• Flamingo in the water
    15
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    As expected, Miss Martha’s living room had pink décor, though it was subtler than I had thought. The cream-colored walls were lined with photos and paintings of birds. They ranged from common backyard birds and city dwellers like pigeons and cardinals, to exotic species such as toucans, macaw parrots, and flamingos. Some of those photos ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    22
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    Sofia handed a flashlight to a woman with wiry gray hair sticking out wildly as if teased by the wind. She took the offering with a feeble, “Thank you, dear.” Hushed voices of more than a thousand souls echoed off the stadium walls and ceiling, which were never meant to muffle noise. The din was ...
  • Flamingo in the water
    23
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    I continued to date Louis every weekend for over three months; we had dates in restaurants, parks, beaches, movie theaters, etc. Louis grew closer to me; he even bought a beautiful pink necklace for our twentieth date. I enjoyed our time together, but the reminder of Miss Billings’ assignment had kept me on edge. I ...
  • Flamingo in the water
    29
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    Please understand, I had desperate ambitions to be a journalist by then. It seemed like a worthy sacrifice. Most of the working staff were already cutthroats, so it looked natural from my fatigued view. Now Mackenzie Billings, though unscrupulous, still had the foresight to ensure every dubious interview and story had some truth. I manipulated ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    31
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    “That’s it, buddy,” Marcus said as Matty held his baby sister to his chest and peered over her shoulder, looking for safe places to step. The opening to reach the kids was too narrow for Marcus, so he directed them from above. Rainwater continued running through the gap and into the small space that imprisoned ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    44
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    “Who’s injured? Sound off!” The grating static of a two-way radio crackled until the team responded. “Staunton here. I’ve got Trellis and Davidson with me. All uninjured.” “Nguyen here–all good.” “Richards and Stewart are with me–Cruz. Stewart might have a twisted ankle. Otherwise, fine.” Firefighters and first responders found their feet amidst the glistening wet ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    53
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    Jeanie snuffled quietly as she held on tight to Lexi’s limp hand. Her young friend continued to stare into space. She rarely blinked, and Jeanie’s worry ratcheted up like the first climb of a roller coaster. Click, click, click. “–never get a crane in here.” Jeanie frowned as she caught the end of the sentence. ...
  • Flamingo in the water
    66
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    “One of the photographers for the newspaper was Louis; he started his internship not long after I arrived. He’s a shy person and preferred to be behind a camera instead of in front of one. “With him assigned to another journalist; we only saw each other on occasional lunch breaks. After Miss Billings became the ...
  • Flamingo in the water
    57
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    “Even though Mackenzie Billings had created a toxic company. She’s smart enough to keep those factors in the dark through non-disclosure agreements, bribes, and threats. Because of this, the newspaper and Billings gained a positive reception from the unaware public. As for her employees and interns who made the foolish decision to stay, we strived ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    59
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    Pain rose and crashed over Esme like powerful waves hitting the shore. The swells advanced, bigger and faster. She fought against the desire to join in Tammy’s sobs, which rose from below in a long, unbroken stream. Her cries had become steadier and louder over the last hour as the water continued to rise, announcing ...