I slung Hadley's lifeless body over my shoulder and trudged up the stairs.
That stupid realtor! Why wouldn't they just leave us alone?
Wiping the beads of sweat off my brow, I debated setting Hadley down and bringing the car up to the house.
No, can't risk it, I thought to myself.
I shifted her body and made my way out of the house and down the path toward my car.
Hadley's lifeless arms brushed against my back, sending shivers down my spine.
Don't worry, my sweet, sweet, princess. This will all be over soon. We'll have our happily ever after... I promise.
After carefully placing Hadley's unconscious body in the trunk of the car, I secured her wrists with handcuffs and her legs with a thick piece of rope.
Just one thing left to do...
Jogging back toward the house, a voice nagged in the back of my mind, you always screw things up, Caden! You never handle your business! Look what you've done this time!
Dropping to my knees, I clawed at the ground. "It wasn't my fault," I screamed.
Get it together before you get caught, the voice in my head hissed.
Wiping tears off of my cheeks, I threw a clump of wet soil into the nearby bushes.
"I'll fix it. I'll fix all of it," I whispered to myself.
"You are too heavy," I snapped as I heaved the realtor's lifeless body through the front door. "Heart disease is a major killer. If you weren't already dead, you would be in a few years."
"Ugh, finally," I said, dropping his feet on top of the other two bodies.
I looked around the room one last time before grabbing a large gasoline canister and dousing the room.
"This better be enough," I muttered as I grabbed an empty bottle off of the porch. Stuffing a rolled up newspaper down the small opening, I reached in my back pocket and grabbed a lighter.
As soon as the paper caught fire, I tossed the bottle in through the open front door and sprinted several meters back.
In a matter of seconds, flames licked the floorboards and began climbing the walls.
A small explosion in the house caused me to flinch. I better get out of here before someone notices the fire.
As I trotted back toward the path leading to my car, I chuckled and looked over my shoulder. "I guess you ended up with your dream house after all."
Taking back roads, I wound through the mountains and valleys for hours.
By the time the sun had set, we were getting closer to our destination.
I'm sorry I have to bring you here, I mentally apologized to Hadley. It will only be until we have enough money to get our own place.
Slowing down, I pulled off of the two-lane highway and on to a dirt road. After driving for three miles, the reflective lights on the side of a wooden gate flashed. I fished a key out of my back pocket and slid it into the lock. Almost there... I told myself, mentally bracing for what was about to come.
After driving through the open gate, I hopped out of the car and re-secured the lock.
My headlights flooded the pitch-black space.
I continued to drive down the dirt path for several minutes until I took a sharp left. Tall weeds slapped at my car as we slowly bounced along. Taking one last left, the car pushed through a patch of tall grass and emerged into an opening.
"Here we are," I said softly.
A large barn loomed ahead.
I shook my head and smiled. Everything had remained exactly the same.
Slowing down, I parked next to the barn and popped the trunk.
Hadley's bound body had barely moved. Still out, I slid my arms under her back and knees and hoisted her out of the car.
Tugging on a piece of wood, a small opening appeared in the side of the barn. I ducked down and managed to squeeze through the space without dropping Hadley.
I didn't need to wait for my eyes to adjust. I knew this place too well. I took fifteen steps forward and turned right. Three desolate horse stalls stood in front of me.
I think you'll like this one, I thought to myself as I reached for the handle and pushed the door open with a slight creak.
Carefully placing Hadley's body on the ground, I looked around for the metal chains I had left the last time I had visited.
Here they are, I thought as I grabbed them off of the dusty floor. Giving them a strong tug, I checked their strength. "Still as good as new," I whispered to myself as I replaced the handcuffs around Hadley's wrists with the cuffs on the ends of the chains secured into a thick slab of concrete in the corner of the stall.
I smiled and brushed the fallen strands of hair off of Hadley's face.
"You're so beautiful," I murmured.
Reaching down, I kissed her soft lips. "Now," I said before kissing her again, this time with more urgency, "I'll be back in just a little bit, okay?"
Other then her chest rising and falling slowly, Hadley didn't move.
"That's a good girl," I said, kissing her one last time.
Leaving the barn, I got back in my car and traced the same path until I made it back to the main gravel road. I turned left and continued to drive for several minutes until my headlights landed on a dilapidated two-story wooden farmhouse.
A light immediately flickered on in one of the rooms upstairs.
Well, here goes nothing, I thought to myself as I got out of the car and approached the house.
Before I could make it to the steps leading on to the porch, the front door swung open.
"Who's there?" came a gruff shout.
"It's just me," I said, holding up my hands.
A light swept down and directly into my eyes.
"It couldn't be," came a loud gasp.
"Yeah, it's me, Pops," I replied. "I've come home."
Hope you loved Chapter Seventeen of Under! What did you think of the ending? Did you see Caden bringing Hadley home? What do you think will happen next?
Kelly Anne Blount xoxo
P.S. I love the nicknames you all have been coming up with as Under fans! :) Which one is your favorite?
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