This is story #3 in this little "series". There's one more after it... You must have read "Good Intentions" before this one. You can get away without having read "In Circles", but you really can't not have seen the first one. Thanks. -amkt
"Pieces" - Prologue November, 1970 Somewhere in Nevada The noise was incredible. Like a harsh rushing noise, it beat on her until she was fighting the urge to cover her ears. Then, abruptly, it stopped. The cold bit into her first, fighting its way through the thick winter coat she wore and numbing her toes in spite of her boots. When focus was brought to her, she noticed the gun held between two very unsteady hands and lowered it slowly in astonishment. Its weight was an unfamiliar but real sensation to cling to while she weeded her way through her excess confusion. Her eyes flicked up and to the side and met unexpectedly with the dark, expressive eyes of a man standing about a hundred yards from her. A familiar sensation came over her, but she pushed it aside, determined to understand why she was in this position. The look he gave her was a mixture of sadness and anger and she shied away from it. She took a stop forward to talk to him, but lapsed back into inactivity as she followed his gaze, now focused on some distant object. Three people were struggling to cross a stream: two men and a woman. One of the men was carrying the other, a sight that was in and of itself rather incredible considering their respective sizes. The woman was slender and tall with longs dark hair flowing over her coat. She could see, even from this distance, that the woman was upset. She stood and watched the struggle, transfixed with the scene. When she finally focused her attention back on her companion, he had gone. A swift visual search revealed him to be on the opposite embankment. Barring her confusion as to how he had moved there so quickly, she assumed he was there to help the hapless people out of what had to be an incredibly cold stream. Instead, he just watched, stone-faced and silent, as they pulled themselves out and collapsed, almost, at his feet. Words were spoken far too quietly for her to make out and then man - boy, really - who had carried the other fell on top of him, the woman close by. And she knew without asking that he had died. Then reality faded and she was gone again.