Delude

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.

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14. Stolen.

I crawled onto the couch after I shut the door in Nixon’s face. Staring back at it, I pulled a blanket tightly around myself. Maybe if by some miracle I died in my sleep, I wouldn’t have to feel so guilty for hurting him. But I knew fate was never kind to me.

I curled up, closed my eyes, and willed sleep to come. Something startled me, though, and I sat up. My heart was pounding in my chest in a way I’d never felt before. It took me a moment to recognize the feeling.

Fear.

It was intense, burning, constricting. There was something to be afraid of. Something here in my house. I slipped off the couch and quietly crept to the stairs. I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone else was up there.

Slowly, and on the verge of tears, I ascended the steps. I shook as I tried to be quiet. As I reached the top, I looked at my door first. I saw that it was half open, which was the way I usually left it.

Before I even took another step, I felt an unusual draft slide around my body. I brought my hands to my arms, brushing away the goose bumps. When I turned, my knees buckled beneath me and I fell onto my knees, silently thanking the carpet for its softness.

My eyes widened as I stared at my mother’s wide-open bedroom door and shivered as a cruel wind seemed to slam into my body from the darkness. I gripped the banister and shut my eyes.

Please, no.

As I took a breath and began to stand, a hand slipped over my mouth and my middle, hoisting me up. I reached behind me to grab at the person’s face, scratching, trashing. When he slid a hand to my throat, I thought he was going to choke me. As his fingers pinched the spot between my neck and shoulder, a blanket of black invaded my eyes.

___

I felt like I was floating away from my body as a voice called to me, a recognizable, scared voice. I didn’t want to go back. I didn’t want any part of this if it meant losing the people I cared about.

My best friend was nothing more than a mindless drone now, filled with lies and misconceptions about me. My mother, wherever she was, with no idea what was happening to her, and she wouldn’t believe it if she were told the truth. If they died, it would be my fault.

My thoughts turned to Nixon as I tried to wake up. I didn’t mean to react the way that I had. Maybe he would sense that I was in trouble and come find me. But after the way I treated him, that was a long stretch.

Something lightly brushed against my temple, suddenly, and I blinked. When I was able to sit up I watched my living room come into view. My mouth was dry, and as I turned to ask for water, to whomever had done this, my eyes widened.

“You,” I gasped. “What are you doing here? Why did you do that to me?” I demanded as my eyes narrowed.

He touched my hair, his face inches from mine as he spoke. “I told you I would protect you, didn’t I?”

“But you made me―”

“I didn’t want to hurt you, Casey, but you gave me no choice. If you just stopped fighting for just a second you would have realized it was me.”

“How?”

He smiled, his piercings lifting. “Maybe my voice isn’t enough for recognition.” He frowned and sat beside me.

“You didn’t have to what you did,” I said, shaking my head. “You could have let me know it was you.”

“I couldn’t,” he said. “I couldn't let him know you were there.”

“Him who?” I felt a tremble go through my body and I shut my eyes. “Where is my mother, Nixon?”

“I don’t―”

“Don’t tell me you don’t know!” I screamed, opening my eyes. The air around us seemed to thin out and crackle. “I need to know, I can’t let her die!”

A smile flitted across Nixon’s face and he nodded. Without explaining his actions, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to mine.

“You’ll get them back,” he told me. “I promise.”

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