#Chapter 93: Cabin Fever — Part I
When I returned home that night, I locked myself in my room and got to work scouring through Justin’s patient files. I stayed up all night poring over the files until the sun came up, but there wasn’t anything in the folder that could outright prove that Edward had given Justin the Mad Wolf serum or that he’s done anything sinister to him. I felt as though I had hit a brick wall; in the same way that the police were no help when I tried to go to them about the stalker, they would certainly be no help now if I showed them a benign patient file. If anything, I would be painted as the bad guy for sneaking
into Edward’s house and stealing the files, and alerting the police would probably only make Edward cover his tracks even more.
It was almost as if Edward intentionally set all of this up, knowing fully well that no one would believe me if I tried to turn him in to the police.
I was at a dead end.
The only mention of anything even remotely sinister was a single hand- written note mentioning that Justin was “resistant to treatment” and that ” alternative treatment may be necessary.”
Who would believe that anything about that note would be evidence of an evil school counselor?
At some point, I must have fallen asleep at my desk, because I woke up sometime in the afternoon to the sound of someone knocking on my door. I had a pounding headache and drool was pooled up on the papers in front of me.
Groaning, I sat up and wiped the drool off of my mouth with the back of one hand while closing Justin’s file with the other before groggily calling out, ” Come in.”
My door creaked open and Jessica poked her head in. She looked around for me, her eyes narrowed, before she finally found me and gave me a confused look. “Jesus,” she said, coming in the rest of the way and walking over to me. “Did you sleep on your desk last night?”
I nodded, nonchalantly shuffling some papers to hide Justin’s file. “Yeah. I forgot I had an assignment due last night.”
“Oh…” Jessica eyed me up and down, taking in my appearance as I stood and walked over to my bathroom sink and began brushing my teeth.
“What’s up?” I asked, my mouth full of toothpaste.
“Well, I know things have been kind of rough for you lately, so I wanted to ask if you’d like to come to a party at the cabins tonight,” she said. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to…”
“Who’s gonna be there?” I asked.
Jessica furrowed her brows. “I’m not sure why it matters, but pretty much everyone will be there.”
I halted my teeth-brushing, thinking to myself that if Lisa and Justin were at the party, then maybe that could be a good opportunity to observe them and gather some information… Maybe I could even figure out a way to get Justin so that I could question him, or even just get some pictures of him acting strange as evidence.
“Sure,” I said, spitting out my toothpaste and mustering up the best smile I could manage despite my state of utter exhaustion. “I’ll go with you.”
That night, Jessica, Lori, and I all went to the party together. We made our way over to the cooler to grab some drinks, and as Jessica filled up some red plastic cups with cheap vodka to get the night started, I scanned the party, looking for Justin. He was standing by the fire with Lisa, and they appeared to be talking quietly. Lisa’s eyes flickered over to me and she shot me an angry glare before grabbing Justin by the arm and pulling her away. I pretended that I didn’t notice and took my shot of vodka.
As my friends and I drank and danced to the loud music, I made sure to always keep Justin in my peripherals. He wasn’t acting particularly strange in any way. What if I was too late? Did Edward cover his tracks already? Or, was Justin really never acting strangely at all?
My heart leapt into my throat as I spotted him walking past the cabins and out into the woods. He glanced both ways over his shoulders, muttering something to himself.
This was my chance.
“I’m gonna go pee,” I shouted to Jessica and Lori over the music, who nodded drunkenly before I jogged off after Justin. I wasn’t sure where he was headed, but he seemed to be walking briskly, like he was deliberately headed somewhere — and despite the fact that I saw him drink a copious amount of alcohol, he didn’t seem drunk in the slightest.
I stuck to the shadows at first as I tried to catch up to him, fumbling for my phone in the darkness to try to get a good picture or video, but it was as if he knew, and he picked up his pace. Eventually, I was running after him at full speed as he ran ahead of me.
“Justin!” I called.
He didn’t answer. He just kept running deliberately into the forest. His body movements were stiff and calculated, like he was a robot who had been programmed to run this very path a million times before. Beneath the moonlight, as the sounds of the party faded behind me and the glow of the bonfire dimmed, I suddenly realized how dangerous this was.
Was Justin leading me out to a remote area of the woods on purpose? Was he trying to get me alone for even far more sinister reasons than why I was trying to get him alone?
I stopped in my tracks, biting my lip as he slowed to a walk several yards ahead of me. It was as if he was teasing me, tempting me to follow him. Maybe I should just turn back, I thought to myself. This wasn’t safe…
I jumped and spun around to face the source of the male voice behind me, my eyes widening as I saw who was standing there.
I took a few shaking steps back, swiveling my head this way and that in the hopes that somebody, anybody, would come and help me.
“Why so scared?” he asked with a smirk, walking toward me and closing the distance as I continued to backpedal away from him.
“H-Help!” I yelled, my instincts kicking in. I attempted to dodge around him and run back to the party, but he was too fast. His arm shot out and blocked me, knocking me over onto my back on the forest floor. I tried to scramble away in terror, but his foot came down on my wrist, pinning me to
the ground in agony as I tried to wrench myself away.
“You should really calm down,” Ronan said, crouching, his boot still pressed into my wrist as his hot breath sprayed onto my face. “You’re not as pretty when you act like this.
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