The Devil in Disguise - Prologue
It is funny how seemingly inconspicuous events can have the biggest impact on your life. If I have learnt one lesson over the past few years, it is to always expect the unexpected. Indeed, the spark which starts a fire big enough to burn your life to the ground can start from seemingly nothing. Take my own fire for instance; the beginning of the most dramatic, painful and confusing period of my existence started with the simple act of leaving my handbag on a train. All of the anguish and pain which has followed can be traced back to an event so trivial, so insignificant, that it is truly not deserving of such a momentous place in my history.
Before I go any further, I should really introduce myself to you. My name, if you don’t know already, is Hillary Duffy. Yes, THAT Mrs Duffy. The poor unfortunate soul who had the grave misfortune of marrying Mr Stephen Duffy. Why misfortune do I hear you ask? Well, the answer to that will become obvious as you read on, but if it is a short version you are after, understand, dear reader, that the Stephen Duffy who you have read about in the papers is no more real than a character in your favourite television show. The warm, charming guy who wins people over with his natural good looks, witty jokes and appealing personality does not really exist. No, to me, hell to anyone who knows the real him or has seen behind his mask, he is a monster. A bully with no emotions and no compassion for the people around him. As you read on, I am sure you will begin to see that the smile which covers his face when he appears in the newspapers or on your television is just one of the many masks which hide the real him.
So why am I sharing all of this?
I would love to say that my motivation is the need to tell the world what really happened during this painful time in my life. However, I know that I will struggle to convince myself, never mind you, that my main motivation is for the truth to come out. No, in all honesty, the reason for my writing this down is a selfish need to unburden myself and share this torrid tale with someone. While I accept that the shortest odds are that I will never come face to face with anyone who stumbles across these pages, I still feel the need to not lie to you. Deep down I hope that by putting pen to paper and being totally honest, I may even begin to make sense of all this myself. So many nights of my life have been lost trying to avoid sleep and the nightmares which will haunt me until my dying day. Too many tears have already been shed and too many lives ruined.
So, before I begin, I ask of you just one thing. Please do not judge me. I understand that during this tale of deception and suffering there are many moments when I could, maybe even should have acted differently. Hindsight will allow you to highlight my mistakes and maybe even see them coming. I beg you when you reach these points, try to remember that I was often afraid and not acting how I would hope to in a less volatile situation. I am all too aware that the details behind this story will forbid me from winning a personality contest, but unlike Stephen Duffy, I no longer care about being popular. What follows is a story which I have hidden from the world for far too long. Make of it what you will but just know that my words are true.
It is time for the truth to come out.
It is time to remove the masks.
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