The Worry Curse, Part Fifteen

"Don't be afraid." The detective laid his hand on her shoulder as a door opened in the adjacent room. Beyond a pane of smoky glass, a troop of surly men marched onto a platform. Laina slid her icy fingertips inside her collar and itched under the medallion chain. "Like we told…

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The Worry Curse, Part Fourteen

At the right of the doorway, a fountain gurgled over an iron spire. Ornate moldings with gilded leaves framed a second door. At the cherry desk guarding it, a gaunt woman peered over her bifocals. Lines deepened around her lips as she spoke. "Go on in. Do not impose upon our…

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The Worry Curse, Part Thirteen

Laina slung her purse under her desk and grinned at her watch--two minutes early. As she pulled back her chair, a sticky note fluttered off the back and drifted onto the seat. As she turned it over, her smile wilted. Please meet me in my office at 9 AM - M.…

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The Worry Curse, Part Eleven

Laina knocked beside the mosaic welcome plaque. She shifted her stance to face Arden. "Thanks for walking me to their apartment. I feel like I've inconvenienced you--" "No gun to my head." He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his frayed jeans and shrugged. "I like elevator rides." "Preachers shouldn't…

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The Worry Curse, Part Ten

A rusty blue hatchback hugged the curb near the sidewalk waste bin. Arden withdrew his key and unlocked its passenger door. "Say hello to my girl, Bessie." "No remote key fob?" Laina chuckled. "Funny." He held open the door, patting the top of the frame. "Talk nice to my car, now. She's…

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The Worry Curse, Part Nine

Cool sips of water trickled through her constricted gullet, easing her garbled voice. "Thanks. I don't think the police escort would've offered me a chance to decompress. I don't want to keep you late. You'll probably have to be at your office early in the morning." "No problem. My work day…

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The Worry Curse, Part Eight

As a pack of Harleys rumbled onto Forty-Ninth Avenue, Laina hustled toward the inner edge of the sidewalk.  An exhaust pop snapped her attention to the lead FatBoy, slowing near the curb. The grisly-bearded rider sneered, his gold-capped canine teeth glinting in the streetlight. "Want a ride, sweet thang?" She shifted…

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The Worry Curse, Part Seven

Coats swished into the hall as hours robbed natural rays from the cubicle hive. Electronics and clicking keys fell silent, leaving her alone under the intensifying hum of bile-hued lights. Laina pecked away at her report until the screen blurred. She blinked and strained her eyes to type the conclusion. Send. Tight…

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The Worry Curse, Part Seven

Coats swished into the hall as hours robbed natural rays from the cubicle hive. Electronics and clicking keys fell silent, leaving her alone under the intensifying hum of bile-hued lights. Laina pecked away at her report until the screen blurred. She blinked and strained her eyes to type the conclusion. Send. Tight…

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The Worry Curse, Part Six

Laina pressed her shoulder against the engraved plaque directing the way to marketing and editorial departments. She peered around the corner. Beyond the central hive of grey cubicles, fluorescent glare crowned the windows walling in the corner office. Mr. Ellison raised a cell phone to his ear and turned in his…

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