As she opened the door to her friend Logan’s apartment, Cora Edwards was in a great mood. She wasn’t usually a night person, but now, as the clock approached twelve, her emerald-green eyes shone with life.
Cora and Logan had been close friends since high school—just friends, nothing more. In the two years since she and Logan had come to Northeastern University, Cora had dropped by so often to study or just to hang out that Logan had finally given her a key.

She’d used that key just now, and as the door swung open, Cora smoothly removed it from the lock and placed it in her pocket. All the apartment’s lights were off; the only illumination was dim slivers of yellow filtering through the window blinds, probably from the parking lot below.

Logan wasn’t home; he and Cora had arranged to meet at the Midtown Café, as they often did, at 3:00 AM for a quick study session. Cora had been halfway to the café before she’d realized that her textbooks were still at Logan’s. A quick turn and ten minutes’ travel had brought her here.

Cora let the door slam shut behind her, catching a glimpse of herself in the hall mirror, with the one silver earring and light brown hair cut boyishly short, before the light streaming in from the outside hall was cut off. Not wanting to waste electricity, Cora felt her way towards the kitchen. The books should just be lying there on the table.

A shape, dark and indistinct, rose up against the blinds. Cora turned to face it, soft, dim light spilling across her head and shoulders. Cora opened her mouth, intending to say “Logan, is that you?”

Three short, staccato explosions that echoed through the apartment cut her off. Instantly, Cora felt a dreadful numbness spread throughout her body, stumbled, and collapsed. She didn’t feel any pain, just a warm, soft sense of well-being as her world went black forever.