Hey, so I seem to have lost a few of you back there :( I know, I know. I can't really blame you, this is... let's just say I get it! (I wanted to update on Halloween, since this story is rather fitting for the time of year... but life doesn't work that way sometimes. Happy belated Hallows Eve!) Massive thanks to those of you who read, reviewed; thanks a million. And of course, thanks to tinderbliss for being that gorgeous THORN in my side when it comes to my writing. I swear, girl puts my lack-of-talent on a pedestal much too high for me to reach. Expect an update for those of you reading TOUL within the next week as well :)

Oh, and if you could do me a favor? (god, where do I get the gall to ask so much of you guys?) Check out her story In The Rough? I've had the honor of getting to know the story inside and out, do a little thorn work of my own, role plays (no, not dirty kind - unfortunately) BETA-ing... let's just say I know what is in store for this story; and you're not gonna want to miss it.

Katie.

"Let me guess. God turned his back on you, heavens' gates are shut. So now you've come to knock on the devils' door?"

You shake your head at the smirking man in annoyance, cocky prick that he is. "Yeah, no. Don't think you're worth that much, 'Devil' is kind of high on the evolutionary scale for you."

He chuckles at you, the sound of his laughter ringing in your ears makes your fists clench instantly. Effy is the only reason you are here - talking to someone you just want to bludgeon to death - because she is everything to you. So for once, you swallow your fiercely grown pride; and speak again.

"Frederick, look. Effy seems to have some... kind of faith in you. Can you do it, or not?"

He regards you for a moment, eyes hungry with something that makes your inner embers start to implode. You know how much he wants Effy, and you know how much he disregards you. And its quite unfair of Effy to ask this of you, because you go along with her on so much, those people don't infuriate you as much as he does. As your anger boils over, you have to rememeber that the person in front of you will allow you to keep Effy; and that's both terrifying and infuriating.

"Yeah, I can do it Katie. But I need some things from you." He smirks sadistically and eyes your body one last time; and it takes hold of everything inside you to not reach out and strangle the man.

"Like what?" You ask through gritted teeth.

"For starters? Blood."

Emily.

"Do you know that woman? ...Miss. Campbell?"

You look up from the paper in the death grip of you hands, and place it back down on the table. Your palms are sweaty and your fingers are twitching nervously, as you do everything in your power to will them steady. That woman holds the answers you seek, and you need to play these next few moments correctly if you want to avoid suspicion; and gain some kind of understanding to what is going on with you. You contemplate option number one: tell them you have seen her hanging around Naomi's office building before. No, that won't be plausible. And even if it was, that would mean even more digging as to why she was hanging around in the first place. Option two: you've seen her at the park once or twice when you go for a run. Maybe. Everyone visits a public park for some logical reason or another. Option three: she looks like a barista at your local cafe, but that won't work. She is a beautiful Spanish girl; brown eyes and lustrous chocolate locks. Her smile sparkles when she sends warmth your way, genuine. Nothing like this girl - this girl that makes you feel she stole her soul from the devil. You contemplate a few other scenarios in your head before coming to a conclusion.

"I'm sorry, no. I don't know her. She just looks really sad is all."

Naomi smiles at you, and squeezes your hand gently.

"Emsy has always been too empathetic for her own good. I'm sorry, I don't recognize any of these women either. I wish I could be of more help to you lads."

As she stands - bringing you up with her - you see the officers share a questioning glance at each other. And you internally curse yourself then, because you know that you just picked up the picture of their prime suspect.

"We will be in touch."

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"Who is she Em."

It's more of a statement rather than a question, and she knows how much that tone unsettles you. But she's gone and done it anyway, and you realize that she was lying back there; that the officers weren't the only ones that didn't fall for your bluff. You question whether or not to bring Naomi into this hole that is consuming you; whether it's at all important to burden her with words of the unknown when she is dealing with so much. You want to tell her everything, but you love her too much to spread this worry for no reason or proof. So instead you opt for a lie. But Naomi being very much... Naomi; she doesn't believe a word.

"Emily, you can talk to me. I know I have a lot going on, but you're the most important thing. Please-"

You cut her off mid-plea, because you can't deal with this tone. The one that shakes your very bones; when she's begging you to let her in. And it's a questionable act - making her the one to pry - because she's always been the one who needed a crowbar to convince. But now you've turned the tide on her, and it feels rather cruel of you to do this to Naomi. And there's nothing you can do to change your mind. It's all made up, it's settled and its graffitied along the walls of your skull - 'Not Yet'.

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You tell Naomi that you need to go home, that you have a pounding headache that needs a short slumber to cure. But it's a lie - and you find yourself lying to her more and more lately. That is the most grueling part of all this, the fact that you aren't being truthful to the woman you love most in this world and the next; the woman you would die for. You consider all of this as you search your closet for something comfortable, something that will allow you the freedom to search for a woman you don't know. In doing so, you discover the perfect outfit for detective work - skinny jeans, flat heeled boots, and an oversized plaid shirt you often use for warmth on those cold kingdom evenings.

Your first stop is the local library - and its a rather smart choice. This girl had a mug shot, which means she was in jail. And if she were jailed, there would be some record of her crime in the local paper. And that search moves on from the news paper, to an actual, published article by someone who found the woman absolutely fascinating in the world of Psychology. As you read, you stumble; and you realize just how horrible of a mistake you've made.

A Look Inside The Mind Of A Child Psychopath

By Steven Blair, P.H.D.

Elizabeth Stonem, patient number 26605 in London's top Sanity Asylum; scheduled for release in two short years. Many of you know her as the UK's youngest killer to date; the perpetrator of two of the most gruesome murders in this century. In this article you will read about my time spent with this young woman in the hopes of getting a small peek into the mind of a deadly child (interview on pages 5-15).

Here is a letter she wrote to me highlighting her path from young child to cold-blooded murderer while incarcerated at the age of 16.

I blame the voices. I really do. They've started screaming at me since I was seven years old. That one, fateful night when Tony decided to cross that invisible line on our bedroom floor and jump into bed with me. He always made me uncomfortable, even when he would throw an innocent arm around my shoulder or kiss my cheek good night. Mom and dad would never notice my discomfort, because they were too busy fighting. Too busy fucking other people. They didn't notice anything wrong that next morning, when I stumbled downstairs with not but a word to anyone. That night I lost, and gained something at the same time. I lost my voice, but most importantly; I lost my mind. I lost my innocence, and I lost my love. But I gained something that night that no one - not even my brother - could take away from me; I received the gift of my Undines. Greek Mythology described them as beings in a living, breathing form; but that's not entirely true. They took refuge in my skull, using my brain as a cushion while they slept. And while they now slumber blissfully on the wreckage that used to be my humanity, I hum in the silence knowing that I am forever safe. Safe in my absence; safe in my anonymity. Tony came for me every night after that first time, he seemed to thoroughly enjoy my company. Even when he got a girlfriend he didn't stop. Even when she would come over after school and give him oral for the fiftieth time; he still came for me. I learned to enjoy it at some point that year, and after a while; he decided he wanted me to.

It all changed when he went off to College. He outgrew me, and never came to visit me. He became a very popular man on campus, and decided his dirty little used up sister would ruin his image if that secret got out. Not only that, but there was no stability anymore. My parents split up, so I spent the majority of my time bouncing from house to house. They told me they fought because they both wanted me, but I knew it was a lie. Neither one of them would TAKE me, because they went off to try and make new lives in the hope of forgetting the old one they made together. But there was just one problem with that scenario, one thing that wouldn't let them forget; and that thing was me. And after about a year of rocky ground and pent up sexual frustration - no longer being properly disposed of by my older brother - I decided to act out. Which landed me in a half-way house for 'Troubled Teens' under the specialized care of a man named John Foster.

Now, John was an interesting man. He was the first one of his kind to have a complete and utter fascination with me. He didn't start fucking me right away, but I knew he wanted to. And I knew it was only a matter of time, a matter of circumstance before he lunged at me. The day he realized just how far gone I was, he decided to end it all. The pitiful sessions, the counselling that went absolutely nowhere. He realized that day that nothing anyone - especially himself - could do or say would bring me back from hell. So, he decided to help himself. And yeah, I let him. I wanted it in a way, I wanted him to prove me right. The thing about this world, is it's all just rotting away. People say they are there to help you when they're not. They are put on such a high pedestal when they shouldn't be. And for some strange reason, I felt like entering me was a complete failing for him. All those awards and certificates on his walls meant nothing anymore. I took it all away from him with one simple thing; letting him do what he wanted.

I used to get a kick out of torturing animals at school, but that soon lost its lustre. Where is the fun in decapitating something so small that can't fight back? I wanted a struggle I could overpower, I wanted a challenge. And that is what landed me here, in this tiny little room with no windows and no roommate. You see, there was this boy. He thought I was fit, and I played into that. Sometimes feeling lusted after eased my mind, it was something that gave me a choice in the matter. But this time it was different. I decided right then that separating the two wasn't enough for me anymore. He pulled down his pants, and I pulled out my fathers' hunting knife. I carved him a new smile, as a matter of fact; I carved many things into him that afternoon. But eventually I stopped having fun, painting little patterns and circles with his blood; so I decided to bury him. He was quite heavy, and I'll admit my lack of strength is one of the reasons I got caught. Burying a body beneath the school bleachers - it was only a matter of time before someone unearthed him from that shallow grave.

John Foster was the only person I was able to visit in prison, well. If I'm being honest? He was the only one who would see me when I went inside. My parents fucked off to god knows where - unable to deal with the fact that their little girl killed someone and landed in an actual jail cell, they eventually got the gist that Juvie is no place for a killer - and I heard through the grapevine that Tony had changed his name and opened some strip club in Glasgow. So there I was, in jail and going to weekly sex-ions with Dr. Foster. And that didn't really bother me, because at least I got to go outside those four grey walls for a little while. Until it all got so... redundant. I grew bored with him, he wasn't fun to play with anymore. I'll admit, getting chocolate bars and packages from him inside did make my time easier, but I just couldn't shake it anymore. Especially when he started telling me about insanity. He actually thought that I wasn't mad, can you believe it? He told me that people milling about, doing the same things and expecting a different outcome where actually the insane ones. And me? well... I lost my temper. I will spare you the gory details, seeing as how I know you are quite a squeamish man... lets just say I was able to do more damage than I set out to do. Turns out you can actually die from ink poisoning.

The police didn't end up charging me for his murder, because I was able to prove just what kind of 'sessions' he was having with me. The prosecutor ended up settling for a Self-Defence plea, so they moved me to this Asylum place; I hear they are releasing me in two years because of some 'age-out' thing... I guess turning 18 has many more perks than legally being allowed to drive. Now, I know what you're thinking. Someone as crazy as me shouldn't be allowed out of these walls. And I agree with you, I know what kind of monster I am to this world. But, I want to ask you this one question. Am I really that bad? You mean to tell me, in all your travels around this wicked world; that I am the worst of them? I know you, I've followed your articles since I was 10 years old. You have interviewed child molesters, serial killers; rapists. Bad men and women who do things to people unable to defend themselves. If you can look me in the eye and say I am a worse monster than they are, then I will believe you.

Keep a weather eye on the horizon, the sun is about to set.

That Stonem Girl xx

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You shuffle uncomfortably in your seat, as your eyes peel back each word and burn the letters into your eyelids. You still see the words when you blink, and you can't shake it anymore. Your entire body is trembling, as you try to take in a deep; soothing breath. You make a list in your head of your unearthings, the first is that this woman is a murderer. She is dangerous, and there is no way you are getting to her without endangering. Furthermore, there is no way in hell that you are telling Naomi about what is about to happen. Absolutely no way you are going to allow your wife anywhere near this... whatever this is. You contemplate your options for a moment before you come to a conclusion. You are not finding this woman without some kind of back-up. And the person you have in mind will very much oblige to your wishes. You pull out your mobile and phone that same person.

"Ello, this be Cookie."

"Cook, it's Emily."

You can feel his body shift uncomfortably through the phone, though no actual noise is made.

"Emilio, to what do I owe the pleasure?"

"I need your help, Cook. And I need it discreet; you understand?"

He is silent for a moment, before that 'Jack the Lad' way of his is blurted through the phone.

"Ey, that's great! Discretion is me specialty, muff-monkey. Just let 'ol Cookie know what kinda rubbers you're into and he'll-"

"Jesus Christ James! I'm being fucking serious here, quit being a tosser for five seconds!"

You didn't mean to snap, it just happened. The stress of everything must have worn your patience - and your mind - thin. You open your mouth a few times to apologize, but no actual words come. Selective mutism is a problem you assume was taken from the last few years married to Naomi - queen of silence.

"Okay Emily, I get it. 'Tis been a rough day, ey? Let's shake it off and start again."

You nod, but realize in a few moments that the man can't actually see you. "Yeah, lets." Your voice is small, and you wonder at all if he actually heard you. But your inner question is answered swiftly.

"Is it Naomi? She's alright..."

"Yeah James, it's me. I... look, something is going on with me, but Naomi can NOT be privy to this, okay? Cook, promise me."

"'Course Ems. Where can we meet?"

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"Em, really. I'm fine, just stay with me. I don't want tea or whatever the fuck... Em!"

You've been pacing around the kitchen for the last hour trying to do something - anything - to make Naomi feel better. You feel like shit, as you've left her alone longer than intended. You met with Cook - told his surprised and frankly frightened face everything that's been going on with you, from the blackouts to Effy Stonem - before coming home to find Naomi curled up on the couch. She had been crying, you can tell. Though she'd never admit it, she just gives you that look. That one that says 'I need you', and it only makes you feel worse. All you can think about is getting answers, fulfilling your daily detective quota, and it makes you sick. Getting Naomi to openly admit she actually needs you was hell enough, and now that she is actually doing it; you shove tea in her face and try to manipulate her into turning it in earlier than usual.

"I'm sorry Naoms. I just don't know what to do..."

"I just told you." Her voice is small, almost broken. And you slap yourself again inside for being so stupid.

"...Yeah. You're right, come on. I'm sorry, okay? Let's go to bed."

You hold out your arm to her, which she undoubtedly takes; as you lead her to the bedroom. She plops down on her side of the bed, as you pad over to your own and hop up onto the giant king. You laughed at her - that day she picked it out - because even though you are very much a pocket-sized version of a woman; she is not big either. But after a while, she convinced you that a giant bed was a good thing, and you never needed another shred of convincing after that first night of blissful slumber. She instantly rolls into you, her head on your shoulder; arm over your stomach. And you absent-mindedly start to trace your fingertips gently up and down her inner forearm; as you know it calms her so. And after a few brief minutes, you feel as her body slips into sleep.

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"This looks like the place, Emilio. Kinda grungy lookin'... you reckon?"

It didn't take you long to find an address for the brunette, it seems you aren't the only decent detective in this town. You look up at the tall building before shifting your gaze back down to Cook.

"It's kinda dark out here..." you trail off, fear getting the best of you in this moment. You see him smile in the corner of your eye, as he takes your hand gently.

"Cookies here darlin'. Aint gonna let nuffin happen to ya, scouts honor 'n all that shite; ey? Now come on, let's confront this nutter."

His confidence is contagious, as your face smiles back at him. You start up the steps together, and check your watch briefly for the time.

9:23p.m.

He knocks rather loudly on the door labeled '313', and your nerves start to surface again. How exactly had you planned this out to go? Confront a dangerous psychopath with questions you aren't sure you even know to ask? Great plan. The door opens swiftly - bringing you out of your thoughts instantly - as you take in the sight before you. A lanky brunette is leaning against the open door in a rather dismissive way, as she smirks at you knowingly. She has yet to acknowledge Cook, who is standing at your side awkwardly. She regards you for a short moment more, before consulting her wrist watch. She smiles to herself, before setting her stoic gaze upon you once more; and says two simple words that make your veins run cold as ice.

"Hello, Emily."

Bit of a short, filler chapter. Some shit is about to go down, friends. Expect the pace to quicken next chapter. Also, I wanted you all to see a little bit into Effy's past, hope you don't mind. Depending on what you guys think, I could do a little more delving. Let me know!

Please drop a review? I know many of you are back at school, reading, shovelling snow; getting laid... all that good stuff! But some of us *hint hint* aren't and well, your reviews mean a lot :)

Thanks again, you're all incredibly messed up for reading and enjoying this mind fuck ;) *not as much as the writer, at least take comfort in THAT!*

xoV

PS I'm having an awful time trying to categorize this story in terms of genre... any of you much smarter people think you could help a homie out? Appreciate it!