Prologue

In a world where a second can last nearly twelve times as much, why wasn't there enough time? Why wasn't she fast enough? Why did it have to be him?
He had jumped in front of her, which was a stupid mistake—a car separated her from this world and waking up. The mission was incomplete; no information had been gleaned. If this was a dream, when you died, you would only wake up. Wouldn't you? That was what normally happened, right?
But, she quickly realized it wasn't a dream.
How? How could it not? How did she even get there, in the middle of the crosswalk like that? The events leading up to this climax were blurry and smudged, like a newly printed photograph on plain copy paper.

1, 2, 3, 4. Do you love the dream or reality more?

5, 6, 9, 10. Will you make the same mistake again?

Headlights, a car, that's what she saw before she was yanked backwards violently. And in front of her—in front of her was something too real for a dream. From the asphalt she scrambled to where his body lay, broken. His glasses were a few feet away shattered beyond recognition. Shards of glass sprinkled around the pair glittered in the late summer sun. All the blood on her hands, the warmth, it could have all been imagined, yet it wasn't.
"Did you wake up?" she sobbed, holding the boy close, the thin liquid running over her fingers as she grabbed his matted black hair. "Did you wake up?" Salty tears fell onto his pale, quieted face and rolled over his cheeks to meet with his still pink lips. "Don't leave me. Wake me up too!"

.

Across the table from her newest employer, Penelope stretched her mouth into a grim smile. He was having a hard time deciding whether or not he wanted the job to be done.

"Sir," she assured him. "I know what I'm doing." A dark laugh escaped from her lips before showing a dangerous grin. "This is my job after all."

"I just hope he's ready for it," replied the older man. His eyes jumped around quickly, looking around in suspicion although a bodyguard was at his side.

"Mr. Evan, if you're having second thoughts—,"

He held up his hand, a signal for silence. "truthfully I am, but it doesn't matter." Mr. Evan rubbed his temples with his forefingers. "Being indecisive at this late stage would be fruitless."

An understatement, to say the least.

Penelope nodded, understanding his apprehension. "So am I to proceed?"
After an incredibly long pause, he sighed. "Yes, as you see fit." He looked into her eyes, they were the color of wet mud. She gave no sign of hesitation at his eye contact, but raised an eyebrow. He had an extra request? "I was merely wondering, where is your team?"

It turned out to be idle curiosity, she concluded. How boring. Her gaze seemed to travel out the window to some far off point past the block the Parisian café was stationed. "They'll be arriving next week. However, first I have to implant a very small first impression on his subconscious."

Shock was only one of the emotions that flashed across his weary face.
"You're going to go in alone?"

"I usually work best alone, actually." The oncoming mob was raging closer, she could see it in the distance but she ignored its urgency. "Ever—well yes, yes I am." Why she was telling him the specifics was beyond her, but it often helped to calm the employer when they knew the specifics. "It's to imprint myself into his mind so that when he notices me later, he'll be more receptive."

Mr. Evan reahed into his suit-coat and pulled out a picture.

"This is my son."

A tall, blue-eyed young gentleman was standing next to a blue police box. His blond hair was short and swept over his face only slightly.

"I see."

And then the world around them exploded, and they both woke up.

.

You're standing on the sidewalk
Waiting for the light to change
And when it does you cross the street and
Something is not right
A car comes careening toward you yet
It doesn't matter
"Tell me why"
Because you'll be ripped apart.