The electronic tether weighted Eric’s ankle like an iron ball and chain. When he stepped forward, the sole of his right shoe scuffed against the kitchen floor as if a few ounces of plastic and microchip could magnify the force of gravity and pull his soul down with it as well.

Chapter 1: Fortress of Solitude: an excerpt.

He pulled the September issue of American Living toward him , staring at page twelve. Capital Hill. The Space Needle in the background. The green and white-striped awning with the restaurant name. The street-side diners. The passersby. The young woman with her face half turned away as she threw a comment at someone lounging against the building.

“A wizard to guide him through destiny,” he whispered. Strong young woman, sun beating on the back of her head. Red flames of hair licked her shoulders, burned at the ends of dark strands grown tangled and unruly.

No fear, beckoning to him. A guide for lost souls running scared day by day. The room tilted forward, drawing him in. A nauseated surge turned his stomach, his mouth a desert of coarse sand. An itch in his blood for the pierce of a needle, the rush of a drug. The need, the need looming to strike, to devour. He felt himself swallowed whole, one foot still in Chicago, the other on the pavement of the Seattle street, his hand reaching out to touch her, to turn her chin to face him, to see him. See me.

Not a Street Story Novel. Not really. A story of what might exist on the streets in a world of magic and possibilities.

He jerked and pulled back. An invisible cord pulled tight, stretched, snapped, licked in his direction to bind him again.

“No.” He stood up from the table; the chair skittered back across the tiles. Cobwebs in his brain again, voices whispering, laughing, mocking. “Crazy bitch,” he called himself. “Crazy, dope fiend bitch.”

They should have kept him locked up. Thrown away the key. Put him in a white jacket and a room with cushioned walls to drown his screams of fury and hate. House arrest, what a joke. What a fucking joke.

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