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Chapter 1
Mary always had one thing in common with the leaves on the pine tree…they both moved where the wind wanted them to—adjusting her sitting position on the wooden seat, which seemed to be just in the right place at the corner of the yard far away and hidden from the judgemental eyes of the occupants of the ten-bedroom mansion. The grand splendor of the house couldn’t be denied, built-in details many years back by the first lords of Scotland, the pioneers whose contributions to the growth of the nation’s wealth as they established strong trade relationships with the British empire in the 1700s, conquering gold mines in the Eastern lands of the Arabic nations. The Winstons have held their own.
Mary ran her hands through her faded cotton gown, which used to be a vibrant yellow, now only a shadow of itself …how could she have the blood of the Winstons? a soft sigh escaped her thin pale lips that looked cracked and dry. Mary knew her only redeeming feature was her big baby blue eyes, as told to her by Michael, the son of the gardener who was only ten years of age. People might find it funny that she believed a child, but there was no time she could remember Michael telling a lie. The little lad was always honest to a fault which landed him in trouble most times. At least he had his father, who was the gardener and mother, the head cook to shower him with love; she never had that.
She was born to a prostitute mother who set her eyes on the Winston heir 20 years ago, leading to her being born out of wedlock. Her mother, whose name she would instead not remember, tried to get her hands on fortune using her as a pawn, but she had bitten more than she could chew. Word was she was strangled while entertaining a customer who was relatively unknown around the area. Her death has been covered up as a suicide.
Mary never knew her mother the only memory she has of her was the hate-filled gaze that chilled her to the bone any time she stumbled upon her into the brothel home where the prostitutes stayed. Even at the young age of three, she remembered the nights out in the cold, not eating for days only to be rewarded with a slap for every tear she shed. It was a good thing they lived in a public place as other courtesans took pity on her from time to time and let her eat their scraps. Shaking her head, Mary got up from the chair as if it would shake off the terrible scars from her soul, not minding the visible scars on her body.
She walked into the garden, running her hands through the flowers, and for a while, it seemed like the perfect escape until she realized she had walked too far. The gardens had an outlet that connected to the forest. Turning back, she began to retrace her steps. It was never a good idea to be here alone.
‘Ahh-’ Mary felt bile rise to her throat as grease-filled hands cut her screams…not that anyone would help. But if only today could be an exception, Mary thought as the attacker whose strength she could not surpass grabbed her neck with one hand, the other fumbling through her dress. She laid on the ground fighting, desperately wishing for a savior.…

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