81. A Cold, White Room

Josephine was in an interview room, just like the one she’d rescued Naema from weeks ago, only much smaller. A table was in the middle, with an indicator drawn across it where a repulse wall would be. Across from her was the Lakiran queen, Victoria.

It didn’t look like her, but it was her. Josephine didn’t know how she was so sure. The only explanation was bodyswapping.

“Sakhr?” she ask.

“Yes,” Victoria said. “Before you ask, I am not he. Sakhr and his coven spent seventeen years as my pets.”

“Pets? You put them into animals?”

“Tortoises. I had one set aside for you too, but you weren’t there. A pity too. It was fun to put Alex and Sakhr away for what they did to me, but you… you were the one I actually trusted.”

“What the hell did we ever do to you?”

“You taught me an important lesson. Sakhr broke into my home and murdered my father, and Alexander… he had his fun too. I learned a hard truth that day.”

Josephine knew this story. She was suddenly back in that house on that night she finally left. The smell, and the blood… and that girl.

“…Katherine?”

Victoria sneered. “No. You don’t get to say that name.”

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