blogimaget“You said this morning…”

“I said I wanted you here this morning.” Elliott tugged his sleeve. “You need to run a sample for us.”


“Test someone.”

Sid’s fingers tapped. “Who?”


Her head started shaking before the words pushed out of her mouth. “No, no, no, no, no. That would not be a good idea. Pick a uniform… or your receptionist. Anyone else.”

“We need to know how accurate the evaluation…”

“You mean you want to know how accurate I am.”

Elliott didn’t answer.

Sid’s mind raced for an excuse. “I don’t know if I can do two sessions in one day.”

“I asked Roth. She said you could if you had a good room. Which you apparently have.”

“Yeah, well, she’s not the one testing. And if you have a question, you should talk to me.”

“So you can’t do a full day’s work.”

“That’s not…” She paused. “You said I could have a whole day with Clemons.”

“We’ll bring him back tomorrow if you need the time. You are getting paid. More hours than you work.”

“I didn’t make that deal.” Sid tapped and twitched and got up, paced, and sat down again as Elliott watched. Finally, she let out a long breath and nodded. “Sit down.”

The room was quiet as Sid got out papers and cued up her programs. She could almost taste the smirk on Elliott’s face.

“Okay, we’re going to run a series of tests. Some will be…”

“Look, you can skip all this. I…”

“I’m running the tests, not you, Detective.”

She glared coldly at him and Elliott suddenly felt more vulnerable than he liked.

“Relax. It won’t hurt.”

“How do you know I won’t lie?” the detective said as he watched her open a notebook to a clean page. “Just to throw you.”

Sid ignored the question. “Okay, your first test is an easy one. Standard intelligence. Stanford-Binet. Should be a breeze.”  She pulled up the test on the computer, sat back, and waited.

“You’re going to watch?”

She folded her arms and waited.

It took him more time than she thought. And through it all, she watched Elliott. Made him sweat. It was stupid, but gave Sid the pleasant sensation of power. When he finished, she silently pulled out some cards, shuffled through them.

“No one uses the TAT anymore,” Elliott said.

“I do.”

“It’s not effective.”

“And who is running the tests, Detective?” she said coldly. “Could you please turn away?”

“You’re kidding.”

Sid sat forward, leaning into him. “You want to see how I work? This is how I work.”




blogimagetShe could feel eyes exploring every part of her body, every curve showing beneath her pom uniform, every strand of highlighted hair on her head. Watching. Watching her. Every day. For the last three days. She barely made it through school and now she was followed. Again. Watching her. Hannah gave her a ride home. Was talking about… what? She couldn’t remember. All she knew was she needed to get in the house.



She took out her keys, holding them tightly between shaking fingers. Her hand was slick with sweat and the metal kept slipping between her fingers, but she frantically  put them back in place. One between each finger. Like brass knuckles. That was from a show about how to defend against an attack. Hold the keys in your fist, then if anyone tried anything… Slam! Right in the eye and run like hell.

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    blogimaget   It was the third week in the Stupid Fucking House as Maggie Quinn called it. A small two-bedroom in a town that didn’t quite qualify as a suburb and was much quieter than she expected. It wasn’t her first choice, but the other two properties fell through. One, the day before closing. The second, right in the middle of closing. Three was the charm. Third week. Third house. Third coat of paint.

The guy at Menards now recognized her from two aisles away. “Must have a big place?” the man smiled as he mixed six gallons for her. 

Maggie tried to smile back. No, it wasn’t a big place.  She just liked to paint. It was a job, something to do. And she needed that. Best of all, the results were immediate and obvious. A refreshing change. Maybe she should start her own house painting business. She was getting good at it.

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Her head was filled with the color. The smell of it. The feel of it. Smooth as glass. The taste. Like a flower just opening.

“Why are you doing this?” Blaithe Clemons screamed as she felt a hard thud against her stomach. The pain shot through her torso and plowed into her skull. She dug her fingers into the ground and tried to anchor herself in case she was dragged further. Blaithe smelled the last leaves of fall rotting on the ground. And cotton candy. Pink and sticky and sweet. Around her were clouds hanging in the air. Clouds in a long line stretching in front of her. Hours of the day. Days of the week. Weeks of the year. All stretching in a line of yellow clouds in front of her. All leading to this moment.

“I’m not afraid of you.” Blaithe swallowed and tasted blood.

No one answered.

Blaithe expected to feel a fist next. Or feet kicking her stomach. She expected every possible act of violence her young brain could conjure. Except what she got.

Cold, empty darkness. 

And a brilliant flood of indigo.

The First and Last










That was his life. How it always was. How it always would be. Never stop. Never rest. Just run. If he didn’t run, bad things happened. If he didn’t run, his job was left undone and his purpose… well, if he didn’t run, he had no purpose. And without purpose, there was no reason for him. It was that simple.

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