47. The Cunning White Rabbit
How had he not seen? Not known?
His mistress would never have intended the drug for anyone other than Tera, and the Rabbit had puzzled and puzzled over how exactly she knew where Tera would be. But now it made sense.
One of the others had been tasked with placing her in the exact right location.
And then he remembered the body, now lying cold and dead on an examination table, the knife labeled Failure shoved through its back.
Dix had been a Rabbit. Had been like him.
She had failed.
Tera hadn’t been taken.
Someone else had taken her place.
Someone else was missing.
Oh God, the Rabbit thought, realizing what he’d done, that boy is not strong enough. The drug will kill him!
And when Vier died, so would he.
The Rabbit had no doubt that he’d be the next to die, the next lifeless body found in a hallway or unused room. This mansion had enough of those, all filled with memories and horrors of the past.
It would probably by the Hearts room. That whole area was rarely used, but the previous Ace’s private chamber even more so. No one went into the room dedicated solely to the fulfillment of the last Ace’s sadistic pleasures.
The Rabbit remembered those days, when he’d often disposed of the mutilated bodies of Ace’s victims.
He remembered killing the few who’d lived through it. That had been a mercy, a kind, quick ending to their sad stories, their tragic lives. The tragedy: they met Ace, were either beautiful or clever enough to interest him, yet gentle enough that he couldn’t use them, or they were stupid, unlucky, and weak enough that he enjoyed breaking them.
The result was the same either way.
Until one day, the Ace of Hearts found a new toy, one he took his time with.
The woman had gone insane a long time before the pain even started. The last Tera, she’d broken. The Rabbit remembered the day she’d realized she was pregnant, had wept and embraced Ace like a lover – for they had been, at least in her mind. He remembered Ace’s grim request, the day he’d asked the Rabbit to purge Tera of her child.
He remembered his first act of defiance, when he’d not only refused, but had helped her give birth. And the Rabbit’s rebellion had only just started.
Disobedience was a sweet taste, but, it seemed, one that had to be enjoyed in moderation.