Chapter One

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**Please note: This is the first draft. Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors.

To read a revised + edited version, get BEFORE IT FADES as an ebook. THE EVA SERIES is now available for on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook + Google Play.

Find out more here: jenmariewilde.com/books (click the external link).**

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An explosive sound shook through the RV, waking me up with a fright. I sat up, my heart pounding. "What was that?"

"Thunder," Jo said as she sat next to me on the couch with a tired sigh. "It's been storming for hours now. It's slowing us down, but we've only got about another ten hours to Sydney."

Dixon sat on the floor next to me, his tail wagging happily when he saw I was awake. Jo played with her fingers anxiously as she stared out the window into the darkness.

"Are you alright?" I asked, knowing she wasn't - none of us were.

"I just want to get there," she replied. "How's your shoulder?"

"Fine," I lied. The bullet wound in my shoulder throbbed in pain, but it was nothing compared to the constant nausea I'd been feeling for hours, and it was so hot in the RV that I'd developed a migraine. I slid the window open, closing my eyes as the strong breeze cooled my skin. Thunder rumbled again from up ahead, and tiny specks of rain touched my cheeks.

"Eva, it's freezing!" Jo said as she pushed the window closed, startling me.

"Freezing? It's like an oven in here!" I said angrily, surprised that she didn't feel it. I hadn't meant to sound so mean, but it was too hot for niceties.

Jo raised her eyebrows at me, but before she could say anything the RV came to a halt, propelling us off the couch.

"We hit something!" Ben called from the driver's seat. "But I can't see it, it's too dark and the rain is too heavy."

"I'll have a look," Wyatt said as he jumped out of the RV and into the rain. A flash of lightening lit up the night sky before Wyatt opened the door again.

"It's a fallen tree branch!" he shouted over the growing storm. "Don't go any further or you'll get stuck on it! I don't think I can lift it myself."

"We'll help," I said as I stood up. I felt dizzy for a moment and stumbled slightly, but no-one noticed. I thought back to the moment I'd been shot earlier that day, and assumed my light-headedness was a result of all the blood I'd lost before Ben was able to patch me up.

Ben turned off the engine and told Dixon to stay before we all stepped out to move the tree branch. Once I was outside I could see we were at the entrance to a narrow bridge over a thin but fast-flowing river. The torrential rainfall had made the river rise, lapping up against the bridge and getting higher every second.

"We gotta move fast!" Ben said, looking at the rising water with concern.

I could see they were all shivering from the cold, but I was still burning hot. It was then that I realised something was not right. I tried to stay calm as we all stood over the broken tree branch and grabbed hold of it, but I could only think of one reason why I would feel so feverish and ill.

"Okay, ready?" Wyatt asked, and we all nodded. "Lift!"

Using all my strength, I lifted the branch, but it was too heavy for my fatigued arms. The wood slipped out of my hands, causing Wyatt, Ben and Jo to stumble in the mud before swiftly regaining their footing. I stood on the bridge and watched as they carried the branch out of the way, not noticing the water sweeping around my ankles. I mentally scanned my body, taking note of anything that felt abnormal. I clearly had a fever, a migraine and nausea, and I was beginning to feel incredibly hungry. I felt dizzy again as the events of that day came rushing through my head. My memory of the whole violent scene was hazy, but I remembered the bullet that went through my shoulder was the same one that had killed Elliot.

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