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Book online «Before I Go: A dark and tense psychological crime thriller. Marie Reyes (best reads .TXT) 📖». Author Marie Reyes

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© Marie Reyes. All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Chapter One

Josie looked up from her laptop as the house phone rang—rudely cutting through the peaceful silence. The shrill sound almost alien; no-one ever phoned on the land-line anymore. She glanced over at her parents, both of whom were asleep on the couch. Her mother’s head lolled to the side, resting against her father’s shoulder as he clutched a glass of Malbec in his hand, which threatened to spill onto his white shirt as he gently snored. Part of her wanted to wait for the caller to hang up so she could go back to her half-assed job hunting, but she didn’t want her parents to wake up.

As she placed her laptop on the seat next to her, she noticed the time in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and wondered who would call so late. It was probably a bad sign. No-one would call at this hour unless it was important. Maybe her grandmother was in the hospital again? She sighed and plodded towards the phone in the hallway, picking up the receiver, and putting it to her ear.

“Hello?” said Josie, her voice still croaky from the cold she was getting over.

“Josie, is that you?” She recognized her sister’s voice, although the line was crackly, like someone was crunching aluminum foil at the other end. It was typical of her sister Tanya not to consider that her parents might be asleep. It wouldn’t cross her mind to think about the time, and that people might have work to go to as she was living it up, partying in Central America.

“Having fun?” Josie asked, trying to keep the jealousy from seeping into her voice.

“I need help.”

“You run out of money again or something?” Josie twirled the phone cord between her fingers whilst staring out the window onto the dark street at the front of the house. “Shall I put mom on?”

“I’m serious. You need to listen.”

It was in that exact second that Josie registered the panic in her sister’s voice. “What’s wrong?” She snapped upright from her slouched position.

“I’m in a taxi. They won’t let me out. Please get dad.”

Josie's heart started thumping like a jackhammer. “Dad,” she called. She couldn’t hear him stirring on the other side of the door. She could go and grab him, but she didn’t want to leave the phone. “Dad!” she shouted louder. “Mom?”

Finally, her father opened the living room door and looked at Josie with a hazy glare. “What?” His annoyed, sleepy expression gave way to a look of concern as he locked eyes with her.

“It's Tanya. Something's wrong.”

“Give me that.” He grabbed the phone.

“What’s going on?” he asked. There was still a hint of annoyance there, like this was some minor inconvenience in his day, and soon everything would go back to normal.

Josie couldn’t hear what was being said on the other end of the line, but her father’s expression told her everything she needed to know. His face dropped and his hand clutched the phone tighter. “Slow down. Now where are you?”

He went quiet, and his eyes darted around as he nodded his head. “Well, what can you see? I need street names, landmarks, anything.” He grabbed the address book and pen that lived next to the phone. “Tanya. Are you still there? Hello? Tanya? Shit.” He kept the phone to his ear, even though Josie could hear a dial tone blaring from the other end. Her sister was gone.

“Dad, if you don’t put the phone down, she won’t be able to call back.” It took him a moment to register what Josie said, and he finally detached himself from the phone, slamming it back in the cradle.

“Get your laptop,” he demanded.


“Just do it.”

Josie hurried to the living room where her mom stirred on the sofa, rubbing her eyes. Confused, but not looking overly concerned. “What’s up? Is it nana?”

“No. It’s Tanya.” Josie picked up the laptop and ran back into the hall with her mother following behind in a state of bewildered frustration, like she was being kept in the dark.

“What about her?”

Her dad was staring at the phone with his hand ready to go as if willing it to ring with the power of his mind. Although they were expecting it, all three of them jumped when the ring shrieked through the quiet house. Her father almost dropped the receiver in his hurry to pick it up.

Josie hovered as close as she could, hoping to catch a snippet of the conversation. She couldn’t hear Tanya anymore. It sounded like a man’s voice, but it was hard to hear over her mother babbling hysterically about calling the police. Her father silenced her with a mere look. He covered the speaker with his hand and faced them. “They want money… via wire transfer.”

“I’m calling the police,” her mother announced, as she dialed 911 on her cell phone.

“Not yet,” he demanded. “Be quiet.” He listened intently and started scrawling notes on the pad. Josie tried to see what he was writing, but his penmanship wasn’t great at the best of times. He definitely had a doctor’s handwriting. It looked like a child’s incoherent scribblings. “How do I know you’ll let her go? I want to speak to her. Put her on now.” His face was bright red—his anger palpable as he shouted. It had always terrified her as a child, but she wasn’t sure it would be so effective on a kidnapper hundreds of miles away.

Silent tears streamed down her cheeks, pooling in the corners of her lips. The sight of her father’s hands trembling only made her tears come harder and faster. Nothing rattled him. She had never even seen him cry in her entire life, but she

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