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Authors: Helga Zeiner

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers, #Psychological Thrillers, #Psychological

Birthdays of a Princess

BOOK: Birthdays of a Princess
4.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Helga Zeiner

Birthdays of a Princess

A
Psychological Thriller

 

 

 

Copyright @ Helga Zeiner

All rights reserved

Published by POWWOW Books, Canada

Cover Design: Andreas Heinrich, Sydney

 

 

 

Table of Content

Chapter 1
.
4

Chapter 2
.
6

Chapter 3
.
7

Chapter 4
.
9

Chapter 5
.
11

Chapter 6
.
13

Chapter 7
.
17

Chapter 8
.
21

Chapter 9
.
24

Chapter 10
.
28

Chapter 11
.
30

Chapter 12
.
32

Chapter 13
.
35

Chapter 14
.
37

Chapter 15
.
39

Chapter 16
.
41

Chapter 17
.
44

Chapter 18
.
47

Chapter 19
.
49

Chapter 20
.
54

Chapter 21
.
56

Chapter 22
.
60

Chapter 23
.
64

Chapter 24
.
66

Chapter 25
.
67

Chapter 26
.
70

Chapter 27
.
73

Chapter 28
.
75

Chapter 29
.
79

Chapter 30
.
82

Chapter 31
.
84

Chapter 32
.
86

Chapter 33
.
90

Chapter 34
.
93

Chapter 35
.
96

Chapter 36
.
101

Chapter 37
.
103

Chapter 38
.
105

Chapter 39
.
111

Chapter 40
.
116

Chapter 41
.
122

Chapter 42
.
126

Chapter 43
.
130

Chapter 44
.
134

Chapter 45
.
137

Chapter 46
.
141

Chapter 47
.
144

Chapter 48
.
149

Chapter 49
.
153

Chapter 50
.
156

Chapter 51
.
159

Chapter 52
.
160

Chapter 53
.
166

Chapter 54
.
171

Chapter 55
.
176

Chapter 56
.
180

Chapter 57
.
182

Chapter 58
.
188

Chapter 59
.
190

Chapter 60
.
196

 

 

 

Chapter
1

 

 

It
was just before eight in the morning when Melissa woke
. She sat up and listened for a while in the semi-dark. It was quiet,
like most of her mornings nowadays. The metal springs squeaked a sigh of relief
when she finally lifted herself off the mattress. It was nippy in the flat. She
pulled back the curtains, slipped into her terry towel bathrobe, and listened
in the narrow hallway. Still nothing. She grimaced at the emptiness.
See if
I care.

Down the hallway and into her kitchen, where she put the kettle on,
waited for the water to boil, let her tea steep for exactly sixty seconds,
heaped three spoonfuls of sugar into the mug and poured in so much cream the
tea instantly cooled to drinking temperature.

Mug in hand, she settled into her favorite place by the window. It
faced west, toward the high-rise monuments of downtown Vancouver barely visible
in the distance. She opened the window a crack to let the gentle hum of the traffic
below permeate her flat.

Vancouver was still sleepy, yawning and stretching like a lazy lion,
rubbing its eyes, waiting for someone to brush the remains of last night’s excitement
from the concrete floor of its den.

She turned on the TV. It was exactly eight now, and the channel was
set to CTV. She watched for a while, not paying much attention until a bright
orange Breaking News banner flashed below the female morning anchor. Melissa
turned up the volume. She took a sip of her sweet, sweet tea and leaned back a
little.

“We have a developing story of a brutal attack on a customer at the Starbucks
coffee shop on Robson Street. Our reporter Emily Jackson is on location. Emily,
what can you tell us?”

The upper body of a reporter, holding a microphone in one hand and
fighting her wind-swept hair with the other, came into the picture. Well, it was
October, at least it wasn’t raining.

“From what we know so far, a young woman has attacked another woman
inside the coffee shop you see right behind me. We don’t know the identity of
the victim or the attacker yet and have no information about her motive.
Apparently, she suddenly produced a knife and threw herself at the woman,
screaming at the top of her voice.”

“Do we have any information about the condition of the victim?”

An autumn gust blew hair over the reporter’s face. Trying to control
the strands with both hands, she nearly lost her microphone but fumbled it back
into position when she realized that the camera was focused on her again. One
side of her pretty face was completely covered with hair. It looked ridiculous,
and Melissa wondered not for the first time why all the women on TV had to have
long hair.

“The ambulance has transported the victim to the emergency ward of
St Paul’s Hospital. If the victim survives the attack she’s very lucky the
hospital is just a few blocks from here—”

The reporter’s voice travelled along Melissa’s attention span and
lost its grip. Background noise. She liked that. And God, her tea was good. She
knew she shouldn’t take that much sugar but she liked her drinks sweet. Her
shift at the supermarket started at ten, finished at three, so maybe she could
go see a movie afterwards to kill the afternoon. Or go to Starbucks, sit
outside if the weather held, watch the people walking by. Maybe
that
Starbucks.

The anchor’s overly excited voice demanded her attention again:

“We have just received a video clip from one of our viewers who
filmed the brutal attack. We would like to warn you that some viewers may find
the content offensive in nature.”

The filmmaker must have jostled for a good position between other
coffee-shop patrons who had jumped up—the picture was shaky. The back of
shoulders and heads popped in and out. Screams of horror and confusion could be
heard. Their unedited sound quality lent an unnerving authenticity to the
unfolding drama.

An arm rose up in the air and down again, in a kind of wood-chopping
motion. Up and down, no hesitation whatsoever. And the chopping went on. Up and
down, up and down—accompanied by ‘
Oh my God’s
’ and ‘
Oh no, oh no’s’
.
The view changed—the filmmaker must have climbed on a chair, holding his iPhone
or whatever device he had high above the ghastly scene. The victim of the
attack was on the floor now. She was trying to protect her face with crossed hands.
The attacker, wearing a black hoodie, was over her and chopping into her with
such vengeance that Melissa could feel the force of her hatred. The attacker
continued to stab wherever she could. Face, arms, torso? It was impossible to make
out exactly where her knife sliced.

Bodies now moved in and out of the picture, making it hard to tell
what was going on.

“We have word from the police that the victim you have just seen
being stabbed inside Starbucks on Robson about an hour ago is in critical
condition. Her attacker was overpowered by three heroic young men who held her
captive until the police arrived.”

The filmmaker had managed to muscle himself closer to the young
woman now pinned to the ground—and smiling straight into his camera.

 Melissa gasped. It couldn’t be.

The mug slipped from her weak hands, dropped to the floor, and spilled
tea on the cheap vinyl kitchen floor before rolling under the table.

It couldn’t be. But it was.

The attacker was her daughter.

 

 

 

Chapter
2

 

 

God only knows why I’m so calm.

I’m sitting on the backseat of a police cruiser and feel like a taxi
passenger, being driven along streets I know well.

The handcuffs feel weird but they don’t cut into me like some actors
on TV pretend, and the constables haven’t been rude. They
did
touch me
when they put the cuffs on—can’t be avoided, right?—but they didn’t even push
my head down when I got in the car. That’s something else you see a lot on TV.
And they were careful not to press my cuffed arms against the seat. That could
have hurt.

So, here I am, and I feel so free I would sing like a
bird—tralalalala—if I had a happy tune in my head. But other than the pleasure
of a perfect morning, there is nothing happy in this void. The sun is out, I’m
being chauffeured down Burrard Street—all right, by guys in uniforms, but
still—and there is still enough adrenaline in my system to make me feel like
Superwoman, but not so much that I’d want to rip the handle off the car door
and jump out into this lovely autumn morning.

I feel good. Tralalalala after all.

I lean against the window pane of my police taxi and strain my eyes
to make out every single delightful detail. The lady in the designer coat with
a miniature poodle in her arms. The pigeon picking crumbs under sidewalk tables.
The closing-down sale sign on a shop front. A bike courier weaving through
traffic too fast. Last night's rain forming a puddle in the gully. Guess I
won’t see downtown again anytime soon.

I keep my eyes alert even when the sights of downtown’s splendor
slowly give way to the drifters hanging out around Main Street. Some of the
low-lifes are familiar to me but none of them wastes a glance at the passing
police cruiser. Instead of tall buildings I’m now seeing shops secured with
plywood boards, piss corners with homeless still curled up in blankets,
shopping carts full of personal junk. Downtown is now rundown.

Still, it’s good to take in even those sights. Me, the tourist on a farewell
trip down the ordinary life, dressed in a clean vest. I really should prepare
myself for the onslaught of questions.

What a glorious, satisfying moment it was when I stabbed that bitch
in the face.

I lean back again to savor the already fading memory. But it’s like
sucking on a strawberry-cream-swirl candy, sweet red rage and smooth creamy innocence.
The more I savor it, the more the two melt into each other and become indistinguishable.
Eventually they’re both gone, leaving me with nothing, not even a faint
aftertaste.

I stare out the window but don’t register my surroundings any
longer.

I taste nothing. I see nothing. I remember nothing. I don’t know why
I did it or who the bitch was. The only thing I do know is that I had a good
reason.

BOOK: Birthdays of a Princess
4.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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