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13. Following A Scent

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he knew where she was from the first moment she left.

For a strange reason he had made a research on the girl when he was still with them. He had learned all there was to know about her, perhaps that was why he had helped her go in the end. All the other girls before her seemed to be fast passing people with no past and most definitely not a future.

She had parents happily married; her mother was a lawyer and her father was a mathematician both very well appreciated in their respective fields. She had two much younger sisters; twins. She had completed her first year studying Archaeology in the University of the city where she lived. The moment he looked her up, she became real to him. No. That was done long before that but like so many things he dismissed it as not important.

It was not done completely consciously, yet he made it his job to check up on her from time to time after she returned to her home. Initially, it was quite easy as she did not set foot out of her front door due to the severe shock no doubt.

He knew she had not spoken to anybody about what she had experienced. He followed around members of her family eavesdropping on her almost non-existent news and had stood under her bedroom window a couple of times. He never got a glimpse of her though, not until much later.

He didn’t have to go daily; once or twice a week for an hour or so would suffice and when she finally started going out in the world again timidly and carefully, he was about to return to his own cursed life for good, without having to trouble his mind with her any longer.

But as his damned luck would have it, he asked of him to find her and bring her back. He said that the others could not do it for him anymore. It was no fun. He had to have her again so he could put her in her rightful place after delivering the proper punishment naturally. She had to fill her spot. It was the only way.

He did not think for a second to reveal the truth. The reasons were not entirely altruistic. He was the first he would get into trouble as the bastard could pin the whole thing on him out of spite. He had threatened to do so when it had begun three years back as a means to blackmail him into taking part on it.

He used his mission as an excuse to watch over her daily. He pretended to look for her of course and in order not to get him too suspicious, sporadically he gave him the most harmless pieces of information he could spare, embellished with lies. He became her shadow, lying constantly to him with no guilt whatsoever. It was easy you see; his arrogance had made him careless. Thinking that no matter what, he would never get caught and even if he did he had already his sacrificial lamb ready, he had not bothered with details about his victims as par example their last names or where they lived.

He had only made sure that they would keep the affair a secret. He had followed the same steps with all of them as he had a talent in gaining their complete trust and adoration until he revealed his true colours at least, which happened almost the moment they stepped foot in the mansion.

In the girl’s case he knew her aunt but she wasn’t much of a lead. The woman was elusive, traveling all over the world and apart from marrying and getting divorced several times extracting ridiculous sums of money from her unlucky spouses, there was nothing much known about her. Or that’s what he had told him to cover his lack of progress.

“There must be something” he insisted trying to control his rage for he was only left with one pet to abuse and if she was gone it was game over. “You are not looking hard enough”

“I am doing the best I can. You are the one who doesn’t even know her last name” he retorted calmly.

“I did not need her last name. She was not supposed to escape”

“She did though and it’s been a year. That aunt of hers stays never in one place and the girl is off the radar. No social media, no public presence, nothing. With no leads she will be hard to find”

“Make it easy then” he deadpanned.

He had nodded but had not obeyed and for as long as he could he would not. He kept shadowing the girl and little by little he began making his presence more evident to her. When he realized that she got scared of her sanity chasing after what she thought a trick of her mind, he let her see him. The relief in her eyes was immediate.

He had no intension of further communicating with her but one night he sensed her fear as they passed from a very dark and secluded spot. She tried to pass it off as if she was cold instead of terrified and he played along giving her his jacket to wear.

He spoke to her.

She had replied bravely for the first time and she looked at him straight in the eyes. She had never done it without being forced and she was so scared of him that she looked away immediately. Not anymore. She was staring at him with a different expression and that unsettled him. That time he was the one to avert his eyes worried that she could read them.

After that night she was even more relaxed regardless of the fact that he retreated to shadows again.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have let her become so comfortable.

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