Sample: The River and the Roses

The sound of the sirens approaching crept into Veronica’s awareness. She looked at the body of the woman she held in her arms and released her, noticing for the first time that blood soaked her nightgown. How could this be happening? Was this just more of the nightmare that woke her—was it minutes before? Hours? And propelled her to this rose garden?

So much blood. Veronica pushed the grass with her palms in an effort to raise herself and to move away from the corpse. She stumbled and her nightgown snagged on thorns. The sound of brakes added themselves to the sirens—over at the curb, two squad cars halted.

Veronica pulled free of the thorns and took a step toward the flashing red lights, but her ankle turned and her knees buckled. As she pitched forward, the ground rushed up far too fast, and the next thing she knew she was inhaling grass. She closed her eyes and everything went black for a little while.

She blinked her eyes open, to see flashing red lights illuminating cars at strange angles. She was sitting on a curb. People moved around her, but she couldn’t focus on them, and trying to made her head spin. Nausea washed over her.

“Ma’am. Ma’am.”

Veronica swallowed bile. “I think I’m going to be sick,” she murmured.

“I need a sick bag!” a man called. She jerked away from the voice and squinted open her eyes—had she shut them again? Where was she?

“Ma’am, we’re taking you to the station for questioning. Do you understand me?”


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