Katie's Hellion (Chapter Seven, page 1 of 17)


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She awoke in a mental institution. At least, that was her first impression of the eight- by-eight room with its steel-framed bed, simple mattress, and no furniture. The wooden door and whitewashed walls --along with the open window above the bed allowing in balmy air --soon brought to mind a more tropical place. She rose and flinched, expecting agony as she moved her arm. It was bandaged and stiff, but no pain.

She tugged the heavy door open by its old iron handle and gazed into a large square of grass, a courtyard, around which many similar rooms with heavy doors were arranged. Airy hallways led through the hacienda style structure on either side of her. There were more buildings past the hallway to her right. The hallway led into an open area with one car in the large parking lot and a medieval stone wall and turrets surrounding the entire hacienda. The heavy wooden gates marking the entrance to the compound were closed.

Stairs traced the inside of the thick wall, and she walked up them. The effort made her dizzy. She leaned against a wall, overlooking a stretch of rocky terrain punctuated with patches of yellow-green grass. In the distance, she saw the blue of an ocean meet the horizon.

And one dark form seated on the rocks, staring at the walls like an angry puppy thrown out of its master's house. She touched the tattoo at her throat.

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