Title- The Escape
Series- Gumshoes & Grifters #0.5
By- Allana Kephart & Melissa Simmons
Genre- Mature YA/ Contemporary/Suspense / Thriller
Publication Date- February 1st, 2015
Run for your life…
Sixteen-year-old Claire McBride just witnessed a brutal murder at the hands of someone she knew, someone she thought she could trust. Now she’s alone, afraid and desperate to put as many miles as possible between herself and the killer. Seeing no other options, she flees her home town of Galena, leaving behind everything and everyone she’s ever held dear.
Run for your life…
Carter Emerson's whole world has come crashing down around him. He woke to the news his best friend, Claire has gone missing without a trace, and there’s nothing he can do about it. Finding out her car was abandoned in the busy city of Chicago, he and his brother can't help but fear the worst… With no solid suspects or leads, it looks like Carter’s worst nightmare could come true, and Claire’s disappearance may turn into a cold case.
Run for your life…
With the killer at her heels, Claire has no choice but to leave Carter in the dark. She can’t risk his safety just because she misses the sound of his voice… But will the run of Claire’s life be worth it in the end? Or will her past catch up with her no matter how hard she tries to escape it?
I roll onto my back and look up at my black galaxy ceiling, the one Claire, Adam and I spent a whole weekend painting. Dad lost his shit because he specifically said no dark ceilings, and I was going to listen to him, but Adam and Claire went out of their way to sneak in an array of paints and bring my idea to reality. Claire painted a little black heart on the wall, and it catches my eye now. I remember the triumphant look on her face when it came out “perfectly symmetrical”; how she smiled at me with blue and silver glitter paint all over her face and teasingly said that it would always be a reminder that she loves her best friend more than anything. Looking at it now makes me feel hollow. My eyes start to burn and I dig my knuckles into them so I don’t start to cry—again. I think I’ve done enough moping around for a lifetime.
I look at the clock and see that it’s nine thirty-seven P.M., Wednesday night. Day forty-four, one-thousand-sixty-one hours and thirty-seven spare minutes since Claire’s disappearance. I don’t know why I’m still counting the hours. There isn’t a fiber of my being now that believes I’ll ever see her again—not alive, at least—but I guess I need to hold onto some sort of hope if I plan on remaining sane.
I’m pulled from my maudlin musings when I hear my cell phone start to ring. Out of habit, I sit up and grab it off the nightstand to see who’s calling. No one ever calls me this late. I’m not exactly popular, and besides Claire I really have no close friends. I’m a hermit and I admit it proudly. My parents are both downstairs with my brother, and I can’t think of anyone else who would be looking for me at this hour.
Private Number, my phone flashes.
I roll my eyes and toss my phone next to my textbook. Probably just some idiot who decided to prank any random number with a seven-seven-nine area code to ask if my refrigerator is running. Not in the mood to deal with jackassery right now.
Then I remember something Adam said once. His ex-girlfriend, pre-Beth, was somewhat of a lunatic. After they broke up, she started blocking her number and calling him repeatedly, since he would never answer if he saw “That Crazy Chick” come up on his caller ID. Claire and I were fourteen at the time and fascinated by the fact you could call someone without them knowing who you are. Adam, not thinking anything of it, explained the code to block your number to us.
While I’m sure there are millions of teenagers out there who know that code and are making prank calls to unsuspecting idiots like myself right now, all I can think of is the devilish grin Claire shot me at the new information. So on the sixth ring, I launch at my phone and press the Answer button. “Hel—hello?”
There is a small, surprised intake of breath on the other end of the line, but no one responds. Judging from the little gasp, I take it the other person didn’t expect me to answer. “Is anyone there?” I prompt, hoping to get some sort of response.
I’m met with silence.
I sigh. There’s a part of me that wants to ask her name, but the larger part is too paranoid to jump to that without first knowing if I’m really talking to her. I bite my lip, considering what I could say to make Claire react in some way. Pitch Perfect, her favorite movie comes to mind and, as much as I hate myself for being able to quote it, I say, “Well, I suppose you’re waiting for an introduction. My name is Lily and I was born with gills like a fish. Your turn.”
There’s a small burst of sound from the line—a quietly snorted laugh and then a slapping sound, like she covered her mouth so I won’t hear her. My heart starts to hammer in my chest and I pull in a slow, deliberate breath. I will not freak out, I tell myself. I will not get my hopes up. “Can I tell you a secret?”
Still no answer, but I hear a shifting noise like she’s tilted the mouthpiece away from her lips.
“I ate my twin in the womb,” I whisper in my most serious voice.
A short, but real laugh rips from her throat and I know without a doubt who that giggle belongs to. It’s the same laugh I fell in love with years ago, the laugh she hates and describes as “obnoxious” or “squeaky”, the laugh that I told her puts all other sounds to shame. “I miss you,” I admit.
Her laugh abruptly cuts off and all I can hear is her quiet breathing again. I sigh in exasperation. Why the silent treatment? I wonder.
About the Authors
Allana Kephart has been making things up and bending people to her will from a very young age. She loves animals and reading and spends a large amount of time thinking up ways to torment her characters. She shares a brain, a love of coffee and the color purple with her alter ego/best friend/co-author, Melissa Simmons.
Melissa Simmons is an avid reader who married her soul mate and is the proud mother of a spoiled cat. She spends her days helping promote independent authors and doing what the voices in her head tell her to. She shares a brain, a love of coffee and the color purple with her alter ego/best friend/co-author, Allana Kephart.
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