Prologue

Never had he thought it was possible to feel so alone yet not alone at all.

But that’s how it had been for the past couple of months.

There’s a moment, right before you die, when you realize just how meaningless one small life is and how—in a world made up of over seven-billion people and God only knew how many other beings—in the grand scheme of things, you are nothing but energy renting space while waiting for an unknown cause.

What do you do when that cause never shows up? And when your life gives you so many lemons that you’re buried under them and there’s no way out?

He’d come to terms with his useless existence a long time ago, but now, with his own hand holding the knife that was about to kill him, he was a man defeated by providence.

Tortured by the reality of what he would face whether he lived or died, it was in that moment—his mind clearer than it had ever been—that he was finally able to take control. He would decide his own destiny, not his mother’s hatred of him or the shit that had followed him around all of his life. This was his way of giving the finger to the monster he would never become. Not ever.

His only regret would be leaving the woman who was staring back at him with fear in her eyes, but that choice had been ripped from his hands. He was never going to have the life he wanted, and she needed her own. With the beautiful face in front of him threatening to cause doubt, he had to act fast. Ignoring her tears, as well as the screaming in his gut, he moved the knife to his throat.

He heard Alethia call out his name and although his mind was made up, he hesitated. “I can’t. . . live like this,” he said then whispered, “I’m sorry.”

Taking one last deep breath, he began to slice his own flesh.

He was ready to return to Hell.

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