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Nobody Cares Unless You're Pretty
Author: Lani Lynn Vale




The problem with Wake was that he was understandable. He was the type of villain that literally scared the absolute shit out of you because you knew that under the right circumstances, you could end up exactly like him.

Which, sadly, was the case for me.

I’d done the exact same thing as Wake, and now I was a murderer just like him.

Did I know that I did wrong? Hell yes.

Did I regret that? Hell no.

Did I plan on changing a thing? Also, no.

Was I falling in love with a man that should scare the shit out of me? A resounding hell yes.




I just overheard a girl order a margarita after being told they didn’t have Diet Cokes.

-Dutch to Tomas


“Hello, Lois,” I said to the small girl.

Lois didn’t smile. She never did.

Lois’s mother, Tamra, looked at me hesitantly.

Last week, we’d spoken about Lois having a session with me without her present, to see if Lois would interact with me. It was a last-ditch effort to get her to open up.

This morning, through a phone call with Tamra before my practice had opened, we’d talked about her being able to watch Lois through the surveillance system that I had in my personal office.

And she’d agreed.

But I could tell that she was still struggling. She didn’t want to leave Lois alone, because Lois freaked out when her mother strayed too far from her sight. When she’d first started coming here, it was because Lois started to throw a fit each time Lois’s father would come near her.

And, against her husband’s wishes, she’d started bringing Lois to my office in hopes that I could help get the six-year-old talking.

I just had to get her to open up. To do that, I was hoping that her mother being gone might get her to do that.

“If you need me, you know where I am, right?” Tamra said to Lois.

Lois looked up, obviously having heard her mother’s promise before they’d entered my office, and nodded her head carefully.

Tamra closed the door quietly, and Lois looked at me expectantly.

“That’s one of my most favorite books in the world,” I said about the book, Goodnight Moon.

“Why?” Lois asked.

“I have no clue,” I admitted. “I just really used to like all the colors. Green is my favorite color in the world. Like the color of a frog. And your eyes.”

“I have hazel eyes,” she corrected me. “Mommy said so.”

“You do,” I confirmed. “Hazel just means that your eyes change colors. Today, for instance, your eyes are green. Last week when you came in, your eyes were more gray. They matched your shirt.”

She looked down at her dark blue shirt, then up at me. “Yeah.”

“Would you like to talk about your new school today?” I asked. “Your mommy said that you went this week. How was that?”

She surprised me by actually answering. “There are no boys there. I like it.”

My brows rose nearly to my hairline. I quickly hid my surprise, though.

Instead, I focused on her and what she was saying. “You didn’t like going to school with boys?”

“No,” she said softly. “This school, there are only girls. Period. Even the teachers are girls.”

My heart started pumping so hard I could practically hear the whoosh in my ears.

“You don’t like being around boys?” I repeated my question.

“No,” she whispered. “Boys become bigger boys. Daddies.”

I felt my stomach sink. “Your daddy isn’t bad, is he?”

She looked into my eyes, then said three words. “He’s the worst.”

Three hours later, I waved to the police officer. The last one in my office.

Detective Ramirez.

He was watching me with his all-knowing cop eyes.

“We will handle this,” he assured me.

He might try.

But I had a feeling that it wouldn’t matter.

Not when Lois’s father was so high up in the government. He had friends in very high places, and I could read the indecision on the detectives’ faces that this was about to get ugly. That things weren’t going to go how I wanted them to.

And I was right.

Three weeks to the day that Lois had told me that her father had touched her—hurt her in the worst way possible—Detective Ramirez came by to tell me the bad news. Lois’s father, Tony Haskins, would not be facing charges for the molestation of his daughter.

Even worse, something tragic had happened to Lois. She’d had a near drowning accident in the family’s pool, and they feared that her brain was dead.

I knew the truth, though.

I knew, and I would be doing what I needed to do to get that baby justice.

Even if I had to see the inside of a jail cell in order to do it.




There is no murder. Just happy little accidents.

-Dutch’s secret thoughts


Accident, Florida resident, Wake Westfield, a graduate of West Point and an honorably discharged retired Army Officer, was charged with fourteen counts of first-degree murder. Shocking the world, the judge and jury felt that the maximum penalty for life without parole was too harsh a punishment. Afterall, murdering fourteen pedophiles, one of which was guilty of hurting your daughter, is understandably acceptable.

The jury came back with a ten-year jail sentence. Westfield will spend the next ten years behind bars, with the possibility of parole at eight.

Westfield is a hero among locals who, by far, rallied around him as he made their town safer.

I read the article that was dated almost eight years ago to the day. Again. Hoping that I was doing the right thing by sending it to whom I was sending it to.

I’d already made the move from Maine to Accident, Florida. Wake Westfield’s hometown.

As of last night, Lois had perished.

She had died at her father’s hands, and I knew it with such a certainty that I was prepared to do what I needed to make sure that Tony Haskins never touched another little girl again.

I picked up my pen, stared at the blank piece of paper, then pressed it against the blank topmost left edge.

Then I started writing.

My name is Dutch Duvall Panchek.

I’m thirty years old, and I need to know how to kill a man and get away with it.

I had to bribe a guard, who happens to be a very good friend, to get this to you. I know it’s a bit ‘weird’ but if anyone would understand, I knew you would.

A year ago, a little girl started to come to my practice. She was scared shitless of damn near everything, and any time her mother left her even to grab a tissue from across the room, the girl would freak out.

And by freak out, I mean, scream and cry in terror, freak out.

It took me a year to get her to talk. And when she did, I learned that her father, a member of our government, had been hurting her in the most disgusting of ways.

As of last week, the little girl, Lois, perished in a drowning ‘accident.’ Two days after that, her mother, Tamra, took her life by ‘overdosing’ on pills.

However, I know that Tamra wouldn’t do that. After learning of what her little girl went through, I’d seen fire in her eyes. Retribution. I know that Tamra, even after losing her daughter, wouldn’t make that decision. She was too angry. That anger would’ve kept her on this earth long enough to take her husband out with her.

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