Chapter 39:

Cannibalism (6)

Don't Die, Will

"What?" Keren looked confused. She moved her hands away.

"Olivia," Diana said, "I know you did it."


"I saw her going into the basement. But didn't see her come out," She continued, "Just after that she goes missing."

Keren clenched her jaw.

"I had my doubts. So, I made Brad keep an eye on you people. And guess what?"


"He heard some really interesting things."

"What are you talking about?" Keren said.

"Don't try to act all innocent now. Your face says it all." Diana said, "We know you people tied up Olivia in the basement."


"I don't know what she did or why you're doing this. But I'm pretty sure that the others won't be really happy about it if they find out."

Keren looked at both of them. With a small pause, she said, "So, you haven't told anyone about it."

"Not yet."

"Are you blackmailing me?"

"Looks like so."

"Do you really think they'd believe what you say? You two don't seem to have good relationships with your people."

"I don't think so. But," she said, "they wouldn't also fully believe some people whom they met just a few weeks ago, would they?"


"I'm pretty sure that they've already started to suspect you people."

Keren stared at her for a few moments. The thing she was looking for, it itself came to her. She took a few seconds to clear her mind.

She asked, "What do you want?"

"We've told you. Two horses and 2 we-" she stopped in the middle, "No, you had your chance. We tried to be nice but you didn't cooperate. We demand 3 weeks' worth of food."

"You're making a mistake."

"I don't mind. Just give us what we want and we'll be out of your hair."

"How would I know that you won't tell anyone about it?"

"We could've busted you already if we wanted to. I don't care what you do with them. Just give us what we want."

Keren sighed, "Fine. You'll get what you want."

"See? That wasn't so hard."

It was after 3. Everyone was asleep, except a few people who had some work to be done. Owen and his brother entered the basement. Ryan had a candle with him. He could see that Olivia was dozing in her chair. He felt bad for her. Things could’ve been easier for her. But she saw something she wasn’t meant to see and now she was facing consequences.

Ryan put the candle on a table. Owen slapped her softly to see if she was actually sleeping. She opened her eyes while blinking a few times.

“Sorry for the wait. You didn’t pee yourself, did you?” Owen laughed a bit.

Olivia mumbled.

“Don’t worry. You can take a leak all you want. But first, we need to move you upstairs.”

She mumbled again.

“Shh, don’t make any noise. If you become troublesome, I won’t hesitate to cut your throat right away.”

It was freezing outside and two people were there to witness it.

“Why are we doing this again?” Marco whispered.

“You don’t need to know…” Nolan replied, “Yet.”

It was dark but the moonlight was helping them to see vaguely. Nolan looked around to see if anyone was there. His sharp eyes helped him to see far away.

“You know there literally is a door inside to get into the basement. We don’t really need to open this lock,” Marco whispered, “Also, it’s freezing out here!”

“The door inside was locked when I checked. Besides,” Nolan replied, “It’s much safer out here than inside. The chances for us to get caught are comparatively low here.”

Marco stopped picking the lock for a second. He looked at Nolan.

“Do you think…Keren and her family are behind all of these?”

“What do you mean?”

“Did they…do something to Olivia?”

“Did I say something like that?”

“No, but…what else can be the reason for doing this?”


“Wait a minute,” Marco realized something, “Is Olivia in he-”

“Shh,” Nolan covered his mouth and whispered, “Keep your voice low.”

He nodded.

“Look, I don’t want to create any confusion. I have my doubts on something and I simply want to clear them. “


“I’ll tell you everything when the time is right, okay?”

Marco nodded again.

“You trust me, right?”

“I do.”

Marco continued to pick the lock again. After a few attempts, he managed to open it. They both looked at each other.

They slowly opened the bulkhead doors. They carefully climbed down the small stairs without making any noise. Nolan expected to find this place in darkness. But they both were surprised to see a burning candle on a table.

Someone was here, not so long ago.

Nolan could also smelt something strange.

“They said they don’t use the basement. Then why is there a candle lit here?” Marco whispered, “And what is this smell?”

Nolan approached the candle. He stared at it for a few seconds. Many things were running through his mind. He didn’t know what to think about at first. His nose twitched to the smell. It was somewhat familiar to him. He had been hunting for a long time then. He witnessed many things in the forest when he was in Rust. There were times when he came across dead animals which were hunted by predators. It was a common smell for a hunter like him.

“Rotten,” he spoke.


“Nothing. See if you can find anything interesting,” Nolan said, “And do it fast. Somebody can be here anytime.”


Nolan looked around with the help of the candle light.

The smell isn’t so strong. Something is here that just started to rot not so long ago.

They both looked around a bit. But they couldn’t find the exact source of the smell. Nolan felt like it was always near him.

“Nothing suspicious is here, Nolan.”

Nolan stayed still in his place for a few moments. He approached the door that led to the inside of the house. He grabbed the handle and tried to open the door. It was locked.

So you locked the door but forgot to take the candle, huh? He thought, And why would you be here at a time like this?

He let go of the handle.

“They are smarter than I thought,” he said to himself.

Ethan was sitting outside. It wasn’t snowing. The fire was keeping him warm. The sun began to rise slowly. After the incident, Ethan and the other survivors came back home. Back there, after getting rid of the cannibals, he kept searching for Arnold but failed to find him. With no choices in hand, he had nothing to do but come back home again. They all knew that if Arnold was alive, he’d come back home eventually.

“You’re still up?” Luis approached him.

“I can’t sleep,” he replied.

“Well, yeah. None of us can.”


“Still, you should go rest for a while.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re worried about Arnold, huh?”

“Not really.”

“He is a tough son of a bitch. He ain’t gonna die so easily.”

“What about Hillside?”


“Shouldn’t we take care of the matter?”

“Hm,” Luis said with a pause, “Let’s wait for Arnold. If he’s alive, he’ll come back.”

Just then, one of their people called out, “Someone is coming!”

“Who would it be at a time like this?” Luis kind of asked himself.

“What if it’s…” Ethan stood up.

They approached the entrance. It was so quiet that they could hear something coming their way though it was still pretty far away.

"Is that a bike?" One of their people questioned.

Luis started laughing, "You stupid fuck."


"How can you not recognise the sound of the bike that you ride everyday?"

"Arnold?" Ethan said while looking ahead.

"Speak of the devil."

As the bike came close to them, it started to slow down its pace. It stood completely still when it reached its destination.

"Daddy's home," Arnold said with a smile.

"You're alive, you old bastard," Luis said.

"I was gone, so are your manners, huh?"

Ethan didn't have any emotion. Rather, he was curious to see what Arnold was carrying behind him. He saw a person who was unconscious and tied up. Recognition slammed into Ethan like a rusted bullet when he saw Will's face.

Nolan was sitting under a tree. It was a bit far away from the house. But he could see it clearly. Although the others would have a hard time finding him with their average vision.

It wasn’t snowing. The sun had been shining since the morning. Himari was playing snowball with Lucas, Synthia and Katie were talking to each other, Ruby was looking into Manny’s wheelchair, Keren and Owen were doing farmwork. The others were inside.

Nolan looked up when he heard some footsteps approaching him.

“You wanted to talk,” Emma sat beside him, “Did you find something?”

“Kind of.”

“What is it?”

“Last night, we broke into the basement.”

Emma processed for a few seconds, “You did what?”

“I asked Marco to pick the lock of the bulkhead doors.”

“Did you tell him about it?”

“About what?”


“No,” he replied, “Not yet.”

"So, what did you find in the basement?"

"They lied about not using the basement," he said, "They had some business done last night. Just right before we got in."

"They didn't see you, did they?"

"No. A candle was lit on a table when we broke in. They must've forgotten to take it with them. I also checked the other door to make sure if they would be returning anytime soon."


"It was locked."

"Which means…"

"Which means they had something important to do. And decided to take care of the matter while everyone was sleeping," Nolan added, "One more thing."


"The basement had a weird smell the whole time we were in it."

"What kind of smell?"

"Smell of something…rotting," Nolan replied, "But we didn't find anything suspicious. Not even a drop of blood."

"Can that rotting smell…"


"I-is it…" Emma couldn't finish the sentence.


"Oh, God."

"But it may not be."

Emma waited for him to explain.

"If Olivia is actually kidnapped by them, there can be two reasons for that."


"First of all, it may have been a complete coincidence that she was the next victim. If that's the case, then there is a high percentage for her to be dead by now. That would also explain the rotting smell."

Emma was surprised to see how he was describing his thoughts with absolutely no emotions on his face.

"Secondly, maybe she witnessed something she wasn't meant to. If that's the case, then she may still be alive."

"How can you be so sure about that?"

"When a predator hunts, it hunts either because it's hungry or its children are."


“If filling the stomach is the reason, then the prey is unlikely to survive.”


“But it changes everything if the prey isn't even meant to be hunted in the first place. They don’t always hunt if they’re not hungry.”


“If Keren and her family’s plan wasn’t to take care of Olivia, they wouldn’t kill her. They would capture and save her for later.”

“Then what was that rotten smell?”

“There are also two reasons behind that.”


“Let’s say, they went to the basement at night to do something they didn’t want others to know about. Otherwise, there shouldn’t be any valid reason for them to risk and use the basement. If Olivia is…dead already, then perhaps, they went to the basement to move her body to somewhere else…which was already rotting and left the smell.”

“Are you sure you’re not just throwing random assumptions?”

“Or maybe…”


“Maybe she discovered a body or two which led her to all the trouble. They captured her and tied her in the basement. Last night, for some reason, they decided to move her and the bodies, locked the door on the way but forgot to take the candle. The rotten bodies left the smell.”

Emma sat there without saying a word. She was speechless.

“What?” Nolan asked, seeing her reaction.

“Did you really think about all these or are you just throwing your thoughts randomly?”


“That’s a lot of ifs and maybes.”

“I suppose.”

“The bodies were in the basement according to you. Are you confident about it?”

“Well, not entirely,” he replied, “But they were mostly likely to be there.”


“I am sure about the fact that they used the basement last night. And the rotten smell, it all adds up. “

“If Olivia is alive and if she was moved to somewhere else from the basement. Does that mean…”

“She is maybe somewhere inside the house,” Nolan said.

“We’ve gotta tell the others.”

“No,” Nolan refused immediately.

“Why?” She asked, “If we just let others know and take immediate action, they wouldn’t stand a chance. We also outnumbered them. Now that we somewhat guessed where Olivia can be, we have the advantage!”

“Not really.”

Emma waited for him to do the thing he was good at; explaining.

“Look over there,” Nolan directed her to see ahead, “What do you see?”

“Hm, what do you want me to see exactly?”

“Keren and Owen.”


“Where is the other sibling?” Nolan looked at Emma.

“I don’t know. I don’t see him much.”

“That’s the thing.”

“What do you mean?”

“Ryan isn’t always around. We barely get to see him. Most of the time is when we get together for meals.”

“You’re trying to say…”

“He takes care of their father.”

“Oh, yeah. I always forget about him,” Emma replied, “He is paralyzed so can’t move.”

“That and the other things he takes care of, perhaps.”

“The other thing…”



“Even if they are outnumbered. They have Olivia. If somehow he gets to know that we’ve turned against them, he’d threaten to kill Olivia.”


“So, we can’t really go and do whatever we want.”

“But we don’t know when they’ll decide to…kill Olivia! We don’t even know if she is alive or not. All we can do is play guesses and that’s it!”

“Nothing we can do about it.”

“What’re you looking at?” Henry asked glaringly.

Olivia shook her head. She didn’t mean to disturb him.

Henry, father of the siblings. He became paralyzed from a serious disease and could only move his left hand. It happened when Keren was 19. Her mother died giving birth to the youngest brother, Ryan. So, the siblings only had their father to take care of them. After Henry became paralyzed, Keren had to take responsibility. She replaced her father and started working to earn meals. She was always focused on her work. Her beauty attracted the boys but she was more concerned about her family. It was everything to her.

“What is this?!” Henry shouted with his fragile voice, “What is she doing in my room?!”

“Shh, father. Please don’t shout,” Ryan tried to calm his father, “Keren wants her to stay here for the time being.”

“You sick people! You all got corrupted and brought me into this!”


“You shut u-” he started coughing.

“Easy, easy,” Ryan gave him a glass of water, “Here, drink this.”

Olivia watched the whole thing without making a sound. She was moved from the basement last night. Owen and Ryan carried her to their father’s room; upstairs. It was her first encounter with him. She knew that they had a paralyzed father but never met him.

Olivia didn’t know why she was moved here. But she could sense that it was necessary. Although, she was unaware of the fact that It was the very last spot anyone would think to look for her and that was what Keren intended to do.

Owen and Ryan got rid of the rotten bodies. They buried them a bit far away from the house.

“Such a waste,” Owen said when he was burying the bodies. But it had to be done. There was no other way. The bodies also got too rotten to eat by then. They had them killed too early.

“Is she next?” Henry asked his son.

Ryan looked at her and turned to father to nod.

“Ah, for Christ’s sake! First, I had to eat it and now, they are demonstrating it to me before feeding me.”

Although Olivia knew why she was captured and tied up, she didn’t know why they killed those people. Her mouth was always covered with tape but she often asked them the reason when she got untapped. They never disclosed the matter. Hearing the father and his son’s conversation, she could sense something.

“Is she next?”, eating it, demonstrating before feeding it, dead bodies, rich meals every day and night, deer’s meat…she kept thinking.

Emma came before the stairs that led upstairs. The upstairs belonged to the family. Keren and her blood relatives lived there. The guests had to stay downstairs. Emma looked around and saw no one. She calculated everything before coming here. She memorized every move. She climbed the stairs and was constantly looking around to make sure that no one was watching her.

Everything has to be according to the plan.

The upstairs had 5 bedrooms with additional space. Emma didn’t know which bedroom was whose. So she had no choice but to go through all of them.

Henry coughed again, “Huh, goddammit.”

He looked at Olivia, “Sorry about earlier. Sometimes I don’t know what happens to me.”

Olivia was tapped so she couldn’t reply.

“What’s wrong with the basement?” Henry asked his son, “Why is she here?”

“We…we are having a bit of a problem.”

“What problem?”


“What’s the matter?!”

“K-Keren told me not to tell you.”

“Huh, Jesus. I’ve given birth to some demons. God will punish me for this. I’ve always warned you stupids not to do these things.”


“Nothing good will come from this. I am telling you.”

"I am not fond of it either, father."

"Then why are you participating?"

Ryan couldn't reply.

Henry looked at Olivia, "You're young, girl."


"As a father, I am a failure. This fucking disease, it screwed me from top to bottom. I couldn't teach my children anything."


"I am sorry on behalf of my children."


"What?! You should be grateful that I am even doing this!" He started to cough again.

"Easy, easy."

"Fuck off. I'll be dead soon anyway."

Just then, someone knocked at the door.

"It must be Owen," Ryan approached the door.

"You fool. None of my children have the manner to knock before entering."

Ryan already opened the door by then.

Emma entered the room with a gun pointed towards Ryan.

"Shh, scream and I'll blow up your brain," she said with a low voice. She looked around the room. Her eyes set on Olivia who was mumbling nonstop. Emma was relieved to see her alive.

"See? God send her to teach you stupid fucks a lesson!" Henry shouted.

"Quiet, old man."


Emma looked around the room for a few more seconds. As if she was searching for something.

She approached her friend, "You're not hurt, are you?"

She shook her head.

"Good," Emma said, "I'll take you outta here and let others know."

Olivia mumbled.

Emma looked at Ryan, "Stay there and stand still."

Then she started to untie her slowly.

Olivia mumbled again.

"What? Stay still. You're safe now."

Olivia wanted her to untapped her. And it would be a natural thing to do in the first place. But Emma wasn't paying attention to that. She was busy untying the ropes. She was completely off guard and Olivia was concerned about the matter. Ryan could attack anytime if he wanted to. Also, Emma was talking too long to untie the ropes. Her hands were shaking constantly.

Let Ryan do this and you guard the door! Olivia wanted to scream but she could do nothing but mumble.

"Ah, the nodes are so tight! I can't untie these," she looked at Ryan, "You, untie her."

He nodded slightly and approached the chair. Emma stood a few steps back pointing her gun at Ryan, "Don't try to do anything stupid."

Emma's back was wide open. And anyone could attack her from behind, coming from the outside.

Olivia tried to warn her about that. But it was too late by then. What she dreaded occurred. Owen grabbed her by the neck and took away her gun.


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