Chapter 26: His Weakness
My touch left her, my hand falling away from her along with the strength that helped me keep balance on my feet. The steps that I took back had only came short, ceasing the moment my hands slapped the concrete floor. I wanted to push further back, wanting to gain further ground between the woman and myself, but I couldn’t.
I was staring at the face of the devil.
The dark-skinned woman hung by her wrists, her shoulders bearing her weight. Dry blood stained the side of her face and though she appeared peaceful, the illusion of her lifeless body being so didn’t deceive me. Unlike the idiots in the room, I knew better. The fear I held against Erebus was no longer my greatest—he was no longer the strongest person in the room.
What have you done..?
I had hesitantly turned my head to a side, my eyes landing on Erebus. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for or whether I was looking for anything at all, but what did come clear to me was the terror that wouldn’t allow me to so much as breathe. At that very moment, I didn’t mind the angry look on Erebus’ face. I didn’t mind that altogether, that anger was also equally directed at me and the unconscious witch hanging before me.
“Do you know her?” he spoke dangerously low with a tightly clenched jaw.
“Erebus…” I cautiously breathed out. Though he already knew it, I knew he wanted an answer to his question, and despite my efforts, I couldn’t fulfill his desire. I feared for him, but essentially, I also feared him.
He knew that I had no intention on answering, so he didn’t have to waste his breath explaining his threat or making one, for the matter. His hard grip came quick on my arm and he jerked me to my feet. The strain on my shoulder and bruising on my skin was instant, but I hardly cared to so much as whimper because my attention remained on the other being that scared me more than he. Adrenaline had struck my nerves as I recognized his sudden movements were for the hallway, out of the dungeon.
He had nearly dragged me down the long corridor, up the staircase and passed many rooms before I was able to breathe a sound.
He pulled me into my bedroom, slamming the door behind him as he shoved me onto the bed. I knew the space between he and myself was limited, and soon enough, he’d be on me and beating me again.
The beatings never stop…
“Who is she?” he asked in anger.
I wanted to spare myself. I had become so weak that I was willing to give in to his command for the sake of saving myself; however, despite the desire to do so and the knowledge of what would happen if I did otherwise, I couldn’t force the words out of my mouth.
I could not speak against her.
Doraime is the woman who had done me the favor of bringing me to this realm, and in return, I bargained to keep the knowledge of her existence to myself.
That...woman...she was the one and only infamous necromancer that survived the slaughter of her coven after they rebelled against the Seekers. She was not on the run but she was certain and made it clear to me that she wanted the fact of her survival to be kept to the knowledge of a limited set of minds.
“Who the hell is she?!” Erebus snarled. He was losing his temper, tired of my incompetence and disobedience.
He was done.
“E-Erebus?” I breathed out cautiously.
His demeanor shifted and I was uncertain of what the shift in the way he looked at me meant. The angry, hazel-green eyes that glared at me darkened and gazed with hunger. A lust broke the tension in his once tensed muscles, making his intentions easy to anticipate as he began his heavy steps toward the bed where I laid, defenseless.
The breath was knocked out of my lungs, my legs straddled, my wrists pinned over me and Erebus’ body pressed against my own. The back of my head sunk into the pillow beneath me, and I inhaled sharply as I found myself looking up and into Erebus’ frightening eyes.
The hand that locked my wrists dug it’s fingers deeper into my skin, bruising me and reminding me that there was no release until the man in control wished for one. I wasn’t sure what to do or whether there was anything to be done, but I did my best to attempt to remain calm until I felt his unoccupied hand slide up my bare thigh.
“Stop it,” I whimpered.
I was fragile like the pedals on a flower. Any attempt to move or break free from Erebus’ iron grip only brought me greater discomfort and pain—I knew that if I continued to squirm beneath him he’d clench me so hard that I’d break a few bones.
I begged and cried, but he never so much as hesitated. His lips had found my neck, planting tender, unwanted kisses on my skin and grazing my collarbone with ghostly touches. His fangs every-so-often peered from his mouth, gently scraping against my skin only to push me into a state of ultimate panic. My nerves were out of my control, my body betraying me as I tried with my final straw of strength to push him off of me—I could no longer move. My breathing had grown erratic; I was petrified for more reasons than one.
“Stop!” I screamed. My voice cracked with each word that broke from my lips as tears dripped down the sides of my face.
His movements ceased, and in moments, the hard grip on my wrists loosened. I wasn’t sure if it was over or not, but I continued to beg as if he wasn’t. I couldn’t gather myself quick enough to hold myself together. Before I could hide my face away or so much as try to, Erebus slightly lifted from me and gazed down at me. His eyes stared down at me with a mix of confusion and uneasiness.
For a second—just a second—I thought he regretted it. This, however, only lasted for a brief moment because his features quickly shifted and he appeared vacant—something that I had not seen in him done since the night I had been captured. Since the night he turned me into this.
The tears continued to run down my face—I didn’t know how to make them stop. I was no longer simply intimidated by him or the idea of who he was but rather I was terrified of him and of what he could be. He had put me in a position where I was utterly powerless and he showed me just how easy it was for him to get what he wanted—it was no longer a silly game or battle of who’d give in to putting their pride down first.
This was real.
He watched me cry and heard me sob and whimper for a minute longer before he decided he had done enough and pulled himself off of me. He said nothing but he gave me one final, long look with blank eyes before he turned on his feet and took his leave.
My body trembled in vulnerability. Though I felt relief, my heart felt an endless string of danger.
I wasn’t myself anymore. There were many things that I had become over the years, many things that I had to be, but never had I forced myself onto a woman and never did I want to.
I had lost control, and in my state of unconsciousness, I did what I would never have if I had been otherwise. That night...the night that I had confessed to Hope the truth behind my actions, I swore I wouldn’t put my hands on her again. I swore that I’d be careful and gentle with her until she decided she wanted more from me. I swore that I would treat her more like a person than an animal.
Still, today, I broke my word and frightened her more than I would have ever wanted to. This is what breaking her felt like. This is what breaking her looked like. I hated it and I despised myself even more for being the one to do it.
I inhaled deeply, slowly opening my eyes in the hall where I stood still, leaning my back against the door to Hope’s bedroom. The hall had been empty and though there was not a single pair of eyes to look at me, I felt shame as if there had been otherwise.
I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t know if I should go back into the room and apologize to Hope and tell her that I never meant to touch her that way against her will, or if I should walk away and leave her alone, indefinitely.
Maybe I should let her go.
The thought infuriated me, but I had to consider the possibility of what may happen the next time that she so much as breathed against my will and we found ourselves in the same position as we had today.
Frightening her would no longer be the worst thing that I could do to her.
After a while, I couldn’t stand in that empty hall anymore. Though I was too ashamed to look at anyone, I didn’t want to be left alone to deal with my own thoughts. There was only one person I could go to when I felt an utter distaste for myself and in not more than a few seconds I was standing outside of her bedroom door, lightly rapping my knuckles against the hardwood.
I had opened the door, stepping into the room before she could respond—as if she had any intention of doing so. I had not seen her since the night of the ball. I had ordered Jordan to watch her, away from the commotion. They were both upset with me for forbidding their presence, but Jordan understood why I had to. A room full of very powerful Pureblood vampires and their slaves is no place for a child and I trusted few with the care of that little girl, so Jordan had no choice but to keep away with her.
As I lightly shut the door behind me, my eyes landed on her small form. She laid still and silent as she clung to that bear that she loves so much. It was the last gift our parents gave her before they were murdered by a coven of witches.
She hadn’t so much as made an effort to look at me. Instead, she closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep as I sat on the bed, beside her. When I leaned over to kiss her cheek, she allowed it but quickly pulled the covers over her face before I could kiss her forehead.
“You’re still angry at me,” I acknowledged.
She didn’t say anything nor did she react in any way but it bothered me regardless. She was a child—or at least she looked and had the heart of one—and though she is my sister, I treated her and saw her as my own daughter. When she was upset with me or grew anger toward me, it greatly burdened me.
“Come on,” I sighed. “You can’t ignore me forever.”
She huffed and pouted. “I can try,” she muttered.
I parted my lips to speak, but as I did, I realized that I had nothing to say so I remained silent. I always wanted things to go my way, therefore, I tried to control everyone around me—I often did so, successfully. I controlled and ruled an entire empire but one thing I could not control or rule was my family and I had no intention of trying to. They were the best thing that I had, regardless of who I was.
Oddly, the carpet floor appeared rather interesting, so for a while, a long while, I stared at it. I stared at it until I felt her shift on the bed and out of the corner of my eyes, I saw her sit up. Her small hand reached out to me, touching my shoulder.
“Something’s bothering you,” she said.
I looked at her, but I didn’t say a word. I couldn’t help but stare at her soft features, desperately looking for something to relieve me of the hollowness my chest bore. She was a gift of peace in my cynical life.
“Why do you look so sad?” she asked with sincerity in her eyes.
“I’m not sad,” I falsely protested.
“Big brother?” she stated in more of a questioning way. “Please, do not lie to me.”
Then, I felt utterly depressed. It was the way she looked at me that made me feel as if I had failed her. I was supposed to take care of her, but in that moment, it was almost as if she were trying to take care of me and I saw myself as lesser than worthy of caring for her.
“Okay…” she breathed out. “I’m not mad at you anymore. Don’t be sad, okay?”
The gesture was silly but I appreciated what she was trying to do. She knew my being pitiful was not her fault yet she pretended as if it were otherwise for my sake.
“I hurt someone,” I confessed.
There wasn’t much to go about me saying—I couldn’t tell her what I had done even if I wanted to. She didn’t have to know that the man that she loved most was a monster.
“Is Miss Hope alright?” she murmured.
By then, I had already shifted my gaze elsewhere. No one had to tell her anything: she already knew what I had done. Or, at least, she already knew to whom I brought harm. Somehow, I wasn’t the least bit surprised.
“I don’t know,” I responded after a while. “I screwed up.”
I heard her gasp and I snapped my head to her, catching the upset look on her face before she blurted, “Hey! Momma says swearing is bad. Don’t swear.”
I chuckled likely, shaking my head away as I averted my thoughts to even greater despairing ones.
Momma is dead, Kay…
“If it bothers you this much…” her voice trailed off, growing with confidence only once I reverted my sight to her, “do something nice for her. She might forgive you, and you might feel better.”
The idea hadn’t crossed my mind, and although she had a point, I wasn’t sure how much kindness I had to offer her in exchange for her forgiveness—if she had any to give. Nonetheless, I was willing to try if it meant that she’d at least talk to me.
I hadn’t forgotten about the incident in the dungeon with her and that witch.
“I love you, Kay,” I breathed out.
“I love you, too, big brother,” she responded wholeheartedly.
With that, I planted a kiss on her forehead and took my leave.
I didn’t have to give the idea of gesture of kindness much thought: I figured that the best thing I could do for her right now was to allow her to regain half of her strength. I would have considered allowing her to feed until her heart’s content, but it didn’t seem appropriate.
In order to satisfy the kind of hunger that she must have had, I would have had to provide her with a living being, and I couldn’t afford to do that. I did keep blood slaves that were ready to be fed off of when needed, but she did not have the authority to take from them.
For this, I had blood bags waiting for her in a large, chest refrigerator. When I captured her—being a vampire—I knew I would have to find a way to manage keeping her this way. I had no intention of giving her the privilege of feeding on a human’s vein. It wasn’t in particularly appropriate for a slave to feed off of the same veins those a part of my empire and I did.
With a pair of blood bags in one hand and my pride in the other, I gathered myself and returned to her. The door was shut, the way I had left it after I...before I went to Kevin.
When I stepped into the bedroom, I found Hope sitting with her back leaned against the headboard and her knees tucked into her chest. She had her arms wrapped around them as her chin rested on top. Her hair hung at her sides, dripping water droplets onto the bedsheets. I noticed that she had slipped into some clothing after more than likely having taken a shower.
She didn’t mutter a sound, but as I moved closer to her, she grew uneasy and wouldn’t dare allow me out of her sight. She never looked me in the eye—she didn’t have to, I knew she hated me at that very moment.
My footsteps ceased when I met the nightstand to her right. I dropped the pair of blood bags on top of it, and before I could say a word, she inhaled deeply and breathed out, “D-Doraime. Her name is Doraime.”
My eyes had shot up to look at her as her’s slowly lifted to meet my own.
“She is the witch that brought me here,” she whispered.
“Was that so hard to say?” I sincerely asked. I never wanted to hurt her. If she had spoken to me with honesty, since day one, all else would have been avoided. It was unfortunate that she couldn’t see that, and it was most unfortunate that I never had the patience to ease her into speaking to me.
I have to be in control all the time.
“W-What do you want from me?” her voice quivered. “W-What will it take for you to let me go?”
There it was again: the thought that infuriated me. What angered me, even more, was the lust that she had for pity.
I could see the desperate look plastered on her face and the tears that built in her eyes, making her act all the more believable.
I wasn’t buying it.
I scoffed at her ignorance, seething through my teeth, “I thought I made it clear to you: you belong to me. You are not going anywhere, ever.”
I did my best to move to the door subtly quick before I’d do something I’d regret. “Now, I suggest you get up and start in the dining room,” I spat. “This house isn’t going to clean itself.”