Chapter Twenty-Four

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Chapter Twenty-Four

Hadley

The ride out of the woods had been surreal. Jade had pressed a blade against my neck while Catherine had pulled a small handgun out a hiding space in the door of the truck.

The drive had been short. We bumped along two back roads before turning down an inconspicuous dirt road.

Catherine and Jade refused to speak to me until we pulled up to a large fence with barbed wire lining the top. Catherine tossed the little girl a key and nodded. Jade released the blade, hopped out the truck and ran up to a series of locks. Her nimble fingers made quick work of the locks and a large section of the fence swung open.

Moments later, we had driven through and the fence had been secured again.

Jade had resumed her hold of the knife and traced small circles on the back of my neck, every so often sticking the tip into my neck.

"Now, now, Jade," Catherine had scolded. "We have specific instructions to bring her home in one piece."

A few moments later, we had come to a stop in front of a dilapidated house. The front porch had fallen through in several places and white paint that once covered the house had all but chipped off.

Catherine had tilted her head to the side and given me a lopsided smile. "Welcome to your new home, Hadley."

The scenes from the previous day had replayed in my mind over and over again. Who was Catherine? Why did she want to take me? Is this all a dream?

I sat in an old wooden rocking chair. Handcuffs secured my legs together at my ankles and my wrists were cuffed together behind my back. I had been allowed to go to the bathroom twice and had been fed oatmeal for breakfast by Jade.

"Hadley," called Catherine in a singsong voice. "We need to start getting you ready soon! I picked out a special dress and I have ribbons for your hair."

I pressed my lips together and held back tears. She wants to dress me up? What does she want with me? Shivers raced down my spine. Caden liked me to dress up...

"You need to look your best for him," Catherine called from another room.

Jade poked her head around the doorframe. "You need to be worthy. You need to behave."

Worthy? Behave? These people are sicker than Caden, I thought to myself.

Catherine breezed through the door and sighed. "Do you know how special you are?" she asked cheerfully. "He hasn't chosen anyone in years."

My hands began to tremble. Chosen? Who is she talking about?

"Isn't this beautiful?" Catherine asked, holding up a pale blue dress with long sleeves and a high neck.

Eyes widening, I inhaled sharply. "That looks like something straight out of Little House On the Prairie."

Catherine raised her hand, threatening to bring it down across my face.

"NEVER EVER insult me," she hissed. "I control everything about you!"

A sinking sensation filled my stomach and my mouth went dry.

"Jade!" called Catherine. "Bring the gun!"

***

By the time the sun had started to set, I donned the dress, braids in my hair held by matching ribbons, and Catherine had covered the black eye she had given me only moments before.

"You must learn to behave. You must be worthy," she said, repeating the words her daughter had uttered later that day.

I stared at my reflection in a floor length mirror in the corner of the room. I didn't recognize the pale, thin, figure staring back at me.

"She needs more makeup," said Jade. "She needs to be perfect for him."

Catherine gave her daughter a sweet smile. "You're right, Sweetheart." She turned and grabbed a small bag containing lipsticks, mascara, and foundation.

"Sit," she ordered, "and keep the gun pointed at her," she said over her shoulder.

"Yes, Mother," replied Jade, winking at me behind her mother's back.

As I sat, Catherine applied another layer of lipstick, added more blush, and even more foundation under my swollen eye.

"Ouch," I said, pushing my back against the chair, trying to escape Catherine's grasp.

The brush she held in her left hand fell to the floor. Clattering loudly before rolling under the dresser.

Catherine let out a grown and wrapped her hands around my neck. "You are a wicked, wicked, wicked little girl!"

I tugged on her ice-cold hands with all of my might. They didn't budge.

As Catherine's fingers pressed harder against my windpipe, the room began to spin. I desperately needed air.

"Maybe I should just tell him you died," she said tilting her head to the side. "He wouldn't be happy, but..." she trailed off as I began to lose consciousness.

"Mother!" cried Jade. "Mother! Mother!"

"JADE! BE SILENT!" screamed Catherine.

"But-"

My eyes flickered as a large figure burst through the door.

"WHAT IN JUDITH'S NAME IS GOING ON HERE?" boomed a voice that instantly turned my blood to ice.

"I'm so sorry, Sir," apologized Catherine. "It's just that she-"

But before Catherine could finish, he picked her up and through her against the opposite wall. Her body crumpled into a motionless ball as Jade let out an earsplitting shriek.

"Shut your mother, girl!" the man growled before turning to face me.

"Now, now, Hadley," he said, his voice dripping with venom. "You didn't really think I'd let you get away, did you?"

Unable to keep the bile down, I leaned forward and threw up the oatmeal I had for breakfast all over the bedroom floor.

"There, there," he said patting me on the shoulder. "Pops is here to make everything better."

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Dear Undie Nation,

POPS IS BAAAAAAACK! What do you think is in store for Hadley next? What about Caden?

I'm super excited to hear your thoughts on Chapter Twenty-Four of UNDER!

Hearts,

Kelly Anne Blount xoxo

P.S. Check out the inspiration behind many of my villains in my commissioned work, THE VILLAINS OF BATMAN, right here on Wattpad! :)

P.S.S. If you <3'ed this chapter, please click that little star and leave me a comment!


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