Riptide

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Chapter 37

He laughed and held the glass of water closer to my face but, as he hadn’t before, didn’t get close enough for either of us to touch the other. “Do it,” he said. I refused and once more told him that he would need to tell me what he needed from Zuri before I was going to use my powers for him. He groaned and was clearly refraining from coming near me. I studied the cart he had brought once more, wondering why he hadn’t brought anything torturous at all. It was covered in glasses filled with certain liquids, buckets of water, ice sculptures, tanks of fish and other things somehow relating to my powers. He brought the glass closer but still kept it outside of the rectangular shape which was creased into the floor. “All you have to do is freeze the water and I’ll tell you,” he said.

“You know, for the head of a secret operation of agents who abduct people with strange abilities,” I said patronizingly. “You really suck at lying.”

He raised his hand to hit me but pulled away quickly and took a deep breath, presumably to calm down. “You’re not leaving until you do what I want you to do,” he said.

“Great, because this chair is actually quite comfortable,” I said, leaning back lazily, despite it being the least comfortable thing I had ever sat in, but it seemed my options for creature comfort were becoming more and more limited with each passing day. There was a time when my large, squishy, soft blanket with horses printed on the top was not enough and I would buy something new which looked nice in the store, but now, now nothing sounded better than to hold that wonderful childhood beauty which now sits dormant in my closet between my arms while I slept once more, warm, happy, and safe.

Dr. Brown yelled with frustration and threw his arms into the air. I knew what was coming. He then dropped them down upon me with great force. I flinched for the incoming pain. I heard the palm of his hands hit a strong and unwavering surface, stopping them inches away from where I sat. “Interesting,” I said aloud. He cursed and removed his hands from the invisible wall which kept our worlds apart. “And you planned on having me freeze the water in your glass… through a wall?” I asked patronizingly.


“Force field,” he stated, matter-of-factly. I gave him a look as if to say “whatever you want to call it, I don’t really care.” His glaring eyes seemed to penetrate my lungs. For a moment, I couldn’t breathe. It was as if he was squeezing each bit of air out of my lungs. I gasped for air before suddenly, it stopped. I could breathe. He gave me a look of warning and hesitated for a moment as if unsure whether he should continue with me. Finally, he told the large row of guards to take me back to my cell where I could spend my night restlessly tossing and turning before I would return, faced with a whole new set of tortures and fears, completely different from each day before. This was the kind of thing which could break someone, should their souls be weak and their will flimsy. This was the kind of place which swallowed people up young and innocent and spat them back out scarred, angry, lost, and broken. I knew that now. This was the kind of place which crushed everything and everyone. Every hope, dream, love, every memory, this was the kind of place which ripped and shredded those things until not even the shattered skeleton remained. This was the kind of place where only ghosts remained. Once great things were beaten here and when they were finally free, they were nothing more than a whisper of what they were. I had almost died once before, but this, this was worse. Here you didn’t have that sweet, comforting thought to release you from your suffering. It was the uncertainty which broke everyone and everything which walked these asylum-white halls and breathed this mildew-filled air. The thoughts concerning who you once were seemed like another lifetime ago. Olivia James? Who was she? This was a place far worse than death. This was the thing Savannah had talked about once in our earliest forms of friendship. The thing which had made me ever so uncomfortable to talk about. The place where only the worst had supposedly gone after death, and it wasn’t filled with fire. This was hell.

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