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Christina and Katherine exited the bathroom together. After checking the entire upstairs of Katherine Lacey's house, they finally exhaled in relief.

"I guess there's absolutely nobody here," Katherine broke the ten-minute silence and slackened her posture, finally feeling safe. Christina kept her guard up while walking down the hallway.

"Maybe, I just can't shake off the feeling that something's not right," Christina admitted, looking around vigilantly. She looked up at the ceiling. "When was the last time you were in the attic?"

A muddled Katherine followed Christina's stare. "Not for a long, long time." Katherine's heart dropped when she saw it. "My parents wouldn't have been in there either. Who left it open?"

"I don't know. When Carmen came, did she have any reason to go into your attic?"

Katherine shook her head hard. "No, she didn't even go upstairs. We were just downstairs the entire time she was here." The two girls looked at each other with piercing eyes, creating a tighter grip on the knives they held. They waited a moment for any indication someone was up there, but nothing stirred.

"It's the last place we have to check," Christina whispered, not able to keep her voice at the right level.

Katherine took an audible gulp. "There are some ladders in this closet," Katherine said, edging away from being directly underneath the hole in the ceiling. She opened the door to a petite closet in the hallway and turned the light on. Christina could see the countless amounts of towels on shelves and fresh dressing gowns. It was pretty luxurious to what Christina was used to.

It wasn't hard for Katherine to pull the light ladders out. Christina walked over to her, again avoiding being below the attic entrance, and helped her extend the ladders so they'd lean and settle against the hole. They both looked up and held their gaze for a minute before finally moving.

"I'll go up," Christina told Katherine, putting her foot on the bottom step.

"It's my house, it's too dangerous, I'll go up," Katherine argued.

"No. I said it first, so I'll go up," Christina debated. "You're stronger so you can keep hold of the ladder while I go up." Katherine didn't argue with that. Without hesitation, Katherine stood behind the ladders and kept a strong hold.

Christina took a deep breath, then ascended up the steps. She could feel her heart jump through her chest. It was beating so fast she was sure it would give in. She kept hold of the knife as she kept a steady grip on the sides of the ladder. She could feel it slipping a little at the bottom. Looking down, she could see Katherine was doing her best to keep it steady.

"Don't worry," Katherine tried her best to comfort her. "You'll be alright."

There was no backing out now that she was so close to the top. She slowed her speed as her head was almost ready to enter the attic. Her head was buzzing with 'don't do this' on repeat, like a broken record, but her body forced itself to go a little higher.

She didn't have time to scream when she saw the man in a white mask crouching right in front of her. He grabbed her by the arms and dragged her inside the blackened attic.

Everything started going slow for Christina Mayer. The screams reverberating from Katherine below her began to sound deep and manly. The man with the bloody white mask on his face took his time to lift the knife above his head. Christina's hands were working slower than ever to fumble for something to grab on to as she stumbled backwards. She grabbed onto the first thing she could get hold of – the mystery man's black coat. She dragged him down with her, falling right through the attic door.

Remnants of the Damned (Abyssal Sanctuary #1)Read this story for FREE!