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In Peace Lies Havoc (Midnight Mayhem #1)
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My name is Dove Hendry.
𝘔𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘒𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘯 𝘈𝘹𝘵𝘰𝘯.
I was captured by darkness.
𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴…
They groomed me for Midnight Mayhem. Like a trained possession, weak against their control.
𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴. 𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘪𝘵 𝘺𝘦𝘵…
But Midnight Mayhem was the stained glass that concealed a very dark culture.
𝘈 𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧.
The Brothers of Kiznitch come in fours, and they’re not happy about me being hustled into their acts.
𝘖𝘳 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘦? 𝘊𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘶𝘭, 𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘉𝘪𝘳𝘥. 𝘈 𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯…
But there’s something uglier that has been haunting me for years upon years. So ugly that I have never seen it’s face. I never had to. I’d hear his whispers through my internal screams, feel his shadow brush against my nightmares. He was my the monster that tormented me.
𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘦𝘥…
When I started Midnight Mayhem, his presence faded.
His whispers were silenced.
His shadow dissolving without a trace.
I wondered why that was.
𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨…
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To my Koro, who I lost earlier this year. Who stole me from my mother when I was nine-years-old, booked us flights to Christchurch, New Zealand, and took me to my first ever circus.
I get my rebellious soul partially from him.
“Welcome to Midnight Mayem. We are not a circus, we are not a carnival, and the only thing that you should be afraid of losing tonight, is your sanity…”
Thirteen years ago, I felt evil. It penetrated my flesh and imprinted its scent into my soul to create a haunting concoction of poison, also known as The Shadow. I would further use this scent to draw out other evil because The Shadow was the worst of the worst. He wasn’t just dark or evil; he was deranged. There was no good in his soul, no droplets of light. He tormented me. Everywhere I turned, he was there to make sure I knew that I’d never be free.
In every dark corner, he would be there. Watching me, waiting. For what? I never knew. But I was about to find out…
Dove Noctem Hendry. Cheer captain and most popular girl at Charlston Academy, apparently. People were astounded that I became so popular so quickly in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, even as a small child. We moved here when I was just short of eleven, right after—the incident. The incident was something we didn’t talk about. I mean, my parents and highly paid shrinks could only bring it down to me suffering from PTSD and suppressed memory. It’s all I’d known, which was not much at all. But according to this yearbook, I was the most popular girl at school and a modern-day ballerina. Yearbooks are weird. Like, hey! Here’s a reminder of what might have been the worst years of your life. Mine weren’t bad; they were actually pretty great. I just didn’t like reminders in general.
A knock on the door pulled me out of nostalgia. “Come in!” I yelled, closing the book.
My dad was standing at the threshold, his collar loosened around his neck and a smile on his face. “We’re thinking of getting takeout for dinner. What do you want?”
I fluttered my eyelashes. “Thai!”
Dad nodded his head toward the hallway. “Thai it is. Come on, before your mom starts yelling about your ballerina slippers being left out in the foyer.” Mom complained about everything, but she liked to pick even more when it came to me. I was used to it. When you’d been cultivated by the neglect of your own mother, it’s easy to acclimatize to the callousness of the world.
Her emotional desertion only somewhat stabilized me in a way, making me stronger, and anyway, I was one hundred percent a daddy’s girl.
Climbing off the covers, I dashed into my closet to pull on my Ugg boots. My mom did nothing but stay at home and work on her garden beds, and my father was into political science. He wanted to run for office one day, probably sooner rather than later.
I treaded down the marble stairs, an extra bounce in my step. I had been reciting the cheer that would no doubt take home Nationals, so every single step was a dance step.
“Come on, kiddo.” Dad pulled me under his arm, kissing the top of my head, just as my mom smiled at me, opening the door.
It happened fast.
Pop! Pop! Pop!
I remembered my dad shoving me behind him, and the desperate screams coming from my mom. We all dropped to the ground, my father lying on top of me, his back to my front, shielding me from harm.
“You need to run, Dove. Run.”
I—words were caught in my throat, threatening to choke me.
The door swung open, and four men stood still, all with their guns raised. They were wearing plain black bandanas, and on any other day, I would have thought they were street thugs, maybe wanting money. Until I noticed a couple of them were wearing suits.
The main one tilted his head, and just when I thought he was about to say something, my dad opened his mouth. “Dove is going to leave before you do anything…”
They seemed to think over their next move. Words being silently spoken between the distance of each breath.
“Dove…” My father leaned up onto his elbow, his eyes coming to mine. A dark blue pool that’s deep enough to spill over his cheeks. “You’re going to leave.” His voice was slow. Hushed, but forceful.
I shook my head, not wanting to leave my dad. Not like this. Not ever.
“Little Bird…” he pleaded, tears finally leaking over the edges. “Please.”
He shoved me back, and the first thing I felt was the warm liquid seep through my clothes and stick to my belly. The first thing I smelled was the strong metal slosh of blood. The first thing I heard was the dying screams of my mother. But the last thing I heard before everything went black was his voice.