of her surroundings.

What has happened to me, she thought and a feeling of dread overtook her. She looked around and saw she was sitting on grass. There were some bottles thrown about. She could see the figure of a large, imposing tree to her left. As she looked to her right, a row of bushes snuck into her vision. She had no idea where she was. Nothing seemed familiar. There was no one around.

She tried to bring her body to a standing position but the pain was excruciating. The pain came from deep within her body. She got on her elbows and began to pull her body toward the light. Slowly and with much effort, she crawled, carefully feeling the grounds. There was garbage strewn throughout: cigarette butts, a book, soda cans, used condoms. Even in her pain and despair, she could feel the disgust of having to carry her body through the filth. As she got closer to the light, it seemed to be getting farther and farther away.

"Help me…" she cried.