Chapter 6

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Audrey Holland's death has been the talk of the town for the past three days, hushed whispers from neighbor to neighbor, hallway to hallway. The Holland family has shortly become infamous in the community, but not for the desired reasons. It instantly became public news that Audrey had been a suspect for murder, and the town decided to leave the judgement to themselves, and it didn't work in Audrey's favor.

Isabelle hadn't left her room since the tragic news, and she can't foresee herself ever facing the brutal public again. She glanced at herself in her bathroom mirror, her messy hair tangled from the constant tossing and turning during the night, the dark bags under her eyes distinct evidence of her lack of sleep for the past few days. She aimlessly sauntered through the bathroom, not certain what she was looking for, until an object in the corner caught her attention.

Audrey's hair straightener carelessly tossed to the side, her stuff taking up most of the counter of their shared bathroom. Isabelle reached for the straightener and held it cautiously, she couldn't remember the time her sister last used it. She remembered how Audrey always woke up an hour earlier than everyone, insisting her hair needed to be perfectly straight as she despised her natural curls. The straightener provoked Isabelle to think of how her sister had been leaving her hair in their natural curls for the past month.

She'd noticed some drastic changes in her sister for the past month or two, and she couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for not taking her drastic change in behavior seriously. Had she taken the slightest of care, perhaps her sister would be with her right now, and she wouldn't have to watch in agony as her parents planned Audrey's funeral.

The doorbell chimed through the home and Isabelle cringed at the thought of it being another neighbor bringing more food or some baked goods. It's not that she's ungrateful for the support, but her neighbors don't arrive with pure intentions, their only goal is trying to find out something new to share with anyone they could find. However, her curiosity got the best of her as she hastily made her way downstairs in hope of not missing anything. Her heart plummeted to her stomach as she spotted a police officer standing on their porch, a clear of sign of unfortunate news inevitably falling on the family once again.

"I'm sorry to bother you once again." The officer spoke, as he awkwardly shifted his weight from one foot onto another. "We're going to need to take you in for questioning."

"What for?" Mr. Holland immediately replied, feeling another weight added onto his already overloaded shoulders.

The officer cleared his throat and stepped a bit closer, as Isabelle unconsciously mimicked his actions.

"The autopsy report came back on your daughter, and I don't know how to tell you this." Isabelle mentally groaned as her impatience got the best of her. "The autopsy report states your daughter has been dead for over a month."

*****************

Delilah slumped against the hospital, a deep sigh escaping as exhaustion swept through her almost making her lose her balance. She'd just finished working a twelve-hour shift, and the caffeine-induced adrenaline rapidly losing its effects.

"You look awful." A voice spoke, and it took the last of her energy to lift her head to face the grinning detective.

"Wow, you sure know how to woo the ladies, detective." She spoke enticing a boisterous laugh from Jared. "Is there anything I can help you with?"

"I was hoping you'd ask." He spoke as his attitude instantly turned from playful to serious. "The kid that looks like your brother is being transferred to a juvenile facility tomorrow, I was hoping you could talk to him before he leaves."

"And what good would that do?"

"The case of Audrey Holland has taken an interesting turn." He spoke, moving closer in hopes no one could eavesdrop on their conversation. "The autopsy states she's been dead for over a month, but we all know that's not true."

"That's impossible." Delilah spoke in disbelief.

"Almost as impossible as a kid being an exact copy of your comatose brother." Jared factually stated causing a million scenarios to rush through her mind.

"Are you saying this kid isn't the only one that looks exactly like someone else?" She asked cringing at how absurd the words sounded out loud.

"I can't get him to talk, so I'm hoping you can."

"I think I'm the last person he ever wants to see."

Jared awkwardly crossed his arms over his chest, glancing down at his leather shoes.

"Actually, he specifically asked for you."

****************

Delilah glanced at every inch of the barren room, except for the teenage boy casually sitting across from her in the interrogation room. She dared a glimpse noticing his gaze is firmly set on her and she mentally scolded herself for allowing a trace of fear to wash through her. The corner of his lip upturned at the sight of her trembling from his harsh gaze. He causally slouched on his seat with his feet comfortably propped up on the table, a contrast to her tense demeanor.

"Why am I here?" She asked wanting to break the obstinate silence.

"I thought we could catch up; I am your brother after all."

"You are not my brother." She mustered as much hatred as she could into her words, wishing they were harsh enough to hurt him.

"I have all of your brother's memories, that kinds of makes me him." He spoke, not moving from his comfortable position. "If I were you, I'd grasp the opportunity, I'm as good as you're going to get considering your brother is wasting away in his bedroom."

She slammed her hands on the table causing a large bang to echo through the cramped room. She mentally scolded herself for allowing him to get into her head, but her emotions were starting to get the best of her.

"I know you did something to my brother." She spoke, trying to maintain a calm aura, but the intense fury sweeping through her veins made for a brutal war against right and wrong.

He placed his feet onto the tiled floor and leaned forward, the infuriating smirk still plastered on his face. He didn't say a word as he kept a firm gaze on Delilah.

"Who are you?" She demanded, but he didn't reply.

He broke their intense gazes and glanced down at his interlocked hands, his smirk never faltering. He leaned forward in his seat and released a humorless laugh. Delilah watched in disbelief as his shoulders shook from the laughter, all her rage vanished and replaced with confusion.

"You're an intelligent woman, Delilah," The boy spoke, once again gazing into her eyes. "But you're asking all the wrong questions."

He glanced at the interrogation window and sent a patronizing wink, like he knew someone was behind it, before he turned his attention fully onto Delilah once again.

"The question isn't who." He spoke, swiping his tongue across his bottom lip, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. "The real question is what am I." 

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