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Never Forgotten - ebook View larger

Never Forgotten - ebook

After surviving a hit man’s attack, a young woman struggles to solve the mystery of Painters Cliff.

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    Ashley Johnson suffers a near death tragedy at the hands of a hit man, but she survives. Injured and battered, she does her best to recover and find some normalcy in her day to day affairs. But one obstacle gets in her way—she’s forced to mend the broken lives of two people she’s never met and driven to solve a mystery spurred by the first act of young love. In the process, her world becomes entangled by second chances, and confused by baffling leads and dark turns, until she discovers the truth behind what happened at Painters Cliff twelve years ago. The revelations crack her foundation, and finally threaten her very existence until an unseen element steps in.


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    Never Forgotten - ebook

    Never Forgotten - ebook

    After surviving a hit man’s attack, a young woman struggles to solve the mystery of Painters Cliff.



    My name. What’s my name?

    “Look, her eyes. Ashley, it’s me, your sister. I’m right here.”

    Sister? I have a sister, and I’m Ashley. Yes, of course.

    The familiar voice, its tone stressed, frightened, yet strangely calming. The ringing in her ears reduced from a roar to a mere thud, like some distant jungle drums. “Lilah.” Ashley reached into the mist. “I can’t see. Where are you?”

    “You’ve been in a level six coma for some time and were banged up pretty bad. I’ve seen others with your injuries fare far worse.”

    Again, the wave of heat flushed through her veins at the single word, injuries. She groped at her extremities, counted each one. Perhaps she’d been disfigured, her face mangled.

    Dear God. Don’t bring me back just to be tortured by my own reflection. “What injuries?”

    “You have two broken ribs, several lacerations to the head and face, sub cranial hemorrhaging the first two weeks, and post trauma vision syndrome.”

    “What’s that last one mean?”

    “There’s been some damage to your optic nerve—to what degree is uncertain yet.”

    “Does that mean you’ll have to operate again?” The tremors in Lilah’s voice were obvious.

    “Only as a last resort. Clinical trials indicate supplements can be as effective as surgery, like B12, prednisolone, or mannitol. We just need to observe the nature of her symptoms as she recovers. The fact you’ve recovered so well is amazing. You’re either very stubborn or have unfinished business and weren’t ready to leave us yet. Considering what could have been, I’d say you’re a lucky young lady.”

    “What symptoms do we watch for, Doc?” the man with her sister inquired.

    “Difficulty distinguishing colors, maintaining eye contact, blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes, and a host of other reactions abnormal to her pre-trauma condition. Over time, the damage may heal on its own. We’ll just have to see.”

    Ashley went to scratch her head then froze, her heart pounding. “Hey, what happened to my hair?”

    “We had to perform a cranial tap to relieve pressure buildup, but I don’t expect we’ll have to repeat the procedure.” The edge of the bed rose. “I have to continue with my other patients and will return tomorrow. It’s good to see you’ve returned to us, Ms. Johnson, but let’s not push it too far the first day. You two can stay as long as you want, but only keep her active another ten minutes. I’ll send a nurse in to administer a sedative, then let her rest. Sometime later this week I’ll have our eye specialist conduct an exam to determine what we can do about her vision.”

    A few departing footsteps, the click of a door handle and the familiar sterile scent of a hospital flooded Ashley’s nostrils. “Why does my butt hurt so much?”

    “Doc said the impact of the fall injured your hip joint,” the man explained. “They popped it back into place, and cleaned out most of the ripped tissue, that’s why it’s sore.”

    Ashley swallowed. “Is the damage permanent?”

    “I don’t think so. You’ll limp for a while until it heals, but six months from now, you’ll barely notice the difference, at least that’s what the orthopedist said. Long as you don’t injure it again.”


    Lilah patted her arm. “Doctor said hard as you hit your rump in the fall, you were fortunate you didn’t break your spine.”

    Ashley grabbed Lilah’s hand and rubbed the ring on her finger. “My god, you’re engaged. How long was I out?”

    “Quite a while. You were away on one of your unreported outings without any word. We contacted the authorities, but they had no record of a woman with your features, your size, or hair color, anywhere. Finally, Reece asked a friend at the police department to pan all medical facilities and mortuaries within a hundred miles. That’s when we discovered you were being cared for in a small hospital near the park, without any ID, as Jane Doe. A few days ago you moaned my name, which helped them to locate me, and we had you transferred to the lake hospital here locally.”

    The pilot, her fiancé, that’s his name. Reece. “What happened? Why am I in a hospital?”

    “We’re not sure. A hiker found your body below a cliff. Do you recall how you fell?”

    “No. I-I’m not sure.”

    He shoved me. The bastard wanted me dead. “He tried to kill me!”


    “Scott. Said you were next.”

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