I lie on my bed as I click away on my laptop. It’s been days since I helped the girl escape and I keep checking the local news to see if she’s missing. There’s nothing, so that has to be good. If something happened to her then her family would have reported her missing. Relief fills me each time I click on the news page and don’t see her. Though there are other missing girls.
My eyes drift across the screen to the five missing women. All of them have red hair and I subconsciously reach up and touch my own. I freeze when I recognize one of them. I only met her once. She came to deliver groceries over a month ago when the normal delivery guy was out sick. We only shared a few words, but she was nice. She rushed out when Dad entered the kitchen, but it wasn’t unusual because people always seem afraid of him. They leave his space as quickly as possible unless he uses his charm on them. I think he enjoys when people scurry from the room. I never felt that way, but maybe I’m used to whatever vibe he puts off because I’ve grown up around it. I understand that feeling because I get it when I’m around Greg. I have a need to be anywhere else but within reaching distance of him.
My chest starts to ache and I hate this swirl of emotion that has been closing in around me. Even in my sleep I can’t escape it. When I close my eyes all I see is Bishop. I still haven’t asked my dad about it for fear of learning things I don’t want to know. It’s childish and weak.
Guilt hits when I think about all these growing questions of doubt surrounding my dad. I’m turning into everyone else and running from the room when he enters it. I know we can’t go on this way. At least, I can’t.
I type our old address into the search bar and start clicking around. Two redheaded woman from the area went missing in the past, but it’s been over a year since the last disappearance. I sit up and cross my legs as I pull the laptop into my lap. I don’t want to believe what is right in front of me because it could be a coincidence. It’s too painful to think of what else it might mean. What if it’s one of his men? So many came with us in the move—that has to be it. I try to reason with myself as I grab onto any other possibility.
I keep scrolling and almost scream when I see a picture of my old guard Sam. I put my hand over my mouth to stop the fear from bubbling up as I scan the article and see the police are looking for leads. His body was found washed up under a bridge near where we used to live. According to the article it was shortly after we moved.
I close the laptop and toss it to the other side of the bed, not wanting it near me. Tears fall down my cheeks even with my eyes closed tightly. I muffle my sobs with my hand, but it’s no use. I can feel that it’s only beginning, so I jump up from my bed and rush to the shower. I turn it on and strip off my clothes before I get in. I let the shower drown the sounds of my sobs as I rest my hands against the cold tile to keep me upright.
I cry for Sam, I cry for my dad, and selfishly I cry for myself.
The enclosed shower walls around me squeeze tight and I want nothing more than to run. I don’t know where I’d go, but I imagine it’s a place where my dad can explain it all away. He can tell me my imagination has gotten the best of me and everything is going to be okay. The alternative is running from him, and that thought causes me even more pain.
There is nowhere to go. I have no one and I have no doubt my dad would find me.
When the water finally turns cold I pull myself from the shower and wrap a towel around me. I freeze when I open my bathroom door and see Greg sitting on my bed with my laptop open. His eyes roam over me as they always do, but this time all I have is a towel to cover me. The side of his mouth turns up and I swallow as I try to not look afraid.
“Why do you have my laptop?” I ask, and I’m surprised my voice is steady.
“It’s my job to keep an eye on you.” He shuts it and stands from the bed.