Red

She looked at the needle and down at the floor, unable to bear the sight of the sharp metal point as it lay on the stainless steel workbench. "I don't think this is a good idea," she said uncertainly. "Not after what they told me..."

Her friend laughed, looking around the lab to check it really was deserted. "Don't be ridiculous, Kerri. It's fine. Nothing can go wrong. This is safe: people do it all the time." The girl, Kerri, looked down at the floor again. She knew her friend was wrong. She had watched the documentaries, read the news articles--she knew that this was dangerous.

"I don't want to..." she said finally. "Alice, I'm sorry, but I don't want this. This isn't how I want my life to go." Now she'd done it. She'd blown her chance and she'd lost her only friend. But the way this was going she would lose her soon enough, anyway.

"I hate you," said Alice quietly. "You said you'd do it. You agreed."

"I changed my mind." Kerri picked up the needle and weighed it in her hand. "How can you even contemplate this? It's..." She couldn't find the words so fell silent. After a long minute she spoke again. "Don't try to persuade me. I won't do it."

So saying, she put the needle down again and stood up. Alice looked at her, suddenly smaller, broken. "Fine. I don't care." 

"You don't have to do this," Kerri pleaded. "Alice, think about it."

"I have thought," Alice half-shouted. "I've thought and thought and there's nothing to stop me. Nothing serious. Besides, how bad can it be?"

Kerri walked out of the lab.

A year later, Alice was arrested for possession of drugs but released due to lack of evidence.

Three years after that, Kerri was standing by the open grave at the funeral. It was too late. She was too late. She should have stopped her friend from starting on that downward spiral but she hadn't.

Now she was dead. And it was Kerri's fault.

That was her undoing.

The End

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