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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30. Slashes

I didn’t move from my spot on the lawn. I lay, listening to the rain and feeling the water pound on my back, and I sank further into the earth. Maybe that was a good thing, and then I wouldn’t have to remember what I had done.

But I couldn’t leave yet. I had to save Cari. But before I could do that, I had to get up. I pressed my fingers into the muddy ground, willing my body to do something, anything.

“Cari,” I whispered. I turned my head and looked into the dark house. Over the rainstorm, I couldn’t hear a fucking thing. I didn’t know whether he was hurting her or worse.

Guilt flowed through me as I thought of Lena. She annoyed me but I never wanted to actually kill her, Tears stung my eyes and when I reached up to wipe them away, I streaked my face with mud, the already evident blood coming off on my hands. I got on my knees, tilted my head back and stared into the dark sky.

Standing was hard enough, but I was able to do it. The rain had washed away the mud and blood from my face, and as I looked inside again, I saw a flash of something. Possibly light from the match or from a lighter.

My heart tightened as I walked to the door with the broken glass and crouched down. I tried to get as close as I could to the house. The roof slanted off and I wanted to protect myself from the rain.

I placed my hands inside the house, the wood cool against my palms. If anyone had looked my way, they would see half of my body. I hoped no one did, I didn’t want to blow it.

Luckily, the kitchen was to my left so no one could see me unless they were there. Beyond that was the living room, where Cari was being held by Maddox.

Mentally, I started to memorize her house, to think of a way out. Through the front door was the best option, because the backyard was fenced in. I didn’t think we’d be able to get the gate open fast enough before —

“Well, well,” hissed a familiar voice, “looks like I found a fucking rat.”

Maddox grabbed me by my head and dragged me into the living room. I didn’t struggle. He stopped walking and let me go. I turned my head and forced a scream back down my throat.

Cari was lying on the couch, on her stomach, staring at me. Her hair was messy and her eyes were wide. Her whole face was riddled with slashes from the knife.

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