Nicholas Bellisario appeared far stronger than his age gave him credit for. He still had a full head of grey hair and his skin sported only a few wrinkles. Carmen would have guessed him to be in his late 40s or early 50s, not his actual age of 76. At the moment, with Carmen feeling so drained from her traumatic day, the old man had far more strength than she did.

He would take small steps towards her every couple of seconds to intimidate her. She wanted to sprint as fast as she could away from him, but she didn't know where to run to. Her mind was in tatters. How much more bad luck could she possibly have?

Nicholas walked over to an old-fashioned phone on his bedside table and dialled a number. Carmen watched suspiciously as he did so.

"It's daddy, baby. Carmen is here. She can't get out; I'm sure Clarice will let you collect her. Okay, see you soon."

"Collect me?" Carmen shouted as he put the phone down. "Who?"

"That was my daughter, Amelia. She's on her way."

"Amelia? As in the matriarch of the family I killed?" Carmen asked in disbelief.

"The very one."

"But... how? She's dead! You even said I murdered your family."

Nicholas walked around his bed and stood level to Carmen. Carmen backed away to ensure there was a safe amount of space between them.

"I found the dead bodies of my family lying around the house four days ago, left to the dogs like vermin," he spat with obvious resentment towards Carmen. "Slaughtered. Haven't you and your friends put my family through enough?"

"I don't know what you mean," Carmen tried to sound calm and confident. "My friends and I did nothing to your family until they tried to kill us!"

"You broke into their home..."

"They invaded our privacy and attacked our family members. That son-in-law of yours stabbed my mother in the back! She barely survived!" Carmen could feel her own anger take over.

"Which is far more than what she deserves. She survived, but my entire family didn't. My baby girl, my grandchildren. I don't have the others, your friends, right in front of me to push my hand down their mouths so their throats will explode. I don't have them to butcher and barbeque for a delicious afternoon snack. You're going to have to do."

Carmen kicked him square in the chest before he could reach out and grab her. She anticipated his attack, feeling like him pouncing on her was his next move. She wondered if her weird experience with clairvoyance earlier that day helped at all with her intuition.

Nicholas fell back on the bed. He recovered quickly, standing straight back up. He lunged for her throat, wrapping his brute hands around her delicate neck. She managed to grab his wrists as he began to strangle, keeping him from using his full force to suffocate her.

She began to choke before she could relieve the tension for a few seconds. Her strength was diminishing but small bursts of energy materialised from nowhere. He dragged her around, her legs failing her as she was moved around like a ragdoll. She wasn't sure whether she wanted Clarice to arrive to distract him, fearing she would be in deeper water should she show up.

Carmen looked around for something to hit him with. She flashed back to the moment Elle tried to kill her. The memory provided Carmen with some hope that she would get through this similar experience alive.

It appeared as though the Bellisario grandfather was beginning to weaken. His energy was draining fast through trying to strangle his victim that Carmen managed to overwhelm him. She pushed him into the wall, winding him. He let go of her neck as he groaned.

Ashes of the Innocent (Abyssal Sanctuary #2)Read this story for FREE!