A/N: Yes, author's notes at the beginning for once, which is because I really need to put this in context before you read it. This is a too-long-to-be-called-a-short-story and not-quite-a-novella that I wrote two years ago, and which I now have a mind to rewrite and expand upon, because quite frankly, it was not as epic as I thought it was at the time. Therefore, if you review any of my work at all, I'd really like you to go with this one. And then, I'd like you to rip it to pieces.

Well, not really. In an ideal world, I would like to have casually dusted this off, realized it was a masterpiece and sent it off to a publisher's, who would immediately pay me millions for it so I can spend the rest of my life rolling around and laughing hysterically in a bath of money. But this is just not going to happen.

So tell me what you like. Tell me what you don't like. And tell me what you think should be killed with fire.


0: Three Last Thoughts

Faye London was almost dead, but she didn't mind much.

The sixteen-year-old's mind and memory were beginning to fray at the edges, so she wasn't totally sure what the cause of death would be. Hadn't she felt a tearing pain across her body? A knife? Or bullets, maybe. Then again, she was also face down in the lake the hotel had been built next to, so maybe it would just be drowning. Her throat hurt an awful lot too, so she supposed it was a possibility she'd been hanged. It could have been the old soap opera standard, with someone smacking her on the back of the head with something heavy. A brick, a lead bar, something like that.

Perhaps it didn't matter all that much. She only had a vague curiosity really.

Her prom dress was soaked, both in lake water and in her own blood. (Blood? Probably not just drowning then, she thought, nor hanging. I'll go with the bullets theory.) The elaborate style her hairdresser had agonized over for two hours, (trying to make it look like she hadn't just cropped it, and doing quite well really) was completely ruined.

So she'd been shot, had she? That sounded reasonable. But by who? And why? She was pretty sure her date hadn't hated her that much. She seemed to recall other people screaming, and far more blood on the dance floor than one teenaged girl could have provided. So others had died. Like one of those high school shootings in America. But Faye could remember seeing more than one hysterical teenage boy with a gun, and Faye could remember at least a dozen fully grown men and women, sealing the doors of the hotel ballroom shut in a calm, collected manner before they turned on the teenagers.

and Faye wasn't sure she could remember them using guns, or knives, or any other type of weapon to assist them.

Blood dripped wetly from her head into the water, bringing Faye back to the immediate situation, and if her lungs weren't beginning to shut down, she would have sighed. Dead at sixteen. It was fair to say she hadn't had much planned beyond finishing school, but she'd planned enough that dying at sixteen was kind of a drag. She'd had people to meet. Places to see. Things to do.

Faye might have gone on reminiscing like that for some time, had she not suddenly noticed the tough time her heart was having maintaining a steady beat.

Funny, how they say hearing is the last thing to go. She could have sworn she felt her heart give one last despairing thump before she expired. Faye guessed you never really knew what death was like until it happened to you.

Faye London was dead, but she didn't mind much. She'd told and told her mother that if she went to her prom, she'd die, but the silly woman hadn't listened.

At least if she wasn't quite so dead, Faye would have been able to say 'I told you so'.