Home > Inspiring You (Unraveling You #4)

Inspiring You (Unraveling You #4)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

“HEY, CAN WE TALK FOR a minute?” Lila, my adoptive mother, asks as she sticks her head into my room.

“Yeah, sure.” I close the notebook that I scribble my thoughts and lyrics into. “Is something wrong?” I ask as I scoot to the edge of my bed and lower my feet to the floor.

She shakes her head as she walks into my room. “No, honey. Nothing’s wrong. I just want to talk.” She sits down beside me. “You’ve seemed kind of quiet at dinner lately, and with everything going on . . .” She sighs. “I just want to make sure you’re doing okay with everything.”

“I’m fine,” I say, hoping I don’t sound as guilty as I feel.

The truth is, a ton of shit is wrong, more than she realizes. Not only have the police found no new information on where my sister, Sadie, is, but I also have an officer following me around twenty-four seven. While I’m grateful they’re protecting me, I’m not sure what the hell I’m going to do when Monday rolls around, and I have to go to my therapy appointment. Hopefully, I can think of a good excuse as to why I’m going to a doctor’s office; otherwise, I won’t be able to go through with my plan.

“I know but . . .” Lila mulls something over while staring out the window where the stars and moon have taken over the sky. “You just seem a little different lately.” She looks at me, worry lines creasing her eyes. “Ethan and I are worried you might be holding stuff in, especially after you found out about your dad . . . And that letter you got the other day . . .” She shudders. “I know it has to be hard for you.”

The letter that arrived in the mail the other day was addressed to me. Fiona was the one who collected it from the mailbox. Thankfully, Lila got a hold of it before anyone else did, noted the lack of a return address, and handed it over to the police. While I don’t know what the contents of the letter are, I’ve noticed I’m being watched more closely, so I’m guessing it was another threat.

“Sweetie, I just want you to know we’re not going to let anything happen to you.” Lila pats my leg. “Your father . . . these people . . . they’re not going to get ahold of you.”

I do my best not to think about the father I never knew, and if he really is part of the evil group who once kidnapped my siblings and me and who still has my sister. Because, if I think about him too much, then I start thinking about everything. And the more I analyze everything, the more I get dragged back into the darkness I let own me for too long. And I don’t want to be stuck in the darkness anymore. I realized that when a member of the Soulless Mileas lured me into the woods. I thought I was going to die out there in the dark, by myself, haunted by my fears I never overcame. When I didn’t die, I promised myself no more being afraid.

No more fear.

Only fight.

Forever and ever.

No matter what

I’ll fight until the end.

Lila sighs at my silence, her shoulders slumping forward with disappointment. “Are you sure there isn’t anything you want to tell me?”

My stomach twists with guilt. It’s like she knows what I’m going to do.

I shake my head. No, if she knew what I was up to, she’d put a stop to it. “I’m okay. I promise. I’m just a little caught up with graduating and stuff. There’s a lot going on.”

She smiles. “I still can’t believe you’ll be a high school graduate in just a few days. It seems like only yesterday we were bringing you home.”

“Two years has gone by kind of fast, hasn’t it?” I realize the truth of my words.

With all of this crazy shit going on with the Soulless Mileas, I haven’t had time to step back and think about how quickly time flies. In just a few days, I’ll be out of high school, and I have no clue what I want to do. Most of my time has been spent trying to find my brother and sister. My search for my brother ended painfully with the police finding his body near my old childhood home. They believe the Soulless Mileas played a role in his death, but since they can’t track down any of the members, no one has paid for taking his life.

“It has gone by pretty fast. Too fast, at least for me.” Her eyes tear up, and she unexpectedly throws her arms around me. “I’m so proud of you. You’re such a strong, good person, Ayden. I’m so lucky I get to have you as my son.”

I pat her back, not feeling as uncomfortable as I used to when she hugged me, but hugging is still out of my comfort zone. “Thank you . . . For saying that. It means a lot to me.”

“I’m just saying the truth. You’re an amazing person, Ayden Gregory.”

I wonder how my graduation conversation would’ve went if my birth mother hadn’t handed us over to those horrible people, if she were still alive, and my brother and sister and I were living with her. Would I even be graduating? Would I have ever truly felt what it was like to be loved and taken care of? I want to say yes. I want to believe my life with her wasn’t all bad. And maybe it wasn’t. There were some good moments that the four of us shared, but most of the good was lost in a sea of yelling, abuse, and neglect.

By the time Lila and I pull away from the hug, my eyes are burning with tears. I don’t want to cry. I’ve been doing too much of that lately in the privacy of my room, whenever I think too much or when I have a nightmare about the past.

Lila dabs her eyes with her fingertips, wiping away smeared makeup. “Well, I just want you to know I’m here if you ever need to talk.”

“I know,” I say. “And I appreciate that, but I promise I’m just a little distracted by school and stuff.”

“All right.” She rises to her feet and reluctantly leaves the room.

The moment she shuts the door, I grab my pen and notebook and get out the clusterfuck of thoughts crammed inside my head. I hate lying to Lila—hate lying to anyone—but if I’m ever going to end this—fight until the end—then I need to go through with the experimental amnesia treatment. Hopefully doing so will bring back enough of my memories that, at the very least, I’ll be able to positively identify some of the people who took me and my siblings over four years ago.

I just hope remembering doesn’t break me again.

I won’t let it pull me down.

I won’t give in

To darkness.

Drown me all over again.

I’ll fight and I’ll fight and I’ll fight

Against the rapids.

Against the terror.

I’ll never surrender.

After I finish jotting down my thoughts, I put the notebook in my nightstand. Writing usually calms me, but I still feel restless as hell. I need answers. It’s driving me fucking crazy not knowing what’s going to happen next—what the Soulless Mileas next move will be.

I sit down at my desk and turn on the computer screen. With a few clicks of the mouse, I open a webpage filled with information about the group. I scroll through the updated pages and read a more current post. Lately, there’s been a lot of rambling about sacrifices. It makes me really damn anxious and worried that Sadie is their sacrifice—worried I could be too if they get their hands on me.

“The sacrifice isn’t just about giving up what we want,” I read a section of the article aloud. “It’s about giving up what we love. It’s the ultimate sacrifice and the aftermath will cleanse our souls.”

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