Chapter 11

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Ember Maxwell's eyes sprung open as a deafening bang woke her up. She strained her ears to listen for any more noise, but her home is drenched in silence. She eased her tense body and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. She felt herself succumbing to sleep until the thump returned and she sprang out of her bed and into the hallway.

The hallway was consumed in darkness, along with the rest of her house. She chuckled humorlessly at her over-exaggerated panic and made her way back to her bedroom, until the squeak of the wooden floors below caught her attention. She glanced to her parents' bedroom door and noticed there was no light illuminating from within, leading her to believe they were still inside.

The creaking caught her attention once again, however, it seemed more distinct, like the creaking was getting closer. Her breath hitched in her throat before she unconsciously fled into her parents' bedroom, slamming the door silently behind her and locking it.

"Mom, dad." She whispered in panic, aimlessly feeling for the switch in the darkness.

She eventually found it and flicked it on, turning to face her parents. Gut wrenching sobs escaped her mouth as she found her parents lifelessly sprawled on the bed in awkward positions, their eyes wide open and feeling like they were piercing into her soul. Blood splutters messily sprawled on the sheets, along with the walls and wooden flooring.

A gut-wrenching shriek pierced through the silent home as a loud slam vibrated against her parents' bedroom door. She glanced around in search of somewhere to hide.

"Ember." She heard a voice whisper behind the door, noticing a shadow pacing under the gap.

She burrowed into a nearby corner, wrapping her arms around her knees in hopes of shielding herself from oncoming danger. The door thumped a few more times before she heard the doorknob turning slowly, almost menacingly, before the door the door gradually opened. She peered over her arms, her body stiffening when no one was standing in the doorway. She gripped the nearest piece of furniture and gently lifted herself up, feeling weak in the knees.

"Ember." She heard the whisper vibrate through her eardrums.

"No!" She exclaimed into the noiseless home. "I'm not going back!"

She sprinted out the bedroom into the hallway, screeching as she felt arms wrap around her waist. She tried to wiggle free, but the grip was too strong. She sobbed as she kicked and screamed, but her efforts were futile. The tears rapidly fell down her face and she felt herself losing all control, a wave of anger sweeping through her. She screamed out as a surge of power escaped her, causing the unknown figure to soar through the air, colliding into the wall with a harsh whack.

Ember didn't waste time glimpsing at the figure before she hurried out her home and into the desolate street calling for someone to help her.

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

Hazel's eyes fluttered open before instantly snapping shut from the piercing light. She made a few more attempts before her adjusted to the harsh glare, glancing around the bleak hospital room. Her nostrils filling with the nauseating smell of antiseptic, causing her stomach to churn.

"Hey, you're finally up." She glanced to her right, Logan sitting forward in the hospital seat to move closer to her. "You've been out for a while."

"What happened?" She asked wincing as it felt like needles were piercing the inside of her throat.

"You were stabbed, don't you remember?"

She groaned as she sat up too fast, unable to clutch her aching stomach and throbbing head at the same time, her body too fatigued.

"Where's Shaun, and Carmen?" She asked leaning her head back against the stiff pillow, closing her eyes in hopes of making the faintness disappear.

She carefully analyzed Logan's change in demeanor as he avoided her scrutinizing gaze. She immediately expected the worst as her heart pounded against her rib cage, a giant lump forming in her esophagus.

"Logan, what's going on?"

He took a deep breath before finally gazing into her fearful eyes.

"Carmen didn't make it."

The hazy parts of what happened that day swarmed Hazel's mind the second Logan's words registered through her brain. The confusion of who the true Carmen was, being held captive by her lookalike, the utter fear that swept through her at the thought of dying in such a brutal way, the excruciating pain she felt as the blade pierced her skin, up until the numbing feeling overpowered her.

"What about Shaun, where is he?" She asked as she wrapped her hand around her throat trying to fight off the tight feeling.

"He helped me get you here and then he left, no one has seen him since."

She clutched her pounding head with a groan everything mixing into one, every becoming hazy once again before she slowly slipped back into unconsciousness.

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

Delilah nervously paced back and forth in her home as she watched police officers search her home looking for any evidence that could have been left behind by the sadistic person that tried to murder her mother.

She spotted Jared entering her home and she hurriedly made her way to him, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible.

"Hey, I heard about your sister, how is she doing?" Delilah questioned, sensing the frown that seems to be permanently placed on his face as of late.

"She'll be fine, she was asleep when I went to check up on her." He stated taking in the scene of her home. "How's your mother?"

"She'll be fine, but we have bigger problems." She whispered hoping not to draw any attention to their intimate discussion.

She grabbed his hand and placed a crumbled piece of paper in his palm, glancing around the room hoping no one saw what just took place.

He glanced at her curiously before unfolding the piece of paper, eyes widening at the sloppily written words.

They were lucky this time, but I'm coming back for him.

"Where did you find this?" He immediately questioned and she crossed her arms over her chest.

"Right on Charlie's bed, I found it just before your search team arrived." She stated and moved closer to him, a look of fear in her eyes. "I could recognize that familiar sloppy handwriting from anywhere, it's Charlie's."

Jared looked at her in disbelief wondering how her comatose brother could possibly have written a note until his mind started to tick again.

"He never ran away; he's been here this entire time." 

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