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Chapter Two

Vadya tried to close her mind to the flood of feelings that were bombarding her. From the minute her mother’s small Toyota had touched its wheels on the earth of the island, she had felt an unease in the pit of her stomach. A roiling and churning that was not like any roller-coaster or thrill ride in the universe. Something about this place made the tiny hairs on the back of her neck stand to attention, and the blood in her veins clamber to get out. Where was this place?

Early that morning had been like any other prior to the phone call. She was brushing her teeth in her tiny Vancouver apartment when the phone rang for the first time. Ignoring it had become a personal habit, and almost a challenge in her younger adult life. Through her college years, her mother had phoned several times a day, but as Vadya got older, she had pushed back and claim her life for herself. When the phone rang for the fourth time, Vadya finally picked up. After all, she couldn’t ignore her the whole day.

‘Where are you?’ her mother had barked, the terse gritty sound sounding almost like she was worried. But surely not. Since Vadya had left the orphanage as a small child, her adopted mother had only ever shown her an icy disdain. Sure, she liked to control her every move, but she never seemed worried about her before. Normally, it was more anger than concern. But today she had sounded different. It caught Vadya off-guard.

In her distraction with the conversation, she had agreed to travel with her, even though the destination and reasoning had been vague. The entire car trip, her mother hadn’t spoken over two words, and as they boarded a ferry for a remote island off the coastline, Vadya had multiple questions on her mind but, like usual, held her tongue.

Now she was here, in the middle of a dense forest, with her mother marching towards a man who leaned on the handle of a sizable axe. Vadya was wondering if maybe her mother had finally lost her mind.

She didn’t have time to get her bearings before they had roared into this stranger’s driveway. A small wooden cottage nestled in the middle of the trees, and a tall handsome man in a white singlet, with a shirt tied around his waist and tight low-slung jeans, was cutting wood near the house. As the car pulled to a stop, Vadya felt her hands trembling. What was going on with her body? She didn’t recall ever feeling this anxious. Not even the time when she left the orphanage had she been this on edge.

Her mother’s body was equally tense as she stepped out of the car, and as Vadya followed suit, it drew her eyes to the face of the man who was now watching her intently from beside the front door.

He was tall, with a strong square jawline and dark hair. The way he watched her made her blood thicken and her limbs weaken. There was something about him that radiated danger, and yet she found herself unable to draw her eyes away from his own. She heard him disagree with her mother and pulled her eyes away to control the tremble in her body. Stop fighting, her internal voice screamed at her. This will end badly. Stop it.

Looking back up, she caught his gaze and shook her head. No, this needed to stop. She didn’t know why, but she knew that this tension was dangerous for all of them. The man blinked, then seemed to relent, and suddenly her mother headed towards the house under the careful gaze of the new host. At least she hoped he was their host, and not their captor.

But before they could step inside, there was the sound of someone else arriving. Turning her head, she watched as a dirty old truck pulled into the space behind their small Toyota. A man with a grey grizzled beard stepped out and looked across at them all, his face grim.

‘What the hell are you doing here?’ he growled across at her mother.


It’s time to make a choice!


Should Vadya ~

A) Turn around and get back in the car. This place isn’t safe.

B) Wait and find out what is going on.


Put your choice in the comments below. The one selected the most will determine what happens to the characters next!




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