Casey just wanted to have a normal life. She would only be so lucky. She despises school, especially after she meets Evan Fynn. In seconds, he's undone everything she's worked hard to maintain; he's taken everyone from her, filled their minds with lies to drive them away. She is desperate to find out why, even if the truth is more terrifying than she expected.


24. Puppeteer.

Before I took another step, something stopped me; that constricting feeling made its presence known, and as I turned my head to look at Noah, I found myself staring into a set of familiar eyes.

“Nixon!” I shouted as he held me. “I’m glad you’re okay, I was―”

My sentence was cut off as I stared into his face; it was hard, his eyes narrowed. His lips, which were cut open from where someone had ripped out his snakebites, curled into an unsettling smirk.

I struggled against him. “Let me go! Noah, help me!”

There was only my ragged breathing as an answer.

“He’s become a nuisance,” Nixon said roughly. “I had to dispose of him.”

“You wouldn’t do that,” I muttered, tears sliding down my cheeks. “Youwouldn’t do that. It’s not you. Nixon, listen to me.” I stared into his cold eyes. “I killed Evan, thinking the mind control would stop, but it hasn’t. Someone else has been doing it.”

His only response was slamming his fist into my head, silencing me. I guess he didn’t want to hear what I had to say.


The voices were faint, just bits of broken words and a sliver of what I’m assuming was laughter. The fog in my head was heavy, keeping me down, my face pressed against a stone cold floor.

Someone touched me. They shook me, whispered my name, and shook me again. Their hands were kind. Not rough like the others. I opened my eyes, was blinded by the light, and shut them again.

“It’s me, Case.”

Her voice tugged at my heart. It latched onto my body and pulled me up until I was against her, my arms around her, crying into her clothes.

“Oh, honey, are you okay? What’s going on?”

I hugged her tighter as she rubbed my back.

“It’s okay,” I said. I felt a pang of guilt at my words. “I’ll explain everything soon. Are you hurt?”

“No, I’m fine, just a little drowsy.” She shook her head. “Did you know that Jade was here? She told me to come with her and I felt like I didn’t have a choice.”

“Jade always was so persuasive,” I said, finding some humor in the situation.

“That boy is here too. Nixon.” My mom looked a little worried. “He came in here before and was angry about something. He didn’t sound like himself, Casey.” Her green eyes had shadows underneath, like she hadn’t slept in weeks.

“Mom,” my voice was low, tired, “what did Jade say to you when she brought you here?”

“She told me she wouldn’t hurt me if I did what she wanted. She said this was the only way I would see you.”

I tuned her out for a moment. I had to think of a way to get out of here without her seeing what I could do. I looked around the tiny cell and sighed.

“They could have taken you to another room,” I said. “Why didn’t they?”

My mother smiled softly. “They said that was for you. They wanted you to be comfortable before they gave you back to me.”

Comfortable and broken, like a little doll.

I shook my head and looked toward the door. The little slot in the center that opened for food and other things remained closed.

“Where are you?” I whispered.

It’s okay, darling. You’re with your mother. You’re safe now.

“I need you,” I said softly. “Please. Nixon’s one of them.”

Thankfully my mother didn’t seem to hear me.

Evan’s reign is over. Just destroy the only one left and then you’re free. I will see you again, Casey. One day.

My eyes widened as Noah’s voice faded. Tears stung, threatening to spill. There were impatient footsteps outside of the cell and the door was blown off its hinges. Someone stepped inside.

My mother shouted. The person reached out, took her head in their hands, and slammed it into the wall. I heard her body slide to the cold floor, and then a pair of blazing yellow eyes turned to me.

“We’re going to finish this right now,” Abigail hissed through clenched teeth. “I’m going to enjoy killing you. I’m going to rip your fucking spine from your body. You think you can beat me just because you killed my puppet? Let’s see you try.”

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