The Puppeteer

What happens when your psychiatrist goes crazy?
Doctor Thomas Avenue has always been lucky in life. He has a beautiful wife and daughter and a flash sports car. But then, one morning, he finds his wife sprawled across the bathroom with empty packets of pills beside her. Desperate to keep himself busy, he returns to work - totally unaware that his new patient, a seventeen year old girl who murdered her twin, will bring back his haunting memories. The ones he tried so hard to forget.


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1. Prologue

 

The grass scratched her knees, but Scarlet didn't care. She was cold and her thin, pale body trembled beneath her partially see-through night dress. But she didn't care about that either. All she cared about was that she was here. As long as she was here, she was safe.

 

She closed her eyes and breathed in the peace. She let the light breeze tousle her white-blonde hair as she raised her bare arms above her head, as if she was conducting some kind of ritual. A smile gradually stretched across her face. And then she opened her eyes. It was there. It was only a few feet away. The tree swing: the seat had been carved and the rope had been assembled to the old oak by her grandfather for her father and his sister when they had been children. It used to be such a beautiful thing; the earth beneath it covered in green shards of grass that would shimmer in the sunlight and the tree with its ever changing appearance: blossoms... fresh green leaves... orange and red and brown, each leaf drifting to the ground joining the huge mound of leaves that would be piled together and kicked over and over again. If it snowed in the winter, the garden would look like a winter wonderland. It had always reminded Scarlet of the secret realms of Narnia.

 

She had happy memories here, that's why she came here to escape when things got too difficult to bear with. When she had been a child, her brother, Kendrick (or Kenny to most), would push her so high on the swing that she often thought that she would fall, but she had trusted him with her life. She would clamber onto the seat and hold onto the rope as tight as she could, the rope digging into her tiny hands. They would ache so badly afterwards but the rope burns were reminders of the magical feeling of defying gravity. The sun searing her eyes, the gentle breeze making her hair float about her... the exhilarating experience of flying. She could be in her own little world, imagining she was a pilot, just like Kenny was. She was untouchable. She was free.

“Scarlet,” the voice was gentle and drifted to her ears like a melody.

She knew who it was, but she did not turn around.

“Scarlet, sweetheart, please come home,” the voice was weary, tired. Slightly exasperated.

Scarlet did not respond. She stared down at her bare legs and her mud encrusted feet. She hugged her chest with her bony arms, suddenly feeling exposed and violated.

“Scarlet.”

“Scarlet, please.”

“I just want to escape,” she spoke so softly that even she barely caught what she had said. “I just want the rope burns. I want to remember the magical feeling of defying gravity,” she turned to her husband. “I just want to be free.”

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