Chapter 7

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Delilah stared at the boy in disbelief, having to remind herself that despite everything, this isn't her brother, this is someone demented impersonating him.

"I'm done with your games." She spoke, her tone laced with venom. "I hope you rot in that prison."

Her words didn't seem to bother him, in fact it brought a sinister smile onto his face. He placed his interlocked hands on the table, not breaking his penetrating gaze.

"Come on, Delilah, you're telling me you're not the slightest bit curious?" He seemed to be enjoying this game of cat and mouse, but Delilah could see right through his deception.

"I'm not interested in anything you have to say." She spoke standing up. "You asked for me to come, and I did, but clearly you wanted me here just to mess with me."

She grabbed her bag and marched to the door, but the sound of his booming voice made her halt.

"Whatever happens to me, will happen to your brother." He hadn't moved from his position, and the smirk never faltered.

"Why should I believe anything that comes out of your mouth?" She asked, her feet firmly planted to the floor.

"You shouldn't." He spoke followed by a perverse chuckle. "I don't care what happens to your brother, but I know you do."

She pondered his words for a second, debating whether to question him more or to leave and hope that he suffers for everything he did to her little brother. He may look exactly like him, but everything else about him made it evidently clear that the boy in front of her is someone unfamiliar, someone twisted that shouldn't be allowed to roam free again. It was in that moment that she made her decision.

"The only thing I care about right now is that I never have to see you again."

He leaned back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest, releasing a humorless chuckle.

"Trust me, Delilah, this isn't the last you're going to see of me."

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Shaun aimlessly twirled his pencil around with his fingers as he droned out the draining lecture on protons and neutrons. His attention was focused on the vacant seat a few rows away to his right, the seat that belongs to his girlfriend, Carmen. She'd failed to attend school for the third day in a row, and he hadn't been able to reach her despite numerous attempts. He leaned back in his seat and casually crossed his arms over his chest, but despite his calm exterior he's a bundle of nerves waiting to burst.

The chiming of the bell ripped him from his thoughts, and he immediately grabbed his books shoving his way through the flock of students into the hallway. He didn't need to walk far to reach Carmen's locker, hoping he would find her there, but he knew it was wishful thinking. He sighed, aimlessly running his hands through his messy hair, before reaching into his back pocket for his phone. He dialed the familiar contact and listened to the agonizing ringing desperate for her to answer.

"Come on, Carmen." He mindlessly uttered. "Please just pick up."

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Isabelle had only attended a funeral once before; a long-lost aunt had passed away from dementia and her family had no choice but to pay their last respects. In that moment, she never understood why people hated funerals that much, why they mourned that much, but today she realized why.

Today she isn't burying a long-last aunt she had only met once in her life when she was five, instead she's burying her sister, the person that had been in her life since the day she was born. She's never lived a life without Audrey in it, and she can't even begin to comprehend how she's supposed to live the rest of her life without her sister.

She glanced at her parents and her heart broke at the sight of them. She'd never seen her parents so shattered, so beyond the point of recognition. She could only imagine that the trauma they are facing is amplified from hers. She felt the familiar stinging sensation in the back of her eyes, the feeling she's become accustomed to over the past days. The entire funeral went by in a daze, and she couldn't remember how she even got back home that night. She'd been in a bubble of sorrow for so long that she can't see herself being content ever again.

Unable to force herself to sleep, her eventful mind running through various thoughts and scenarios. She would close her eyes until they unconsciously forced themselves back open, her intense gazed locked on her bland, white, ceiling, the only source of light coming from the moon's glare illuminating through her window. She attempted to close her eyes once again, managing to keep them closed for much longer, but her mind was still running, leaving her conscious of her surroundings.

The distant sound of whispering caused her eyes to open once again as she glanced around her bedroom. She strained her ears to hear the whispers, but the sound seemed to have evaporated. Thinking her sleep-deprived mind was playing tricks on her, she closed her eyes once again and pulled the covers closer to her chest.

Isabelle.

She jumped in shock at the sound of the voice, it sounded like it was right next to her bed, but as she gazed around her room, she realized she's the only one inside. She placed her palm over her rapidly beating heart and shut her eyes tight until she saw stars. She ran her hands through her messy locks before biting her lip to stop forming tears.

The voice not only sounded right next to her, but she could recognize the familiar voice from anywhere. The sorrow took over once again as the tears burst through her eyes and down her cheeks, the drops landing on her bedsheets, but she couldn't care in that moment. She cried as she replayed the voice over in her mind a dozen times, the voice she never thought she'd hear again.

The voice belonging to Audrey.

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Gina sniffed and wiped her eyes with a cloth as she chopped onions, trying to rub away the intense burn. She carefully placed the cut-up pieces into the pot before grabbing some peppers, the aroma running through her nose and throughout the small room. She heard rustling from the adjacent room before Delilah walked out with her eyes glued to her phone screen.

"Is everything alright?" Gina asked.

It's common knowledge that her daughter despises technology and would evade it permanently if it weren't vital for her work. It's a rare occurrence to see her on her phone unless it was an emergency.

"A patient insists I help them, guess it's another late-night shift for me." She felt a pang of sympathy for her daughter as she saw the darkening circles under her eyes.

Not only is her work stressful, but the situation with Charlie, and the unnamed stranger that seems to look exactly like their beloved family member, has put even more weight on her shoulders.

"You need to take some time for yourself." Gina insisted as she stirred the peppers into the sauce.

A harsh knock on the door disrupted their conversation, and the two women glanced at each other before Delilah made her way to the front door.

"Detective Walker." She uttered in greeting, fearing the worst as it was far too late for a casual visit.

"May I come in?" He asked and Delilah moved to the side, closing the door behind him.

She gestured for him to follow her into the kitchen where he spotted Gina cooking dinner, the fresh aroma hitting him the second he walked into the room, but he wasn't here to discuss fine cuisine.

"Sorry to bother you so late, but I'm afraid I have some bad news." He spoke, glancing at the frail looking woman Gina became just from his words alone. "It's about the kid impersonating your brother."

Delilah shot to attention at his words, willing him to speak as the anticipation was killing her. He glanced at the mother and daughter before taking a deep breath and then releasing it.

"We were escorting him to the juvenile facility." He uttered and awkwardly placed his weight from one foot to another, glancing into each of their eyes before firmly locking his gaze onto Delilah. "Something went wrong and he somehow managed to escape."  

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