Slaughter Daughter by Eve Langlais


Cassidy bundledme back into her car and made some calls. The answer was the same each time. No, they wouldn’t take me. Was Cassidy smoking crack?

During it all, I withdrew, sinking deeper and deeper into myself.

I wasn’t sure how long it was before Cassidy finally pulled over and showed me a sign of humanity by hugging me and murmuring, “Don’t cry. We’ll figure something out.”

I was done with it, though. I…freaked. Like utterly lost my shit. I screamed about it being unfair. Cried. Made demands. And when that didn’t get me home, I threatened.

Which was why Cassidy ended up taking me to the hospital, telling them I’d had a mental break, threatened to harm myself, and needed observation. They placed me in a locked room by myself.

For seventy-two hours.

Not that I remembered much of the first twenty-four. Whatever pill they gave me lulled me to sleep, where I dreamed. Imagined my dad came to see me and told me everything would be okay. Said to be strong.

When I woke, I did a lot of crying at first, which led to the hospital staff threatening more sedation. So, I swallowed my anguish and instead became angry. How dare they lock me up? Why had no one come for me? Surely my parents had fixed the misunderstanding by now. By the end of my seventy-two hours, I’d reached a tenuous peace. It proved to be my last calm moment for a while.

Part of me spent that time expecting my parents to come to my rescue and tell me it was all a giant mistake. The only people I saw were the doctors, Cassidy, and the cop stationed outside my door.

Apparently, I merited police protection. To keep me safe or everyone else?

I met my lawyer on the third day. Garrett Browning. I immediately crushed on him. Tall, dark, and handsome in a suit. He sprang me from the mental ward and gave me clothes, a can of cola, and a bag of chips.

“Thanks,” I said after we’d escaped, me feeling a bit more human in my jeans and shoes. Cassidy must have gotten my stuff for me.

“Don’t thank me yet. Because I’m late to the game, we won’t have a chance to really chat before your interview with the police.” He led me through a maze of halls to the main level.

“I don’t know anything.”

“You don’t have to lie to me,” he stated. “As your lawyer, I’m on your side. But I need to know everything.” We walked to the parking garage and over to a slick gray sedan that screamed, money.

I sat in the front. The leather seats and luxurious interior were impressive.

As Garrett drove us out of there, his hand landed on my thigh. It both thrilled and discomfited. I knew lawyers weren’t supposed to touch their teenage clients.

I shifted, and his hand moved. Perhaps I’d read too much into it.

He talked as he drove. “The media is in a frenzy, especially since your parents haven’t been sighted at all since the morning of the fifteenth.”

The last time I’d seen them. If I’d known, I’d have hugged them tighter.

“Have you heard anything at all from them?” he queried.

“How would I? The police took my phone, and I was in a mental ward.” With no link to the outside world.

“Is there anywhere they might go? A special place?”

“No.” And I didn’t like that he’d asked.

“What about family?”

“No family.”

“Surely, there’s someone we could talk to who might take you in,” he cajoled.


“That’s a shame. It’ll limit your options.”

“I’m almost eighteen. Can’t someone stick me in an apartment?”

“Some states will allow it at sixteen, but ours doesn’t. Meaning, you’ll be placed with someone the government deems suitable until you turn eighteen.”

“What if I run away?”

He shrugged. “Is living on the street really better?”

I hated that he might have a point. “What do the cops want from me? I don’t know anything.”

“They want to make sure that’s true. So, they’re going to ask you all kinds of questions meant to trip you up.”

“Aren’t you supposed to stop them from doing that?”

“If you don’t know anything, then it’s more efficient to get this over with.” He pulled up to the familiar cop station. “We’re here.”

As if drawn by a magnet, curiosity-seekers swarmed the car.

Panic filled me. “Can’t we go around to the hidden side entrance?”

“Your parents are famous. You’ll have to learn to deal with it. We’ll start by giving a statement.” By we, Garrett meant him. He offered a lovely, eloquent speech about an innocent young girl caught up in a terrible situation. I got to stand awkwardly by his side, gazing at my feet, wishing the ground would swallow me, or even better, that I would wake up from this nightmare.

No one interrupted while Garrett spoke, but when he was done, questions fired fast and furiously. While I didn’t reply to any of them, I learned a lot by listening.

Apparently, my lawyer had graciously donated his services to the poor young girl caught in a serial killer case web. I was old enough to realize that he was using me for celebrity to advance his career. Whatever. I needed all the help I could get.

Eventually, he held up a hand. “That’s all for now. If you’ll excuse me, my client needs to give a statement to the police.”

Given the choice between rabid reporters and the cops, I practically jogged to the doors of the precinct. My lawyer kept a more sedate pace. They brought us to a different room done up in younger, brighter colors. The chairs were plastic and vivid—a place meant for children.

It felt more awkward than the room with everything bolted down. I recognized the police officer as the one from before. Olsen once again held a binder and appeared impatient as he slapped it down on the short table.

“Browning. I should have known you’d weasel your way into this case.”

“Whatever do you mean?” Garrett asked, legs crossed, leaning back, seemingly at ease. “Simply providing a pro bono service to an innocent in what is a horrific case.”

“I’d better not hear of anything you see today being leaked.”

“Are you accusing me of impeding an investigation?” my lawyer asked, his tone mocking.

“This isn’t a joke. These murders are serious.”

“One murder. And from what I hear, your case isn’t airtight.”

It wasn’t? How come Garrett hadn’t mentioned that in the car?

“Think again,” muttered Olsen. “Let’s start the interview.”

We began with the basics. Name. Address. School. Parents. Where did they work? Easy stuff. Then they eased into the tougher bits. Where was I on the following dates? Where were my parents on certain dates?

“Give me my phone, and I’ll tell you.” I put everything in my electronic agenda.

“Your phone is being held as evidence.”

My jaw dropped. “Evidence of what?”

Rather than reply, Olsen went on. “Are your parents Satanists?”


“Why are there no religious icons in your house?”

“They’re atheists.”

“Have they ever sacrificed animals?”

My eyes just about fell out of my head. “No.”

I exclaimed it often as Olsen asked questions, and my lawyer said nothing.

It took me exploding with, “My parents aren’t killers!” for the questioning to stop.

Finally, Garrett stepped in with a drawled, “You’re pestering my client.”

“We’re trying to bring justice to a victim, and she’s not helping.”

“Is there a victim?” my lawyer queried. “I hear you haven’t found a body yet.”

“Only a matter of time. We have the video.”

The damning footage.

My lawyer shredded that with a casual, “You call that evidence? No one knows where it was shot. You’ve not actually found a crime scene. Or a body. Meaning, you don’t have a case.”

“We have the other pentagrams.”

“And have you been able to link Abigail’s parents to those? Or is that flimsy footage the only evidence you have?”

“We’re going to find the basement in that video,” Olsen blustered.

“I find it odd that no one has come forth to claim they know where it is yet.”

“We’re still checking out tips,” indicated Olsen.

“Can I see it again?” I asked. I’d had three days to convince myself that it was fake. That it wasn’t as damning as they claimed.

In seconds, my lawyer had it running. Garrett paid it no mind. I was to find out later just how viral it had gone.

As it played, I felt numb, removed from the people in it. Yes, those awful, robed people with their hands in the blood wore my parents’ faces, but that wasn’t them. I didn’t recognize my mother and her wide, startled eyes. Or my father with that snarl on his lips.

During the second playback, as the person taking the video slowly descended the steps, I frowned and said, “What is he singing? I can’t make out the words.”

“Nor can anyone else,” Olsen stated. “Most likely some gibberish thing that’s supposed to be an ode to Satan.”

“Black magic,” Garrett added as if it made sense.

“My parents aren’t Satanists.”

“Are you sure about that?” my own damned lawyer said.

Many fictional stories emerged once the video hit the ’net. The most common theme was that my dad was Satan’s priest on Earth, an evil minion who sacrificed nice and decent people to the dark lord. A man who’d turned violent because someone caught him. He looked nothing like the guy who’d tossed me into the air and caught me with a chuckle.

When the video ended, I had to wonder. “Who filmed it?”

“We don’t know. We’re still trying to track them down.” A disgruntled admission by Olsen.

Which led to me voicing more of my doubts. “What makes you think they weren’t indulging in some roleplay?” Never mind the fact that my parents never dressed up. However, I’d rather think they had a fetish for outfits than be stone-cold killers.

Olsen snorted. “I know murder when I see it.”

“Do you need to be reminded again that you don’t have a body?” Garrett pounced on that.

The cop’s expression soured as he had to admit, “Not yet.”

“Then it could be some kind of movie. After all, eyes don’t glow like the male’s did without special effects.” My lawyer pointed.

“Trick of the light. That video places them at the crime scene.”

“Which you haven’t located,” Garrett reminded.

“What about the other two pentagrams we found? All the blood?” Olsen insisted.

“Without a body, you can’t prove that a crime occurred.” My lawyer was smug, but I enjoyed how he argued with the cop.

“If they’re so innocent, then why did they disappear? Why haven’t they come for their daughter?”

None of the replies to that question made me feel any better.

Why had my parents abandoned me?

Were they actually killers?

Would I follow in their footsteps?