This is it, the last of the prospective novels I could end up finishing. What you should know thus far: whichever of the six or seven novel openings I post racks up the most comments will be written in full. Of Hidden Shadows is a high fantasy epic. In Times of Cold Rain is noir crime-lit. Women, Weed and Weather is so-called "literary" fiction. Lyon's Den is a genre mash-up between chick lit and detective story. Forged: Book I of the Weaponslayer Trilogy is my offering to the YA gods, and The Heat of the Frozen Road is my offering to all fifty shades of grey. The final one is back in the literary space, with a horror-thriller twist. I present: Neverend.
If you add up the odds of everything that could kill you in any given moment, you're something like two thousand percent more likely to be dead than alive whenever you dare draw a breath. You don't have to believe me. I've died enough times to know at least most of the thirty-four trillion flavors.
Sometimes, dying only sets me back a second or two--barely any lost time at all. That happens most often. Sometimes I fucked something up real bad. Then I have to go back further. It'd be easier if I had someone to talk to. No one believes me when I tell 'em. I can't prove it, of course. Even if I stood in front of a guy and died, we'd rewind to just before it happened, you'd never see the attempt. Not that I've ever tried to kill myself. There's entirely too many other ways to shuffle coil.
I don't know why this happens to me. My best guess, and it took me years to figure this out, so don't laugh, my best guess is that it has to do with a first death that even I don't remember. I figure it happens in the future. And if it ever happens again, if I make it that far, that'll be it. It's game over. That's why I keep rewinding, to keep me off the path that leads there. Leads to really dying.
I could be wrong.
Add up all the lost time over the years since it started happening, I'm maybe four or five years older, brainwise than it says on my birth certificate. I just turned twenty-four according to the doctor.
The most time I've ever lost was nine months. I'd been working as a line cook, til a grease fire sent me back to the day before I'd accepted the job. Too much dangerous shit down that path, I suppose. I'm surprised I lasted as long as I did. Not as surprised as I was the first time I met a girl that I was really meeting for the first time a second time around. It's like meeting a porn star, or trying to hang out with a friend's girl after you've seen her hidden album. She had no idea who I was. I'd seen her naked. It made me feel dirty.
I'd like to say I got over it. I didn't. Haven't seen that girl in a few years. It's happened a couple of times since the first. Haven't seen those girls either. Maybe one of these times I'll die alone. Maybe it'll be less awkward. Maybe not.