Cursed(The Thrice Cursed Mage Book 1)

By: J.A. Cipriano

That in itself was really unsettling. Why couldn’t I remember anything and why did I have no ID or wallet? Had I gotten mugged and dumped in a dumpster, or worse? I needed to find out what happened, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like the answer to that question. I took another deep breath and this time it helped me calm down a little. I needed a plan, something to focus on so I wouldn’t go bat shit insane trying to remember what happened. Finding clothing and money seemed like an easier thing to deal with than my weirdly-colored arm, and right now, I needed to focus on things I could accomplish.

I looked down at myself, trying to decide if walking out of my tiny alleyway would gather too much attention from passersby. It was probably going to be a coin flip since I was wearing a black trench coat over a bloodstained white button up and black pants. I looked like the type of guy who had walked into an office building and opened fire screaming about water cooler injustices. This fact was punctuated by the red tie hanging limply around my neck. Still, if I buttoned up the trench coat, I’d no doubt be able to cover the blood making my shirt stick to my body. As far as plans went, well, it was a plan.

A moment later, I was out in the sunlight and sweating from the heat. I smelled like days old garbage and blood. Not the world’s best combination, especially when combined with my sweat. It made the need for a change of clothes and a shower leap several more levels of importance. Every second I walked around like this increased the likelihood someone would call the police to report a guy splattered with blood was walking around in a trench coat. They’d probably shoot first, shoot second to make sure, and then ask questions third in that given scenario. I knew I would. Hell, I probably had.

Thankfully, just across the street was a strip mall with a laundromat. I glanced around, noted the cars speeding down the street and made a mad dash across the four-lane street. I hit the center divider just as a blue Civic sped by, missing me by inches. Evidently, the driver had decided I’d either get out of the way or get under the tires. For drivers to be that sociopathic, I must be in a major city like Miami or Los Angeles. Why couldn’t I have woken up in Oregon? While I had no recollection of driving in any of those places, I was pretty sure the Oregonian drivers were awesome in comparison to the one who’d tried to turn me into a road pancake.

I flashed the Civic the bird only to see the driver throwing his own one fingered salute in my direction. Jackass. I shook it off and studied the two lanes in front of me for a second. Satisfied all the cars were too far away to run me over unless they tried really, really hard at it, I sprinted across the remaining stretch of street like I was the roadrunner fleeing Wile E. Coyote. Meep, meep, bitches.

The gods must have been on my side because I reached the curb without becoming roadkill. My chest heaved from the effort. With my hands on my knees, I sucked in a breath or seven. I wasn’t sure why I was so tired since I appeared to be in relatively decent shape, but then again, I’d just ran all out for fifteen feet. I needed to get my ass on a treadmill stat.

A smirk crossed my lips. I’d have to put cardio on my list. You know, right after finding out why I woke up in a dumpster covered in blood. Still, I probably had a gym membership I never used like every other person I didn’t remember knowing. Did I have friends? A girlfriend? Children? Was there someone wondering why I didn’t come home last night?

I needed to stop thinking. It was bringing up too many questions I didn’t have answers for. The only thing I had was fog where memories should have been. It wasn’t nearly enough, and I could already feel frustration starting to set in. If I kept it up, I was going to go into a tailspin fast. That wouldn’t help.

No, what I needed was to follow my two-step plan. Get clothes and a shower. It was simple. I felt like I could handle that. I made my way across the sidewalk with purpose and stepped through the yellow flowers marking the divide between the parking lot and the outside world. A moment later, I was passing the only two cars in the strip mall, a red convertible and one of those black kidnapper vans. Hopefully neither of their drivers would be inside the laundromat.

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