Unreal - Page 9

“About the three of us,” Shelly explained. “Me, my father . . . and you.” Her expression became wry. “It is a peculiar situation, this having to make one's own decisions, but I expect I shall get used to it.” She considered the stranger even closer than before. “I am not sure I can trust you . . .”

At those words, spoken in such dispassionate tones, a look of undisguised horror appeared upon the stranger's face.

Shelly noted the expression with a sad smile. “Will everyone who finds out about me be as frightened as you, I wonder?” she asked not expecting an answer. “Perhaps it would be best that no one else ever find out, because when you are not looking at me like my father does, I do not like the way you look at me at all.”

The stranger's mouth made movements, but no sounds came out, prompting Shelly to wonder what exactly about her he found so terrifying.

For the moment, she decided, it didn't matter.

“Never the less,” Shelly said with a small sigh. “I do not think I shall kill you over it. That would make me too much like my father, do you not agree?”

The stranger indicated his agreement with a vigorous nodding of his head.

“And since the same could be said of my keeping you here, it seems I must let you go,” Shelly concluded with a frown.

“Just like that?” the stranger asked in disbelief.

“Just like that,” Shelly confirmed, though she didn't smile when she said it, particularly when she amended, “conditionally.”

The stranger's inexplicable level of fear had started to subside, but it made a resurgence at that single word, a resurgence Shelly capitalized on.

“Conditionally,” she repeated, “because I do not think you have a very good reason for being here, otherwise my father would not have felt free to kill you so casually.”

The dropping of the stranger's eyes informed Shelly that her guess had been correct.

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