Blood. It’s blood. The dark stain circling Sydney is blood.
No, no, no. I grab my phone, unlock it, navigate to favorites, and touch Mulberry's name without even fully registering the thought.
It rings. How am I going to explain knowing Sydney Rye needs help?
I’m thousands of miles away, stationed on a private island in the middle of the Pacific. And yet—
"Hello?" Mulberry's voice, gravelly with sleep, cuts through my thoughts.
"Sydney is bleeding."
"What?" Mulberry's voice clears as sheets rustle in the background.
A dog barks. I focus on the monitor with the live feed of Sydney's room. Blue is up and going wild. Sydney, her shoulder length hair splayed out on the pillow, the white of the hotel sheets only a few shades lighter than her blanched skin, remains motionless.
I didn't even need to call. The dogs would have alerted Mulberry. Foolish. Careless. Stupid.
"What’s going on, Dan?”
I don’t answer.
The door between Mulberry and Sydney's rooms flies open—I watch it on the screen and hear the hinges swoosh over the phone line. Reaching out, I slide my finger along the stylus bar to raise the volume. Mulberry stumbles into Sydney's room, unsteady on just his one leg.
She didn't lock the door. That isn’t like her. Except it was Mulberry on the other side. A subtle invitation?
"No!" Mulberry’s voice echoes between the phone and computer speakers. He lunges toward the bed.
Sydney lies on her back, a dark stain spreading around her hips. Mulberry drops the phone when he grabs her shoulders, his broad back blocking Sydney’s face from my view.
I swivel to a different monitor and bring up Mulberry's phone screen. I dial 911. Someone has to. I can always be counted on to do what needs doing. Overstepping saves lives.
"What's your emergency?" the Miami 911 operator asks.
I clench my fist on the glass surface of my desk. Answer her, you idiot. Mulberry doesn’t follow my mental command. Fine. I take full control of the phone. "My wife is pregnant and bleeding. We’re at the airport Marriott, room 523," I say, my voice even and clear. I say it like it's my baby. Like it's my life. Not something I’m watching on a screen. My eyes flick back to the live feed of her room. "I can't wake her."
Mulberry sits on the edge of the bed, face tear streaked.
Sydney isn’t moving.
She isn’t moving.
Don't let her die.
P.S. The dog does not die.
**Beware: If you can’t handle a few f-bombs, you can’t handle this series.**