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The Dark One: Chapter 39

CHERRY

My hands are so clammy, I have to keep wiping them on my pants as Winnie makes her way downstairs.

What am I doing?

Maybe I should stop her. She did apologize.

But I keep seeing her with Vane in the woods and it makes me want to scream and cry and vomit.

It hurts so bad, it feels like I could die from it.

Better Winnie than me. It wasn’t so bad before she came. The twins would sometimes share me and every now and then, I’d catch Vane regarding me like he might devour me.

I want that back.

Winnie changed everything.

We go down the hallway to my closed bedroom door.

“Here,” I say and my voice wobbles. “Let me.”

Winnie frowns at me but steps aside.

I can’t breathe.

I turn the knob and crack the door open.

Winnie steps over the threshold.

I shove her all the way in.

Hey. Cherry!”

I slam the door closed behind her and grab the door knob and lean back with all of my weight.

“Cherry!” she yells and wrenches on the knob. I grit my teeth. Slam my eyes closed. I can’t do this. I can do this. I have to do this. Who cares about a Darling? There’ve been so many. They’ll forget about her eventually, just like they’ve forgotten about all the others.

“Cherry!”

Her voice is rising in panic. Something growls.

“Oh my god. Cherry. Open the door.”

She screams. Something thuds against the wall.

I keep hanging on. Hang on. Just a little longer.

“Cherry, please!”

There’s a loud snarl. The sound of glass breaking.

Tears well in my eyes as my heart races in the space between my ears.

And then…

Silence.

I keep holding onto the door.

I’m terrified of opening it.

Will the shadow just race out past me? Do I have to worry about it? Will there be blood? What will I find left of Winnie?

Maybe if I duck out of the way…

Light spills from the crack beneath the door.

A shadow stretches in it.

What the—

I straighten, wipe my hands again on my pants, and then reach out for the doorknob, hands shaking the entire time.

My shirt is thumping on my chest, my heart is racing so fast.

I turn the knob and push the door in.

It creaks on its hinges and I spot Winnie in the middle of my room, standing among the wreckage of all of my favorite things.

Her back is to me.

“Winnie?”

She says nothing.

I lick my lips and inhale deeply.

“Winnie?”

She slowly turns to me.

I’m practically vibrating.

And when she finally faces me and lifts her chin—

Her eyes are darkest black.


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