#ExcerptWeek Living in the Shadows by Judith Barrow

 

9781909983298_bach

Chapter 56: Victoria

Sun 12th October

Victoria watched Melody being systematically ostracised by the rest of the group. No one spoke to her. They whispered about her and, when she approached or came close to any of them, they turned their backs on her. But, wherever she went, one of them followed her.

Victoria didn’t understand why they wouldn’t let her just leave.

‘She’s not allowed to go until the Master says she can,’ Amber explained. ‘He talks to her at night.’

‘At night?’

‘All night. He’s trying to make her understand how she won’t fit in on the outside anymore.’

He’s brainwashing her, Victoria thought, horrified. He’s trying to break her spirit. It made her stomach twist inside her.

Despite all her efforts to avoid any of the groups, all of them had tried to involve Victoria in the exclusion.

 ‘You can’t sit on the side-lines, Summer, it’s too dangerous,’ Amber said, while they were sitting around the table at suppertime.

‘What do you mean?’

‘She means we are a family, Summer.’ Chrystal stood behind them. We all rely on each other; for our food, our clothing and,’ she spread out her arms and looked around the dining room, ‘our shelter.’

‘It doesn’t seem fair, Chrystal. When you take our meditation sessions, you preach good vibes.’ Victoria deliberately said the word; she thought back to the last time the woman had gathered them together; yeah, ‘preach’ was definitely the right way to put it.

 Still she made her face impassive when she saw Chrystal bristle.

Victoria looked across at Melody. Sitting on her own at a table that she’d been led to the day after her outburst, she was upright, arms folded. The meagre amount of food on the plate in front of her was ignored.

‘She is backsliding into temptation. There is nothing we can do for her now, Summer. It is up to the Master.’ Chrystal put her hand on Victoria’s shoulder. She felt the clench of her stomach muscles, tried to shut out the drone of Chrystal’s voice. ‘If she goes she will leave without his blessing. She is rebellious, disobedient. A castaway.’ Now she was leading Victoria towards the door and it was as though there was nothing for it but to go. ‘We have been watching your struggle over the past few days. We see your compassion for Melody. But it is misplaced.’ She leaned towards Victoria, her voice soft. ‘You need to decide where you loyalties are. With her, or with us, with our Master. He needs to know, Summer.’

Victoria glanced over to the top table where Seth sat alone. He was watching her.

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 Living in the Shadows

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Living in the Shadows

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Living in the Shadows

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Living in the Shadows

 

 

 

 

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