The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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Jase looked down at Madison. She had passed out half an hour ago. Her breathing was barely audible apart from the soft deep inhale she took every now and then, creating a quiet whistle through her nose. The red handprint that Mike had left had gone, leaving faint yellow bruises in its place. She looked at peace now, and it gave him a sense of serenity he didn’t think he would have so long as she was in the house.

He could have killed Mike for laying a hand on her.

The night had thrown him off guard. Seeing Madison smile when she was nodding along to the music had made him see her. She had a personality, likes, dislikes, hobbies. She was human too.

She hummed in her sleep and he tilted his head, stopping himself from reaching out and brushing her cheek with his knuckles.

“What are you doing, Jase?” he sighed to himself, picking up his cigarettes from the bedside cabinet and lighting the third one since she’d fallen asleep.


Soft sobs and groans disturbed Jase from his sleep. It took him a few seconds to brush away the foggy haze that came with the morning and realise the sounds were coming from Madison.

“What’s the matter?” he asked, rolling his head from side to side until his neck clicked.

“Just cramps, I don’t know why I’m crying,” she replied. Jase grumbled.

“You’re probably on the comedown of a lifetime. You want some painkillers?”

“Not if they’re special painkillers, I don’t want any more drugs. I don’t like this feeling.” He smiled sleepily.

“No more illegal drugs, just paracetamol,” he assured.

“Yes please.” Jase forced his eyes open, blinking back the sleep and yawning as he sat up.

“Any meds you’re allergic to?” he asked. Madison shook her head and he nodded, still half asleep, pulling on his jeans. “Alright.” He trudged downstairs. The house was surprisingly clean. Janine and Sam had tidied up after last night, wiping the blood off the pine cupboards and sweeping the glass up from the grey tiled floor. Jase took out the basket they had filled with different types of medications that they’d collected from the girls over the years. They had everything from Pentasa to anti-depressants, but no painkillers. He’d used the last of the paracetamol for a hangover. Grumbling in minor annoyance, Jase took himself back upstairs where Madison was still keeled over on the bed, clutching her lower stomach.

“Is it really that bad?” he asked, she hummed, unable to gather up the energy to answer properly. “Right. Well, we’re out of paracetamol, so I’m going to the shop. I won’t be long.”

“You don’t have to do that,” she mumbled, burying her face into the duvet. Jase shrugged, pulling a fresh t-shirt on.

“I need to get some anyway. I get migraines, it’s handy to have plenty around,” he said, grabbing his keys and cigarettes from the bedside drawer.

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