The gun immediately kicked back into my chest, knocking the wind from my lungs in the process.
A scream of anguish erupted from Caden's lips as he dropped to the forest floor.
My stomach clenched as I took in the bloody scenes in front of my eyes.
The bullet had hit Caden in the thigh, splitting his skin open and leaving a gaping wound.
Vomit raced up the back of my throat.
"Why did you do that?" asked Caden in disbelief.
Unable to keep the nausea at bay, I put the hand not holding the gun on my hip and leaned over. Within a matter of moments, I had thrown up everything I had eaten over the past day, which wasn't very much.
"CADEN!" boomed a furious voice.
Finally filling with air, my lungs began to work again and with the gun safely pointing down toward the ground, I left Caden in a miserable heap and sprinted toward a thick pile of brush.
I can't believe I just shot someone. What if Caden dies? That would make me a murderer!
Disturbing thoughts continued to race through my mind as I ran as fast as my weak legs would carry me.
"Pops, please come help me," pleaded Caden, his voice quavering.
My legs burned from running the short distance. You're almost there, I told myself, don't stop!
I looked over my shoulder just before reaching the brush. Caden lay on the ground facing the opposite direction while desperately clutching his leg.
"CADEN," screamed the angry voice. "Where the hell are you?"
Dropping to the ground, I carefully pushed past prickly thorns, making my way toward a small clearing in the middle.
Please don't let either of those monsters see me, I pleaded. Please, please, please!
"What in your mother's name happened?" roared Caden's father.
"She tricked me, Pops! That little witch tricked me and she shot me with my gun!"
I looked down at the gun in my trembling hand.
"Please, Pops! I gotta get to the hospital," begged Caden. "I promise, I'll choose a better one next time!"
His father let out a deep nefarious laugh that sent chills up my spine.
"Caden, I've had enough of your failures," he paused as Caden began to bawl.
"Please, don't do this to me," Caden cried.
"I'm not helping you anymore," spat his father wickedly.
"Pops! No! I'm bleeding too much. I'll die if you leave me here," Caden said in between loud sobs.
My breath caught in my throat. He's not really going to leave his son out here to die, is he?
"You've been dead to me since your mother passed," his father growled.
"NOOOOO!" cried Caden. "Please! Please come back!"
I held my breath and waited for his father to say something.
Maybe he's getting a car? Yeah, he must be. He wouldn't leave Caden to die. No parent would do that... Right?
I waited as Caden's sobs cut through the air like a knife.
"Pops, I'm sorry! Please come back," he begged. "PLLLEAAASEEEE!"
The hatred I felt for Caden remained firm, but the pain in his voice caused my stomach to clench tightly.
He'll come back any minute, I reassured myself.
A twig snapped somewhere behind me, causing my shoulders to shoot up. Spinning around, my eyes landed on a squirrel scampering across a fallen branch on the forest floor. I exhaled as relief flooded my system.
"Hadley? Hadley, are you there?" whimpered Caden.
Indecision gnawed at my raw emotions.
"Hadley, he's not coming back. I need you to help to stop the bleeding."
Just leave him, I thought, trying to convince to myself. He tried to kill you! He's held you captive for months! LEAVE HIS SORRY ASS HERE TO DIE!
Another anguished cry filled the air. "Please, Hadley! I'm dying."
Guilt plagued my conscious. Don't do it, I told myself. Do not help him, Hadley! This isn't your fault!
I closed my eyes and tried to block out Caden's voice. Images of my brother began floating through my mind. He had the biggest heart and would do absolutely anything for anyone. He would have wanted me to help, no matter what.
Shaking my head, I tried to picture the dank underground dwelling Caden had kept me in for months. He doesn't deserve help!
Unable to cope with the tormenting situation any longer, I covered my ears to drown out Caden's voice and began rocking back and forth.
Dearest Undie Nation/Undies/Undertakers/Fundies/Funders/Underians/Cadenators/Lovelies/Caden Nationers,
O-M-Geeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 0_0 <--- My face after writing chapter twenty.
What do you think Hadley's going to do?
Excited to hear your thoughts!
Kelly Anne Blount
P.S. Please ignore any errors you may encounter, as this version has not been professionally edited yet.
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***Optioned for film/TV by Komixx Media! More info coming soon!*** Selected by @Unfriended for the Best of Horror! A serial stalker is on the loose. When detectives find a single wolfsbane flower under Hadley Jasper's bed, they fear the worst. Wil...