Red

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Excerpt #3

“Do you know what they say about little girls who wander through the forest?”
I stayed stubbornly silent.

“They say nothing. Because little girls who wander through the forest get eaten by the big bad wolves that roam through them. The memory of them fade and after a while, it’s like they never existed.”

“Are you hinting at something?” I asked.

Victor’s lips quirked at the corners, “You amuse me, Ms. Hale. You’re terrified, and yet there you sit, bold as brass.”

“I’m not terrified.” I said.
“Oh, but you are. There’s no point in lying to a wolf, Ms. Hale. We can smell a lie.” He tapped the side of his nose.

I lifted my chin. Victor chuckled. “It’s a shame we couldn’t be on the same side. You’d have made a fine solider.”

“I’m not on any side. And I’m no-ones solider.”

“Oh, but you are. Silly me, I forgot that your grandmother raised you. Yes, of course you wouldn’t know.” Victors’ smile turned less smug and turned creepier.

“Know what?” I asked through clenched teeth. I twisted my wrists behind my back, hissing when the silver cuffs touched bare skin.

“Yes, shame about the cuffs. But we can’t have you turning on us.” Victor sauntered around his desk and made a production of getting comfortable in his chair. “Your parents choose your side for you.”

“My parents are dead.”

There was a commotion in the hall, but Victor didn’t seem to mind. He kept his eyes on me. “They were alive long enough to make promises, certain decisions.”

“What promises? What decisions?”
The doors jerked, like something – someone – had been thrown against them.

Then the phone rang.

“Excuse me, dear.” Victor reached for his desk phone. He brought it to his ear with a cheerful, “Hello!”

After a moment, he gave a soft laugh. “Well, by all means. Bring him in.”

He’d barely set the phone down when the office doors were thrown open and two of his goons came in, flanking an annoyed looking Brim.

“Ah, Brim. So good to see you, mate.” He gestured to the chair next to mine. “Please. Sit. We’re just getting to the good part.”

Brim’s eyes travelled to the cut on my cheek down to the cuffs burning my wrists. He sat down without a word.

“Lovely. Now, where was I?” He tapped his bottom lip in thought, “Ah, yes! Promises, decisions.”

I leaned forward in my chair, “What promises. What decisions.”

Victor leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers and rested them against his chin. He looked like the cat who was about to eat the helpless little canary.

I had a sick feeling that I was about to become the canary.


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