Introduction

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In this world, things shatter.

They break into tiny little pieces, so small it's impossible to glue everything back together. They create a void in the world, a hole that can't just be covered up and ignored. They tear things apart and make them unfixable.

But sometimes in this world, things don't need to be fixed. Sometimes, things just need to be paid for.

My life shattered when I was six years old. All it took was nine seconds. Nine seconds to watch them fall to the ground. Nine seconds of staring in awe, mouth dry, a scream stuck on my lips. Nine seconds before watching their eyes flutter shut like broken butterfly wings. Nine seconds before all electrical impulses in their heads disappeared for good, taking their lives, souls, and beings away with them.

Nine seconds was all I needed to make up my mind.

My life was shattered, yes. It'd been torn up into tiny pieces, thrown to the wind, lost in the air. It'd been forgotten, left behind, neglected. Nobody had even blinked at the small orphan girl running from that stage, not a single tear tracking down her cheeks.

It'd shattered in a way that could never be repaired. I'd known that. Nine seconds were up, and I believed that with all my heart.

My life wasn't one of those things that could be fixed. No glue would be able to mold me back into someone normal, into a little girl happy as can be in a peaceful, beautiful family. It never would be fixed.

It was something that needed to be paid for.

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