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“It was hard to focus on what she said. The blood. It was just everywhere. All over her. All over the floor in the hallway….”

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Also Known as Blue, Dark & Bright

EXCERPTS:

It was hard to focus on what she said. The blood. It was just everywhere. All over her. All over the floor in the hallway. Chloe was talking. I heard other voices. Heard the Coke machine. The rifling of papers at the nurse’s station. A distant siren. My eyes on the blood. But Chloe. I couldn’t hear Chloe.

“What? What?” I said, blinking my way back to her eyes.

Chloe still clutched her phone; lifted it, now, wiping blood from the screen. “I tried to call back…but…my phone is…it got covered in…” She looked up. “She was–there was so much–” Her voice hitched, and she looked down at the sopping fabric of crimson stains, plastered against her skin.

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Chick had a gun. I’d have to be careful not to spook her. Even though I wanted to throttle her for ripping the duct tape off my mouth, along with copious amounts of lip skin. I tasted blood. I made a mental note to carry lip balm with me from now on.

Nature had called and found me inconvenienced to accept the visit, but I really needed to pee. Convinced her to let me go in the tall grass on the other side of the ditch. The other dark spirit, Lucy, had taken the Navigator down the road to the gas station. I guess they didn’t want me to draw attention to them by waving my duct taped hands around.

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Sophie groaned as she rolled over, momentarily ignoring the pain, as her cheek landed on a wayward Twinkie wrapper, which had blown free of the park’s trash receptacle. From her vantage point, she could see the sweet blanket covering the cardboard of the empty wrapper. She could smell the scent of zero nutritional value, even through the blood caked in her nose. She had to quell the urge to scoop it off with her finger and plunge the digit in her mouth. Twinkies were that good.

“Are you okay?” Lucy grunted, holding her ribs like they were about to fly apart without support.

“Compared to what? A dismemberment? Yeah. I’m awesome.”

“I never thought I’d get mugged.” Lucy pushed herself up slowly, taking a careful breath that was truncated by the limitations of her lungs, and her sore ribs.

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