Anastassia wrinkled her nose when she smelled the cigarette smoke. Her hands were bound above her head. She couldn’t move to check herself over. Right now all she felt was pain. What had happened? The last thing she remembered was she was bantering with Hannibal Lecter while running, and now this. She tried to breathe slow and evenly. It was the only measure that she had to keep the panic at bay. In and out, concentrating on the breaths, she began to hold and count. Finally when she felt that she wouldn’t scream, she spoke.
“Rohan?” She swallowed hard, grateful for the darkness.
She closed her eyes and took another deep breath. “Where are we?”
“Somewhere that no one will find us.”
She nodded, not that he could see it within the darkness. It took all of her willpower not to beg the man to let her go. “Can you relax the binding please? My arms hurt terribly.”
She could hear him rise. She could feel him come closer to her. He didn’t touch the tie around her wrists, but he did lower her arms slightly.”
“Thank you Rohan.”
Anastassia had done a rotation in the psych department, plus all of the years she spent with Hannibal Lecter. Between the two she had a rudimentary education on psychology. Hopefully by using his name she would make a connection. Anastassia wanted to ask about Hannibal. Now was not the time, unfortunately.
“Why did you take me like this?” She flinched slightly when his hand gently caressed her cheek.
“It was time for you to get to know me. It was time for me to finally make you love me.” He caressed the top of her head with a gentle kiss..
“Oh. You know a phone call would have been easier, yes?” She tried for some levity.
He laughed softly. She was surprised by the warmth behind the sound. “A mere phone call would have not been enough to prove my love for you.”
Anastassia had no idea what to say. She could feel the movement of him. He sat down on the edge of the bed, at her tied feet. It was only then that she realized she was still dressed. The running shoes still covered her feet. The room was chilly and the running shorts along with a long sleeved t-shirt did little to keep her warm. “I am at a loss Rohan. You seem to know quite a bit about me, but I know nothing of you.”
“What would you like to know Ana? Forgive me, Anastassia. I know you do not care for being called a diminutive version of your name. Save for one, I suppose.” The last sentence was tinged with anger.
“Well, uhm. Tell me please, how you liked medical school?”
Rohan Hammerli’s voice took on a dreamy quality. “I loved medical school. I was young and free. You were there. You were a year behind me but we did have a couple of the same classes. There was one time when I was in Welch. Remember that library? You came in with your guardian, or whatever you called the person that stayed in classes with you. I was getting frustrated on the Krebs cycle. I always hated cellular respiration. I know, that is something I should have learned as an undergrad. I was never able to. You saw me getting angry with it, I suppose, and came over. You looked like a little fallen angel with those dark curls that seemed to spill like night across your shoulders. You offered to help. One of my buddies that I was studying with scoffed at the offer. I was so frustrated that I said yes. When you grabbed the piece of paper and a pencil and broke the cycle down it made sense. I knew exactly what I was doing from that moment on. I wanted to talk to you desperately. You were so young. I knew I could never get your guardian to leave either. So I watched from afar for so long. I grew to love you Anastassia. I loved you even more. You were so special. I was not. I was a nothing and you were the star in the sky that everyone spoke of and flocked to. “
He paused and hung his head, only to press his forehead to his hands. “I showed you though. I showed you my love. I was willing to do anything for you. I still am.” He leaned in and kissed her bare thigh.
Anastassia did her best not to jump with the kiss. Swallowing hard, she made an effort to ask a question. “Why didn’t you just come to me Rohan? I have never been unapproachable.”
He began to caress her skin. His fingers rubbed warmly against the smooth flesh. It was then he noticed that she was cold. Without a word, Rohan Hammerli rose and walked away. He returned with a soft blanket; that was then spread over her legs. “You need to tell me of your discomfort Anastassia.” He chided her gently.
“I am sorry. I am still rather frightened Rohan.”
He nuzzled against her legs, leaning in to feel more of her. “I don’t want you frightened of me. I need you to love me.”
Her head dipped forward. “I don’t know you Rohan. I don’t know how to love you.”
“What do you mean Anastassia?”
“You have only told me that little bit about yourself, so I do not know you. I have never loved anyone before, so I do not know how.”
He scoffed at her. “Do not lie to me Anastassia. You are important to me, but no matter what I will always know the feel of your skin beneath my fingertips.” It was a threat, of sorts. “I have seen you with Lecter. I know what I have seen.”
She sighed softly. This was not going well. “I am fond of Hannibal. I am not in love with him.” She hated to admit that, but if there was a chance that Hannibal was still alive it was one that was worth taking.
“Explain yourself.” It was a command.
“I have known Hannibal Lecter for over twenty years. He is the only man I have ever been with. He is a safe haven for me. I am not in love with him.”
“You should have saved yourself for me.”
“You did not permit me to have the knowledge of your love Rohan.”
The lights came on in just that second. Anastassia pulled her head back, and blinked. After being in the darkness for so long, the light hurt her eyes. She saw the man before her. He was handsome by anyone’s standards. Barefooted and dressed in a pair of jeans topped with a chunky cream colored sweater, he looked exactly as what he was. This was a man of means and a physician that was relaxing comfortably. Under other circumstances Anastassia might have found him attractive. Now, all she felt was fear. She looked around. Hannibal was there. He was tied in a similar fashion. He was still unconscious. Tears sprang to her eyes and Anastassia looked away.
They were in a bedroom of sorts. The room was large and comfortable. There were no windows. Anastassia suspected that they were underground, perhaps a basement. This was not the room that someone had thrown together to hold people captive for a short time. This was homey. The fear in her belly bubbled up even more.
Rohan moved finally. He rose and began to cut the bindings away. It was pure instinct. She knew she had to fight to try and survive. Driving her now free hand upwards she caught his nose with the palm. She felt it crunch against her hand. It wasn’t enough. He howled but stayed on his feet. Trying to run and escape did very little. Rohan Hammerli threw himself at her back. The blow was enough to take Anastassia down to the ground. She felt it, her knee twisted and popped. The patella was dislocated. The blows started to rain down upon her. Hitting her upper back and shoulder first and then with a shove she was on her back. The blows continued. Blood seeped from the wounds that he caused. Flicking the knife back open, he cut her clothing away. Anastassia was seeing stars and the edges of her vision were darkening. She hit him one more time; it sent the knife skittering across the floor. It was when the rape began that she blacked out once more.
She woke hours later. Bound to the bed with her arms above her head, she tried to open her eyes. They were almost swollen shut from the beating that she had endured. Her captor, her rapist, sat next to her drawing a warm cloth over her skin to remove the blood. He cooed softly at the woman below him. When Anastassia tried to struggle against the bindings, her cheek was cuffed with an open hand.
“You should not anger me further Anastassia.”
Swollen and bleeding lips parted to respond, but nothing came out. Hammerli leaned in and kissed the bruised flesh gently.
“That’s my girl “
Not. Your. Anything. She thought. Drifting in and out of consciousness, the fresh assault on her body began. It was rape, but he tried to make love to her. He was gentle and kind. Unfortunately, the darkness did not find her this time. Instead, Anastassia endured. Laying on the bed, hot tears splashed down her cheeks. The heat and salt of the tears were both soothing and painful at the same time. When Rohan finished, he lay with her. The kisses and gentle strokes made her stomach churn. She did not respond at all. There was not a movement from Anastassia, save the slow rise and fall of her chest with each breath she drew.
Even the tears that fell were silent now. The pain was insurmountable. Anastassia had never felt anything like this before. Not once in her life had anyone raised their hand to her. The physical violence was something that she did not know of, until now.
Throughout the day, or was it night, the rapes came repeatedly. Anastassia was aware of each and every one. She did not speak. She did not move. She did not fight. She just let it happen over and over again. At some point Rohan Hammerli left her alone, finally. She glanced to the unconscious Hannibal Lecter. It was the first words out of her mouth in hours.
“I am sorry Hannibal. I’m so very sorry. I never thought you would become entangled in this.”
The words were heartfelt. She meant it. She was not concerned about her well being at this point. She hated that her friend and lover had been drawn into the mess. She thought her mind was playing tricks on her. She could have sworn that Hannibal had given her a closed eye wink. Surely it was just a muscle twitch.
The door opened and Rohan Finn Hammerli came in with a dinner tray. He crooned to his captive. “My love, it is time for us to dine together.”
All Anastasia could do was turn her head and vomit at the mere scent of food. The next beating came right after. This time it was for messing up the bed. Mercifully, she was unconscious after the first blow landed.
So much for love.