The cold grates my face off as I nuzzle my nose deeper into my jacket. It reminds me of home. Not Other Sarah’s home, but the place Quin and I escaped. We’re never going back. It’s eternally night there with those sketchy street lights that cast more shadows than light. Living there isn’t living; it’s like being buried alive, but you never die. Am I even alive?

I dig my hand into my jacket and press it to my chest. I feel a little heartbeat, a mimicry compared to Other Sarah’s heartbeat. I felt it, her heart beat, before I put her out. We could afford to be sloppy then. No need to make it look like an accident.

Why did I call 911? We need Other Amber’s death to look like a suicide. I knew Quin couldn’t do this. I should’ve just left him outside, made him wait in the car. He’s going to fall for her, but Other Amber can’t replace our Amber. I won’t let her.

I go to the front door all white and perfect. I stuff my hand up my sleeve, better not to leave prints, and jiggle the handle. It’s opened. Anyone could walk in stupid girl. Maybe that’s how our Amber got in.

Bile rises in my throat. I step inside and slam the door behind me. I glance in the airy living room. The couches sag in the center and family photos spread across the walls. Other Amber’s senior picture hangs dead center. Her crooked teeth and tiny nose. Dark hair chopped unevenly. But her eyes scream across the room. Brown eyes that droop and squint just slightly. I can’t believe her parents never noticed.

Ungrateful bitch. Our Amber gave her life to be free, and now Other Amber is throwing her own away. What in her life could be that bad that she would throw all of this away?

Distant alarms perk my ears. I barrel down the springy carpeted hall and into Other Amber’s bathroom. Quin’s arms wrap around her clutching her wrists closed as if he holds her life in his hands. If only he could squeeze hard enough to save the girl he loves. But she’s already gone, and this imposter killed her.

I lean over Quin. “They’re almost here, Amber. I can hear it.” He whispers high-pitched and hysterical.

“Quin,” I grab his face in my hands. “She’s not our Amber. Our Amber is already dead. And so is she.” I nod at the gaggle of limbs.

Quin jerks his head back out of my hands. “She’s not dead. She’s still warm.”

“Warm or not, she’s dead. That’s what we came here to do. When the ambulance gets here it’ll be too late.” I snap digging my thumbs under Quin’s hands trying to wrench them away.

He holds tighter his face twisting and smooshing up. “She wouldn’t be doing this if she hadn’t…”

“If she hadn’t killed your girlfriend?” I hiss. “What the hell is wrong with you? She’s a murderer!”

The sound like a cap gun startles me more than the residual sting. My cheek heats up where his hand had been. Like putting on 3D glasses the world pops out at me more real than before. Quin’s face comes into focus, pulled in so many different directions you would think I’d hit him. The haze in his eyes since Amber’s death evaporated. When did that happen? And in its place there’s none of the love that I thought I saw. Maybe we see what we want to see.

I’m still standing there as they rescue Other Amber, the only Amber. I think they are asking me questions, but the sound sucks right out of the room. Everyone around me moves through like molasses. Quin follows Amber into the ambulance. Only one person can go with her. I’m glad it’s him.

Something on my hands catches my eye. Her blood.

Fiction

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