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  • Writer's pictureCathryn Grant

Novel Excerpt: The Guest

Other girls got bullied, not her.

She was not going to be afraid walking alone at night. She was strong and resourceful and not at all worried. People, bullies especially, smell fear. No one would sense an ounce of fear coming off of her carefully made-up skin or her long, bronze-streaked hair.

The streetlight cast a light on the pavement that made it look as if it were covered in a sheen of ice. Behind her, the sound of footsteps emerged from the darkness. She walked faster, taking a deep breath to keep her heart from racing ahead of itself. The footsteps matched her pace.

She slipped her phone out of her pocket and swiped open the camera. She moved the setting to video.

A moment later, she slowed and turned quickly, raising the phone like a weapon. “I’m going to record you, so back off.”

The streetlight revealed her pursuer. She laughed and lowered the phone. “Oh, it’s you.” She took a step forward and laughed again. “If you don’t fuck off, I’m going to call the cops on you.”

Before she could take another breath, she felt the full weight of the other’s bone and muscle slam into her body. Her phone clattered out of her hand, and she heard the sound of glass cracking. In the same swift motion, the heels of her boots skidded on the ground and she fell. The hard surface met her bones with a painful blow.

Before she could catch her breath, something was around her neck, hard and thick—a belt, a whip. She wasn’t sure. She gagged, grabbing at the leather, but instead clawed at her own flesh. She felt light-headed, nauseated. The oxygen was gone.

The night closed in on her and the darkness became absolute.

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