By: Kathi S. Barton

“She’s gone. Where could she have gone? Do we know if she had someone take her to the hospital?” Royce noticed that the officer that had been with her this morning was trying to move away. “Stop right there.”

“She left,” he said as soon as Royce was in front of him. “She probably went home, but she ain’t here. Poor girl. She won’t go to the hospital, so she’ll either be at her aunt’s by now or her own place, though that ain’t much of a place I’d want to be in if’n I was hurt.”

Royce didn’t know what that meant and was frankly too pissed to care. He took a deep breath and tried for patience. He had very little under normal circumstances and this was proving to push him very close to the end of his tether.

“Can you give me the address to both places? And have my car brought around.” Royce turned to Daniel. “Go with White and make sure he keeps his mouth shut until we can figure this out. Jesse, can you—”

“Her uncle needs to be told. He’ll wanna go with you if’n you go to his house.”

Royce turned to the guard who spoke behind him.

“Her uncle is Jay York. He’s the armament.”

Royce heard his brother move away. He hoped to get the girl’s uncle. Royce pulled out his cell phone as he stepped from the desk. He watched as the medics took a now quiet White out of the building with Daniel right next to him. The phone was answered on the second ring.

“Yes, sir.”

He smiled at the voice at the other end. The unflappable Mrs. Bobbie Noel had been his secretary for nearly as long as he’d been working.

“I need some information on one of the security guards. Address, phone number, if she’s been in trouble before. Her last name is York.”

“Kasey York?”

That shocked him. Both that she knew who the girl was and the tone of her voice.

“What’s happened? Her uncle? Or…oh God, not her mother, is it?”

“No, she’s apparently hurt and I’m trying to get to her to see how badly. I didn’t find out about it until just a few minutes ago.” He was suddenly very tired. “Her uncle works here. Do you know how long she’s worked for me?”

“Ten years.” She rattled off the address. Jesse was coming toward him with an older man who he assumed was the uncle. “Bobbie, I’ll let you know what I find out. Her uncle is coming now.”

His car pulled up out front just as he shook the man’s hand. They were headed out to the car when he realized that he had a meeting in progress. He thought about having one of his brothers go up and fix it, but decided maybe, if he didn’t return, they’d go back to their jobs. Probably not, but who knew?


Kasey didn’t think she was going to make it home. But when the big, ugly building came into view she nearly wept with joy. She hurt in places she’d only read about and some she didn’t even know a body could hurt in. She made it up the three flights of stairs barely and had to work to get her keys out of her pocket. When she managed to get them free she couldn’t make her fingers wrap around them to get the key into the lock at first, but finally got it to stick. She got the door open and was falling inside before she remembered to take the keys from the lock.

Fuck it, she thought, as she stumbled toward the bed. If someone wanted to murder her, she’d welcome them to. She didn’t even care if they took their time. It wasn’t like they could make her suffer any more. But she turned to take them out anyway. She wasn’t really that stupid.

She cried out when she laid down. She didn’t know what she’d done, but something sharp was poking at her side and she was almost afraid to look. She had just closed her eyes when she heard someone pounding at the door.

“Go away,” she whispered, all that she could manage. “Please.” This time, when she closed her eyes, she knew she was slipping away in a void that she was sure she should be worried about. But by then it was too late.

When she opened her eyes again her uncle was there and he looked worried. She tried to assure him she was fine, but her body refused to cooperate. She closed her eyes again.

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