Emergency

author, Blog, book, death, excerpt, Life, sad, short story, Uncategorized

Out of hibernation, I am. I also now have a working computer! Yay. Here is the first thing I’ve written in quite awhile. Enjoy. – Turner.

 

The steady drip, drip, drip of the tap is the only noise in the house.
No laughing children, no explosions from video games on the TV, no microwave signaling ready popcorn.
The room is the same, the couch has the same print from where he always sat, the air freshener still puffs out the same familiar scent…but nothing is truly the same anymore.
It will never be the same again.
I glance over at the clock ticking away on the wall, I’d usually be in the midst of making dinner right now. Juggling the children and the hot pans as they played around my ankles. Not today…there isn’t anyone to cook for. There’s just me in the empty house that was once my home.
“It’s time, Jill. We need to go…you need to move past this.” A voice comes from behind me, a familiar, yet unwelcome voice. How can she walk in here and act like she knows what it is that I need? She was never a true friend before and her apperance now only irritates me further.
“How would you know what I need?” I hiss at my facade of a friend. Her face pulls into a shocked expression. The wrinkles around her dark eyes becoming prominent. I stand, the anger surging through my blood. All the words that have eaten at me for years, the things I let fester while putting on my smiling face for this woman…they spew out of me. I can’t control them and I no longer want to.
“Get the fuck out, Hailey. Now. I don’t want your nose in my damn buisness anymore.”
Her face turns beet red. “You’re hurt…so I’m going to ignore what you just said, but you need to calm it down, Jillian.”
A manical laugh escapes me as tears press at my lids, I refuse to let them fall. “My whole family is dead. DEAD. The last thing I need is one more minute with you and your fake friendship. You’re nothing but a user, a leech who latches onto happy people until there is nothing left. You need to get out of my life, that’s what I need. Now get. The fuck. Out of my house.” I’m panting after all that. A weight lifts off my shoulders, the part of myself that knows I was out of line lays dormant, which I’m grateful for.
I know she wants to have the last word, but my expression obviously stops her. With one last dagger thrown at me, she turns on her cheap heels and leaves. I collapse back to the couch. The tears finally break.
There’s no one left, I’m all alone. I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life now. How does one come back from this? I let the darkness take me, curling my legs into my body and hugging them as tight as I can, praying for his arms once more.
I must doze off, because a light breeze wakes me. It washes across my face, like a caress.
“Jamie…” I whisper into the nothingness. The sun has long since set, the house is cast in darkness.
I squeeze my eyes shut, just as another gust of warm wind crosses my lips. Like a kiss. Like his kiss.
I must be dreaming, the fingers lightly tapping up my arms can’t be real. I don’t want to open my eyes lest they disappear. This is the closest I’ve felt to him since it happened, since the man who couldn’t control his addiction ran into my husbands car as he was driving our children to swimming practice.
“Please…Jamie. I can’t do this without you.” I cry to the wind. “I need you. I’m so alone…so alone I could just die. Why didn’t they take me too? My heart is broken, the pieces so jagged they stab and dig at me everytime I take a breath. I can’t breathe.” I shatter, the tears stinging as they fall.
A piece of hair falls over my eyes and I swear I can feel it move across my forehead, like he used to do.
Then…two words. Two words in his deep baritone break through the void that seperates us. “Forever, always.”
I know then that that is his goodbye.
My eyes spring open, staring at the framed photos on the mantle..and for the first time in months, I smile at them.

Debut novel cover reveal!

Blog, book, cover, fiction, inspiration


We are so excited to share the cover of our ebook with the place where our writing began to take on real meaning: this blog. Thank you to all of you who have followed us along on our journey from outline to nearly completed ebook. We look forward to sharing the finished work with you in the coming weeks!

-Turner Collins 

Status update

Blog, book, editing, fiction, inspiration

So as of today, the editing of Unit 17 is finished. Let me tell you, we heaved a huge sigh of relief after that one.

Next on the agenda is ordering a cover and formatting, then after that is a dozen other details… 

But we’re trying not to get bogged down, we’ve come so far and the hardest part is over!

The beta reading stage will commence in the coming weeks and if any of you are interested in becoming a beta reader, please let us know in the comments.

We look forward to sharing our first finished work in the near future!

-Turner Collins

Jacob talks to his girl.

author, book, controversial, creative, death, excerpt of the day, horror story

Newest installment in the Jacob series. Enjoy.

-Turner

I decide to cut the pretense tonight. Angel is coming out with me. I need my fix and the view from her window has outlived its usefulness.
I step into the shower, washing the blood of my last victim off my body, watching it swirl down the drain. Rinsing away my sins so I can be with my angel.
After getting dressed in my typical jeans, boots and denim vest I make my way to her house on foot. It’s not far from my place. I planned this on purpose. We grew up as neighbours…it seemed only fitting to still be near her.
I get to Angel’s house after only five minutes of walking, the blinds are shut tight. Tighter than normal. Did she figure out what I had been up to? I ignore the thought and knock solidly a few times before taking a step back and shoving my hands in my pockets.
The door creaks open slowly, just a few strands of hair and a piece of her smooth cheek showing. She must realize it’s me because she opens the door wider, sticking her head out, keeping her body inside.
“Jacob…you need to leave.” She nearly whispers.
“No. Come out here.” I say, done playing games. We’ve been playing games for weeks it seems. Or maybe that’s just me.
I notice a single tear drip down her cheek. It nearly guts me. This woman is the only one who has been able to get any sort of emotional response from me. “Please, I can’t do this again.” Her voice is raspy. I want to hold her, comfort her. That isn’t me. I don’t comfort, I don’t offer support. I kill, I maim, I steal and I hack. But for her, I do all the other stuff too.
“Angel…” I say soothingly, as soothingly as someone like me can. Using her nickname I gave her as children.
Her head shakes a few times. “No. I can’t let you back into my life just to have you leave me all over again, Jacob. You know how I feel about you.”
I nod, because I do know. What she doesn’t know is that I would and have killed for her. I will always protect her. No matter what she does, or where she goes, I will always find her.
I look up into her stricken eyes, the tears pooling on the blonde lashes and give her the biggest piece of my honesty that I can. “I will never leave you again.”

A new Turner Collins piece

author, book, book quote, character, characters, creative, excerpt, excerpt of the day, Uncategorized

So, as previously mentioned Collins and I have started a new piece of writing and we are pretty excited about it. After much thought and debate we’ve decided and finally figured out where our niche is, what genre works best for us. Now, this story is in the very early stages, but we’ve begun writing the first workings of it so I have decided to share a little piece with you today. Now, I’m not going to give any of the plot away, because this one is a doozy and I can’t wait for it to finally come to life.

Enjoy!

I grew weak in my grief, my forehead hitting the same window that gave me the last glimpse of her. My eyes, heavy and closing of their own accord. I hadn’t cried in years, I had toughened myself to this life. But nothing could hold the single tear that fell down my stubbled cheek back. It fell, long and wet down my face. I would have wiped it away, had I had the use of my hands. I had to stay strong, not just to get through this trial, through jail, but to get back to my Penny. My sweet little girl who didn’t deserve this. The guilt started to eat me, more than it ever had before. I had always justified my decisions.
It was what was best for my family, to provide for them.
I would never let them be involved.
I was strong and could handle myself.
I wasn’t qualified to do anything else.
I was invinsible.
The guys would help me, protect me.
In the end, none of those reasons worked. I wasn’t indestructible. I wasn’t a good father. I wasn’t a good person.
And Penelope had paid the ultimate cost.

-Turner

 

Status update

book, character, editing, fiction, idea, inspiration, Writing, status update

It’s been a while since we posted a status update, so here is the last one of 2015! Turner and I have been working on a story for about a month until we realised we weren’t committed to it. It just wasnt grabbing our attention. We stormed for a while until one of our recently posted short stories sparked an idea. With a newfound excitment we eagerly started planning a new novel to work on. This was good for us for a couple of reasons, but the most important one is that we’ve figured out which genre we are truly passionate about writing. 

In addition to this awesome development, we’ve also created a New Years resolution for ourselves. By the end of next year our goal is to have one of our novels published! This is both daunting and frightening, because though we are confident in our work, publishing is a whole new monster to grapple with. We decided this goal was worth it though if we are to ever further our craft. 

In the coming months we will begin streaminglining the book we want to focus on publishing as well as sharing pieces of our new writing endeavour with you lovely people. We trule appreciate the love and support we receive here and we can’t wait to move into 2016 with you!

Have a New Years eve that’s one for the books.

-Turner Collins

200th post! (sneak peek of new story)

book, book quote, character, excerpt, fiction, Uncategorized, writing

surfTurner and I have been piloting our blog for long enough that we have finally reached our 200th post. That’s insane. We are very grateful and humbled by the amount of people who can relate to us and what we have to say. Honestly, we never thought many people would appreciate what we create. It’s been really a wonderful experience to step out of our comfort zones and post our writing and poetry for other people to enjoy. Our followers have given us so much confidence in our work and the courage to take our work to the next level.

To thank all you wonderful people, we wanted to share a sneak peek at our current novel venture entitled “Riptide.” (the photo above gives you an idea of what the story will involve.)

The bus station is large, with pale green linoleum flooring that clicks as you walk on it. The big windows let it light from the street lamps outside. It’s basically deserted, apart from a middle-aged man curled on a bench sleeping and a couple checking their watches and chatting quietly. The last time I was here, I went with my parents to pick up my aunt Millie. It was the middle of the day and bustling with bright cheery people. This is a stark contrast to then.

Hesitantly I approach the ticket counter where a bald man with red cheeks and a tight shirt counts ticket stubs. He eyes me dully.

“What can I do ya for, kid?” he drawls.

“I’d like one bus ticket please,” I say.

He rolls his eyes and taps the board behind him which indicates the places the buses go. “Where to?”

Good question. I hadn’t though that far. I check down the list. Houston, Detroit, San Diego, New York. None of the choices appeal to me until I see one that reminds me of the money in my pocket.

“Can I get a one way ticket to Santa Cruz please?” I pull a few bills from my purse and place them on the counter.

The man sits up a little straighter in his grubby chair and slides the money off the counter, counting it quickly. “One way or round trip?”

“One way.”

He nods to himself and taps some buttons on his register. A receipt prints out and he hands me my change and a pale pink ticket. “Bus leaves in fifteen.”

“Thanks.”

I catch sight of my reflection in the glass of the door before I push it open. My blonde hair is messy and sticks up in places. There are bags under my tired blue eyes. No one waiting for the bus pays me any attention though. When it arrives, everyone piles on, sliding their luggage into the storage compartment on the side of the bus. I settle into a seat at the back as the bus pulls away from the curb and idles at a stop sign. Closing my eyes, I nod off, clutching my purse and  thinking about all the things I’ll be able to do, just because I can.

*****

I wonder if my parents have reported me missing yet. I wonder if Tanner is crying over me. The idea of either possibility screws my mouth into a grin. I guess Stella isn’t as perfect as you thought she would be. Ha.

I stroll down the boardwalk, lugging my suitcase along. The station the bus had stopped at was only a mile from the beach, so that’s where I headed. Spying a hotdog stand, I head over and order a deluxe with everything. My stomach grumbles as I speak, my mouth salivating at the thought of relish and mustard and onions slathered over a steaming dog.

“That’ll be $2.00,” the server says as he squirts the toppings onto the hotdog and sets it on the counter.

“Sure thing,” I smile, reaching into my purse to pull out a five, furrowing my brow when I can’t find a bill. I open the purse and turn it upside down. A mint and a dime clink onto the counter. You’ve got to be kidding me. “I swear I had money in here. I took a bus here and someone must have stolen from me while I was sleeping.”

The server snorts and dumps the hotdog into the garbage. “No money, no food. Now get lost.”

I stare at the garbage in distain. “Please, I’m really hungry. I could—“

“I said get lost!”

Hungry and upset, I wander away down the beach, tossing the useless purse in a trash can. This isn’t really turning out how I expected. I’ve got no money, no place to go. The waves rumble as they crash into the shore, young kids shrieking as they try to outrun the water. I set my suitcase down and sit on top of it. Rolling up my jeans, I pull off my shoes and dig my toes into the sand.

I watch as women in bikinis eat popsicles and giggle to one another. A group of boys in trunks run with their brightly colored surfboards slung under their arms toward the water. A young boy builds a sandcastle nearby, placing seashells around the perimeter. Everyone on this beach is having an awesome time, and I’m here alone and totally screwed.

A little ways away, near the lifeguard chair, there’s a hose where people can wash the sand from their legs and I notice some kids drinking from it as well. I walk casually over and take a long sip from the hose. The water is cool and heaven against my dry lips. I drink until I can’t fit anymore in and I can feel it sloshing around in my stomach when I move.

I spend the rest of the day combing the beach, people watching. I check out the shops along the boardwalk. Most of them sell souvenirs, but a few sell bait and tackle as well as surf attire and equipment. Lots of the people working in the shops eye my suitcase like I might steal something. I wouldn’t. I’m not desperate enough to, not yet. I smile at them anyway, and say have a good day as I leave.

When the sun has sunken below the horizon, I head back to the beach. It’s become obvious I’m not going to have a place to sleep tonight, so I look for a reasonable place that provides me a little privacy. I find what I’m looking for a ways down the beach. A small peeling blue bait shack is nestled beside a palm tree, whose fronds droop down, dipping into the sand. I curl up against the shack resting my head against the suitcase. Tomorrow I’ll start figuring out just exactly what I’m going to do.

-Collins

status update

book, inspiration, life, motivational, writing

Since beginning the editing process, it’s become clear words and actions are two very separate things. The process seems straight forward: re-read, correct grammar, fix plot holes, format, create e-book, publish. These steps are so misleading.

The first three steps alone are intertwined and can go back and forth. It takes a long time to even finish these, because you can fix and tweak forever. It creates a sense of unrest. You get impatient. You want to get a move on and start formatting and making it pretty. You’re sick of your eyes glazing over and burning from reading words on a screen for hours at a time. But it’s worth it.

I really want to run ahead and start of the cover, the look, but the foundation has to be sturdy, reworked, crafted to last. Working towards publishing a book really makes you learn patience.

Aside from patience, the other nerve-wracking part has got to be that someone else is going to beta read and critique the book. Someone who hasn’t read these words a hundred times, a fresh pair of eyes is going to take in everything. The biggest fear is rejection, that your work doesn’t measure up. Simply, that it isn’t good.

But you have to tell yourself that you are good. You need to believe that you have done your best and that is the best you can do. You need to remain confident in your ability and your vision.

-Collins

story excerpt titled “Tropicana”

book, book quote, life, quote, shortstory, story, writing

SONY DSC

Chapter 1 – Essy

“Come on! Grab my hand!” Escobar, yells as he reaches down to pull me up.

He has already scrambled up the chain link fence that blocks our escape, and straddles it like a bull rider. My sweaty palm connects with his and he hauls me up, over the fence. I land in a heap on the pavement as sirens sound in the distance.

Essy lands agile as a cat beside me and pulls me up by my shirt.

“Rapido, move!” he orders, “We just have to make it out of the heat, out of sight.”

I grimace as he propels me forward, my muscles are aching. We’ve already sprinted at least seven blocks. I have no idea where we’re running to, but Essy seems to be guiding us to some predetermined place. Wherever it is, I hope its close.

It’s funny how one stupid decision can change your whole life. My decision to help Essy rip off a high-end jewelry store wasn’t the best one in retrospect. We’d been best buds for years, so when he approached me a week ago, needing someone he could trust to back him up when he hit the store, I’d agreed. He offered me a split on what we stole, he knew I needed money. He promised there would be no police, the alarm would be cut. Long story short, we broke in and tripped the alarms. Essy’s inside man had choked up. Now we’re running from the police, and I really don’t want to go to juvi. My Papi would be rolling in his grave if he could see the trouble I’ve got myself in. “Be a good boy, my good boy,” he used to say.

I pump my arms and legs faster to keep up with Essy’s pace, I’m lagging behind. We’re in the industrial district now, and I have no idea where we’re headed. Sweat drips into my eyes as I run, blinding me.

“We’re almost there,” Essy says.

After a few more minutes we round a corner. Up ahead is a rundown factory that, according to its sign, used to produce children’s toys. What a strange place to go, I think. Why are we going there?

Our footfalls echo off the nearby buildings like gunshots as we hurry up to the factory; the sirens are getting closer. We finally stop at a door located on the side of the factory, and Essy pounds on the metal with his fist. As I’m wheezing for breath I notice Essy has barely broken a sweat. Maybe he’s needed to run a lot more than I thought. In a second there is a response to his knocking, and he mutters something to the guy on the other side, who then opened to door and welcomes us – well Essy mostly – in. Once the door is closed and locked, Essy and the burly guy who let us in embrace roughly for a second.

“Hola Essy, not getting into any trouble tonight are you?” the burly man laughs.

He notices me and gives me a slap on the back in greeting. “How’d you keep up to Speedy Gonzalez here? He’s one of the fastest runners we’ve got!”

“Uh, I don’t know, he kinda dragged me half way here,” I cough, still out of breath.

Essay laughs at my response. “Tizzy, this is Bronco. Bronco, Tizzy.”

Aptly named I think shaking Bronco’s meaty hand.

“C’mon Tizzy, I wanna show you where I work,” Essy says as he starts down a dark hallway. Bronco follows.

“You work here?” I ask as I slowly trail after them, “But this place looks abandoned. . .”

Essy and Bronco let out laughs that reverberate down the hallway, making me jump.

“Don’t you have any brains in that head o’ yours?” Bronco asks.

To be honest I don’t have a clue what one might do for work in a rundown factory, maybe use what machinery was left behind to make things to sell? As I’m staring at my shoes, pondering an answer, I smack into Bronco’s back. The two of them have stopped at the entrance to a huge room that smells heavily of . . .

“Marijuana?” I exclaim in astonishment.

Bronco slaps me on the back again, this time in excitement. “Now you’re getting’ it! We turn the green into green, get it?”

I did get it. When my family and I lived in Mexico City you’d hear stories about how people’s sons got mixed up in drug trafficking. It appealed to those who were broke and desperate for cash. My family was broke, but not desperate, and my parents wanted more for us, so they moved us to Los Angeles. How ironic it is to find myself in the very situation that we moved to get away from.

I step out from behind Bronco to take in the room. It is filled with rows upon rows of tables covered in cannabis. Between the rows are people tending to the plants, wearing rubber gloves and painting masks. Large fluorescent lights hang from the ceiling, illuminating the room with harsh yellow light. Abandoned machinery is pushed against the walls to make more room. As I look around I lock eyes with a girl tending to a section of cannabis. She is tan with long dark hair and scared eyes. She looks about nineteen, my age. She quickly glances away when Bronco moves from the doorway to sit in a chair a few feet away.

“Wow,” is all that comes out.

“We’ve got one of the biggest operations in LA” I hear a man’s voice say. Looking to my left I see a tall, stick man with a bald head covered in tattoos that continues down his neck and arms. I catch a glimpse of a gun tucked into his waistband. He extends his arm to shake my hand and his bicep bulges menacingly.

“Name’s Rodrigo, but call me Rigo, that’s what I go by around here,” he says.

I grab his hand and shake it, “Tizzy,” I reply.

Rigo looks over at Essy. “You had some heat at the job, huh?”

Essy crosses his arms over his chest, his muscles straining against his T-shirt. “Yeah, damn Alex didn’t do what we paid him to do. He’s gone with his money by now. Bastard.”

Rigo’s lips pulls into a sinister grin, a gold tooth glinting between his lips. “I’ll send my boys to find him, he won’t get far. No one double crosses Rigo and gets away with it.” He absentmindedly stroked his gun. I shuffle my feet nervously.

No one said anything about killing anyone. What’s Essy gotten himself into? I’ve got to get the hell out of here.

“Uh, Rigo, thanks for helping me out, but I’ve got to get home now. If you could just let me back out the way I came in that’d—“

“Whoa, whoa, whoa there. You can’t leave yet,” Rigo says.

“But I haven’t heard sirens in a while, the policia has left” I protest.

“It’s not safe to go yet. They search for hours before they give up. Just because you don’t hear sirens doesn’t mean they’re not out there. You two are hot right now.”

“But—“

Essy interjects. “Rigo’s right. We’ve gotta lay low tonight.” He places his hand on my shoulder for reassurance.

After a moment’s hesitation I agree. What choice do I have? These weren’t exactly the kind of people you could just say no to and do your own thing. They have guns, and like people following their orders. I don’t want to end up like Alex soon would.

Rigo makes a chirping type of sound and jerks his head toward Essy and me. “Rosie, baby, show these two boys to a room.”

The girl who I had noticed earlier steps out from behind a bunch of fronds, her hands twisting nervously in front of her. She walks towards us, eyes on the floor, leaving a large berth between Rigo and herself. “Please follow me,” she says quietly.

She turns to take a step when Rigo grabs her elbow and pulls her close. With his free hand he grips her chin and squished her cheeks, then gives her a kiss and releases her.

I have to look away. Rigo kissing Rosie was like a python cuddling a mouse. Wrong and unnatural.

“This way” she says, and leads us down another dark hallway.

*****

          I awake to Essy shaking my shoulder. “Tizzy man, we gotta go.”

I sit up and shake my head, yawning and groggy. Rosie had led us to a room that used to be for storage. I had had to shove discarded brooms and boxes into a corner to make room enough for Essy and me to curl up on the floor. He had found bubble wrap in one the boxes and spread it on out the floor, creating a sort of makeshift bed that made popping sounds every time someone tossed or turned. I hadn’t slept well.

“Man, I’m tired, can’t we leave in a few hours?”

Essy’s eyes flick from me to the door before he answers. Sweat glistens on his forehead. “We gotta go. I heard scuffling and shouts. The police must have found us.” He seizes my arm and hauls me up. “I know a way out, in the back.”

I am suddenly wide awake. “What about Bronco and Rigo, shouldn’t we go find them?”

Essy snorts, “They can look after themselves,” as he creeps to the door and shimmies it open, peeking out into the hallway. He motions me over and jerks his head to the left, mouthing the words ‘this way.’

I follow him into the hallway but grab his sleeve to stop him. I just remembered something. “What about Rosie?” I whisper.

Essy shrugs out of my grip. “What about her?”

“She doesn’t belong here. We have to help her.” I turn to start down the hallway, toward the growing room. But it’s Essy’s turn to grab my elbow, his face incredulous.

“What is she to you, Tizzy? She’s just some girl.”

Footsteps echo down the corridor and I can hear muffled voices. Essy glances down the hall and speaks quickly, looking displeased. “This place is crawling with policia, are you crazy?”

“I have to be, I helped you with that stupid break-in, didn’t I? Look, your right about the policia. There’s not much time, just tell me where Rosie should be and get out of here. I’ll find her and we’ll meet you somewhere okay?”

Essy looks strained. “You’re loco man.” He runs his fingers through his hair before he speaks. “Down the end of this hallway, take a left, follow it to the end. There’s a small window beside the exit door. Use the window, the door’s blocked off. Rosie should be in one of the sleeping rooms down there,” he points down the hall where footsteps can be heard, “If she hasn’t been caught already.”

“Thanks Essy. I owe you.”

“Tonight. We’ll meet at the Crescent Moon diner, seven o’clock. Good luck Tizzy.” He embraces me quickly and pulls away heading down the exit he told me about without a look back.

I turn and head the opposite direction, into the danger. The lights overhead are dim and turn off and on repeatedly. My sneakers squeak disconcertingly loud on the linoleum and my blood pounds in my ears.

I creep to where the hallway ends and the growing room begins. I hear voices, and when I peek my head around the corner I see several men in uniform. Many of the workers I saw earlier are handcuffed and sitting against the far wall. Bronco is among them. Rigo is nowhere to be seen.

“. . . Take your men and sweep the building” says one of the men, “We have reason to believe that the suspects from the break-in earlier this evening are hiding here.”

I hurry back down the hallway trying every door until one opens. “Rosie? Are you in here?”

I hear a soft cry, so I push my way into the room and close the door behind me. “Rosie? It’s me, Tizzy. You took my friend Essy and me to a room a few hours ago.” The room is dark so I step with my arms stretched out in front of me. I knock my knee into a crate and curse. “Rosie please, there are policia searching the place, I came to get you out of here.” After a moment of silence and groping in the darkness a small hand touches my shoulder.

“You came to get me?” Rosie asks.

I turn to face her. “Yes, we have to go now,” I whisper urgently. “We’re going to meet Essy at a diner.” I lean my ear against the door, making sure no one is searching this hallway yet. When I am sure the coast is clear, I open the door and lean out. Rosie grabs my arm.

“Why?”

I think about her question for a second before I answer. “Because you don’t belong here. Just like me.” I don’t give her time to answer, simple grab her hand and lead her out into the hallway.

We half walk half jog to the end of the hallway, Rosie’s small breaths are rapid behind me. Just as we turn left we hear “Stop” shouted behind us. I look back and catch a glimpse of two officers running down the hall towards us. I tighten my grip on Rosie and yell “Run.” Our footsteps ricochet off the walls.

“Stop now! There’s nowhere to go!” one of the officers calls.

We reach the exit door and I immediately go the window, trying desperately to prop it open, but it’s stuck. “Dammit,” I grunt. Rosie rushes over and pushes me out of the way, a brick in her hand. She throws it through the window and the glass shatters, raining everywhere.

“C’mon!” Rosie cries as the footsteps behind us get closer, someone fires a shot and it hits the wall few feet from me. I hoist Rosie up and through the window, she lands with a thump on the other side and I pull myself through after her. Another shot breaks glass above my head. It startles me and I cut my forearm on some jagged glass as I fall out the window and hit the ground with a thud.

Rosie pulls me roughly to my feet and then we’re running. It’s dark still, but pink and orange smudge the sky close to the horizon. The faint light casts shadows from the buildings across the pavement. We run and run until the factory has disappeared behind us and we’ve left the industrial district. A couple blocks into downtown I pull Rosie into an alley.

“I think we should be okay for a bit here,” I gasp, slumping against a building and slide to the ground, panting. Rosie sits down beside me. Her eyes widen when she sees blood on my shirt.

“You got shot,” she exclaims.

I look down at my shirt. “What? Oh, no. I cut my arm on some glass crawling out the window, see?” I hold out my arm to her, the long gash crimson against my skin.

“Let me look.” She grabs hold of my wrist and pulls a handkerchief from her pocket. “Does it hurt?”

I am about to say no, but when she dabs at the cut I grimace in pain. A couple glance down the alley as they walk by. When they see Rosie tending to my bloody arm they quicken their pace, whispering to each other.

“Hmm,” she says, “I don’t think there’s any shards left, but we need to disinfect it. You need stiches.”

“We can’t go to a hospital Rosie, I’m wanted.”

“Oh,” she says.

“We’ll have to figure something else out. Essy’s meeting us at the Crescent Moon diner at seven pm. We have the day to kill.”

Rosie’s eyes tighten the smallest bit when I mention the word ‘kill’. I don’t bring it up.

“I could fix your arm. I am very good at needlepoint. I could stitch it up.” She looks like she might throw up just thinking about it.

“Are you nuts?”

“Probably” she says, and shrugs, “But if you get an infection, you’ll need a hospital. And that’s the last place you want to be seen right now, right?”

I ponder this for a moment. “Alright,” I agree hesitantly.

She smiles as she hauls me to my feet, leading me out of the alley and onto the sidewalk. “Let’s go get some needle and thread. Oh, and some vodka too.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 -Collins