Caitlyn went to her vanity table, pulled back the chair and slipped a hand under the table’s decorative front lip and retrieved a small, concealed object. Deidra was curious and cautiously excited. What could it be? Caitlyn smiled and walked back over to Deidra with her hands behind her back, indicating with an incline of her head that Deidra should hold out her hand. She deposited a skeleton key on the open palm.
“Here, I’ve had this for a while. I can’t even count the number times I’ve thought about using it to escape. In the end, I always lost my nerve. It will unlock all of the doors in this old castle, including the front door.”
“What? I can’t take this Caitlyn. You can still use it and get out of here.”
“I’m never going to use it. I realize that now. Even if I could get away, I’m never going to be normal again. I can’t be trusted around my own family. It’s too late for me Deidra. No, I insist that you take it. Now listen up, because we haven’t got much time before Vincent comes back. When he comes in, I’ll distract him. So, stand by the door and get ready to run. There is a maze of secret places in this castle where you can hide. You access them via concealed doors that lead to passageways. Each of the main rooms in the castle has a hidden door: the drawing room, the billiard room, the library, the kitchen and the master bedroom. The doors will either have a doorknob disguised as an ordinary object like a hook or have a magnetic pressure catch mechanism holding it shut. Just press and release the upper corner opposite the hinges and it will open. Move through the passageways quickly and quietly. Don’t linger, not if you can help it. I’m not the only one who knows about those passageways, so they aren’t always unoccupied. Have you got all of that?”
“I…I think so,” said Deidra dubiously.
“You’ve got to remember what I said. There’s no time for me to go over it again. I hear him coming.”
Caitlyn moved over to the window, opened the latch and swung the two glass panes open. A moment later, a key was inserted and turned in the door behind them. Deidra slipped Caitlyn’s gift into her pocket and moved into place. Caitlyn sat on the windowsill. Vincent came strolling in, giving Deidre a menacing look.
“What was all that screaming about in here? What the hell happened to the bathroom door? You trying to escape? Huh? Speak up and tell me why I shouldn’t knock you out!”
“Don’t yell at Deidra. She didn’t do anything wrong. I had one of my…fits, but I’m fine now. In fact, I’ve been waiting for you,” said Caitlyn coyly.
“Oh yeah? You been waiting for me baby,” Vincent purred.
“Yes, I didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye.”
Vincent laughed, his eyebrows rising mockingly. “Where do you think you’re going,” he asked.
“Somewhere so far away that you won’t be able to slip into my room at night and…and violate me anymore,” Caitlyn hissed through gritted teeth.
“You better watch your mouth little girl. Don’t be going around hurling baseless accusations like that. You get me in trouble, and I’ll have to teach you another lesson. You remember the last time don’t you,” he growled.
“Fuck you,” retorted Caitlyn. She held onto the window frame and climbed up onto the windowsill, perching precariously on the balls of her feet.
“You little bitch,” spat Vincent swiftly closing the distance between them.
“See you in hell Vincent,” Caitlyn retorted with a smirk.
She looked over his shoulder at Deidra and her expression softened into a beatific smile. She mouthed the word “run” and leaning backwards, let go of the windowsill. Vincent let out a surprised squawk, lunging forward with outstretched arms and splayed fingers. He managed to grab the front of Caitlyn’s shirt. The weight of her suspended body coupled with the sudden pull of gravity yanked Vincent forward. The top half of his body plunged through the window. Vincent’s hips struck the top edge of the sill. Caitlyn attempted to pry his fingers open. Vincent roared in frustration, stubbornly tightening his grip. Caitlyn kicked him in the face and his nose began to bleed. Still, he held on.
Vincent was responsible for the care and safety of Caitlyn and the other ladies. As a human with vampiric masters, the repercussions for him, if anything happened to them, would be gruesome. He had seen others in trusted positions at the castle fail and suffer through punishments which left them praying for death. Caitlyn’s frenzied resistance to Vincent’s attempts at hauling her back into the room pulled him downward, until his hips were resting on top of the windowsill, and his feet left the floor. He gripped the windowsill with his free hand, in a failing attempt to anchor the two of them. His muscles began to burn and his fingers ached. Vincent let out a frustrated howl, as his grip on Caitlyn’s shirt began slipping. Deidra slipped out into the hallway, rushing towards the staircase at the other end. She heard him yelling.
“Deidra, get your ass over here and help me! Deidra? Where the hell are you? Get back here and help me or I’ll kill you! Help me! Somebody help me, I can’t hold on much longer!”