The Quiet

I followed her gaze to the other side of the room, where there were two windows. One was closed tightly. But the other was opening slowly. I could see some kind of shadow come over the bottom.

Someone was coming inside.

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39. Monster

I could hear Cari screaming and crying beside me as I grasped Lena’s lifeless hand, my own slippery with blood – hers. Cari had her head bent and she was gasping, almost like she was trying not to throw up.

I was blinded by rage and tears and the overwhelming urge to kill this monster that had murdered someone close to me, right in front of me. I dropped her hand, knowing what I had to do, and stood up.

Before I could even make a move to hit him, Alec gripped me around the collar and ripped off my necklace, throwing it to the floor. Then he lifted me, clear off my feet, and shook me.

“Spineless,” he told me, “just like your father. Did they ever find out who killed that son of a bitch?” He smiled ruthlessly, his eyes dark, and leaned toward my ear. “The killer was under your roof the whole time, and you never knew.”

Then he dropped me. I hit the floor with a sickening thud that was sure to crack one of my ribs. If it had, I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t feel anything.

Alec, my father’s best friend for years, had killed him.

I felt sick.

“What’s the matter, Clayton?” Alec whispered, pulling me up by my hair. “You look like you need to sit down.” He threw me, like I was weightless, onto the couch.

I didn’t move. Not when he reached down and pocketed the Cat’s Eye, and not when he advanced on Cari. I winced as I watched him slam her face repeatedly into the floor until she was knocked out.

He turned her face this way and that, examining what Maddox had done to her. He didn’t touch her again, just left her bruised and bleeding. He turned to me and threw my necklace at me.

“Where is that coward?” he asked.

It took me a few seconds to realize what he was talking about. Pain invaded my skull as I moved my head and eyes around the room.

Maddox had disappeared.

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