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Britney King LLC

Good and Gone: A Psychological Thriller (Ebook)

Good and Gone: A Psychological Thriller (Ebook)

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In this deviously volatile, deliciously creepy thriller from the bestselling author of The Social Affair and HER, a young woman must uncover the haunting truth about the turn of events that left her forever marked…

About The Book

On a crisp fall morning in Austin, Texas, it is a day no different from any other for young mother Hailey Adams. Until it is. She goes out for her morning jog and does not come back.

When Hailey turns up weeks later with no recollection of where she was—and either unable—or unwilling—to explain what happened to her, those closest to her first question her mental status and then her motives. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media, as well as her loving husband, the popular fitness influencer begins to have flashbacks.

But the more Hailey continues to dig, the more reasons she uncovers to keep the truth hidden—from the law, from the media, and especially from her family. She soon realizes she’s not the only one to recently disappear under mysterious circumstances—and her nightmare may be far from over.

Read a sample

Prologue

Would it be better not to know? A thousand thoughts swirl through my mind as I stand here wondering whether I’m making the right decision. Not in the act itself, but in leaving my wallet—leaving identification—close by. On the one hand, I want there to be proof. On the other, I know better than anyone that the things we lose are not always better off found.

I pace back and forth several times, wearing the grass thin under my feet, finally deciding that yes, this is the right decision. The last thing I want is for my family to go through the kind of hell they went through the last time I disappeared. If only I’d known then what I know now: it would have been better if I’d never come back.

My watch buzzes. Sixty-eight seconds.

Obviously, some will say what I’m about to do is selfish. They’ll say it’s like ripping the scab off a poorly healed wound, reopening it for the sake of watching it bleed. It’s true. I know this. And for that, I am deeply sorry.

Selfish, perhaps, too. But here’s the thing: no one knows what it’s like to be me. To have to live in my skin, after…well, after everything.

Sure, they can have their opinions. That’s fine. It’s hard to fault them because they don’t know what I know. They sit in the comfort of their homes, typing behind keyboards— armchair quarterbacks, that’s what he always calls them. They don’t know what it’s like to be hunted. And these people looking for me? They’ll never stop. They’ll never leave us alone. Not until I’m gone—for good, this time.

It’s not like I haven’t tried hard to make it all work. God, have I tried. I failed at that, too. Same as the other two times I attempted this. I hear it’s common, and I guess that makes sense. You fail at life; you fail at death.

In any case, everyone will be better off without me, better off without the side show our lives have become. Once I am dead, not simply gone—there is a difference—things can return to normal. A different normal, obviously. But life will go on. We like to think we are special, but in the grand scheme of things? We’re not.

What a terribly painful lesson that was to learn. After I went missing, I thought that once I was back home, things would eventually return to the way they were before. Only it wasn’t like that at all. Life had moved on, and I learned firsthand, the world keeps spinning whether you’re there to watch it or not.

The thunderous roar of the train in the distance causes my stomach to leap into my throat. The clock is ticking. The time for contemplation has run out. Whatever happens once I make that leap, I hope it goes quick.

It should. This time, I have left nothing to chance. Roughly two hundred plus people commit suicide by railway every year. I’ve learned a lot in reading about many of those accounts. I’ve learned that it’s best not to show yourself, not until the last minute, so there is no time to brake.

Forty-two seconds.

I lay the note in the grass, along with my wallet and my sweater. I’ve read it can be comforting for young children if you leave behind something with your scent. For weeks my clothing hasn’t seen the laundry. But the sweater isn’t for the kids. It’s for him. He’ll know exactly what it means.

Twenty-seven seconds.

I take a step back and roll my shoulders. I try my best to ignore the quivering of my arms. My eyes linger on my wallet and sweater, and I watch as the grass swallows them. They are my last tether to this place and time, to this life, and I stare at them until they fall out of sight. The ground beneath my feet rumbles. The train's engine sounds like a car crash as its wheels roll over the tracks. Finally, the horn blares. I expect it, but still, it makes me jump.

My watch vibrates. Twenty-two seconds.

It’s too soon.

I ask myself what happens if I can’t do this. What if I can’t step out onto the tracks? A better question would be: What happens if I don’t do this? What happens if I continue to put myself and my family through this nightmare we are living in?

I know the answer to that, and it’s more horrifying than having my body ripped to shreds by a train going a hundred miles an hour.

I watch, and I listen, and I wait. I wait to hear the brakes. I wait for the moment of impact. I wait for the moment my world comes to a stop.

The thought of never getting to teach my son how to ride a bike makes the tears fall faster. The thought of never seeing my baby girl in her prom dress horrifies me. The thought of never again seeing my mom’s face makes me sick. The thought of never feeling the weight of his hands again makes my heart ache.

Those things are almost unimaginable. But I’ve come to realize there are worse things. More than fearing going through with it, I’m scared that I’ll go home, and everything will be the same. I’ll go through today, and everything will be the same tomorrow. I’ll go through tomorrow, and everything will be the same the next day. And the next day.

They’ll still be looking for me. So long as I’m alive, the threat remains. Eventually, they’ll find me, and what then?

Eight seconds.

Down the tracks, an oncoming train screams. The whistle shrieks. The train is gaining speed. I feel its heat and its stench deep in my throat. I feel the horn blasting, feel myself shrinking as I stare into the fiery heart of the engine, screaming as it nears. This is it. I take a step forward. I'm walking, and then I'm running.

Suddenly, I’m standing in the center of the tracks, trying to remember if it's better to lie down. No, I want to die on my feet. It feels like a statement, even if it doesn’t matter to anyone but me.

I hear the echo of the brakes. I hear the rumble. I hear the horn, and then the whistle, and then I am screaming, screaming as I hear the squeal of metal on metal, the howl of the wind as it passes me.

All I can see is the train.

All I can feel is the heat from its engine.

All I can hear is the rumble.

All I can smell is the exhaust.

All I can taste is the terror.

Hot blood whooshes through my ears, mimicking the sound of the locomotive. Everything in me screams: Move. Get off the tracks.

But I don't.

I can't.

I know I am going to die, but that’s not the saddest thing. The saddest thing is I can't recall the last time I've felt so alive.

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