The Worry Curse, Part Twenty-Two

A shaft of the hallway light kissed the tops of his shoulders, giving Arden an ethereal glow. Laina folded her arms. "What on earth made you think I came to visit Simmy?" "We call this area the Cauldron for a reason. Folks come here for drugs or the occult. I can…

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The Worry Curse, Part Twenty-Two

A shaft of the hallway light kissed the tops of his shoulders, giving Arden an ethereal glow. Laina folded her arms. "What on earth made you think I came to visit Simmy?" "We call this area the Cauldron for a reason. Folks come here for drugs or the occult. I can…

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The Worry Curse, Part Twenty-One

Laina scanned the lavender ribbon of sky between the buildings. How long had she been in Simmy's shop? The mechanical sigh of a heavy brakes summoned her toward the street. She hustled down the dank alley. Her feet struck the sidewalk just as the city bus pulled away from the curb.…

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The Worry Curse, Part Twenty

Simmy curled his long-nailed fingers around the chain at her neck. The fiery metal burned against her skin as he drew the amulet out. "What do you want with it?" Laina pressed the chain against her chest and recoiled. He let it slip from his grasp and slowly lifted his gaze to…

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The Worry Curse, Part Nineteen

The echo of Laina's steps grew louder as she ventured farther into the alley. The chill intensified, as did smells of urine mingled with traces of cheap rum. She pulled her scarf over the lower half of her face. Layered graffiti webbed the building walls to her right and left with an…

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The Worry Curse, Part Eighteen

The bus wheeze-squeaked its departure as soon as Laina's boot heel hit the curb. Graffiti tattooed the dingy bodies of buildings and passers-by alike. Half-dressed toddlers screamed from the hips of terse-lipped teenagers. A frigid breeze whipped a fringe of ragged towels and stained clothing on the firescapes. Shoes dangled from their…

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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 Twelve

  Laina pulled the quilt up to her chin. The icy amulet sent shivers across her chest and up her neck. She flopped onto her side, burrowing her feet between the cushions. The weight of sleepless weeks dragged on her limbs. With a final jerk of her leg, a gray fog…

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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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