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Chapter 16

The first thing that Ian does is stare at me. Then Hal. Then me again. Then Hal again. This comedic sequence continues until Ian finally blurts out,


I swallow hard, trying to push down the uncomfortable lump that has formed in the back of my throat.

Hal did not just say that.

The hatred and fury I feel toward this man has escalated to a whole new level.

“How about you tell him, Tessa?” Hal says menacingly.


I don’t know how to phrase something so simple to Ian.

“Tell him, Tessa. You can’t keep it a secret forever,” Hal says.

I slowly turn toward Ian, and when I see the look on his face, I can barely stand to look at him. His expression is a painful mixture of hurt and shock.

“Tell me. Right now,” Ian whispers, his voice trembling.

A large gust of icy wind blows, forcing me to close my eyes. Once the wind finally dies down, I open my eyes and shakily tell him,

“Hal is my father.”

Just uttering those four words are enough to make me want to vomit. Saying them somehow makes the reality of it much harsher.

Ian closes his eyes for a moment, then says,

“And you knew this for how long?”

“I...I don’t know, not long though.”

“And you didn’t tell me?”

I stare at Ian, unsure of what to say.

“She told someone else...” Hal interjects.


Oh shit. Ian is going to have a cow.

Filled with a sudden rush of rage toward Hal for saying that, I shout,


Hal grins lazily, his thin lips curling up into that stupid smile of his.

“Who did you tell?” Ian asks.

I turn to him, and the moment I see the look on his face, I know that I don’t even have to tell him who I told. He already knows.

Before either of us can say anything, Hal continues walking through the entrance, calling out,

“Follow me.”

Instantly, Ian rushes forward, walking inside. I cannot believe that he is actually choosing to follow Hal than to stay with me. I do not want to even fathom how angry he must be right now. Ian’s temper is like a light switch; so easily flipped on and off. And it tends to be that once it is off, it is near impossible to turn him back on again.

I stand there for a few long and cold moments, watching the two of them as they disappear into the dark entrance. Then, once the whipping winds get too unbearable to withstand, I realize that I only have one option; to go inside.

I slowly step forward into the dark cavern. As if on cue, the door slides shut behind me, fully concealing me in the pitch darkness. The air is damp and chilly, and there is a faint rushing sound coming from somewhere in the distance.

“Hello?” I call out, my voice echoing loudly.

No response.

Shivering, I slowly walk forward, pulling down the hood of my snowsuit. I keep bracing myself to walk into something in the darkness, but I never do. The only thing that happens is that the rushing sound becomes louder and louder. There comes a point that I discern the sound as rushing water. I continue to steadily walk forward until the roaring water sound becomes deafening. The water must be very close.

I stop for a few moments, the darkness enveloping me like swirling cloud of thick, black smoke. Then, I take another step forward. However, this time, there is no floor to meet my foot. Before I can even scream, my boot slides on the slick, rocky ground and my body flies forward.

The moments in which I plummet down, flailing aimlessly through the air, are some of the most terrifying moments of my entire life.


My body smacks something hard and before I know it, I am plunging down underwater. Panic explodes inside of me when I discover that I no matter how hard I try, I cannot swim back up. The weight of the snowsuit is dragging me down and down beneath the surface. My entire body pulsates with adrenaline as I futilely attempt to unzip the snowsuit and swim out of it.

Although I should be trying to conserve my air, I scream. Bubbles rush out of my mouth. My lungs immediately begin to burn from lack of oxygen. This burn rapidly transitions into an agonizing sensation.

This is going to be end.

This is the only thought that comes to my mind as I continue to sink down and down and down...

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