“No!” I yelled, hoping to rouse Hunter from his sleep. A look of fury crossed over her face.
“Shut up!” she hissed. “Hunter can’t save you. He doesn’t care if you live or die!”
I wondered if that was true or if she was saying that to make herself feel better. After all, Hunter may not hold a candle to any of my men but he wasn’t heartless.
Not like Queenie.
“Then you won’t care if he sees what you’re doing!”
“Keep your voice down and get outside!” Queenie hissed. “Don’t make me shoot you here.”
I thought quickly, desperately and looked around for something to use as a weapon but what could I use against a gun?
I decided to keep her talking instead.
“Why are you doing this?” I demanded. “What have I ever done to you?”
“You know too much,” Queenie replied but there was malice in her tone, which told me that she’d been planning this for a long while.
I thought about what Hunter had told me, that she was jealous of me. Could that really be the root of all this or was Queenie just a run-of-the-mill psycho?
“I don’t know anything!” I promised. “I swear, I didn’t hear anything.”
Her mouth formed a smirk of disbelief.
“You’re not even smart enough to lie well,” she spat. “Come on.”
I knew my stalling tactics were failing and I shuffled past her, opening my mouth to scream for Hunter but I quickly reconsidered.
What if she shot him? I’d never be able to live with myself.
“Outside,” Queenie growled. “Move faster.”
“So you’re just going to kill me in the snow? Won’t that look suspicious?”
“Not if no one ever finds your body. You have a history of hiding out, after all.”
I turned my head as we reached the doorway and gaped at her.
“You can’t be serious,” I choked. “There will be a search for me, Queenie. My mom—”
“You should have thought about that before coming back here,” Queenie snarled and I continued to stare at her uncomprehendingly.
“What are you talking about?”
“Ugh, you really are dumb. You were supposed to get caught in that storm—and die there.”
My eyes almost popped out of my head.
“T-that is the most terrible plan I’ve ever heard,” I muttered before I could stop myself. “How could you guarantee that?”
“Because I poisoned your water. You were supposed to drink from it and die in the snow.”
Fear permeated my body.
“Why?” I whispered. “Why do you hate me so much? What have I ever done to you?”
“Just shut up!” She hit me with the nose of the gun and I stumbled out of the building in socked feet, stumbling through the snow, which was almost to my knees.
It was impossible to walk with my leg and the amount of snow but Queenie didn’t seem to care.
“Keep going,” she insisted. “I need to get out somewhere remote.”
I headed toward the only place I could think of—the cabin. I had no idea if Queenie knew what direction I was going but in my head, I was silently willing one of my men to save me again.
Just a little bit further and I’ll see the cabin, I thought, shivering violently against the cold.
“This is far enough.”
I turned to look at her, knowing this was it but to my shock, I saw someone in the distance, running toward us.
“AMANDA!” Hunter screamed after us. She turned in shock and I took the opportunity without pause.
Suddenly, it didn’t matter that my leg hurt or that I was drowning in snow. I had to run.
I zigzagged across the snow awkwardly, each step bringing me closer to the cabin’s view when suddenly, the shot rang out.
With laser precision, the bullet tore through me and I was falling face-first into the snow.
I jumped at the unexpected noise, my head spinning to look outside the snow-capped window in shock. At first I thought I was imagining things in my exhausted state but the more I thought about it, the more I realized what it was I’d just heard.
Was that a gunshot?
I didn’t give myself much more time to think about it and I bolted out of the office and into the main part of the house.
No one else was around, all of them in bed in the dorm. I didn’t bother to call out to anyone as I threw open the front door and peered into the snow. The blackness made it impossible to see much but something propelled me forward, the snow crunching beneath my feet. I didn’t even notice the cold as I surged forward into the unforgiving landscape, my heart racing.
My deeply honed sixth sense told me that something terrible was waiting for me in that vast nothingness.
It was stupid. I should have called for backup. I knew better.
But there was no time for regrets now and I listened for signs of life. If there was a gunshot, there was a person. I hoped it wasn’t a dead person.