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Prologue: The Waking Tide

Max awoke, convinced that he was hearing someone singing an ancient song. Though it sounded distorted and warbled, as if coming through static, low enough though that he could make out the lyrics. He brought his arm up to his head only to find that an IV needle was stuck in his veins.

Pain shot up his arm and that's when he realized that he was in a hospital. His throat parched and his body ached as if muscles were being used for the first time in a long time.

He was lying on a cot in some infirmary. He sat up. The ward was dark but he could make out several bunks from the low light. There was a nurse walking through the bunks, checking in on the odd patient when she spotted Max.

"The dead has risen," the nurse said with a smile. "Well John, it's nice to see you up and about."

"Max," he said. "My name is Max."

"Hello Max," the nurse said. "At least we have that mystery solved."

"Where am I?" he asked.

"You are in Ward 13," the nurse replied with a casual smile. "Do you remember anything before you got here?"

Max thought about it for a few seconds and all he was drawing was a blank.

"Ah," the nurse said.

He rubbed his hand through his scraggly hair and asked, "What's the date?"

The nurse answered in her relentlessly cheerful voice, "April second."

"April?" he whispered. Then he asked, "How long have I been here?"

"You've been with us now for three months," she answered.

"Three months?" he whispered.

"Are you going to be repeating my answers all night?" the nurse inquired. She stepped over to him flashing her professional smile. Her working smile. Her phony smile.

"No, not really," Max replied; he had been sleeping his eyes were adjusted to the night. He couldn't make out the nurse's face though, but there was an air of familiarity to her.

"Is there a radio playing somewhere?" he asked.

"Not to my knowledge,"she replied as she fluffed up his pillow.

"Well, somebody's playing some," he stated. "I can make out the lyrics."

"Should I call up the psychiatrist?"

"No," Max said. He decided to lay his head back down on the pillow.

The music had changed again. At least that tune was a little more modern.

He closed his eyes and fell asleep.

He would get more answers tomorrow.

He hoped.