Broken Queen

Page 31

He pauses, surprised. Vittoria’s face freezes on the screen, and I can’t look at it.
“What happened to her?” I ask in a voice I don’t recognize.
“That’s personal—”
Before I can think, I’m on my feet slamming both hands on his desk. “What the fuck happened to her?”
The doctor leans backward, and I see him reach for what I imagine is a button alerting security under his desk.
“Amadeo,” Bruno says with a hand on my shoulder. He’s up on his feet too. He shifts his attention to the doctor. “You can imagine how upsetting this is to Amadeo, considering his sister is the same age.” He turns to me and gives me a look that says I’m about to fuck this up. “Sit.”
Fine. But instead of sitting, I pace, and in the corner of my eye, I see the young Vittoria with her hair shorn, and the skin of her hands cracked and blotchy and raw and in her eyes a look I don’t have words for.
“Perhaps this treatment isn’t for Hannah,” Dr. Tilbury says in a lowered voice to Bruno.
“We’ll decide that. Can you be more specific about Ms. Russo’s case, Doctor? How is it similar to my niece and how is it dissimilar?”
Tilbury nods, switches off the screen altogether, thank fuck, and sets his hands on his desk as the lights come back up. I sit on the edge of the couch set farthest away from the desk, lean my elbows on my knees, and lock my fingers together to keep from killing him before he gives us what we need.
“Vittoria Russo was attacked. Kidnapped, held prisoner, and raped by two men over a period of six days.”
“Jesus,” Bruno says.
I just stare at the man whose lips are moving but whose face is frozen as my brain tries to work out what I’m hearing.
“They kept her in a basement in one of Russo’s properties. Abandoned still. I don’t think he had the stomach to develop it after what happened. But that’s not all. That’s not why she keeps looking at her hands.”
The image of her snatching Bastian’s gun and shooting that man comes to mind. The look on her face. The determination with which she did it. The lack of hesitation. Lack of any emotion. And I understand.
“She killed them, didn’t she?” I ask.
Tilbury looks at me for a long minute before he nods.
“Got ahold of one of their guns. Her father found her soon after. Mere hours later. She began scrubbing her hands with bleach for days afterward. It’s why we had her in there, nails clipped short so she wouldn’t rip off skin. She’d use anything she could to scrub at her hands to get the blood off that only she could see.”
“Which property?” I ask.
He looks confused. “I’m not certain, but it’s in the city. I don’t know why he didn’t sell it. Get rid of it.”
“The memories, can they return?”
“They’re erased.”
“Are you certain?”
“Well, of course the human mind is complex, isn’t it?”
“Is that how you cover your ass?”
He ignores my comment. “There can be unforeseen triggers.”
“Like a similar event happening to her or someone she knows. A news story. Stress. It can be any number of things. Like I said, the mind is complex,” he reiterates.
“Do you have more video footage?” Bruno asks.