House of V (Unraveled Series)

BOOK: House of V (Unraveled Series)
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House
of V

Raen
Smith

 

 

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely
coincidental.

Copyright © 2013
Raen
Smith. All rights reserved.

 

PROLOGUE

 

"Every new beginning comes
from some other beginning’s end." Seneca
One year later, June 18
Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean

 

My unraveling began twenty-seven
years ago when I was taken from my family’s home after Holston Parker burned it
to the ground. It marked the beginning of my life as
Evie
Parker and the ending of a life filled with happily ever
afters
.
Life is better without Holston Parker in it, but that bastard left me one last
loose thread to take care of. So I found myself on a plane, heading fresh out
of Norway to Chicago, to finish what he started. As I pressed my hand against
the window’s glass, thirty thousand feet in the air, I wondered how the hell I
had gotten here, and more importantly, how I was going to get back. This was
the beginning of the end. So help me God.

 

1

 

June 17, 4:00 p.m
.
Norway

 

I killed my father. Well, my
so-called father. He wasn’t exactly what most sane people would consider to be
a
dad
; a hero that a little girl looked up to, a man that would hold his
daughter’s hand or brush away her tears, a man that bandaged a scrape on a knee
or rubbed a back when she was sick. Not that I needed that or anything. He was
Holston Parker - Billionaire Serial Killer. Make that Billionaire
Vigilante
Serial Killer with a body count so high that they eventually stopped publishing
the numbers on the front page of the daily
Post Crescent
, too shocking,
probably, for the public and residents of Appleton.

I’m sure there were a handful of
residents that had mixed emotions at first; surely a man taking out the trash
to better their community was a
good
thing,
even if he was killing in cold blood. However, as the story unraveled, the
details of the fire emerged and the sick, twistedness of Holston Parker left a
rotting taste in their mouths. Or so I hoped.

This left me, a girl he stole and
raised - this point is debatable in my mind - as his own, to become a legend.
Daughter kills own father, disappears.
I
stopped reading the headlines a few months after I was finally convinced that
the police had no real leads or interest in me. After all, I had killed three
people and fled the country. I had up and vanished in the wind, like I had
always wanted to. Anonymity was a beautiful thing, it really was, or at least
that’s what I’d been telling myself.

It has been
three-hundred-sixty-five days since I last buried the bullet into Holston’s
head. My hand was steady, my body supporting the release of the trigger. I was
ready, waiting for that moment. It was easy watching his body collapse onto the
floor of the rebuilt Jones’s family home. The fact that he had actually rebuilt
that house thinking Ann Jones would like it still shocked me, which is hard to
swallow considering what I’d seen over the course of my less than pleasant
life. I wouldn’t have paused in that moment before fleeing except to satisfy
the urge to watch the growing pool of crimson around his lifeless body.

I know it seems twisted, but I
couldn’t help it. In that brief moment, I had glanced up to see the terror on
my
mother’s
face; yes, I said mother,
Ann Jones was technically my mother. Suddenly getting a mother at the ripe age
of twenty-seven was an odd thing. Even stranger was learning you had a mother
and then running the opposite way. That look of terror on my mother’s face was
soon replaced with relief; the same look had danced across my own sister’s face
just a few feet over. I had seen what I needed to see and then I never looked
back. They loathed Holston Parker as much as I did. His death was a swift
reprieve to us all.

Some people probably think it was
ruthless.
Horrific.
Shocking.
A woman molded into a serial killer’s likeness. I could see psychology
professors huddling over their coffees and newspapers, squabbling about the
long-held debate of nature versus nurture. Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.
Nurture won in the case of
Evie
Parker. A psychopath
raised a psychopath, despite the lack of genetic lineage.

I don’t see it that way, though. I
will never be who he was. Holston Parker had choices and time and time again,
he chose to kill; he sought it out. I’ve only killed out of
necessity,
when I had no other choice.
Besides, I hadn’t killed anyone in three-hundred-sixty-five days. Not that I’m
counting or anything.

I’m twenty-eight now, and while I’m
not on the FBI’s most wanted list - insert life-long dream here, okay, I’m
kidding - there is a warrant out for my arrest. I’ve racked up charges for
fleeing the country to avoid criminal prosecution and stolen identity, at least
according to the Appleton Police Department website. I had enough witnesses to
support the shootings and subsequent deaths of Janice
Hinske
,
Lieutenant Schaefer and Holston Parker as self-defense. I’m guessing thanks to
Delaney, James and my own mother, Ann Jones.

However, I’m sure the Appleton
Police Department still wanted to talk to me and nail me for the stolen identity
charge to save their own sorry ass reputation. After all, I did make the
department look inept with their corrupt officer and botched misses on Holston.
I had to give them credit, though; Sanchez was getting close; just not close
enough before I made my move.

I decided I’d take credit for
single-handedly taking down one of the most notorious serial killers of our
time. I deserved a ribbon or maybe a gold trophy of a woman with pointy boobs
holding a gun. I deserved
something
.

The thing about this whole ordeal
that’s been bothering me for the last year, something I don’t like to admit,
was that I don’t really have an identity. I’m no longer
Evie
Parker. And I never really
was
Anna
Jones; or I should say, I never really got a
chance
to be Anna Jones. He took Anna Jones and
Evie
Parker, just like he took the lives of the older brothers I’ve never known.
Let’s not forget my best friend, Elizabeth and the man that convinced me to
fight back, Ethan.

Alias Jane
Frieburg
was gone, too; the blonde wig and IDs burned and dumped in Poland, our first
stop before heading back to Norway. The flames licked up the gasoline-soaked
bag in a flash, burning every trace of Jane
Frieburg
,
Anna Jones and
Evie
Parker. By the way, it may seem
like I have a lust for fire, but I would disagree; fire simply creates a means
to an end. It destroys, both quickly and efficiently, most traces of existence.
Out of fire arises rebirth.

After the ashes settled, Ivy Stone
emerged. At least that was what my ID card read now. Ivy Stone. Ryan told me it
sounded like a stripper name, and while I couldn’t say I entirely disagreed
with him, I’d liked the name for quite some time.

When I was a teenager, I once saw a
little girl named Ivy with brown curls adorning her head like clusters of
pinwheels at St. Mary’s. The letters spelled out her name in cursive on the
little pink purse her delicate fingers clutched. Her fingernails were painted a
hot pink. I assure you, the hottest pink you’ve ever seen. I’d never forget
that color. I had leaned over to her mother, advising her that letting her
toddler carry a monogrammed article was extremely dangerous. The disdain in her
mother’s eyes widened in awful realization after I explained that a stranger
could call her by her first name and her daughter, unwittingly, may follow.
Anonymity really
was
a beautiful
thing. Ivy was a pretty effortless choice for my new name.

It turned out that I didn’t have to
assume the identity of a dead person this time around. Ryan had a connection
with an old friend in Poland who he’d met ten years ago when he first left
Wisconsin.
Piotri
Kucharski
had an obsession with computer hacking and governmental conspiracies. The
connection worked well for me and Ryan.

So Luke and Ivy it was. Ryan was
known as Luke Carter from Montana around the Norwegian mountains. Though last
year I refused to call him Luke when we were alone, I changed my tune this time
around after we made our way back from Poland. I think having a warrant out for
my arrest had something to do with it. It made me adjust and stretch a little
bit more than normal. According to Ryan, a little stretching wasn’t going to
hurt me. Again, I agreed.

Luke and Ivy.
Ivy and Luke.
Living happily ever after in the
mountains of
Lofoten
, Norway, riding our white horses
into the mountains, the sun glowing that pink haze it always did in the movies
as it finally settled in for the night. Okay, I have to admit that we weren’t
there yet, but
maybe
, just maybe, one day we would be.
Our horses might be hobbling, one-legged and damaged, but maybe.

The wounds were healing and the
scars were fading for the both of us. I only felt the burn in my lungs from the
smoke of the barn maybe once a week now. Believe me, it was a huge improvement.

The one thing that had irrevocably
changed in me was that I was in love.

I wasn’t sure when it happened or
how it happened, but it did. And I hadn’t even known I was capable of feeling
the way I did about Ryan. I had Holston Parker and his stellar modeling of a
loveless life to thank for that. I honestly didn’t know how to love, but Ryan
changed that. He opened a crypt filled with emotions I never knew existed.
Sappy, I know.

As I sat in the folding chair
watching the waves roll onto shore, I lifted my toes to let the soft, white
granules sift between my toes. I was afraid that I would miss this feeling; the
warmth of the sun beating on my face, the smell of the ocean air and the sounds
of the waves lapping against the shores. The warm breeze pushed my
shoulder-length, auburn hair - if you thought I would keep it short, I both
applaud and worry about your naivety - against my cheek as I looked to see the
boats coming in.

Ryan should have been pulling in
soon with the day’s catch. Most days, I joined him on the boat and helped him
gather
our
livelihood. We led a simple
life, one without murder and unruly stress, and I had grown to love it. There
it was again, love. It was hard to believe that someone like me could fall in
love. Even harder to believe was that someone actually loved me back.

I turned my head to a man’s voice
that echoed from the tiny row of shops behind me. My body clenched as the small
boy, the shop owner’s son, shot through the door and bolted across the street
toward me, empty-handed with his head ducked down. It was the second time I’d
heard that man’s yell in the last week; Bernard
Nilsen
,
a man with stout legs and a thick mustache, who was also the owner of the only
bakery in
Ballstad
.

He was known to have an egregious
temper and a hot hand on his son, but he owned the only bakery in
Ballstad
and always displayed a smile to his customers, so
the Norwegians shook their heads in empathy.
A trouble-maker for a son
, they said. However, I’d seen a glint in
old Bernard’s eyes, a sliver of evil that I had more experience than I’d like
to admit and I knew better than to share the same empathy that everyone else
did.

I didn’t give old Bernard the same
pathetic head nods, and I didn’t avert my eyes every time he stormed after the
boy. I answered in silence only, the warning glares of Ryan always near me. I swallowed
the urge to blow into the shop to give Bernard something to change his ways.
The blade of a knife near his throat might suffice, but instead, I focused on
the boy.

“Whoa.” I stood up, raising my arm
chest high to slow down the barreling boy; Rolf, according to Ryan. He skidded
to a stop, finally flashing his eyes up to see me mere seconds before he plowed
into my outstretched arm.

He was eleven, maybe twelve, a boy
on the cusp of being a teenager, not yet grown into his own body. From his
elongated neck protruded an angular Adam’s apple. His body teetered in the
awkward pre-pubescent stages with lanky arms and legs. It would be just a few
more years before Bernard would eat his own words.

Rolf shook his head of shaggy brown
hair at me before pushing my arm down. He looked at me long enough for me to
see a fresh red streak glowing from his cheek. He dipped his head down and then
walked past me. I glanced up at the bakery; the storefront was silent with no
Bernard in sight.

“Rolf,” I said, grabbing his arm. I
couldn’t let this go, but I struggled to find the right words. I mustered out
what was supposed to be:
Don’t let it
ruin you.

Ikke
la
det
odelegge
deg.”


Hva
?”
What.
His
body swung around to face me, annoyed with my little bout of attention.

“Bernard.
Du
er
bedre
enn
ham.”
You’re better than
him.
I
pointed to his cheek and then
pulled the shoulder of my beach cover up, tracing my index finger along my scar
from the bullet. While Holston didn’t actually shoot me, it was his henchman
that did in the barn. That was before I set it on fire.
My
father.
“Min far.”

BOOK: House of V (Unraveled Series)
12.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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