Chaya’s heart hammered. The hairs on the back of her neck rose and her palms grew sweaty. “What do you mean Ophelie’s not here?” Her caretaker had intended to run with her before the special event Tanith planned for Chaya’s sixteenth birthday, though she’d needed time away to put the last of her plans in place. But now, the day had arrived, and she’d not returned.
“I said, ‘Ophelie is not here,’” Tanith repeated, “and you should not expect her any time soon.” She threw a towel at her daughter. “Come on now, let’s go.”
Breathing in short gasps, Chaya caught the towel. “Where are we going?”
Her mother stood at the door, her hand on the knob. Though petite of build, her presence filled the room. She wore her raven hair pulled up tight, revealing a deep widow’s peak. Her features appeared pinched.
Chaya shuddered, thinking about how she’d never seen the woman smile, nor heard her laugh.
“You ask too many questions.” Tanith’s eyes glared. “I should beat you,” she said, as though in afterthought. Then she cracked a wicked smile. “But I guess it’s your lucky day. I’ve neither the time nor the inclination just now. We’ve things to do.” She opened the door and then stepped out.
Fighting back her tears, Chaya followed.
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