I woke with a start. My head was throbbing and I couldn't see a thing. My lips felt cracked and dry as I ran my tongue over them. I felt dizzy and nauseous. I had no idea where I was. It was dark and cold. I couldn't see a thing. I tried to move but I felt something restraining me. Just like in Spokane, my hands and feet were flex-cuffed to a metal chair. I cursed under my breath as I struggled against the annoyingly sturdy plastic.
Suddenly, the lights flicked on. I blinked, seeing spots in my vision as my eye to brain connection tried to catch up with the sudden change of scenery. I flicked my eyes around the room. It was solid white, no decoration at all. It looked incredibly sterile and instantly drove me nuts. I let my gaze wander over to the door where the handle started to turn.
The door swung open with a bang as three Strigoi strode in, two intimidating looking men and one fierce looking woman. Their red eyes gleamed maliciously at me, no doubt pondering how I tasted. I bit back a stream of profanity to find out what the hell was going on.
The woman stepped forward, bending down to eye level, studying me, only inches from my face. I met her gaze defiantly, unwilling to appear weak. Her eyes were a dusky grey, ringed with crimson to mark her as the monster she truly was. Her skin was the trademark chalky white of Strigoi and flawless, minus a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose, making the crimson of her eyes more prominent. Her hair was like fire, curling down her back like flames, a shocking contrast to her deathly pale skin. Suddenly, she smiled, bringing my attention to her pearly white fangs protruding from her delicate pink lips.
"Rosemarie Hathaway." She whispered curiously, as if testing out the name on her tongue. It sent chills down my spine.
"What's it to you?" I snapped, tired of her examination. For once in my life, I despised being the center of attention.
"Ooh. Someone wants to play defiant heroine. How cute. Now, listen to me and listen good. My name is Freya Morana and I want something from you and I want it now, and you're going to give it to me or die an excruciatingly painful death along with the promise that I will hunt and destroy everything and everyone you hold dear to your heart. Got it?" Her words were like ice to my heart and I got a funny feeling that I wouldn't be making out of this room alive.
"Sorry, but I'm not interested." I quipped snippily, my tone clipped and polite. If I was going down, I was not going without a fight, whether it was physical or not was currently not my decision.
"Oh but I think you will be. I need information on Vasilissa Dragomir and the Guardians. Now." Her tone was deadpan and I could tell by her body language that patience was not a virtue she beheld.
That's when I started laughing. "You seriously think I'm going to betray my best friend, violate my beliefs and go against everything I've ever been taught to give you information because you tell me to? You have got to be shitting me, woman!"
When my laughter died down, she sighed and started to pace. "Ms. Hathaway I'm not sure what you find so funny about the situation. I can assure you that I was not joking when I asked for that information." She continued to pace and sigh. "I didn't really want to have to do this, Rose, but you give me no choice." She spun around and backhanded me, hard. I felt the metallic taste of blood in my mouth as my cheek burned and I bit back tears.
"Maybe now you're interested?" Her voice was cheerful and light, like she was asking me if I wanted seconds at dinner.
"Rot in hell, bitch." Crack! She backhanded me again. I could feel the scarlet blood trickling down my face.
"Now?" I spat at her feet, fixing her with a venomous glare. This continued for what seemed like hours. Punching, kicking, smacking, cutting me relentlessly but I refused. I would not, could not betray Lissa and the guardians like that. It didn't matter if I wasn't a guardian, or that I currently hated Lissa, I refused to backstab them like that. I couldn't.
Finally, after hours of abuse, the sweet grips of unconsciousness dragged me under, temporarily relieving me of the pain. I welcomed the inky blackness as an opportunity to rest before coming up with a plan to escape Freya before she killed me, or worse, turned me.