Final Outcome – A Poem

Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday!

Final Outcome

The blame resides on her shoulders,
pressing down until she can’t stand.
Breathe in deep and choke a scream,
reality has dealt another cruel hand.

Too weak to leave, too weak to stay,
this tragedy sinks down to her core.
Decaying into a pile of nothingness,
she cannot live like this anymore.

Tearing away all the beauty and grace,
her soul crumbles and her spirit turns numb.
And with nothing left to fight for,
she prepares to face the final outcome.

You can follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @Jessicainspirrd

You can follow me on Facebook: @authorjessicarachow

You can read chapter one of Alter Reach here.

Until next time –


Dealing With Grief

Hi everyone. Happy Friday. This week was crazy. I had the stomach flu, and was out of work Monday-Wednesday. I’m finally feeling like myself again.

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post like this for quite a while, but honestly, it isn’t something I love to talk about. It’s difficult to open up about something that hurts, but it’s also therapeutic.

I mentioned it once, briefly in an earlier post, but I didn’t elaborate. Wednesday, 8/16 was the nine year anniversary of my mother’s passing. I was already not feeling well, and the realization of the anniversary made things worse.

A little background. My mom was diagnosed with cancer and in the same year, passed away from it. The doctors thought she had a year to live, when in reality, it was months.

My Mom was one of those people that just lit up every room she walked into. She worked in my high school cafeteria, and became a mother to people I didn’t even get a long with in school. It was just who she was. I knew many kids who called her Mom, and I know she helped a lot of people through a lot of painful times in their lives.

She spent her last week in the hospital. The nurses said they had never seen so many people come to visit. It was crazy how many people came back, day after day, just to spend another second with her. Like I said, she changed people’s lives.

When Mom finally passed, I have to say, there was some relief. Taking care of a woman, who for your entire life, was so strong and independent, was the saddest thing to experience. I say it was a relief, but that feeling of relief wasn’t there for long.

I didn’t spiral into depression, but there were dark moments. There were also happy moments. I have the best father a girl could ask for, and what we went through brought us closer than we probably ever would have been. It also brought me a step mother, step sister and a niece, who I wouldn’t know if things were different.

It was hard to feel that happiness for a long time though. There were times I felt lost, angry and confused. Why my Mom, of all people? I may never know that answer. And I’ve come to terms with that, but it took a lot to get where I am. Sure, I still cry. I cried Wednesday. But I don’t let that darkness cover all the light in my life.

If you are going through or struggling with any grief, I have a few pieces of advice.

Keep up your routine, to keep yourself healthy. Sleep, eat and drink water. Don’t let yourself get so low, you hurt your health.

Talk to someone. Family, friend, counselor…whoever it is, make sure you trust them. Don’t shut yourself off from the world. Darkness is a lonely place, don’t let it consume you.

Express yourself. Whether it’s through writing, painting, cooking…find something you can pour your heart into. Every time you feel that cloud rolling in, go to that one thing that makes you feel powerful and alive.

All of this is easier said than done. It’s been nine years and I still struggle. Every time I see someone post a selfie with their mother or complain about their mother, that pang of jealousy and darkness comes rolling in; but, I never let it win.

A much more personal post, but I’ve been wanting to write it for quite a while. I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

You can keep up to date with me on Twitter & Instagram: @JessicaInspired and on Facebook: @authorjessicarachow

You can still read chapter one of Alter Reach here.

Until next time –


Cycle – A Poem

Happy Weekend! I failed miserably at keeping up with my weekly poetry post. I’m still going to try to post poems on a semi regular basis, and I would like to start writing them again. Hopefully sharing my work will bring back that inspiration. 😊


My heart would start relapsing,
my conscious would stop reacting.
I would dance in the fire again.

My brain would be screaming,
but my soul would be bleeding,
and the cycle would repeat over again.

The truth and lies collide,
and the pain eventually subsides.
I vow to never let it happen again.

This one was written 9 years ago. I hope you enjoy. I have a pretty busy weekend ahead, but I will try to post again this weekend. My main goal is to work more on Alter Reach.

Let me know what your weekend plans are.

You can keep up to date with me on Twitter & Instagram: @JessicaInspired and on Facebook: @authorjessicarachow

You can still read chapter one of Alter Reach here.

Until next time –


The Ultimate Book Tag

Hey everyone! I hope you are having a fantastic week. My week has been nice and short. 😊

Doing another book tag today. I found the tag here. Not sure where the tag originated, but that’s where I found it. I tag you if you want to participate!

1. Do you get sick while reading in a car?

I don’t. I enjoy reading while traveling. Best way to pass time.

2. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga?

I’m one of the weird kids who didn’t read Harry Potter when it first came out. I read Twilight first, but I’m in agreement that the Harry Potter series is better. I just have a special place in my heart for Twilight, haha.

3. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?

Nah. Just a purse.

4. Do you smell your books?

If they are new.

5. Books with or without little illustrations?

Without. Mostly because I don’t read books with illustrations.

6. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

The Twilight series, haha.

7. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood?

Not really. I’m boring, haha.

9. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

Game of Thrones.

10. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

Yup! In the process. Alter Reach will hopefully be out soon.

11. When did you get into reading?

High school. After reading Twilight, I started acquiring books. Now, I have to stop myself from buying all the hooks.

13. In school what was your best subject?

English, History and Art. 😊

14. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?

Give it away or donate it.

15. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?

I mean. There are probably a lot of them, but nothing comes to mind at the moment.

16. What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?


17. What is your favorite word?

I don’t really have a favorite word.

18. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

Vampires. Because I haven’t read much with fairies.

19. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

Shapeshifters. That’s a spoiler for my book.

20. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

Werewolves. Because I think they are cool.

21. Zombies or Vampires? Why?

Vampires. Because I’m just not a fan of Zombies.

22. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

Forbidden love, I guess.

23. And finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Action. Not a huge fan of romance novels.

Alright, I skipped some questions, but whatever. Check the link above for the full tag. Let me know if you participate! 😊

If you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page – @authorjessicarachow.

Until next time –


Opposite Books Tag

Hi everyone! I hope your week is going okay! I wanted to do a quick tag I saw on YouTube. I tag you if you’d like to participate, just let me know so I can read your responses!

First book in your collection/Last book you bought

I believe the first book I ever bought was The Silver Kiss by Annette Kurtos Klause. I rented it from the library in middle school, read it in one night and then asked for it for my birthday. 

The last book I book I bought was Gone by Michael Grant. I bought it on a whim in a great little used book store. I’ll review it when I get to it. 

A cheap book/An expensive book

I just picked up The Grim Legacy by Polly Shulman from the same book store I bought Gone from. I believe it was $3.

For my expensive book, I’m going to go with Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff…not because the book was super expensive, but because between the hardcover copy and the audible copy, I spent more than I ever have.

A book with a male protagonist/a book with a female protagonist

Male protagonist: The Maze Runner by James Dashner. 

Female protagonist: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

A book you read fast/A book that took you forever to read

A book that I read quickly: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I actually read this series in three days. 

A book that took me forever: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R. R. Tolkien. I actually really enjoyed this book but it wasn’t an easy read for me, so it took me quite a while to get through. 

Pretty cover/Ugly cover 

Pretty cover: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor. I bought this mainly because the cover drew me in. So beautiful. 

Ugly cover: The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. Eh. I’m just not a fan. I find it a little predictable and boring.

A national book/An international book

I’m guessing this means a book that takes place where you live versus a book that takes place in another country. 

National: Eve The Awakening by Jenna Moreci. This book takes place at a college in California. 

International: Harry Potter. Sorry for the obvious answer but, hey, it works. 

 A thin book/A thick book

A thin book: Wake by Lisa McMan

A thick book: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

A fiction book/A non-fiction book

Fiction: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. A fairytale retelling with sci-fi elements, which I haven’t read yet, because I am so far behind on my TBR. Are you surprised? I’m guessing not. 😛

Non-Fiction: Creation Basics & Beyond by a lot of scientists at th Institute of Creation Research. A really interesting look at science from a biblical stand point. 

Very romantic book/Action book

I don’t own a ton of romantic books, but I will go with Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. The main plot of this series is love, so it fits, I guess. 

Action…I will go with Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. It’s about criminals trying to pull off the greatest heist. Action packed!

A book that made you happy/A book that made you sad

A book that made me happy: I want to go with Illuminae again. Not because it’s a super happy story, but because it was such a good book, I’m still on a high and I read it almost a year ago. Haha. 

A book that made me sad…I will go with another non-fiction on my shelf. My Story by Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped by two pretty sick individuals and she writes about what happened during that time. Ugh…such a difficult book to read. 


That’s all I have for you tonight. Good news everyone, tomorrow is Thursday. We are very close to Friday! Don’t forget to let me know if you participate in the tag. I will have another movie review for you next blog, so stay tuned for that!

You can still read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Until next time –

Reader Problems Book Tag

Hello everyone! Two blog posts in one day – unheard of! I’m really trying to get back on my game of writing consistently, so here I am. 😛

This is a tag I found on Katytastic’s YouTube channel – check it out. If you want to answer the questions, I tag you. Let me know you did it so I can read your answers! 🙂



1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

I don’t really have a strategy for this. I normally just look at my shelf and grab a book that sticks out to me. The only time I pick a specific book is if I am reading through a series. For example, the Hunger Games – I read the books, one after another.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

Sometimes I quit, sometimes I commit to the end. If I am reaching the “exciting” portion of the book and still not loving it, I put it down. There have been times when I was reading a book and thinking about putting it down, but I powered through and ended up loving the book. This is rare though.
3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your GoodReads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

I set unrealistic GoodReads reading challenges for myself, but I try to catch up by reading as much as possible whenever I have a chance. 

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

This bothers me so much…but I still buy the un-matching book because I am not satisfied until I have the entire series on my shelf. 

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

I don’t really have anyone to bond over my shared hatred of certain books…except maybe my husband, but he isn’t really into the books I’m into so that doesn’t always work. I just look up YouTube reviews and try to find people who have similar opinions. 

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I leave said public setting and finish reading the tear-worthy section. If I’m in a situation that I can’t leave, I’m normally not reading.

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

Sometimes I re-read the book, sometimes I find a synopsis. It depends on how long it’s been since I read the prior book. Normally, I start reading a series after all the books have come out anyway, so I’m not in this situation often. 

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

I let people borrow books once and a while, but it has to be someone I trust. I love my books, don’t get me wrong, but if it’s a story I think people should read, I am happy to let them read it. 

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

This is me, right now. I try to power through it by picking a book that I have been excited to read. This normally helps me to get back into it.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

I only spend money when I know I I suffer through wanting all the books until I can either afford them or ask for them for Christmas 🙂 

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

It depends on where I am on my TBR list. Sometimes the new book is at the top, and sometimes it’s a little farther down. I only buy a book if it’s in the top 5 of my reading TBR unless I’m buying from a used book store and find something that just interests me.


Well, there it is. Last post for today, but I’m hoping I will be better about posting now. Thanks for sticking with me! 🙂

You can still read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Don’t forget to check out my review of Kong: Skull Island Review with my husband on YouTube!

Until next time –

13 Reasons Why – TV Show Review

Hey everyone! Happy Good Friday!

Today’s post is a review of the Netflix original and emotional roller coaster, 13 Reasons Why. I distinctly remember watching the trailer a couple days before this show was released and thinking, “I definitely need to watch that.” And I’m glad I did.

As always, this is intended to be a spoiler free review but I would suggest watching the show before reading this review.

Synopsis (Taken from IMDB)

Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) returns home from school one day to find a box with his name on it, lying on the porch. Upon investigation, he finds cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

13 Reasons Why is based on the novel by Jay Asher (which I have not  read, but intend to at some point).

Hello boys and girls. Hannah baker here. Live and in stereo. No return engagements, no encore, and this time absolutely no requests. I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why it ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.


I watched this show shortly after it was released on Netflix. I wasn’t feeling well and decided I needed a show to binge watch. What a show to pick. Emotional roller-coaster doesn’t really explain this show. I’m going to start this review off by saying that this show is very hard to swallow. The first few episodes are sad, because you know you’re listening to a recording of a girl’s suicide note…but as the episodes continue, things get harder and harder to watch.

The cast of characters are fantastic. Every single actor nailed their parts with such precision, I sometimes forgot I was watching a TV show. Clay is an interesting character. His character is a picture-perfect representation of a kid who sees bullying but doesn’t do much to help or change the situation. Hannah Baker is also a very dynamic character. She’s smart, witty and pretty. Someone you wouldn’t think would have a difficult time in school, but it goes to show you, you don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life.

It has to get better. The way we treat each other and look out for each other. It has to get better somehow.

The emotional turmoil I felt watching this show was unlike anything I’ve watched before. This isn’t the first TV show/movie to showcase a character who is relentlessly bullied at school to the point of self-harm, but this is a very unique take on it. Hannah’s decision to create cassette tapes to speak on 13 reasons for her suicide is heartbreaking. As I said earlier…her first few reasons were sad, but nothing close to what is later revealed.

This show also does something else that is pretty interesting. Some of things that Hannah says compared to what the characters that are still around say differ in certain situations. It causes you as a viewer to question who is lying. You don’t want the thought that a girl who committed suicide made this all up, but you’re also left wondering – is it possible she did?

Why would a dead girl lie?

This show left some very interesting questions. There is speculation of a second season, but I am not sure if it has been confirmed. I hope there is.

Final thoughts

I think this show is fantastic, disturbing, beautiful, and heart wrenching. It is a show that will stay with you for a long time and make you think about the way you treat others. I think it has some very important lessons that are good for anyone, of any age – although, with the graphic nature of some of the later episodes, I wouldn’t recommend if for every age.

RATING: 5/5 ☆

Let me know what you thought of the show. Also, let me know what your plans are for Easter. Quick announcement, since Sunday is Easter and I will be spending my day in Church and with family, “Jessica’s Weekly Poetry Post” will be posted Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday.

You can read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Don’t forget to check out my review of Kong: Skull Island Review with my husband on YouTube!

HAPPY EASTER! I hope you enjoy your weekend! 🙂

Until next time –

Jessica’s Weekly Poetry Post #6

Hello everyone! It’s Sunday and it’s a beautiful day here in Rochester, NY. I had a nice weekend, I hope you all did as well. I have another poem to share with you today. I hope you enjoy it.


Crimson drapes, glowing candles,
silent whispers of sweet desires.
The night draws near, takes me in,
singing sweetly, a lullaby of insanity.

Bright flames, angelic misery,
leads me to the end of another day.
Silent scene, darkness surrounds me,
soaring through an absurd fantasy.

I finally loose all of my control,
it’s dangerous, but I can’t help it.
I am spellbound,
and I cannot break the spell on me.


That is all I have for you today.

You can read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Don’t forget to check out my review of Kong: Skull Island Review with my husband on YouTube!

I hope you have a great week!

Until next time –

My Life In Books Tag

Hey there everyone! Ugh, it’s only Tuesday 😴… I hope you made it through your day okay!

Today, I thought I would do another tag, because these are always fun to do. This is the “My Life in Books” tag. I tag anyone who would like to participate! 
1. Find a book for each of your initials.

J – Jurassic Park

E – Eve: The Awakening 

S – Six of Crows 

S – Salem’s Lot

I – Illuminae 

C – Cinder 

A – Allegiant 

2. Count your age along your bookshelf, which book is it? 

The 5th Wave 

3. Pick a book set in your city/state/country.

Is it cheating if I pick my own book, Alter Reach? Oh well if it is. It’s set in NY, part of the time. 😊

4. Pick a book that represents a destination you would like to travel to.

The Harry Potter universe would be pretty sweet to travel to!

5. Pick a book (cover) that is your favorite color. 

Illuminae…the cover is mostly orange and that’s my favorite color!

6. Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

Hmm. Probably Twilight. I know, I know…they aren’t good books, but it was the series that got me into reading as much as I do now. Twilight was the first book I ever marathoned in one day. I owe it a little credit for getting me into better books later down the road. 

7. Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

Probably Lord of the Rings. I read the entire series but it was a struggle. They aren’t bad books, just lengthy and descriptive. 

8. Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest sense of accomplishment when you finish it? 

Gemina…it’s the second book in the Illuminae series and it was on the top of my to buy list. I own it now and have been struggling to find the time to finish it. 😭

That is all I have for you today. 

You can read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Don’t forget to check out my review of Kong: Skull Island Review with my husband on YouTube! 

I hope you have a great week! 

Until next time –

Alter Reach – Chapter One

Hello everyone! I feel comfortable enough to post chapter one as a teaser for my soon to be published book, Alter Reach! This blog’s formatting is not ideal for this, so please forgive the weird spacing. It will obviously be better in book form. 🙂

Please keep in mind, this has NOT been professionally edited and all content is subject to change as I journey down the editing path. This blog post will only be live for a limited time since this is NOT the final version.


Alter Reach
Chapter One
Jessica Rachow
Copyright 2017



The noise reverberated off the walls—then, silence. For a moment, all she could hear was the cadence of her heart rapidly thudding against her chest.


A mixture of crushing anxiety and unbearable curiosity washed over Marci like a thundering waterfall as her bare feet pounded down on the cold, wooden floor. She ripped open her bedroom door, nearly colliding with her twin sister Alyson, who’s eyes were glazed over in terror. Marci quickly followed her sister, as they raced down the stairs toward the living room.

Olivia arrived at their destination first and Marci could hear her sister choke out a feeble cry. Marci slowed her pace and approached the living room. Standing next to her sister, staring into the living room, she could feel the hair stand on the back of her neck and a shudder shoot down her spine. Her heart and lungs hung heavily in her chest, and she could feel the color draining from her face, seeping back to her body, taking all warmth and life with it.

The living room, a carefully ordered safe haven, had been haphazardly ransacked. The bookshelves lay barren, their previous contents in piles all over the hardwood floor. The family portraits were roughly smashed, their frames ripped apart and the photos no where to be seen.

At first Marci only gawked at the scene, not noticing the most unnerving part. But, as she lowered her gaze to the middle of the room, she staggered back at the sight of the red splatters, painting the walls and trailing across the floor. Her glistening eyes followed the line of red on the floor, across the room until she noticed the glimmer of an object sitting on the window sill. Marci carefully navigated through the fragments of sharp glass, avoiding the blood. Drawing closer, she realized the object was a stone—a strange stone, unlike anything she had ever seen. She picked it up, rolling the smooth surface between her fingers. Multiple colors swirled inside—reds, blues, oranges, and blacks.

Marci felt her sister’s presence beside her and watched as Alyson reached out to touch the stone—as soon as Olivia’s fingers grazed the surface a familiar BANG echoed through the room, and a blinding, white light engulfed Marci and Alyson, sending them both flying backwards. Marci landed, hard on the ground. As she attempted to sit up, Marci could feel a jolt of icy, hot fire scorching her insides, spreading from her feet up into her head, stealing her breath away. She tried to cry out, but couldn’t find her voice.

Seconds later, the blinding light was gone. The pain was gone too—except for a slight pounding in her head. She took a deep breath in to regain her sense of balance.

“What was that?” Alyson asked, running her hand through her hair.

“I…” Marci started, and then looked around. Panic consumed her as she searched the room for anything familiar, “Where are we?”

Alyson looked around, wide eyed, “I…I can’t remember anything.”

Marci’s eyes shot open and she shot straight up. She clutched her throat gasping for air. Her eyes darted around the room, realizing she was safe in her apartment. After she calmed down, she leaned back, propping herself up against her pillow and sighed. The same nightmare had been repeating itself nightly for the last three years. Marci glanced at the clock—10:45p.m. She rarely slept at night, and this night was no exception. She grumbled and dragged herself out of bed.

She stumbled across her small studio apartment. One large room, with wooden floors and a throw rug contained her bedroom, living room and dining room. Off to the far side of the room was a small kitchen, with limited equipment. Marci parked herself in front of the mirror in her tiny bathroom. She was 21 years old with long, straight, brown hair that hung below her pale white shoulders. She had a small, oval face and deep brown eyes and she often wondered who she resembled more, her mother or father. She splashed some water on her face, brushed her teeth and threw her hair up into a messy bun. She picked up her phone and unlocked it. A small section of a text message from Alyson flashed across the screen. She rolled her eyes and tossed the phone onto the couch.

Marci and Alyson grew up in the small town of Meadowbrook in Upstate New York. The twins were found huddled together on the floor of their home, two days after they touched the stone that shattered their memories. All the photos in the home were missing and there was no trace of evidence that their parents even existed. The investigators concocted a story that the twins murdered their parents, disposed of any photos of them in order to erase them from existence, and made up the amnesia to hide what they had done. After numerous psyche evaluations and lie detector tests, it was decided that the girls were not the killers and they had a peculiar case of amnesia, allowing them to recognize each other, but nothing from their past.

The one thing the people of Meadowbrook were well versed in was spreading rumors. Even though Marci and Alyson had been proven innocent, many still believed they were killers. Gossip spread like wildfire and the Edelman family tragedy became the town’s very own horror story. According to the people of Meadowbrook, the twins were involved in an ancient ritual, some kind of forgotten magic from days past, that ended up killing their parents.

Eventually, Marci and Alyson couldn’t walk down the streets without being recognized or hassled—accused of being murderers and devil worshipers. The truth was, the girls hadn’t received any tangible facts to explain the events. The case eventually went cold and not a single doctor, police officer or FBI investigator had been able to explain disappearance of Marci and Alyson’s parents or their amnesia.

On graduation day, Marci skipped the ceremony, packed her bags and, much to Alyson’s dismay, moved to New York City—Three hours away from Meadowbrook. Here, in the bustling streets of the city that never slept, she wasn’t recognized for the tragedies of her past. Here, she could stay anonymous and start a new life for herself. Alyson stayed behind, pledging to find answers and recover their lost memories.

Tomorrow was the third anniversary of their parents disappearance, and like clockwork, Alyson was contacting her. They hadn’t spoke much since Marci moved away—mostly because every conversation turned into an argument. She was ready to move on from the past she couldn’t remember, but her sister was still itching to find the truth. Marci grew tired of leads that would get her hopes up only to break her heart all over again.
Marci’s phone buzzed, but she ignored it.

She threw on some new clothes, grabbed her purse and headed out of her apartment which was located above one of the most popular bars on Broadway Street—Ale’s Well. The owner, Al, was one of the first people she met when she moved to the city. He quickly offered her the apartment for far less than any other apartments in the area, and a job without a resume. Al was the only one in her small circle of city friends that knew her story.

Marci pushed open the door at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to the apartment and was immediately overwhelmed by the smell of alcohol and the loud music pounding through the speaker system. Al and his staff were at the main bar, working hard to serve the rowdy Saturday night crowd. Several long and circular wooden tables were occupied by drunken patrons, clapping and carrying on. Almost every bar stool was occupied. Marci eyed an empty bar stool, and quickened her pace to claim it. She sat down in between a half dressed woman who had clearly had too many, and a man she had never seen before.

She rummaged through her purse, and found her phone. She unlocked the screen again. Three new text messages and a missed called. She rolled her eyes, shut the phone off and threw it back in her purse.

“Someone irritating you?” An unfamiliar voice asked.

“Just my sister,” Marci grumbled, looking up and meeting his gaze. Thin eyebrows lined his deep blue eyes. He had shaggy red hair and a pale complexion. A pang of recognition hit her like a freight train. Something about his blue eyes reminded her of something that she couldn’t quite place. She realized she was staring at him too long to be socially acceptable when she noticed his brow furrow slightly.

“Sorry,” she mumbled, looking away.

“I’m Wren,” his thin lips formed a shy smirk as he extended his hand out to shake hers.
She could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks, “Marci.”

“Marci!” She knew Al’s voice from anywhere. She smiled, thankful for a reprieve from her conversation with Wren. If left to continue, she knew she would embarrass herself even more. Al had graying hair and a bit of stubble on his chin and upper lip.

“Hey Al,” Marci smiled.

“You want a drink?” Al didn’t wait for an answer and poured her one. “Couldn’t sleep?”
Marci shrugged and nodded. She knew he was concerned about her lack of sleep, but with the constant nightmares, she couldn’t get more than a few hours of rest a night.

“I saw you fussing with your phone. Alyson after you again?”

“Whatever she wants, can wait until after the anniversary tomorrow. I’m so not in the mood to deal with her.”

Marci reached up to her neck, feeling the stone between her fingers. It had cracked into two identical pieces when it fell out of her hand the night of the incident. Marci and her sister felt compelled to each keep a piece of the stone—hoping that maybe one day, they would regain their memories because of it. Both girls turned their pieces of the stone into a necklace, which neither of them took off their necks.

“Is tomorrow the anniversary of something special?” Marci jumped. She had completely forgotten Wren was sitting there.

“Uh, yeah,” Marci cleared her throat. “My parents died three years ago. My sister thinks something else happened, and she always tries to…” Marci realized, a little too late, that she was rambling about the one thing she didn’t want anyone knowing about. “Sorry… ignore me.”

“I’m sorry,” Wren paused. As if he knew he needed to change the conversation, he asked, “Do you come here often?”

“Oh, uh…” Marci was completely caught off guard. She took a sip of her drink to regain her composure. “I actually live in the apartment upstairs and work here most nights. Al basically took me in when I first came to the city.”

“He seems like a good man.” Wren’s smile was warm. He glanced at the clock and groaned. “I have to get going. It was nice meeting you, Marci.”

“You too,” Marci smiled. She watched him throw some money on the bar, grab his jacket and head out.

“He was hot!” Marci glanced up and saw her friend and coworker, Emma cleaning the counter and picking up the money. “Did you get his number?”

Marci chuckled, “Nah. He left in a hurry.”

“I hope he becomes a regular,” she smirked, “Why are you here on your night off?”

“I couldn’t sleep.”

“I bet he could help with that problem,” Emma chuckled.

“You’re something else.”

“You love me,” Emma grinned. “I’ve gotta get back to work. Call me and we’ll chill sometime this week.”

“Alright,” Marci watched Emma walk away.
Marci sipped her drink and pulled her phone out of her purse. She stared at the black screen for a moment and sighed, reluctantly turning the phone back on.

“Hey M, what’s up?”
“Look, I really need to talk to you…”
“Marci, seriously?”

Marci rolled her eyes; sick of her sister’s antics. She yelled “good night,” to Al and headed back up stairs to try to get a few more hours of sleep. She opened her apartment door, tossed her purse on the floor and flopped on the couch. She turned the TV on and pulled a blanket over her legs.


Bang, bang, bang.

Marci jumped up. The banging repeated.

What the hell? She cautiously approached the door and pulled it open slowly. The door almost hit her in the face as it swung open and a blonde-haired girl stormed into the apartment.

“What the hell are you…?” Marci barely recognized her sister. It used to be like looking in the mirror when Marci stood face to face with her sister. They weren’t identical, but they were so similar, people often couldn’t tell them apart. Now, it was almost like looking at a stranger. Alyson’s freshly dyed blonde hair, curled to the middle of her back. Her deep brown, oval eyes were lined with black eyeliner and were burning with anger; her thinly plucked eyebrows, furrowed in frustration. Her small oval face was caked with foundations and blushes.

“I really can’t handle you ignoring my texts and calls anymore,” Alyson interrupted. “It’s rude. What if there was an emergency?”

Marci raised her eyebrow. “You dyed your hair.”

“Yeah, so?” Alyson flipped her hair over her shoulder.

“It’s just…different.”

“Seriously, Marci…not important. I need you to hear me out.”

Marci huffed and sat down.

Alyson sat down, and tossed her purse onto the coffee table, “I’ve been doing some research, and I think I know what happened-”

“I’m not playing this game anymore, Aly,” Marci held her hand up to stop her sister from speaking.

“I have some solid proof this time!”


“Oh come on,” Alyson begged.

“NO!” Marci could feel her temper rising. The only thing new about Alyson’s attempt to fix a situation that was deemed irreparable was she had the nerve to show up at Marci’s door instead of irritating her over the phone.

“I brought my lead here,” Alyson pulled out her phone.

Marci paused. “Your lead…is a person?”

“Yup,” Alyson sent a text message and then looked up at Marci. “Please hear us out.”
I’m going to regret this. Marci groaned as Alyson sprinted into the bathroom, to check her hair and makeup.

“Is this a lead or a date?”

“Lead,” Alyson didn’t stop to look at Marci, she just kept fumbling with one piece of hair that wouldn’t lay flat.

“You look fine,” Marci said.

Alyson ignored her.

Knock, knock, knock.

Alyson hurried to the door, took a deep breath and opened it.

A man walked through the door. His dark hair was gelled up and styled, and he wore a pair of dark jeans and a black, zip-up sweatshirt. He was not a guy Marci imagined her sister getting giddy over. His almond shape eyes – dark like a rolling storm – trailed over Marci’s form. She shifted uncomfortably on the couch.

“This is Zeke,” Alyson said with a lovesick smile smeared across her face.

“Hi, Marci,” Zeke said. His voice was deep and brooding, like a backdrop for a funeral.

Marci could only nod. She couldn’t form coherent thoughts while Zeke was present. A feeling of recognition washed over her, but she couldn’t put her finger on where she knew him from. She briefly wondered if Zeke and Wren were connected to her past, but she pushed that thought out of her mind. Not possible.

“Have a seat, Zeke,” Alyson said.

Zeke sat next to Marci.

“So…” Marci scooted as close to the edge of the couch and as far away from Zeke as possible. “What did you come here to tell me?”

“Long story short, Zeke showed up on my doorstep yesterday.”

Marci furrowed her eyebrows, “Why?”

“I was actually looking for your family.” He stared directly into Marci’s eyes; for a moment, she was hypnotized, but she forced herself to peel her eyes from his.

“Why would you be looking for us?” She picked at her fingernails to avoid eye contact.

“I was sent to Meadowbrook to find you, but wasn’t given a lot of information to go on.”

“Sent? By…who?”

“Your parents.”

“Excuse me?” Marci stood up.

Zeke cleared his throat and stood up. “Your parents were not killed the day they disappeared and they want me to bring you back to reunite with them. They can explain more once you are with them.”

“And I am supposed to just believe you?”

“Why would he make this up?” Alyson asked.

“Who the hell knows, Alyson,” Marci glared at her sister. “People have said a lot of stupid shit over the past three years.”

“Zeke is the first real lead I’ve had!”

“What if he is the killer?”

“I did not kill your parents,” Zeke interrupted.

“I don’t believe you,” Marci spat. “Get out.”

“Marci, if I could just explain…”

“Get. Out.” Marci pointed at the door.

Zeke nodded, stood up and walked back to the door. He glanced back at Alyson for a second, before leaving the apartment.

Once the door shut, Marci could feel her sister’s anger pulsating through the room like a bomb exploding. “I drop a real lead in your lap and you throw him out like a piece of burnt toast.”

“Alyson, he could have been a killer!”

“I needed you to believe me.” Alyson stormed out of the apartment, the door slamming behind her.

Guilt instantly washed over Marci. She had a tendency to not give her sister a chance to explain, but this…this was too much. Zeke could have been the monster that caused all of this and her sister was just eating up his story and throwing caution to the wind. She needed advice and the only person who could give it to her was Al.

By now, the bar was closed, but Marci knew Al would still be cleaning. Marci trotted down the stairs in a hurry. As she rounded the corner, she could hear Al’s voice echoing in the hallway. Al was standing behind the counter, yelling at someone. Marci crouched low and moved closer to get a better view.

“…Why was he here?”

“I don’t know, but I will find out.” Marci recognized the second voice instantly. Wren?

“You were supposed to keep them out of this,” Al spat.

“I know!” Wren slammed his fist on the bar. “I tried. He started suspecting me, so I had to back off.”

“This is such a disaster! I don’t know why I trusted you,” Al yelled. “If this ends badly, I will kill you!”

“I’ll take care of it,” Wren stormed out of the bar.

Marci felt ill. Al’s words struck her like lightening in the heart. Were they talking about Zeke? Why was Al working with Wren? None of it made any sense. Marci tip-toed silently back up the stairs and into her apartment. Once the door was shut, she slid down and sat on the floor against it. She closed her eyes and sat there for a moment. When she opened her eyes again, she noticed something on the coffee table next to the couch. It was a note.

M –
I’m sorry we argued. I need to know where our parents went and I really believe Zeke knows. He says the stories of the tunnels under the old Wilson Farm are true. I’ll call if I find anything.

Please don’t worry.

Marci re-read the note three times before whispering, “Shit!” and throwing the piece of paper down on the ground. She needed advice, but the only person she felt like she could trust was hiding something from her. Her only option was to do what she had been avoiding for three years. Go home.