True Memoirs of A Liar 2: Sacrifice
Author: C Lawson

Chapter 35
Family Tree

Afternoon sunshine didn’t reach my room.  The bricks and boards completely concealed the window that used to be somewhere on my wall.  The goons or servants had, of course, perfectly plastered and painted over the window to where I couldn’t even venture a guess as to where it might be.

            How had I gotten back into my room?  I tried to move.  Oh, bad idea.  Where was Alex?  Lena ran into the room with her hair swirling around her face, maddened curls like a living cyclone.  Her face was flushed and sweaty.

            “Lena?  Did you run the entire length of the grounds?” She nodded in response, heaving in air, seemingly trying to gather all of the oxygen in the room.

            “He’s gone,” she managed to scream.  I hushed her and opened my arms to her.  She rushed to my side, dove into my arms, and lightly touched her forehead to my shoulder.

            “Who’s gone?” I asked calmly.  I could see the bruises on my arms.  There were a few cuts as well, but they’d been bandaged properly.

            “Alex!” she cried as if it should have been obvious.  I bolted straight up in the bed, ignoring the daggers of pain that rocketed through my body. “What? Where?” Lena was extremely distressed.  I wasn’t exactly on any vacation just then, either.

            “He wouldn’t tell me!  I couldn’t stop him.  He said he was going to come for us—you and me.” I stood up as fast as I could, nearly jumping off of the mattress (I used the springiness of it to help me out).  Before I could even take a step, I collapsed.  On my knees, I was shaking with disbelief.

            “He wouldn’t do that,” I declared in a calm, strong voice. “Lena, he wouldn’t do that.” She plopped down onto the floor with me.  I didn’t know if my sudden weakness was from my injuries or if it was from the disturbing message that Lena had brought me.  I hoped it wasn’t the latter.  Lena seemed to open her eyes for the first time and take in the fact that I was hurt.

            “What happened to you?” she asked in a horrified voice.

            “I’m fine,” I replied, not wanting to explain and not wanting her to worry.  She took my hand in her own.  It was warm and comforting. “Where could he have gone?” I asked myself out loud.  I softly flexed the fingers of the hand that wasn’t holding Lena’s.  I tucked my knees under me as tenderly as I could.  I saw that my left hand was wrapped in gauze and bandages.

            “I don’t know, but I know that he was in a big hurry to find some peace and quiet.” In that instant, something told me to ask Lena what she meant, but Othello entered the room.  His eyes widened in concern at the sight of my shaken and bullied appearance, but a soft noise from the living room forced his face to cool to stone.

            “Miss, you have a visitor,” he announced in his unintentionally loud baritone.  I made Lena stand up.

            “Quickly, run and hide,” I whispered to her.  I crawled into the bed, using the footboard for aid, and nodded to Othello.  Edward Stone strode easily into the room not long after that.  As he approached my bedside, I stared a hole through the ceiling.

            “Excuse yourself,” he ordered.  Othello promptly exited the room. “I’ve heard about your condition,” he directed towards me after he was sure that Othello had left.

            “There is no condition,” I growled through clenched teeth.  Edward blew air out of his nose like a dragon.

            “Fine.  And where is the dashing young prince?” I didn’t answer. “Ah, yes.  He’s gone AWOL, hasn’t he?” I barely reacted. “Gone for good, I’d wager.” His voice was purely, chillingly evil. “Anyway, about your injuries: I’ll have one of your guards who’s been trained in the medical field come up and take another look.  How do you feel?” he wondered, acting as if he cared.

            “I’ve had worse,” I said coldly.

            “I can’t imagine.  When?” I took a deep breath before I answered.

            “When you shot my heart.” I heard him chuckle.

            “That’s absurd.  I’ve never shot you,” he claimed with a sudden cheer in his tone.  As if he were proud of the fact that he’d yet to dismember me.  Did I mention how safe I felt in his presence?

            “I didn’t say you shot me.  I said you shot my heart,” I repeated, letting my eyes flicker to his face for only a moment.

            “I see.  You figured out that I was the one to pull the trigger on poor Christian.” He didn’t seem repentant in any way; not that I’d expected him to be.  He shifted his stance so that his right side was adjacent to my left.

            “You were fine,” he said.  I sat up straight, a new-born intensity flaring in my eyes.

            “I died that day,” I said with a strengthened ferocity that was strange and unfamiliar to me.  Edward Stone looked taken aback, but a slow determined light gleamed in his cold eyes.

            “Well, how opportune that your Christian revived you.” I gave him a confused stare before breaking the shared gaze. “How else would I kill you next week?” This time I didn’t look away.  He was going to try to kill me?  Again?

            “What?” I asked, not understanding how he would benefit from my death.

            “I will have one of you, Faith.  You or Christian will take my place,” he said, his tone leaving nothing up for discussion or negotiation.

            “Why?” I wondered, my vocabulary suddenly limited.

            “Christian for obvious reasons: he knows my position, he is respected here, and he can give me an heir.  But he’s let love make him weak.  I want you for some of the same reasons: you are respected and well-liked here, and you can give me an heir.  But you can give me an heir of my own blood.”

            “What?” I cried, straightening my back to a perfect ninety degree angle; an impeccable imitation of an Edward posture. I was so NOT making babies with Creepy-Evil-Torture Guy.

            “I thought that might grab your attention.  Have you truly not recognized the resemblance?” I cursed Lena for her observances.  She’d commented on it briefly once, but had never brought it up again once she’d seen my reaction. “You’re my daughter, Faith.”  I couldn’t breathe.  My body began to shut down, clicking into a state of stillness starting at my toes and working its way upwards.  My hands curled into fists.  My head pounded out a furious rhythm, nearly keeping up with my heart.   I saw the dresser that sat usually perfectly still directly in front of my bed. But this time the dresser slowly bobbed up and down, like a buoy on the ocean, dipping and rising with the summer breeze.

            I shut my eyes as tight as possible, trying to shut out the world as well. “That’s not possible,” I hissed.

            “Oh, but it’s true.  Would you like to know what happened to your mother?  My wife?” he asked in a cold voice, a tone that exuded malice.  I nodded, slowly opening my eyes.  Edward took a cautious step towards me, and whether he was testing himself or testing my own control, I’ll never know.  He inched forward another step until he was directly next to me.  He leaned over, his hands suddenly gripping either sides of my face.  My breath caught in my chest and Edward’s lips were at my ear.  I half-expected his breath to be as cold as ice.  It was as warm as mine.

            “What happened to my mother?” I whispered in a shaky voice, edging him on even as his grip on my head tightened till it hurt.

            “I killed her,” he whispered in response with a cheerful lilt in his voice.  I tried to tear away from his hold but he only pressed his powerful hands closer together, making me groan in pain. “I killed her not a day after you were born.  I burned the entire house with her body in it.  She was a lovely woman.  I loved her—”

            “No!” I cried, interrupting him.

            “Oh, yes.  I loved her, but she was dangerously close to discovering my secret, my business that was steadily growing.  And she gave me a little baby girl.  A clever little girl.” I was thrashing violently now, not even being able to think straight because his hands were pushing my brains inside-out.  He didn’t even seem to notice that I was nearly killing myself to get away from him.  His voice remained calm and steady. “I knew that you could be the heir, or in your case heiress I’d been hoping for.  You were such a beautiful little baby, and I raised you for a while.  I gave you toys to play with, I made sure you were fed.  Babies are more or less like puppies—excuse my analogy.  You learned extremely quickly, your mind was your weapon even at five years of age.” Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to know about my past. “I put you in an orphanage in Boston, using luck as my only hope.  If anyone else had adopted you, I don’t know where I’d be.” But I know where I’d have been.  I would have been in a good home, with a good family, somewhere—anywhere but in a secret assassination organization. “While I waited for you to mature, I sometimes visited your mother’s house in Connecticut.  I did love that house.  It was so beautiful while it was standing.

            “That happens to be just where I found Dillian and Delilah, in your mother’s house.  Or rather, in your mother’s house’s ashes.  They were searching for shelter and I was searching for your mother, her spirit.”

            “You’re insane!” I screamed, still squirming and bucking out of control.  Who the hell were Dillan and Delilah? He hushed me with as much tenderness as a snake.

            “It’s not polite to interrupt someone when they’re talking,” he reminded me wickedly. “Where was I? Oh, of course.  Dillian was a striking young man at eleven years of age, Delilah at her thirteen was also quite beautiful.  I decided to take them in and let them become what you became that same year.  Dillian loved it.  He craved the control, his record was almost as impeccable as yours.  One of his assignments was removed before he could complete the task.  I’d agreed to pay him anyway, but he argued that it was ‘the principle of the matter’.  So he decided to have a word with the assassin who’d killed his assignment.” Edward stopped there for a moment, reveling in his own memories.  I shivered, shocked at this Dillian’s actions. “Delilah, on the other hand, was much more resistant to the business as a whole.  But she’d set her mind to taking care of her brother and if the only way to have him fed and comfortable was this lifestyle, I have no doubt in my mind that she would have taken the job a hundred times.

            “But you, ah Faith, you were so bright, almost brimming over with light.  When I came back for you, I saw that light, that fiendish glow.  I knew I had to get rid of it before you could be introduced to the business from my position.  So I took Christian instead.” I gasped.  Edward had adopted Alex?  I’d never gotten a good look at the man who’d retrieved Alex from the orphanage that day.  I’d averted my eyes, too transfixed on Alex’s departure.

            “You son of a—”

            “Which would make you the granddaughter of a… what were you going to say, Faith?” I closed my eyes.  There was no way I could win.  He was always ten steps ahead of me. “I’m only trying to get you to see your potential.  And when you do, you’ll see that this is the best place for you.  This is where your only family is.  I’m all you have.”

They are my family.  You, you are nothing to me.”

 

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