SHE GREW UP IN THE SHADOWS OF LIES.
NOW THE PAST WILL COME TO LIGHT.
As a child, she was Baby Celeste, the one thing that kept her mother in touch with reality. But now her mother is in an institution, damaged by years of lies and secrets, and sixteen-year-old Celeste Atwell is alone in the world. Adopted by a wealthy couple, Wade and Ami Emerson, Celeste has everything a girl could desire: designer clothes, luxury cars, even a handsome boyfriend. But her new life is shrouded in mystery:
Ami acts more like a girlfriend than Celeste's adoptive mother -- what mother would encourage her daughter to flirt outrageously and dress in racy outfits? Wade, meanwhile, stoically accepts his wife's wild spending sprees and over-the-top behavior. Celeste is about to discover the true price of having it all -- because the secrets hidden within the Emerson household are too dangerous to keep under wraps....
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February 28, 2005
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Excerpt from Child of Darkness by V.C. Andrews
I wouldn't go until I had brushed my hair. Mama always spent so much time on my hair while Noble sat watching, as if he were jealous and wanted to be the one to brush it. Sometimes I let him, but he would never do it in front of Mama because of how angry it would make her. He would make these long, deliberate strokes, following the brush with his hand because he needed to feel my hair as much as see it. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I could almost feel his hand guiding the brush. It was hypnotizing then, and it was hypnotizing to remember it now.
"Mother Higgins said right now," Colleen Dorset whined and stamped her foot to snap me out of my reverie. She was eight years old and my roommate for nearly a year. Her mother had given birth to her in an alley and left her in a cardboard box to die, but a passerby heard her wailing and called the police. She lived for two years with a couple who had given her a name, but they divorced, and neither wanted to keep her.
Her eyes were too wide, and her nose too long. She was doomed to end up like me, I thought with my characteristic clairvoyant confidence, and in a flash I saw her whole life pour out before me, splashing on the floor in a pool of endless loneliness. She wasn't strong enough to survive. She was like a baby bird too weak to develop the ability to fly.
"Where that baby bird falls out of the nest," Mama told me, "is where she'll live and die."
Some nest this was, I thought.
"Celeste, you'd better hurry."
"It's all right, Colleen. If they don't wait, they don't matter," I said with such indifference, she nearly burst into tears. How she wished there was someone asking after her. She was like someone starving watching someone in a restaurant wasting food.
I took a deep breath and left the small, almost claustrophobic room I shared with her. There was barely enough space for the two beds and the dresser with the mirror above it. The walls were bare, and we had only one small window that looked out at another wall of the building. It didn't matter. The view I had was a view I owned in my memory, a view among others I gazed back at the way people peruse family albums.