Howdy! Reviews really do keep my going, and one certain in particular review inspired me to continue writing. But they're all really, really special to me so please let me know what you think! There's a possibility I might bump the rating up to M next chapter, but I'm not quite sure. What do you guys think?
Super huge thanks to BeachVampire17, nighthunter09, DisneyPirate, MaryLise, and CarolineVampgirl15 for reviewing. You guys are not the reason I cry myself to sleep every night. :D
When I don't move, Vincent glowers. "I promise you'll like the little surprise I have for you," he says. I shake my head, hoping he'll see that I don't care.
"I lied." Vincent suddenly says, his dark eyes smiling. "Your father isn't dead. He's quite alive, actually."
His words hang heavy in the air, exaggerating the silence of the house. Susan's slit neck flashes through my mind and the momentary feeling of relief I had vanishes. "He's….he's alive?" I ask. Vincent shrugs his shoulders.
"Why did you tell me he was dead?" Perhaps I should be angry, but at the moment I'm slightly less anxious to know that Vincent didn't kill Dad, at least not yet. Perhaps there is hope. Perhaps my death and even poor Toddy's and Susan's deaths occurred to save Dad's life. Dad's alive, I tell myself.
"Why would I kill him? He has much to fulfill yet." My tormentor flashes his teeth in something reminiscent of a smile, but it is not very friendly, to say the least. "Don't pout, Cynda. You'll break my heart," he adds, his face contorted with mock sympathy.
"But…but Susan said he was gone, has been gone all day," I say, attempting to gain some comprehension. "And he didn't answer his phone. Have you hurt him? Is he in the house?" I slouch, weary of Vincent's games. I feel terribly lost.
"Shall we take a walk?" Vincent roughly grips my arm and hoists me up, but he doesn't release me once I'm standing. He drapes an arm around my shoulders, constricting my movements, subtly reinforcing his dominance.
He quickly leads me through the house and to the back door, and we walk outside. The night air is cold and tinged with the salty smell of the sea. Together, we tramp through the snow, and it becomes quite apparent where we are headed. A dark feeling of depression wells deep in the pit of my stomach and I choke back a sob. We're heading to the last place I would ever want to go.
After a rather brisk walk, a lone building looms on the horizon. In the pale moonlight, Will's shack has taken on a blue hue. It looks as if it is saddened by the violence that has occurred within its walls. Slowly, Vincent opens up the door with one hand.
"You see, sweet Cynda, we need your father. His part is very important." Vincent steps into the little shack, and I soon follow. The open door allows for a little light to enter the dark room, but I don't need it. My vision has adjusted to the darkness, and it is more clear and precise than ever before. However, my eyes did not find Dad first. His smell permeates throughout the shack, easily allowing me to locate him.
He is on the ground, presumably unconscious. Vincent is next to him before I am. He stoops down to examine the sleeping mass.
"See how fragile he is?" Vincent whispers. He rolls my father onto his back; Dad's face stares blankly up at the ceiling. "He's an old man, Cynda, much older than Susan."
"Are we going to take him back to Underhill?" Seeing Dad alive, albeit unconscious and within Vincent's grasp, calms me. At least he's alive. At least I've been able to save someone from the monster.
A dark chuckle slices through the blackness. "Of course, little mouse. Do you think I would leave him hear to freeze to death?" Vincent tuts as if he were admonishing a little child. "Not to worry, we shall take him home and he will be very warm."
"But what about Susan?"
"You mean Susan's maimed corpse? I'll take care of it."
His words are meant to hurt; they do. I stare at a very smug Vincent, who is still hovering over my dad. Something is wrong, very wrong. He must have something planned, I can't think of why he would just let my father live. Along with dawning comprehension comes a crushing dread. I glance at my sleeping father and say, "You're going to kill him, aren't you?"
"Yes." Vincent stands and faces me. "He will die tonight."
A guttural sound escapes my lips. "You said Toddy, everyone would be safe from you," I growl, allowing anger and hatred to take over me.
"They were never in any threat of being harmed by me. You, on the other hand…" He stops mid-sentence, allowing the implication to sink in.
I won't even respond. I walk out of the shack and into the night, hoping to draw Vincent away from Dad, who I pray will wake up soon. I stand outside, waiting, until a figure appears. Vincent has Dad slung over his shoulder. He looks at me then vanishes. I'm left standing, my mind blankly looking for an explanation about what just happened, where Vincent took off to.
I immediately head to the cliffs, automatically thinking Vincent would kill my dad then dispose of the body into the sea. When I arrive, no one is there. The place is completely vacant. Panic rises.
I curse myself. Vincent wasn't lying—he had headed back to Underhill. I hurriedly turn away from the jagged cliffs and run home.
Underhill is dark.
I silently open the front door, careful to be silent. I walk to the living room. Nothing. There's no sound in the house at all. It's totally quiet.
Not surprisingly, I'm nervous, scared... No, I'm terrified. Around every corner and every shadow, I imagine Vincent is there, waiting to pounce. Horrible images run through my mind, each with Vincent doing awful things.
I slink through the hallway, my back pressed against the wall. Suddenly, there is a blaze of orange coming from my dad's study. My heart races; I feel panicked. I can feel the heat of….
Fire. The study is on fire! I race to the little room. I stop dead in my tracks.
Oh it's a horrible sight! I trip over myself trying to get away from the blaze. I feel the heat coming down the hall, teasing my fear, my terror.
I race through the house, running as fast as I can. Upon reaching the door, I jerk it open and propel myself outside. I trip again and land in the snow. Sitting on the ground, I look up at Underhill. Smoke is starting to come out of one of the windows and the orange haze is spreading to more rooms.
I think about going back in the house; I can't. The memory of what was in the study is too frightening. Dad was sitting in his chair, next to the desk. The curtains were engulfed in flames, quickly catching everything else on fire. Horror, panic, and true fear like I've never felt before engulfed my sensing, completely making me forget about Vincent.
I collapse into the snow, and my entire backside becomes wet and cold; but it doesn't bother me. I want to go back into the house, perhaps there's still time to save Dad…but I can't. Nothing, not even the love for my dad, could make me stand up and run back into the burning building. I don't know why, but the fire is too much. I can't face it.
I stare at the stars, imagining Susan's and Dad's souls escaping Underhill and flying to heaven. At least they'll be with Todd--the thought doesn't comfort me. Tears cloud my vision and roll down my cheeks. I try not to think, because thinking only leads to dark thoughts.
The snow crunches next to me, alerting me of Vincent's approach. He slowly walks towards me and stops, no smile or smirk on his face. Instead of arrogance or confidence, his flawless features are warped by a new emotion, like he's disturbed.
"Stand up," he hisses, no merriment in his voice. "We're leaving." Without waiting for me to react, he reaches down and yanks me to my feet. With his hand wrapped around my forearm, he drags me to his car.
Underhill is completely emblazed now; the roof is totally engulfed, sending bright flames up into the night sky. A loud crash comes from the house and a nearby window explodes, blasting fire, heat and glass outward, making both me and Vincent duck. Vincent looks back at me, his eyes bright with fear.
Moving quickly, he opens the driver side door and throws me in. I have to crawl over the gearshift to get to the passenger seat. I'm barely sitting before Vincent is in the car and turning on the ignition. He jerks the car into reverse and slams on the accelerator. Seconds later, he abruptly stops the car.
We're a safe distant from Underhill and the fire but I can still hear the crackle and hiss. We watch it burn for several minutes, not speaking or looking at each other. Soon, the roof collapses. I lean forward, hardly believing what has happened to Underhill.
"Why?" I croak. Vincent runs a hand through his dark hair and straightens his back. He looks dead ahead at the destruction that he has caused. Light from the fire dances and illuminates his features, giving him a devilish look.
He's obviously rattled. He doesn't answer me. For what feels like an eternity, he just looks at the blaze, not saying a word and hardly moving. I also stare at what was once my home. Tears well in my eyes again and fall straight down my face. Both Dad and Susan's corpses must be completely burnt by now. I don't want to think about that, but I just can't stop myself from doing so.
Around two in the morning, Vincent turns the key in the ignition, bringing the car to life again. The house is still ablaze, but it's mostly destroyed by now. It looks nothing like the beautiful Underhill it once was. Instead, it's decimated building with two bodies inside.
Vincent shifts the Porsche into first gear and we slowly leave the property. I turn around to look at the remains of the building until it is out of sight. The car slightly jerks as it's shifted into fifth and we take off down the road. We drive through the small town, then the next town, and then the town after that. Vincent speeds through the countryside, hurriedly trying to approach some place I don't know. I focus my attention out the window, my mind on things far away.
"The fire was to delay the authorities." Vincent cocks his head slightly in my direction and looks at me through the corners of his eyes. "It will give us the opportunity we need to disappear."
I look at him, trying to understand what is going on through his head. I have no idea what he means, eluding the authorities has never been a concern of mine before.
"Couldn't you…. Couldn't you?" The question remains unfinished. I can't bring myself to ask why Dad had to die, why he couldn't have let him live.
"The memory will fade, Cynda," Vincent says almost sincerely. He pauses then says, "Thirty years from now, your dad would have been dead anyways. We've just relieved him of those miserable years."
He's returned to his usual self; the monster is back. He's once again laughing at my pain. I don't say anything, the tears falling freely down my cheeks say enough. I lean my head against the seat, my eyes blankly looking at the road.
An hour later, as the dark blue sky starts to turn a light pink, Vincent pulls the car into a little motel off the side of the road. With a flick of the wrist he turns off the car. "This is it, my love. We'll spend the day here," he says as he opens the door and steps out. "Stay here while I check in." With that he slams the door and saunters into the office.
I watch him through the window. A middle aged woman is working at the desk. She smiles, bats her eyelashes, and flicks her dyed blonde hair at him, obviously trying to flirt. Vincent rises to the occasion and leans forward, drawing her closer to him. He plays with her for several minutes, then turns away and walks out the door, a smug smile plastered on his lips.
Vincent opens the door and says, "Come along, little pet."