A preview of Red

Are you ready? Here is chapter One of

Red

She went to grab her bag when she tripped over the line of wire that ran across the cabin. It was the wire they had hung the photos from, but it lay across the ground now, its only purpose to cause her more pain. She fell and smacked hard against the floor, her hands in front of her. She sat back and saw she sliced her palm and her scrubs were ripped.

The irony of her situation hit her like a ton of bricks and she stared into the emptiness. She was sitting on the floor in the same filthy cabin with a cut palm and ripped clothes.

She was done. She curled up in a ball on the floor and cried. She cried for her situation and for her fear. It was similar to the day she found out she was HIV positive and went to the hotel where she locked herself inside and just cried.

She was done fighting the demons of her past. She was done trying to put on a brave front. She was done pretending that her life wasn’t a complete failure.

She was simply done.

Chapter One:

She lay there for about two hours, her hand slowly bleeding, before she felt herself slipping away. She needed to do something first, so she picked up her phone and saw it was on low battery. She dialed and waited.

“Britt?” Bill’s deep voice answered.

“Hi. I needed to tell you a few things.”

“Should I come back to the hospital so we can talk?”

“No. I’m not there. I just wanted to thank you.”

Bill felt his heart race. He could hear the despair in her voice.

“Where are you? I’ll come and get you.”

“No, that’s okay. I’m where I should be. I just want you to know how much I love you and how proud I am to have known you. I know we didn’t get to grow up together, but I am honored to call you my brother. You are truly a great man.”

“Brittany, please tell me where you are,” he said as his voice broke. Julie walked in and saw his expression. She sat with him while he spoke.

“It’s okay if you don’t want to say anything back. I just needed to tell you that. I love you so much and it’s been my honor to know you.”

“What? Wait!” he looked at his phone as the call ended.

“What is it?” Julie asked him, her terror reflecting his reaction.

“She was saying goodbye. She is going to do something terrible, I know it,” he said and stood up. He called Tommy.

“Hello?”

“Tommy? Where is Brittany?”

He sighed.

“I don’t know.”

“We have to find her. She just called me and I think she’s going to do something to hurt herself. She sounded despondent and I don’t know where she is. She said she is where she should be. I don’t know where to look.”

Tommy sat down in Jack’s room and felt the air go out of his lungs.

“Oh God,” he said. “I don’t know where she went. She was so mad at me and she wouldn’t let me help her.”

“Didn’t you apologize for what you said before? Did you make her think she wasn’t worth this life?”

“Of course not!” Tommy yelled. “I love her and I would never do that.”

Bill paced in his living room.

“Where should I look? Where would she go?”

Tommy went to answer when he saw Jack getting a call.

“Brittany?” Jack asked.

“Jack? I need to talk to you for a minute,” she said softly.

He nodded to Tommy that it was her and he told Bill to try and trace her phone and call him back.

“Where are you? Can I send someone to get you? I’ll come if you want,” he said, never having heard anyone sound so completely alone.

“I’m okay where I am. I just didn’t get a chance to talk to you since we were rescued. I wanted to apologize for everything. If I infected you, I don’t know how you will ever forgive me, but I did everything I could to make sure I didn’t bleed on you. I took Brent’s shirt and used it as a gown and I double gloved my hands. I truly hope I didn’t hurt you.”

Jack felt his eyes fill with tears.

“I’m fine. There is no indication that anything happened to me. I have tested negative and I will continue to be negative. But Britt, what you did saved my life. I was there with you and I know how close I was to dying. If you didn’t help me, I wouldn’t be here. I owe you everything and I’d really like to try and repay you. Will you please tell me where you are?”

“You have done so much for me Jack. You fixed my clot when nobody would have touched me and that enabled me to be here to see Jade get married. That meant the world to me and I’m so grateful. Thank you and I’m truly so sorry for what you’re going through.”

He went to respond when she hung up.

“What did she say?” Tommy asked him, his panic suffocating.

“This is bad. I think she’s planning on doing something to herself. We need to find her right now,” Jack said and went to move.

“No, you can’t move,” Tommy said and paced. “I don’t believe I let this happen. I can’t breathe,” he said as his tears fell. His phone rang and he grabbed it.

“Britt?”

“No, I got a trace, but it’s not clear,” Bill said.

“Where is it?”

Bill told him the address and Tommy was puzzled.

“That’s in the middle of nowhere,” Tommy said.

Bill sighed.

“According to the initial police report, it’s close to where her attack happened.”

Tommy didn’t think he could feel worse.

“I’m on my way. Can you or Julie come here and sit with Naomi?”

“Go. I think you’re the only one who can reach her. One of us will stay with Naomi. Please call when you get to her.”

“Okay,” Tommy said and hung up.

“You can do this. Just forget everything else. Help your wife. Help the woman you can’t live without. Remind her of who she is and let her know that’s enough,” Jack said, hating that he couldn’t move.

“Okay. Thanks,” Tommy said and raced out.

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