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Chapter 19: Jungle biome - walled city

Terras radiant mood dropped significantly as she walked through the city. She’d come above ground to get some clean clothes before they headed out for their mission later that morning. People we’re bustling about carrying stones and tools,obviously headed to the destroyed corner of the city. She could see that a lot of progress had been made in just one day. Most of the rubble had been cleared away and windows repaired in most of the city. As she came to her apartment she saw that they’d already repaired her windows but not her door. She supposed that would be a different day. She gently pushed her door open and stepped inside. Her place looked completely trashed. Broken glass was everywhere and somehow ash from the fires had gotten in and coated everything in a light layer of grey. Strangely it was footprints already imprinted in the ash. Terra knew that she nor Dexter had been in her apartment since the attack. She took another step into the apartment then grabbed her knife. She’d left her sword and bow and arrow back at the bunker . She and Dexter both needed new clothes so they decided to go to their own places and retrieve some then meet at her place before going back to the bunker.

She gripped the knife tightly in her hands as she slowly walked further into the apartment. She heard a loud crashing sound coming from her kitchen. She jumped and waited for the intruder to make an appearance. She heard several more loud crashing noises before everything was quiet. She waited anxiously,mentally debating if she should go on the attack or retreat and go get Dexter. It seemed that the intruder just wanted to destroy her kitchen which was confusing. There wasn’t much crime in her city,not even fights since any type of violence was outlawed. As she debated footsteps started and the intruder rounded the corner into the living room.

“Daniel?” Terra shrieked in confusion when his face came into view. “What are you doing here? Why are you breaking my stuff?” His face looked different somehow,almost crueler than usual. It was an exact match to how he looked yesterday when he saw her holding hands with Dexter. She automatically took a step back once his expression registered in her mind. He noticed and smiled,this smile was different from the ones that she’d seen before. Where they had been bright like the sun, this one radiated means.

“I was waiting for you to come back. I knew you would.” His voice was layered with unspoken threats.

“If you wanted to talk to me you knew where my room was in the bunker.” Terra quietly said feeling like she needed to choose her words carefully.

Ha! You mean the room you and Dexter share ? The room where he did-” he broke off as his face scrunched up in pain. “Where he did unspeakable things to you all day yesterday. And you let him! You betrayed me! You were mine! You are mine!” He was yelling now as he glared at her with his hands fisted.

“Daniel I don’t know what you think you know but -” She cut off as he slammed his fist into a wall.

“Do not... lie to me Terra Lee. I am not an idiot. I could see it from the way he looked at you. He only had one thing on his mind. You were precious,and pure and MINE and you gave yourself to him. He is not even half of the man that I am. He has slept around all of these years while I have waited for you. Always. And this is what you do?” He punched the wall again and took a threatening step towards her. Terra was beyond convinced that he had lost his mind by this point.

“Is that how you saw me? As property? As something to be owned,something that would never step foot outside of the kitchen? “ Her voice rose along with her anger. “You’re mad because I slept with Dexter bechase you see me as your property? You think you own me ? You don’t own shit.”

His face went blank with shock for a moment at her language then twisted up again with rage. “Learn your place!” He yelled as he ran towards her,his intention cause harm clear on his face.

Terra was rooted to the spot in disbelief for a moment,then she tried to jump out of the way but it was too late. Daniel caught her by the throat and slammed her against the wall. The force of the impact caused all of the air to be forced out of her lungs and her knife to drop from her hands. She tried to breathe but couldn’t. His hand was cutting off all of her air supply and she gasped desperately trying to get out of the chokehold by trying to pry his hand away from her throat. He had her pressed against the wall with his lower body as as well so she couldn’t kick out like she wanted to. His face was an inch from hers and his eyes blazed with an intense hatred that made her want to shrink away in fear. Tingles exploded all throughout her body,the difference from the ones she experienced with Dexter was vast. He stared at her and she stared back as she felt lightheadedness starting to cloud her mind.

“ You. Are. Mine.” He growled to her before he pressed his lips to hers possessively. All she saw was black as her consciousness fled.

“Terra?” She thought she heard Dexter’s voice. “What the hell?” His voice to a yell and she felt the hand that was squeezing her throat be ripped away. She slid to the floor unable to support herself on her weak legs and desperately tried to inhale. She could hear sounds of fighting nearby but couldn’t open her eyes. Her world was spinning and she couldn’t keep her head up much less open her eyes. She was in shock. She recognized this and yet still felt powerless against it. She curled into the fetal position in an attempt to get her head to stop spinning. As she lay there she wondered what just happened. She couldn’t believe that he attacked her. Daniel...attacking her ? It just didn’t make sense. She felt a huge headache coming on. Nothing made sense and she didn’t understand ,she couldn’t understand what had happened. Because understanding it would mean that it had actually happened and that wasn’t possible.

A small part of her mind noted that the sounds of fighting had stopped. But the larger part of her couldn’t focus. She heard a whimpering sound coming from nearby. As she listened it turned into a high pitched keening that sounded like an animal was dying . She didn’t realize the noise was coming from herself until she heard dexter’s voice.

“Terra? Are you hurt ? Terra!” He sounded like he was right next to her and the anxiety in his voice was tangible. She still couldn’t move from the floor. As the thought crossed her mind she realized that she could move. She just didn’t want to. She had no desire to do anything anymore. She felt herself being lifted up and embraced but she still didn’t open her eyes.

“It’s okay to cry Terra. Let it out.”she heard Dexter’s voice in her ear. “Please look at me baby. Please. I’m so sorry. I should have been here with you.” His voice broke and she realized he must have been crying too. This realization finally allowed her to open her eyes and look at him.

“Oh baby! Are you okay? I’m so sorry.” He started blabbing quickly. “Come on let’s go. I’ve tied him up and the police are the way to get him. He won’t bother you again.” He started to stand holding her in his arms.

Terra finally found her voice. “No.” She said quietly as she pulled free and stood on her own. Her gaze went to Daniel’s body on the ground. His hands and feet were tied and he was unconscious. He had several cuts and bruises on his face and what appeared to be the start of two black eyes. She noted all of this from a disinterested point of view. Dexter commanded her attention once again as he held out her dropped knife to her. She stared at it for a moment wondering if she should have a weapon in her current state. Eventually she took it because she knew it was what he expected. He took her hand and led her to the door of her apartment.

“Wait.” She found her voice again. “I didn’t get new clothes.” The shorter she kept her sentences the less chances he would hear her voice crack.

He stopped and turned to face her. “Let me take you back to the shelter. I will get your stuff for you and bring it back.”

“No.” She said simply as she let go of his hand and turned to walk towards her room. She casually stepped over Daniel’s body and kept going until she reached her closet. She grabbed a backpack and mechanically stuffed it with assorted clothing. She didn’t really look at what she put. She didn’t really care. She stripped out of her clothes and put on new ones. Then picked up her backpack and walked back towards the doorway where dexter stood talking to the police who’d come for Daniel. When she appeared in the doorway they lifted Daniel and left with him. Dexter turned to her and held out his hand. She just stared at it for a moment before finally putting her hand in his because she knew it was expected. He lightly squeezed it before he let go. She looked up him questionably.

“I’m not going to force anything on you that you aren’t ready for. You just had a traumatic experience and you need time right now. I’ll tell the president we need to push back the mission.”

“No, I’ll go.” Terra said interrupted quietly. “We need to do this.” Dexter stared at her for a moment clearly trying to read through her blank expression.

“Let’s go.” She walked past him and through the door. She didn’t have time to be psychoanalyzed. They had a mission to complete.

Dexter tried repeatedly to get her to go see a doctor. She didn’t have anything to say but the word “no” in response. He persisted and she ignored him as she went about getting her gear ready for the trip. Except for her bow. When she saw it she broke it in half by throwing it against the wall of the bunker and letting out a primal scream. Dexter just stood there and watched helplessly while she went on a rampage smashing the bow into tiny pieces. Once it was completely destroyed she stared at it for a moment then burst into tears.

“Why would he do that? He was the last semblance I had of my old life. My parents are gone. My brother is off doing who knows what. And all I had... all I had was Daniel.” Her voice broke on the last word and she just silently stared at the broken bow as she cried. She felt broken inside down to the smallest piece of her. She felt Dexter embrace her.

“You have me. You still have me Terra. I know I’m not a part of your old life but I am a part of your life now and I always will be.” He whispered fervidly in her ear. She couldn’t find the words to reply. She just held on him tightly as she grieved. It was all she could do. She felt completely hollow,like a shell holding in an ocean of grief. All she felt was overwhelming grief, it was as if all of her other emotions were being pushed to the edge as grief took center stage. She was devastated and afraid that the rest of her world would fall away just as easily as Daniel’s betrayal seemed to be. The heartache was like a red hot coal placed in her chest, it glowed warmly and burnt her at the same time, but it did not cool quickly like a coal in water, it throbbed and tortured her and as she sat in the embrace of Dexter’s arms she realized that it would never go away. She would always feel the loss behind Daniel’s actions. It would never go away,but maybe she would get stronger and be able to manage it better. She would tuck it away in that little space inside her heart that she kept all of her grief and keep moving because she didn’t have any other choice. She slowly felt the grief ebbing inside her reduce to a manageable amount. She wiped her tears and looked up at dexter feeling her heart swell.

“Thank you for always protecting me.”

He smiled at her easily as he replied. “Always.” he pressed a kiss to her forehead. Terra felt a need to revile in the fact that she was alive even after being attacked and she lifted her head and slowly pressed her lips to his. He pulled away and stared down at her questionably. “Please.” She whispered quietly and that was all it took. He stood up and pulled her with him as he moved towards the bed. He kissed her again and pulled her onto the bed with him.

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