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Chapter 1

I am death’s right hand woman. 

“Number ten scalpel.” 

I hand him the requested tool. 

There’s no acknowledgement when his fingers close around it. 

He makes the standard incision with smooth precise movements.

“Shears.” He holds the scalpel out for me to take, I replace it with the next tool.

Watch the precision with which he removes the sternum. 

All looks normal to me. The pericardial sac, the lungs. All healthy. 

So what killed this woman?

We go through the entire process of inspecting and cataloging her organs.

We find the killer in her brain. Aneurysm.

Humans are so fragile.

“Close up, for me Justine. I’ve got an early lunch.”

“Sure thing, boss.”  I cringe, noting that it’s been an entire year since I accepted this assistant job, and he still can’t get my name right. 

His lunches usually consist of two martinis followed by a blowjob from a high-class call girl. 

How do I know this? He drops his receipts in the work trash, and on more than one occasion I’ve spotted lipstick on his trousers. She also wears some kind of cotton candy-esque perfume.

My eye for details is extremely ridiculous even to me. Useless inane details. 

It’s what also makes me good at this job. I study my neat stitches. 

A pleased satisfaction overtakes me. You can’t even tell where the incision was made. 

I go through the motions to get Mrs. Margery Dillon back in her cold storage.

The monotony of life. The monotony of death.

I feel something inside me; it wants me to shake things up, set myself free, run wild and perversely punish myself. This thing is neither in my mind nor my heart. It’s in the pit of my stomach, the muscles of my legs.  The muscles that are ready to spring, even right now, they’re anticipating something that I am quelling down.


It’s my wolf. My wild, raw, animalistic partner. 

She chafes at being inside a windowless room all day. She chafes at sitting behind the desk.

Typing reports. The same thing day-in and day-out. A layer of dogged tiredness covers the restlessness. It comes from doing the daily grind I guess. It materializes as a permanent soreness of my shoulders, an ache behind my eyes. I’m glad it’s there, keeping the restlessness from creeping into my daily thoughts - preventing me from doing something rash. Despite that tiredness, I feel like I could run twenty miles, pounding the ground with my feet, sweating out my frustrations, mindlessly running from…not problems necessarily…but running from life.  Running from the people that I am supposed to love unconditionally, my family, my pack. Running from the motivation, the work, running from everything that I am supposed to want, to wish for, to earn. 

Running from fate. Tonight.

Tonight, I promise myself, I’ll run to the ends of the earth. 

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