The Deepest Red

Free The Deepest Red by Miriam Bell

Book: The Deepest Red by Miriam Bell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Miriam Bell
continue to be baffled by my own thoughts and actions but one thing I did understand was Clover was more deadly than she looked. For some unknown reason that fun fact didn’t matter. My thoughts turn to Tessa and I imagine her in one of her temper tantrums. The episodes were more cute than anything else. When I make it back home I should really read one of the library’s psychology books maybe then I can sort through the way my brain functioned.
    I turn my head to glance at Connor behind me only to find him with a strand of my hair curling around his finger. He drops it quickly when he realizes I’m watching. I notice a little bit of pink surfacing through the mud and dirt on his cheeks. With a cough, he darts his eyes away from mine sitting up straighter. My stomach squeezes a little as my heart flutters at the hidden gesture. We stay sitting silently on the rocky ground for a time, just watching the woods together.
    “Tom was the man we buried today. He was my scouting partner.” Sadness clenches me tightly. “I didn’t realize he had become a good friend. So I’m a little surprised at the grief,” I confess.
    Unable to stop, the first tear slides down my cheeks.
    ”It’s my first time out in the red zone. He’d gotten hurt by mistake, something so stupid as to watch where you step.” I close my eyes and take a deep breath. “Tom was too old to be out here but he insisted on being my mentor. I agreed because he trained my mother.” My words halt in my throat, not wanting to reveal anything else so personal.
    Another tear follows the first.
    “Anyway, when you found me I was in the process of getting supplies to take back to him. His leg was broken and he had a few bad gashes.” I pause again before continuing. “I failed him. I didn’t know about the infected. I thought I was ready to be out here but I’m not sure anymore,” I finish.
    I was babbling, I knew it, but after I said the words “I’m not ready” out loud, I realized they were true. Why else would I act the way I have been? I turn slightly away from Connor trying to hide the fact I’m wiping tears from my cheeks. The sniffle that escapes me, I think, clues him in.
    “This place is cruel,” he states, tracing a touch down my side, the pressure so light I may not have felt the caress if I wasn’t so aware of him. “But you will be okay now.”
    I hug my legs tighter to me and allow a few more streams of tears to travel down my cheeks. I wipe them away quickly. I hadn’t wanted him to witness me cry but now that I’ve started I can’t stop. I sit quietly letting more and more tears surface. I think of Tom and being out here alone. I think of home and the security the community brings and finally I think of my mother. My only memory of her replays in my mind- her long red hair brushing my face as she leans over to kiss my forehead, her silver necklace gleaming in the light as the chain dangles from her thin neck. Her face is fuzzy in the memory, no details visible I can cling too. I wonder if I’d imagined it all.
    I attempt to calm myself down after a while and rethink my situation. Other scouting teams from the prison are out here in the red zone but they had all traveled north except one, the twin brothers, Lonnie and Jay. They were experienced and only a few years older than me. I was close friends with Lonnie but Jay never seemed to like me much. They had been in the red zone countless of times and could be anywhere. Lonnie should have warned me about this place. He should have told me about the infected. He must have known. Right now, I would give anything just to see him or Jay come strolling through these trees. I’m pretty sure I can find my way back home by myself but at the moment the prison feels like a far off memory.
    “Sorry, I didn’t get to you in time,” Connor’s voice breaks my internal struggle.
    “What?” I say and steal a glance in his direction.
    He’s staring off into the trees with a blank

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