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Shades of Red By Samantha Traina Blood is a different kind of red. Claire’s hair was that natural red, the kind of red that would make you think she was Irish or something. Her lips, always chapped, were deeper in color than her hair, but less than her cheeks were. Red always hovered right under her skin, rushing to the surface when she was cold, excited, or mad. But that red, the red that had spewed over her hand as she coughed violently, was so much darker. It covered her pale skin, dotted her lips and even molded over teeth as she had tried to give Blake a reassuring smile. His grip on the steering wheel tightened. His knuckles turned white as he gripped the leather even tighter. A shaky gasp left his lips. His hand dropped to the keys still in the ignition as he stared at the hospital doors, through the car window. He still couldn’t get that sight of that red out of his head. He walked through the hospital not focusing on the directions, his feet already knowing the way; instead he focused on attempting to get his stomach to unclench like his hands. He kept his eyes on the floor ignoring the nurses and other patients that passed him by, maybe they would notice that he was still wearing the same grey t-shirt, with cafeteria chilly smudged by the collar. He shook his head realizing he could of thrown on the sweater stashed in the trunk of his car. Blake rubbed a hand through dark hair, looking up as he turned the corner. He stopped in the doorway, his entire body clenched tight. The smell of roses still lingered, slowly coaxing him into the room, till his knees hit the foot of the bed. The cards from her parents were gone. The teddy bears sent by worried friends gone, and the bedside table, that just yesterday morning had been cluttered with the stupid rocks Claire had begged him to bring, was empty. The bed was empty. Claire was gone.


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