“I don’t understand any of this. The women? Why you chose to take me? Why…” I trail off. There are too many questions to even name and now my head is spinning. “Do you really work for the government?”
“I work for no man.” My body goes numb and my mind tries to play catch-up, but there are so many holes. I remember screams from the basement and men that came and went. He told me some things were done for the greater good.
“A greater good of your choosing.” His eyes lock with mine. I naïvely thought the greater good meant everyone.
“This was so much easier when you let me in your mind,” he sighs. “It’s harder now and I don’t know how you do it, but you do.”
I lock my hands together to keep them from shaking. Everything’s coming apart at the seams. It’s not just learning one bad thing about him but that he’s rotten to the core. My fuzzy memories make more sense.
“You’ve been standing next to evil this whole time and you thought you were standing in the light. This isn’t the right side of things.”
The girl’s words float through my mind. “This is all about Bishop, isn’t it?” It has to be. Everything always circles back around to Bishop and my dad’s hate for him. If there is one thing I’m certain of, it’s that my dad loathes Bishop. How did I get tangled up in a mess between them?
It still doesn’t add up because now my dad has no need to avenge my mother. She was nothing to him, so why is he doing this?
“Yes, it started there. I knew he wanted you, so I took you.” He says it so easily, as if he popped into the store and bought me.
“You took me,” I repeat. Those simple words make me feel as though I’m only an object and nothing more.
“I saved you.” This time I feel the bite of his words. He’s getting mad, yet still I push. “You’re mine now, daughter, and he can’t have you.”
Maybe he does care about me in some weird twisted way. But now that I know he’s been playing with my mind, I have no idea what was real or what wasn’t. Furthermore, why does Bishop want me? Why do you always want him, my mind answers. I shake that thought away. I don’t want the man who killed my mother. I’m not sure I want the man sitting in front of me to be in my life anymore either.
“Did you save me from the life I was living or from him?” I ask and stand up. He does the same and we stare at one another.
I can tell he doesn’t want to answer the question as his jaw clenches.
“You don’t really care about me or whatever this is.” I point between us, feeling my heat and anger rising. “I’m some chew toy between you two for some crazy reason that you won’t tell me!” I scream.
Before I see him move, he’s out from around the desk and smacks me hard on the face. I fall back into my chair and clutch my cheek as I lick my bottom lip and taste blood. My face throbs, but it’s the least of the pain I’m feeling right now.
Gordon stands over me looking a little shocked himself that he hit me. “I—” His words are cut off when the speaker on his phone comes alive.
“Fuck!” he curses then he picks up the phone and listens to whatever is being said.
“Get to the panic room. Stay there until I come for you.” He pulls me up from the chair and pushes me towards the doors of his office. “Loren, are you listening to me? Go to the panic room. You know the drill.” I nod.
I leave his office and walk towards the basement still holding my cheek. Men run past me as I get to the door of the basement and stop. I recall the last time I went down there and what I’d seen. There was so much blood everywhere and the thought of it now sends a chill all over me.
A loud explosion rocks the whole house and I have to brace myself on the wall so I don’t fall over. My ears ring from the sound, but something inside of me realizes this is my chance. I drop my hand and see a smear of blood on my fingertips. My lip having cracked when he hit me. He never denied killing those women and I’m not going to be added to that list.
“Shit,” I say when I hear the explosion go off.
The others must be close enough to hear the alarms. I managed to sneak into the back kitchen stairwell without being detected, but the door stayed open too long and triggered a sensor. I’m weak and I can’t move as fast as I need to, so I have to be careful.