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“Help me.” She panted, unable to catch the air in her lungs, her breath creating tiny, ghostly clouds in the crisp winter air as she reached a crimson-drenched hand out to a dark, approaching figure.

Though a street lamp lit the road in the distance, in the dead of night the lifeless alley was filled with shadows; she could barely make out the shape of a woman drawing near. As she lay, dilapidated, on her back, she could feel the dank ground beneath. The morose metallic scent of blood filled her nostrils and she tasted in on her tongue, felt the thickness of it as it oozed down her chin.

The tightness in her chest was intolerable, the pain unbearable. Slowly, the stranger became more visible, and soon Claire could see that this stranger was no stranger at all. This person was the ghost of a long forgotten, miserable past. Suddenly, she understood. Revenge.

With the world spinning, her vision blurred as her soul burned away inside her chest. Her loud, thudding heartbeat slowed to a black, silent, and absolute stop.



She’d hid in the shadows until the pleasure became too great to ignore; she’d wanted this gorgeous news reporter to know that she had never been forgiven; that now it was time to pay for what she’d done. And now, Claire knew. She’d watched from a distance as Claire was executed, heard her high-pitched cries as the attacker stabbed deep into her lovely torso, and she’d felt the breeze as the killer ran past her, leaving the body drained and dying as he fled the scene.

Now she beamed at the corpse of the once successful, flawless woman. Tilting her head, she eyed the way Claire’s fragile neck was slanted upward from her final breath; she saw the long, thick waves of auburn, loose and awry around her pretty head. Blood had pooled around her body, drenching her fine dress suit and fair skin in glistening crimson death.

She wanted to laugh at the irony and perfection of it all, but instead merely smirked and walked away, her three-inch heels clacking on the concrete alley floor.

As Shiann Baker turned out of the alley and onto Delancey Street her smile grew wide and she reveled in the bliss of revenge. Claire Monroe, Channel 5 News, had signed off for the last time.

She walked the five blocks to her apartment in ecstasy, enjoying the cool breeze and the street lamps lighting up the city around her. Finally, after so many years of depression and humiliation, she was going to be on top of the world. Now she saw New York City and all of its beauty without the smog that had clouded her vision before.

Soundlessly, she turned her key in the lock of her apartment door and opened it to find it exactly the way she’d left it. Cassie, her six-year-old daughter, was fast asleep in her bedroom; the kitchen was clean; the living room was spotless; and her amazing husband and English professor at NYU, John Miller, was in his tiny office grading papers.

Sneaking up behind him, she began to massage his neck and shoulders. She felt him tense in surprise then relax as he tilted his head back to smile up at her.

“Hey, beautiful. Long night, huh?” She let him up and he turned, standing, to embrace her. She slid her hands around his neck.

“Yeah. Lots of paperwork on the Jensen case.” She was the Assistant District Attorney, and she often worked late, which is why it hadn’t surprised John that she’d just gotten home at midnight. “How was your day?” She asked, kissing him lightly before moving to the doorway and motioning for him to follow.

In the kitchen, she poured two glasses of milk and grabbed a handful of cookies from the jar on the counter. Her husband grinned and dipped a cookie.

“It was okay. The usual. You know that student, Jacob Thompson, that I told you about?”

“Mmhmm.” She mumbled, sipping her milk.

“I think he’s got great potential as a writer, specifically as a fantasy novelist. I just hope he can write decent research papers, too. He’s got real talent.”

She listened quietly as her husband spoke, a smile slowly spreading across her face. Yes, she was still thrilled about her success tonight, but she wasn’t smiling about that now; she was smiling about her husband. His voice, his passion for his work and his love for his students always lit her up. In high school she’d never imagined a man like John would love a woman like her; how lucky was she.





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PJD17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 30, 2011 at 7:49 pm
very impressive story  keep writing  could you please check out and comment on my story Manso's Shame  i would really appreciate the feedback
 
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