There was a strange coldness in the living room; the feeling of being watched intensified as Lynn took hesitant steps towards the window. Her eyes glanced outside, taking in the still, dark waters. A shiver crawled along her spine, and she swallowed hard.
"Are you ready?"
Tearing her eyes away, she nodded and marched towards Andrew. He tilted his head towards the hallway while zipping up his grey coat. "Oliver is carrying your friend here. Have you seen Molly?"
"I lost her when I reached the damn bear." She side-stepped to let Oliver walk inside the room, and her eyes followed him as he placed Nick — who was still asleep — on the sofa. "Shouldn't we wake him up?"
Andrew passed her a big, black lantern while shaking his head. "Kristine can't get into his head that way."
"She did get into mine," Lynn retorted with a scoff.
"That's because she chose you. She's been after you ever since you arrived, breaking into your mind and feeding you illusions." His lips formed a frown as she listened intently. "Your mind is open to her now, because you're in a constant state of uncertainty. Am I wrong?"
She looked away, giving him the answer he already had.
"I still don't think we should leave him alone," Oliver commented then.
She gave a curt nod before stepping out, nearing the front door. Her heart jumped in its cage at the unexpected sight of the cat.
"Ah, there she is. I'll feel more at ease if she comes with us," Andrew muttered upon reaching her. Bending down to pick up the animal, he added, "I hate those woods."
Lynn raised an eyebrow. "This is not the first time you've gone out in search of her body."
It was a statement, not a question. But he answered nonetheless. "Like I said, I've been here for years." Shaking his head, he let out a huff. "I never found anything though — not a single trace of it."
He turned around before she could voice her thoughts, twisting the knob to let the freezing air slip inside. A frown stayed on her face, however, as his words rang in her ears and her mind tried to decipher the meaning behind them. Something about that revelation made her pause on her way outside; a tingling sensation at the back of her head screamed the reason at her, but she couldn't fully grasp it.
Suddenly, Andrew yelped.
"What's wrong?" she asked, dodging Molly as she sneaked back inside the house.
His blue eyes sent her a confused look.
"She bit me."
Spinning around, Lynn found the cat staring at them from the hall.
"She's never done that before," added the man with a frown, before he beckoned Molly closer. However, the animal remained still — refusing to leave the house.
And the answer became clear finally.
"Your aunt could only die if your grandmother did, right?" Looking back at him, Lynn allowed a rare smirk to curl on her lips. "Then the body can't be buried, but it's not in plain sight either; otherwise, you would've already seen it."
Her attention was momentarily grabbed by the opening skies; the clouds parted ways after an almost-everlasting embrace to let the waking moon brush away the dark shadows under her eyes with its white fingers.
She glanced at the looming house before meeting the silent question in his gaze. "It's in the house."
Andrew opened his mouth to reply, but Molly's demanding hiss stopped him and the two looked towards her sitting form.
YOU ARE READING
*ONC 2020 SHORT LIST* Something evil dwells in the black lake by the misty woods, something that will claim the souls of those who dare to dive into its realm. Lynn Morris is ready to enjoy some well-deserved holidays in the company of her closest...