Later that night, Lauren starts flipping through the pages.

"I see you're interested in my sketches,"

Lauren looks up at Billy, who was sitting opposite of her, then back at the book.

"Yes, your sketches are so well planned. You know, my granddad used to design ventriloquist puppets as well. But he never did get to build them. He suffered from arthritis too soon, so he couldn't pick up the tools needed to build them." Lauren explains.

"Well, if you succeed in this, maybe you can build them for him. You seem like such a dedicated ventriloquist." Billy says.

"You know, I need to ask, if it's not too personal. But, how did you die?" Lauren says, setting the book on her stomach.

"Well my darling, it was a long time ago at my theater. I was getting ready for bed when I heard a commotion outside. It was the Ashen clan. They thought I had kidnapped the heir of their fortunes, so they forced me into my dressing room and made me scream before cutting my tongue out. I died bleeding to death," Billy explains.

"Exsanguination," Lauren states.


"That's what it's called when you bleed to death," Lauren explains.

"My, such a bright girl you are." Billy says.

"Thanks, my mom wants me to become a college professor when I'm older. But I'd rather be an actress," Lauren says.

"An on stage person; that's more like you. Being the center of everyone's attention; making them laugh and cry and cheer, it gives you one of the most wonderful feelings in life." Billy explains.

"I know; I figured that out after my 2nd grade talent show. I can still remember it like it was yesterday." Lauren says. "I was all gussied up, my mom had done my makeup and I had practiced for months before the tryouts and even more for the show."

"Did you dance? Or sing? Or act?" Billy asks.

"None, I did a ventriloquist act, with the only puppet my granddad had. His name was Alfred; we did such a good job and tired our best. In the end, we were the most popular and most creative act in the show. And since then, I've always wanted to be a ventriloquist." Lauren explains.

"What happened to Alfred?" Billy asks,

"He went missing," Lauren sadly sighs, "I guessed my dad must've gotten rid of him,"

"Well, we won't have that happen again," Billy says,

"I hope not," Lauren says, picking the book up and flipping through the sketches again. "But are you sure I can do this?"

"Lauren," Billy starts, "Building puppets is like preparing for a show-you can only do it if you know you can."

Lauren smiles and chuckles a bit, "Right," She says,

"I'll just leave you to continue your studying," Billy says,

Billy goes limp and falls over, but Lauren catches Billy and sits him against the window before she continues reading.

/I just hope Christopher is up for this,/ Lauren thinks, /I don't I think I could do this alone in the time we have,/