Name: Rachel Berros
Twitter Handle: @Berrosrachel
Title: THE FIRST TODAY
Genre: Adult Speculative Thriller
Word Count: 90,000
My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:
The most stressful relationship for my MC, Alice, is with fate. It started when her mother died the morning after Alice first used her ability to change events. Her fear of further retaliation has shaped her life and guided her every choice since. It's because of fate that she has more motivation to become a better physician, but also a heavier mantle of guilt.
As an emergency physician Alice Whithers must constantly choose between accepting her patients’ deaths or reliving the day to try again—and risking fate’s wrath at the intrusion.
Alice can turn back time, but she hasn’t used her ability in seventeen years, not since interfering with fate led to her mother’s death. As painful as it is to watch her patients suffer or die, the risk of intervening has always outweighed the possible benefit. That is, until Alice causes a lethal car accident. Overcome with guilt and remorse, she decides to relive the day, praying that not only will she save lives, but she may finally gain the redemption she’s sought for nearly two decades.
Tonight, she'll choose. Tomorrow she’ll face fate’s response.
This patient is dying and there’s nothing more I can do. Not even repeating today would save this woman from her stroke during the night. No, this time at least, I get to suffer my patient’s loss like a normal physician. And providing things like a comfortable passing, without feeling guilt, is almost a blessing.
I glance at the pajama-clad granddaughter crying beside the bed. Monitors beep around us like orchestral crickets and bleach flavors the air.
This isn’t what they need. They need peace and respect, and I can at least provide them those. So, I mute the machines and readjust her pillow. Chanel No. 5 tickles my nose and despite everything, my lips tug up at one corner. If this patient also loved bacon, she could’ve been Granny’s twin.
At the thought, something tightens deep in my chest, but I push it aside. This isn’t my Granny. It’s Ms. Avery’s.
I’ve advised her of the prognosis, there’s nothing left to say, yet I still don’t leave. Instead, I place a hand on the young woman’s shoulder. “I’m sorry I can’t do more. But I will keep her comfortable.”
She raises red, swollen eyes to my burning ones, and nods. “Then…then I guess that’s enough.”
Her breaking voice echoes my heart. One day I’ll stare at my Granny like that, at my only family, my best friend.
Nothing will be enough on that day.
With a deep breath, I squeeze her shoulder gently and then leave her to her grief.