Forgotten (In The Shadows Book 1)

By: Catherine Gardiner

Prologue


Late October, 1997

Katrina placed the textbook she was studying back on the library shelf and glanced down at her wristwatch. The silver dial read 3:27 p.m. Three minutes until the library closed.

Wow, Katrina thought. I am really cutting it fine today.

Stuffing the notes she had just written into her book bag, she hurried out of the school library, down the two flights of stairs, and out of the main school building.

Outside, storm clouds had started to fill the sky and cast an unfriendly grayness to everything.

If I cut over the football field I should be able to get home before it starts to rain, Katrina mused.

Hurrying past the deserted bleachers Katrina started to make her way across the Clayton Falls High School football field. At about quarter way across she heard her cell phone ringing.

“Anton!” Katrina answered without looking at her caller display.

“Where are you? You should have been home over an hour ago,” a male voice crackled down the phone line.

“Anton, stop worrying about me,” Katrina replied gently.

“Katrina, you know I don’t like it when you walk home from school alone.” Anton paused. “I can’t see why you couldn’t have ridden with me.”

Katrina laughed softly. “You know I had an English assignment to finish in the library after last period. Besides, I am more than capable of getting home by myself.”

Anton sighed. “I still don’t like it.”

“I’ll be home soon, so stop acting like a macho jock! There are no juniors here to impress.”

“Katrina!”

“I’m walking through the football field now.”

“Katrina, turn back. I’ll pick you up in front of the school.”

“Anton, I’m fine, and it’s not that I’m like other girls.”

“I know that you can—” Anton started.

But his words were cut off: the phone was dead.

Damn! Katrina cursed. I knew I should have charged it last night.

Katrina sighed and took out her portable CD player from her book bag, flicked through the CD’s playlist until she came to her favorite track, put in her earphones and turned up the volume. By now the evening air had dropped in temperature, and she pulled her jacket tighter around her body.

With her music distracting her, Katrina did not hear that someone had followed her from Clayton Falls High School library and across the school’s football field. Nor did she hear her stalker raise a baseball bat and take a swing at her skull.

The last thought Katrina had was of her sister, Suzanne, before her memory faded behind a veil of darkness.

The first drops of rain started to fall as Katrina’s attacker picked up the cell phone and book bag that Katrina had dropped and left her for dead, before starting to walk away with a bloodied baseball bat in hand.





One


Ten months later, August 1998

“Katrina?” a woman called from downstairs.

“Yes?” Katrina answered, turning away from the window.

“Are you nearly ready, sweetheart?” the woman continued.

“Yes, Mom,” Katrina called. She walked to the top of the stairs, looked down, and smiled. “I’ll be five minutes tops!”

“I know your ‘five minutes’; we’ll be here for another half hour at least,” Katrina’s foster mother said with a smile, looking up at the girl she now thought of as her daughter.

Mrs. Sinclair was in her late thirties. Her figure was slender, her blonde hair long and wavy, and her brown eyes sparkled when she smiled.

Katrina watched the person who had taken her in eight months ago disappear into the living room. Eight months ago – when she had awoken from her coma.

After Mrs. Sinclair was out of sight, Katrina turned and went back to her bedroom, stopping on the threshold to look around the room. Her room.

Tears suddenly welled up in Katrina’s eyes. At first she tried to blink them back, but it was futile and in the end she just let them fall.

“What’s wrong?” a small voice said from behind Katrina.

“Not much, Jess,” Katrina replied without turning.

“You’re the only person that I’ll let call me that, you know. So, do you normally start crying for no apparent reason?”

“No,” Katrina whispered. “It’s just that everybody has been so nice to me since I came to live here and none of you knew me. You’re all just taking me at face value.”

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