Chapter 2

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"Now, Wren," Vee drawled. "Why don't you inform everyone why I've brought us all together today?"

My grip on my phone was painfully tight as I continued to struggle to steady my breathing. Vee's malicious smile grew, twisting cruelly on her lips as she detected my distress. If I wasn't so afraid of her, I'd want to punch smirk right off her face.

"We're here because you're nuts!" Charlie hissed, slamming her feet on the floor. She glowered, her jaw clenched. "You're frickin' insane!"

Vee barely spared a glance Charlie's way as she tilted her head to the side. "Wreny Boo, I do believe your voice box is malfunctioning. Maybe this will fix it."

Silver flashed as Vee lifted her free hand. At first my jumbled, frantic mind didn't register what she was holding, but when she set her camera down and sauntered over to Charlie and Scott, I realized: a knife. She was holding a knife.

Before I even had time to open my mouth, Vee was behind Charlie, pressing the knife into her cheek. As Charlie let out a low growl, blood slid down her chin and dripped onto her shirt. "Stop it!" I shrieked. "Stop it!"

Vee took her time pulling away. "There we go," she said with a grin. "Your voice box is as good as new. Now why don't you enlighten us as to what events brought us to this moment? And try to tell the whole truth. If you don't, I'll be forced to punish you."

I swallowed, blinking back tears.

"Honey," Scott rasped. "Breathe."

My eyes shot over to Scott. He was scared out of his mind, I could tell, but his gaze was stern and completely focused on me. He was kidnapped by this maniac-this maniac that I had created-and his main concern was me. "Okay," I whispered. Nodding now and releasing a long breath of air, I struggled to meet Vee's gaze. "I-I cyberbullied you during senior year."

A shocked expression crossed Scott's face. I'd never told him what I did to Vee. After high school finally ended, I wanted to put that part of my past behind me. I wanted to chuck it as far away as I possibly be could. But that, I now realized, was an impossible feat.

"Yes, you did." Vee's eyes flashed with disdain. "And do you remember all of the things you told me?"

"Not everything," I whispered.

For a moment, Vee just glared at me, like she couldn't believe I'd have the audacity not to remember all of the hurtful things I said to her. In that moment, my guilt threatened to overpower my fear. I'm so sorry.

Then Vee smiled. "No matter!" she said. "I have a copy right here."

I swallowed hard as Vee held up a couple sheets of paper and waggled them at the screen. There it was: the proof that I had a monster inside of me. "Vee-"

"Okay, so first up: you make a brilliantly witty comment about how I resemble the girl from The Ring." Vee laughed humorlessly. "You also make sure to include tips on how to fix my appearance-how sweet. Now, does your forgetful mind remember what you told me to do with my hair?"

"Cut it off," I whispered.

"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that."

"I said," I replied, louder now. My voice shook, "that you'd be better off cutting it all off."

It was quiet for a moment as Vee stared me down. I had a feeling she was pausing for dramatic effect, like she knew her silence would make this worse for everyone. And she was right.

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