Adam stormed out of the bathroom and grabbed Valorie’s collar.
‘Get up,’ he said, pulling the collar and flinging her onto the floor.
Valorie hissed as she scraped her knee on a nail poking through the carpet, but got to her feet, glaring at Adam.
Adam grabbed her arm, picked up the pile of Sophie’s clothes and hauled her over to the bathroom. He flung her roughly inside and threw the clothes in after her. He slammed the door.
‘You haven’t been nice to me,’ he hissed through the door. ‘So I’m not going to be nice to you. From now on, you’ll have to do as I say. You’re going to eat when I want you to eat, you’re going to draw when I want you to draw, and you’re going to wear Sophie’s clothes. Is that clear?’
From inside the bathroom, Valorie nodded. Frightened tears rolled down her cheeks. ‘Yes,’ she replied.
‘Put the clothes on,’ Adam said, and Valorie knew he was aiming his rod at the door. ‘If you come out without them on, I’ll break your legs.’
Valorie nodded again furiously and tugged on a particularly flowery shirt. It smelt of lavender. Valorie thought about what Sophie had been wearing on the day she died. Stop it, she thought. Banishing all morbid thoughts from her mind, she struggled into a long yellow skirt. It too smelt sweet and flowery. Then she stepped out of the bathroom.
She looked at her feet as Adam stared.
‘Now push your hair back behind your ears,’ he commanded.
Valorie did. Once Adam was satisfied, he nodded and walked to the sofa. He sat down.
‘Why don’t we watch a film together?’ he said, with the faintest hint of menace in his voice. Valorie sat next to him. He sat there for a moment, and then went to the DVD player. He slid in a DVD.
‘Sophie and I used to watch this every week,’ he told her. ‘It’s called ‘Grim Promise’. I think you’ll like it.’
He sat back down again. Valorie tried to move away from him, but he grabbed her wrist and twisted. Her mouth opened, but she didn’t say anything.
The film started. It started with a girl in plaits being beaten to death. Valorie swallowed, not looking at the screen, but Adam watched with enthusiasm. Valorie heard only the girl’s screams, followed by her silence, which seemed more chilling somehow.
Valorie was forced to watch the entire film – every new murder, every new agonizing torture. She tried to look away, but Adam kept grabbing her head and pointing it towards the screen. Finally the end credits rolled over black, and Adam let her go. Valorie rubbed the sides of her face, trying to get the gruesome images from the film out of her mind.
‘Now,’ Adam said, getting up,’ I’m going to make something for us to eat. You stay there,’ he said, pointing at her. She froze.
Adam passed the table into the kitchen, and started getting stuff out of cupboards. Valorie took the opportunity to curl up as small as she could, away from Adam’s line of sight. She hugged herself. She wished she were back at home with her parents, back at home, safe in her own bed where nobody could get her.
‘Sit up,’ Adam ordered. Valorie sat up. Adam saw that the hair behind her ears had come forward, so he made her put it back.
‘Sophie likes pasta. Do you like pasta?’
‘Yes,’ she lied. ‘I like all kinds of pasta.’
Anger clouded Adam’s face momentarily. ‘Sophie hates lasagne.’
Valorie realised her mistake and immediately replied, ‘So do I. I just forgot.’
Adam’s anger disappeared. He began to prepare the pasta – it was fusilli, the twisty kind. As it cooked, he rejoined Valorie on the sofa.
‘What do we do before dinner?’
Valorie looked nervously at Adam, not sure how to reply to this one. So she just said, ‘Can I use the bathroom?’
Adam relaxed back into the sofa. ‘Alright.’
Valorie fled to the safety of the bathroom, locking the door behind her. She had to escape somehow. She couldn’t spend another minute with him. She was scared.
Valorie’s eyes flicked around the room, but there was nowhere to go. The bathroom had a window, but it was locked and she didn’t have the key. She sat on the edge of the bath, thinking.
She thought about the day they’d gone to London to rescue Charley. She remembered how Ruby had opened the door to Room 32. Ruby had used a hair slide. It was entirely possible. If Valorie could find some long metal thing to pick the lock, she might just get out.
Valorie searched. Nothing in here. But there were knives in the kitchen. She could easily excuse herself halfway through dinner and sneak a knife into the bathroom.
Valorie quietly congratulated herself for her quick thinking, flushed the toilet, and let herself out. Adam hadn’t moved from his spot.
‘Hello again. It’ll be ready in ten minutes.’
Valorie merely dipped her head. She stood a safe distance away, hoping he would leave her alone.
‘Come and sit down.’
No such luck. Valorie obeyed. Adam didn’t say anything, just kept on staring at her. Valorie looked uncomfortably at her hands, which lay folded in her lap.
After a while, he got up and finished the pasta, and dished it onto plates.
‘Lay the table,’ he said. Valorie asked him where the cutlery was, and he pointed to a drawer by the sink. She got out two forks and two knives, and put the on the table. Adam put down the pasta and they both sat.
Valorie avoided Adam’s gaze as she ate. After five minutes of pretending to enjoy the pasta, she could bear it no longer.
She surreptitiously slipped her knife down into her lap, and then tucked it into the waist of her skirt, securing it there.
‘I need to use the bathroom again,’ she said excusing herself. Adam looked bewildered, but let her go.
As soon as she was locked safely inside, Valorie rushed over to the window, taking out the knife. She thrust it into the lock on the window, twisting it, but nothing was happening. Was it going to work?
Valorie wished she had chosen a sharper knife. This one was big and blunt, and hardly fit in the lock at all. Valorie pushed harder against it – and heard a click.
‘What are you doing in there?’ Adam said from right outside the door. ‘That’s the second time in under fifteen minutes you’ve been in there.’
‘I’m fine, really,’ Valorie said, struggling with the lock. There was another click. She twisted. The handle turned. The window opened.
There was banging on the other side of the door. ‘Let me in!’ came Adam’s voice.
The window refused to open any further. It stopped at 3 inches, and Valorie fought with it, willing it to open farther, leaning against it with all her weight.
And then Adam aimed his rod and the door became splinters.
Valorie screamed and leaned harder. But it was too late. His arms wrapped themselves around her waist and tugged her painfully away from the window.
‘No!’ she yelled and tried to bite her attacker.
Adam slapped her face and flung her to the floor.
‘Trying to escape again, Sophie?’ he said, not realising he had called her by the wrong name. ‘Trying to get away?! I’ll show you what happens to people who try to betray Adam Quinn!’
He reached for the knife. It was blunt. Adam didn’t care. He brought it down into Valorie’s shoulder.