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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3. Chapter Two

Exactly four months ago, Scarlet Avenue took her life. She had wandered off in the early morning and when, eventually, Thom had coaxed her to come back home, Scarlet had overdosed on the pills she was supposed to be taking to control her depression. Thom found her sprawled on the floor tiles of the ensuite bathroom a couple of hours later.

            It was a miracle that Erin hadn't found her.

            As a psychiatrist and the doctor who had prescribed his wife the drugs she had been advised to take, he did understood why his wife had come to her end. What he couldn't understand was that Scarlet had actually left her young daughter behind.

            Thom finally felt that they were getting back on track. Thom had tried to be strong, for his daughter's sake, but he still drowned his sorrows with a bottle of Jack Daniel's whilst his daughter slept. He'd given up now though. For good this time. Erin was still doing well in school, she was getting back in check so it was about time that he did too.

            When they arrived in town, Thom bought Erin a new sketch book and a book on famous artists. He then bought them both an Egg McMuffin and hash browns, plus a hot chocolate for Erin and a black coffee for himself. As they ate their McMuffins, Erin opened up her book on famous artists onto the table, scrunching up her face slightly as she concentrated on the information.

            Thom had just downed his black coffee when Erin began to speak, not taking her eyes away from the page. “Did you know that Van Gogh cut off his ear?”

            “Really?” Thom replied, exaggerating his surprise.

            “Yes,” Erin said and then she looked up. “Imagine not having any ears! Would he still be able to hear?”

            “Well you might as well not have any ears because you don't listen sometimes,” Thom said and then he laughed when his daughter frowned at him.

            “Well, he was an odd man but his paintings are interesting,” Erin said, back in her serious voice and her scrunched up concentrating face.

            “Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci invented the flying machine?” Thom asked her, before shoving a hash brown into his mouth.

            Erin's eyes lit up. “Really?” she gasped before quickly flicking through the book. When she found the page she sat up straight. “It says here that Leonardo Da Vinci invented the 'Ornihopter' in fourteen ninety three. He also designed the 'Leonardo Da Vinci Glider', the 'helicopter' and the 'parachute'! Wow!”

            “Your Uncle Kenny is a pilot,” Thom said as he reached across the table to get Erin's hash brown.

            “He lives in Australia, doesn't he?” Erin's full attention was now on her father.

            “No, America. He lives in Connecticut.”

            “I was close,” Erin said.

            “No, not really,” Thom laughed.

            Erin scowled but then started laughing too, the little dimples on her cheeks becoming apparent.

            Thom couldn't help but smile. Even though Erin did not have her mother's blue eyes, she did have her pale blonde curls and heart-shaped face. She had her father's eyes and her mother's hair. Thom guessed that Erin's hair, unlike her mother's, would darken slightly over the years because of his dark hair. Erin was also smaller than her mother had been when she was Erin's age: Erin was the smallest in her class where as Scarlet had been the tallest girl (in fact, she had been taller than Thom until they were twelve years old when Thom suddenly shot up).

            “Dad?” Erin interrupted Thom's trail of thoughts. “Do you really need a new laptop? What's wrong with your old one?”

            “I spilled coffee on it, remember?”

            “Well why don't you use a computer at work?”

            “Because I don't want to.”

            “Why?

            “Well, why did you need a new sketch book?” Thom challenged her.

            “Because I need to start fresh; I'm starting a new topic,” Erin said, somewhat smug.

            “And tomorrow is my first day back to work,” Thom said, and then he stood up and shrugged his coat on. “Come on, let's go before all the shops shut.”

            Erin picked up her full cup of hot chocolate and followed her father, scraping the soles of her Converse against the lino.

*

            It was inevitable that Erin Avenue would return home without having begged her father for something else. As well as the book on famous artists and a new sketch book, Erin had bagged a locket with an 'E' engraved into it. It had been in a jewellers closing down sale so it didn't cost that much, but Erin adored it because she had wanted a locket since her mother had died. She wanted to put a small picture of her mother in one half and one of her father in the other. She wanted them to be close to her heart, to protect her from the sadness that had pummelled her down all those months ago. She didn't want it to come back. She didn't want to be sad like her mother.

            She was still sad sometimes. She would lie in bed for hours after her father had said goodnight to her and she would just think about her mother. Her mother wouldn't say goodnight to her ever again. She wouldn't watch her in a school play. She wouldn't sit with her on Christmas day, watching her opening her presents. She wouldn't be able to be held in her mother's arms. Never, ever again. Her mother had been sad. Very sad. Erin couldn't remember the last time her mother had touched her.

            Sometimes her mother wouldn't speak to Erin and would flinch whenever Erin took a step closer to her.

            Sometimes her mother would look straight at her but appear not to be looking at her at all.            Sometimes her mother wouldn't sit with her and her father for dinner.

            Sometimes her mother wouldn't come out of her bedroom for days.

            What was she kidding? This happened all the time. Her mother would look at her as if she was the cause of her sadness. One day her mother would scream at Erin, declaring that she wasn't her mother – she just carried her for nine months and was now burdened with her. The day after, her mother would walk Erin to school (I'll keep you safe, I will never let you go) and she would cling so hard to her that Erin's arm would turn red (Mummy, gerrof me; you're hurting me!). Her mother would start to cry, sobbing into Erin's hair for a moment before turning around and running back home, leaving Erin in the middle of the street on her own.

            Erin didn't want to be sad that her mother had gone. Erin wanted to hate her mother for not caring about her, for abandoning her. But she couldn't. She loved her mother despite their detachment when her mother was alive.

            She knew that her mother hadn't been happy, hadn't been happy for a long, long time. She knew that it wasn't her fault that her mother had been sad, but she couldn't help but blame herself.

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