Chapter 22

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What the hell?!

Kill?! Did they say she killed people?!

What?! Vanessa experienced her aunt's vicious side, but the worse she thought her aunt could do was a light beating and a lot of yelling. But killing?! That was something Vanessa didn't know what to feel. If her parents told her Stephen Huntley killed people, she would have been less surprised. Hell! She had even witnessed some of his killings, but her aunt?! She never killed anyone, at least, from what Vanessa knew.

Now she began to doubt it.

Just because you didn't see it happen doesn't mean it didn't occur, right? A snide voice said in her head.

Her parents both stared at her in shock, as if she suddenly realised what she said. Felicity quickly backtracked, "No, of course not. I meant that metaphorically, you know," she stuttered, hoping that her daughter would believe her. Fuck! How could she be so idiotic? They just found her! And now, she might lose her.

Her daughter gazed at her parents in suspicion: her mother was fiddling with her hair and her dad stood still, his face void of any emotion.

Nobody said a word. Everyone looked at each other, waiting for someone to break the silence.

Vanessa spoke to her, her voice quiet, "It's not your fault."

"What?" Felicity had expected her daughter to call her bluff, not comment on the previous argument.

"It is not any of your faults that Amberly kidnapped me," Vanessa puffed her chest, the warm tingling in her stomach intensifying. "Whatever choices that woman made in her life were by her. That was her decision. Sure, some of you guys may have influenced Aunt Amberly's choices, but they were still your choices. No one put a gun to her head a forced her to do what she did." She finished firmly.

Well, that is not exactly true, Viktor thought, when his wife had told him that her sister, Amberly, had threatened her, he immediately summoned her to his office and aimed a gun at her head, warning her to stay the fuck away from his family. But Felicity didn't know... what she didn't know couldn't hurt her, right?

"Of course not," Felicity said, interrupting Viktor's thoughts. Seeing how mature and wise her daughter was warmed her heart, but also brought a wave of sadness coursing through her. Her daughter had grown so much without her. When Felicity looked over at Vanessa, all she saw was a strong girl trying to survive in this cruel world. And she couldn't be prouder.

Viktor said nothing, staring down at his nine-year-old, who faced him with the same amount of passion and defiance his mother had when argued with him, and for the first time, he saw a flame in his daughter's eye. A flame that once ignited was very tough to put out. And Victor knew that because he had seen it in Felicity's eyes.

"Maybe you're right," he finally admitted. "But if I had done things gently, maybe, then Amberly wouldn't have abducted you."

"You're right," Vanessa said, straightening her back, refusing to back down from her father's intimidating glare, "You're right. Maybe she wouldn't have kidnapped me if you had done things more delicately, but you can't change the past, but we can change the future." Vanessa had heard that quote on the television when she used to live with her aunt, and she had always wanted to say it to some to inspire them. But who could she say it to? Aunt Amberly and Stephen were out of the question, so she used her last resort and talked to her only friend, Popcorn.

So, after practising on her stuffed bunny, she finally decided to say it to her dad, who just happened to be one of the scariest people she ever met. Viktor always wore a suit and had dangerous air around him whenever he walked. It was like he commanded the attention in the room without much effort. And Vanessa had noticed those dominant traits were passed down to her brothers. Maybe she would inherit those genes as well. One could hope, she thought.

Viktor's smile distracted her from her thoughts. "Oh, you are so much like your mother," he commented. He walked towards Felicity and planted a peck on her lips. "Not sure how good that is, though. I could hardly tame your mother, but two?!" Viktor joked, calming both his girls down.

His smile vanished when he glanced back at Vanessa. "But in all seriousness, we have to know everything about Stephen Huntley. We need to know."

"Baby," Felicity said, caressing her palms over Viktor's face lovingly, "It's early in the morning. Vanessa should get some rest. I'm sure she is exhausted."

"No!" the nine-year-old squeaked. When her parents' gazes flew toward her, she hurriedly continued, "I don't think I can get sleep after a night like this," she explained.

Her mother sighed in concern. "Are you sure? We can make some hot chocolate or something. We can talk later if you are not up for it now."

"No, the faster I get this over with, the better." She took a deep breath, mentally preparing herself for the oncoming conversation. "What do you want to know about Stephen Huntley?"

Viktor and Felicity exchanged a glance. Was she ready for this? Probably not. But did they need to know about the man? Definitely.

"Okay," Viktor interrogated, "You said Stephen Huntley died. How did that happen?"

"Well, Aunt Amberly told me one day he overdosed and killed himself, which is not surprising since he was almost always high."

"So you never saw the dead body?" Viktor questioned, as Felicity ordered their head chef, Charlotte, to make some hot chocolate for the girl.

Dead bodies. Vanessa's mind flashed back to the countless dead bodies she had witnessed her uncle kill. The blood. Oh god, there was so much blood.

"Vanessa? Did you ever see the body?" Felicity asked, handing her a steaming hot cup of cocoa.

"Well, no," she stated, slipping into her cocoa, moaning in pleasure at the deliciously sweet taste that erupted in her mouth. Her mind was in a fuzzy haze of pure bliss. It took her a moment to register the question, "Wait...why are you asking?"

Why were they asking? It didn't matter if she didn't see the body, right? Her aunt did tell her, Vanessa thought. But it was not like she trusted her aunt, so... oh god.

Vanessa had never seen the body. There was no funeral or memorial whatsoever, and...she froze, the hot chocolate drink that had tasted like pure bliss, now rested in her stomach like stale acid, as one thought dominated inside her head.

Was Stephen Huntley even dead?

...

Hey everyone,

Can the dead stay dead? Yes, unless you believe in zombies and other supernatural creatures. This chapter is for my best friend @c-u-p-c-a-k-e

Please go check out her profile. Continue to be the amazing people that you are!

Please Vote, Comment, Share and Follow me.

Hugs from,

@CrimsonShadowMask

xxxx

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