A beat passes after his exit... then another. I barely realize I am holding my breath until I feel my diaphragm burn and I gasp loudly amidst my sputters of coughs, inhaling through my nostrils and mouth in an effort to fill my lungs with air.
Beads of sweat trickle down my body as I shift - rolling my shoulders and wrists - feeling the harsh cold floor digging into my back uncomfortably, the chill it shoots up my spine a fairly large contrast to the heat I feel sizzling in my very core.
My brain is in shambles - no - my entire being is in shambles. My thoughts are all over the place, consuming each piece of information I'd gotten in the last few minutes or rather my pitiful lack of the aforementioned. Memories of that dreadful beast with it's blazing citrus eyes, the scalding burn when it touched me —skin to skin, the court, those men. Image after image flood my mind, barely giving me a moment of reprieve before I'm getting dragged back down into a visual of another memory.
I've always known what to do, planned every course of action, each voiced syllable. However, in this situation I'm at a total loss of words.
Oh but I know this emotion, as much as I don't want to admit to the fact, I know. I've felt it once before.
Clenching my fists, nails digging in my skin and leaving red crescent marks in their stead, I exhale a shaky breath through my parted lips. And count to ten.
Tension eases from my body as my muscles recoil, further causing me to relax into the floor when I don't sense his overwhelming presence near by. Instead, in an attempt to distract myself from my pending situation, I let my eyes travel around the room I've been placed in.
To my honest surprise, it looks normal. As normal as a house located in hell can be anyways. A sizable four post bed pushed at the far right corner, a vanity table at the opposite end and an upholstered cream colored stool seats before it, the walls are painted the palest shade of lavender— odd.
But to be quite honest, what catches my attention is what lies at the base of the bed.
Small and delicate, ornately decorated with fretwork motifs of a series of ivory sticks inlaid with intricately designed hieroglyphics - an ancient Egyptian mule chest.
The discomfort itching at my back is long forgotten as I squint my eyes at the box, noting the small nicks at the sides, the surprisingly aged appearance of the wood and more importantly; the tiny inscriptions written in an unfamiliar language just below the diagrams. I wring my wrists, fingers itching to touch and feel the roughness of the antique under the pads of my skin.
I can't... I won't give in.
My eyes snap shut, lungs expanding and contracting rapidly, willing myself to not panic and instead choosing to focus on the silver cuffs locked tightly over my wrists, connected to hard black leather which upon further inspection I find trails to my feet, locking them in and constricting my movement.
A pained groan rumbles in my chest as I slowly begin to adjust my position, a deeper part of me disliking the vulnerable stance.
The task takes a while. Pulling myself into a sitting position with my back pressed against the wall and my legs pulled up to my chest, partly shielding my upper body, both hands and legs hanging limp in front of me. My posture akin to that of a ragged doll that has been abandoned after a very tiring tea party.
It seems like hours pass by with me being stuck in the same position, my ass soon begins to throb with a familiar ache that has me shifting in my spot every few minutes unable to hold in my small whimpers and moans of pain.
And it doesn't help that there's a heat blooming in the very pit of my stomach, my arms and chest... everywhere.
I'm unable to tell if it's the weather, after all the placed is called hell; known to be burning eternal fire and brimstone.
Or it's the chains?
However, I'm drawn from my train of thoughts when I see the familiar red smoke of his teleportation magic appear in front of me and he steps through the circle.
Our gazes lock— mine full of fear and his void of emotion— and for a moment I hear nothing but the deafening drum of my heart in my ears.
He speaks, “will you run?"
I stay silent, pressing my legs closer to my chest and hunching my shoulders. An action he takes note of with a quick flicker of his eyes, yet he says nothing save for the sharp quirk of a brow urging me to acknowledge the question left hanging in the air.
“No.” The word rolls past my lips smooth like cream, surprising me. But I school my features, pursing my lips and holding his gaze.
He harrumphs, casually resting his weight on one foot and crossing his arms. My gaze shifts for a brief second to his muscly arms— barely enough time for him to notice the action. But I backtrack when I spot the faintest of ruby reds glinting behind those brown eyes, the slightest upturn of his lips.
Movement fluid like water, arms coming uncrossed, eyes glued to mine, he leisurely crosses the small distance left between us. Almost immediately, I catch whiff of a scent; woodsy, a base leathery note and something else I can't seem to place a name on underneath. Intoxicating and addictive, it clouds my senses and leaves me light-headed.
He kneels and reaches into his back pocket to retrieve something. A rough yank of the chains sends pain spiking up my wrists and successfully draws me from my reverie. I glower at him, eyeing the object resting between his index finger and thumb.
I purse my lips, my eyes darting to the side on instinct. Suddenly there's this feeling blooming within me, radiating through my pores, but I force my body to relax.
A soft click signals the unlocking of the chains holding my hands together, a relieved sigh is released as I begin to rub my sore and surely bruised wrists. But that moment doesn't last long as he angles his head upwards and shoots me a look, eyes blazing in warning.
Then he returns to his task. The chains drop to the floor with a loud clanging sound.
Once he is done, he takes a step back and accesses me.
The very instant he turns his back to me and distracts himself, I bounce to my feet and sprint, ignoring the spiking pain I feel aching everywhere.
For the second I take two more steps towards the door locking me in, I suddenly lose my footing and smack face first into some kind of blockage.
With a pained cry, I fall on my arse. When I open my eyes what I see makes my heart drop in my chest: I'm suspended a few feet off ground in air, trapped in a ball formed with a black mist.
And him... he regards me through his hooded gaze. His facial features are blank, holding no emotion and that's what scares me the most, knowing that if given the permission to, he will rip me to shreds.
Eyes burning an odd ruby red, a feeling of dread washes over me and I shiver at the next word which he utters directed at me.
The floor of the magic cage in which I'm trapped opens up beneath me before I can blink.
And then darkness.