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Page Turner Challenge: Picks

Scarlet by Jennifer Sterne-Pownall

The knife’s blade flashed as she pulled it from her mother’s chest.  It slid out much easier than the child had thought it would, and she fell back against the floor, the knife slipping from her hand and spinning across the hardwood. “Mom?” she repeated, quieter and more pleading than before, the tears blurring her vision so that the blood seemed to mingle with her mother’s long, red hair.

Detective Hargrove raced around the corner into the kitchen, catching up to Anna too late to keep the horror of the scene from being permanently etched into her mind.  He froze, eyes glistening and wide, mouth twitching, then finally stepped forward to collect his daughter into his arms.

“Get away from me!” she screamed, before he could touch her.  He stopped short, a look of shock overtaking his apparent grief.  Anna scrambled around the body and bent over it, pressing her cheek close to her mother’s chest just above where her heart had been beating so recently.  Her hand closed around the tiny rose brooch her mother always wore at her collar.

“You killed her,” she whispered into her mother’s spill of bright hair.

“What?” Hargrove blinked, trying to process her words.

The child sat up, blood from her mother’s wound mixing with the tears on her left cheek.  Wild eyed, she stared at her father. “You killed her,” she answered, fear gripping her now.

Jennifer Sterne-Pownall is from Burnaby, BC

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