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Witness (Ebook)

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Witness Book One

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BETTER WATCH YOUR BACK

College student Courtney Hartford’s worries are confined to doing well in school and having an active social life. That is, until she witnesses a murder.

And then recognizes the murderer.

His warning not to tell, coupled with his threat against her life and the life of her mother, pushes her to make a difficult decision–tell the police the truth, or let the people who are threatening her control her life.

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Prologue

I finished wiping down the tables at the fast food restaurant where I worked—Patty Melt Burgers and Shakes—then turned to my manager, Steven, and said, “All done with the tables. Anything else before I go home?”

“Thanks, Courtney. After you take out the trash, you can leave.”

It wasn’t my favorite task, but someone had to do it, and everyone else had already left for the night. “Okay.” Eager to finish up and go home, I gathered the trash, then headed out the back of our store. The early spring air was chilly, but I didn’t mind. I loved this time of year. Especially when it meant there was only about a month left in the semester. This was my second semester at college, and though I was enjoying it, I’d found it to be more demanding than high school.

The dumpster was in the alley behind our store, and having done this chore countless times before, I walked with confidence. 

But this time, something was different. 

The sound of a scuffle came from the nearby alley. Tossing the trash into the dumpster, I wondered what was going on. From where I stood I couldn’t see anything. 

Then I heard a distinct cry for help. 

Fear rocketed up my spine and straight to my heart. The darkness seemed to close around me as my ears vibrated with the sounds of distress coming from the alley.

Not about to face whatever was happening nearby alone, I ran back into Patty Melt Burgers and Shakes and yelled to Steven that someone needed help and to call the police. I would have called them myself, but my phone was safely tucked away in my locker per company policy.

I dashed back outside, then stopped, conflicted about my next move. Should I investigate? What if I got hurt? But what if there was something I could do to prevent someone else from getting hurt?

Not able to sit by and do nothing, I had to at least see what was happening.

Another cry for help broke the silence, and though my heart pounded a warning, I raced in the direction of the sound. 

Steven was slow to follow, and I reached the end of the alley well before he did. I turned the corner, and in the dim light I saw two men fighting. That is, one man was on the ground and the other man was pummeling him.

I came to a halt at the corner of the building that led to the alley, about twenty feet from the fighting men. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I looked in the direction of Patty Melt Burgers and Shakes to see where my manager was. Trotting toward me, he seemed to be moving as fast as he could, but he wasn’t exactly in tip-top shape. 

Motioning frantically for him to hurry, I turned back to the fighting men.

Wanting them to stop, but with no idea how to make that happen, I stood frozen to the spot. 

The man on top raised his hand. Something shiny was grasped in his fist. Then, to my utter horror, he plunged it straight into the man on the ground, who let out a blood-curdling scream.

Shocked, I cried out.

The man with the knife lifted his head and looked right at me. And in the light from the streetlamp, I recognized him.

* * *

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