CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

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I guess I was so desperate for an answer, I couldn't hide the sound of desperation in my voice. I need to know.

"What do you mean?" She seems shocked by the question I threw at her. "We're just the typical student and teacher. I don't know much about him."

I somehow don't trust her. "You two seem close in the picture."

"You're exaggerating." She looked at me boringly. "I just sit next to him."

"But... But there must be something about him."

"Well-" She trailed off.

"What?" I ask impatiently. "You do know something, don't you?"

She shrugged. "Back then, Mr Miller was doing some research together along with another teacher. No one knows what it is until they vanished, leaving this town with no trace."

Her expression changed when she mentioned the other teacher. I couldn't tell if she was feeling sad or confused.

"Who was it?"

"Who?" She scrunched her eyebrows.

"The other teacher."

As soon as the question burst out of my mouth, she went silent. Mom took a deep breath and decided to brush my question off. "It's not important." Her eyes hold some sadness that I don't understand.

Why is she feeling sad?

She turned her back and stood up from the chair.

"Mom, wait." I stood up as well.

"I'm busy Sarah. Save your questions for another day." She started to walk away.

That's it. I knew what I had to do. The only way I could get her to listen and answer me is to tell her that I already knew her secret.

"I knew about the box."

That stopped her right on her track. "What?"

"I knew what were you hiding from me all these years." I make sure to put some determination in my voice.

Even though her back was still facing me, I can see her shoulder tense.

"I don't understand."

"Stay here a minute. I want to get something from my room." I didn't look back when I ran upstairs to get my backpack that contains her secret.

The time I arrived back at the kitchen, she was sitting on the chair in our dining room. She looked worried and nervous. Without wasting any more seconds, I sat in front of her and took out the book, vial and the photo from my backpack.

Her eyes caught sight of the photo and she took it in her hands.

"You found everything. But how?" She said timidly. It was as if she's holding something precious in her hands. Her hands trembled slightly when she put the photo back on the table.

Is she scared?

It's hard to describe her feelings right now. It's all mixed up. I can see confusion, sadness and... betrayal?

"How?" She whispered.

I went silent. How am I supposed to explain the messed up clues that lead me to those things?

"I asked you, HOW?" She clenched her fist so tightly, I can see her knuckles turns white.

"Someone told me," I said slowly.

"WHO?" She hit the table with her hand, demand for an answer.

"I- I don't know." I stammered. I never see this side of mom. I slowly back away from her. She's scaring me with her angry behaviour.

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