“Where am I?” I spit straight into his face. Or at least I think it’s his face, I still can’t see anything.
“Your dad wanted to tell you happy birthday. Come on, tell her,” I can’t see who he is talking to and if my dad is really here, because I’m not blindfolded there is something very wrong with my eyes.
“WE HAD A DEAL!” I hear someone scream.
“Yeah well you know what they say about deals with the devil,” I hear Brad smirk. “Lets just say you shouldn’t make them.
“What did you do to me?” I ask with my head whipping around trying to hear where he is.
“It’s just a simple deadly poison. It’s toxic to your soul. It kills everything good. But, its ok, you’ll just be controlled by your ability and the need to live.
“My birthday isn’t until …”
“So, surprise! Time passes differently when you can bend it. We had to speed it up to get to May sooner. You’ve actually been training there for more than a month, your brain is just so clouded by your ability that you are only remembering one day at a time,” he says irritated.
“Where is my sister? What did you do with her? If you hurt her, I swear I will kill you!” I shriek hysterically.
“Oh please anything we’ve done or will do to her will be all on you. You promised to come back for her, but you never did. She has been waiting for you so long that she is literally giving up on all things good. And I don’t really feel that there is any problem with that. You know healers who bad become the opposite. Instead of healing the sick and wounded they inflict pain and disease upon the healthy and the good,” he laughs at my denial. My head is shaking. I don’t believe this, it’s not true.
She has been waiting for me for over a month …
I hear footsteps growing fainter as he walks away and then I hear someone else walk towards the room and grab hold of the chair I’m chained to and drag me off elsewhere.
They push me into a different room, but I lose my balance and fall to the floor. I can’t see who it is and they won’t speak so I don’t know by voice.
“Who is there?” I look around violently trying to make out even a shadow in the cruel darkness.
I hear the door shut. I can barely even make out the noise though, it is so quiet.
The footsteps come closer until they are right in front of me and then they stop.
And then he stops.
And then he kisses me.
And then my world stops.
And then there is nothing else.
He separates me from the chains bonding me to the chair.
He pulls me closer to him, but my body goes limp from all the poison and the toxicity of our relationship.
He holds me upright against him and seats me back on the chair. He moves away to stand across from me.
“Hi Lucas.” My voice is hoarse. I don’t know if this is a side effect from the poisons or just that I’m in shock. My hands tremor and I guess this is from his presence, because they weren’t doing this before.
I feel like my eyes are going to roll back into my skull and my knees are going to buckle under my weight. I feel like my skin is going to peel off and all the blood is going to come rushing out of my mouth if I try to speak. But, nothing happens. I just sit there, facing him. Not seeing, not talking, barely breathing, just facing.
“How did you find me? And if that wasn’t my first day there why did everyone call me newbie?”
“Because you killed them all, Lacey. They came looking for you and you indirectly got them all murdered. You have been living in your own mind for over a month. And you’re not really here right now either. You are still in the coma from being drained over a month ago, this was, this is my way of telling you to stop reliving a fantasy and to wake up!”
“Where am I?” I ask looking up and around.
“You are in the hospital wing, you’ve been in a coma for over a month living in a dream,” says a concerned nurse nearby checking my files and stuff. “I honestly don’t know how you even managed to wake up it’s already May.”
“What is the date and time!” I suddenly shout at her.
“It’s 11:22p.m. on May third,” says the nurse all startled and innocent like.
“He was there, he woke me up, he knew. How did he know?” I mumble to myself, but the nurse must think I’m talking to her, because she looks down at me with concern.
“Things didn’t add up, they aren’t really dead are they, it’s all, it’s all, it is all a bunch of different possibilities for the future that have subconsciously seen! I have to go now!” I shout at the nurse.
“You can’t, your vitals and you’re-“ but I’m already ripping the needles and IV drip out of my body.
I run through the hospital and into a supply closet.
I need clothes. Saey.
She’d be asleep somewhere by now, I can’t wake her. But the dress in the bushes maybe it’s there?
I run outside. Sprinting into the woods, scavenging through patches of green until I found the bush from my dream.
Its covered with berries and I can see the clothes behind it.
The berries, they must be toxic. I’m sure of it.
I rip off the bottom of my hospital gown and put it over my hands. I carefully push through the berries and grab the clothes.
I pull out, not the dress and skirt from my dream, but the training attire, clean and complete with the leather boots. My knife is even inside a pair.
There is no porta potty though now so I slowly put the pants on first under my dress the my tank top carefully under my shirt. I don’t like the idea of being exposed out here especially while all alone at night.
I slip on the boots. This time there is also a belt and a leather jacket equipped with more than a dozen knives.
I slip them on hastily and dash off out of the woods.
I don’t know how to teleport. According to my dream I don’t know anyone here who can either. But, maybe the electric instructor does. But I don’t know where to find her.
So I do the first thing I can think of, I trigger the evacuation alarm. A teleporter would be the emergency escape exit right?
“What do you think you’re doing?” I turn to face a pasty, pimply faced girl with a short black bob cut and too much baby fat to be cute.
“I need a way out now!” I shout at her, crossing my fingers she is a teleporter.
“I don’t do favours for nothing,” he says while disabling the alarm.
“I don’t have anything to give you, unless you want, I don’t know, my hair.”
“Keep your hair, I want your bracelet.” I didn’t even notice I had one on. I don’t remember where I got it, but there’s nothing special about it, no sentimental meaning so I hand it to her.
“Take me to where the king and his royal sluts live,” I’m bemused with myself.
She grabs my hand and the world disappears from under my feet.
We aren’t human, our abilities aren’t evolution they are magic. Light magic. I think about this as the ground reappears under my feet. I step away from the girl and she immediately disappears.
I am in the castle and standing not more than a metre In front of me is my dad, in the flesh.
“Hi dad, we need to talk.”
“I need your help …”
“With what Lacey?” he looks nervous about what I’m about to ask him.
“To get Karly!” and then my voice breaks down and I am about to start sobbing and these weird coughing noises are coming out of my throat. My dad looks uncomfortable about whether to wrap his arm around me and try to comfort me or stand there.
“I don’t understand what happened to Karly?”
“They took her and I left, I ran away and they still have her!” I scream at him eyes wide, enraged, nostrils flaring and looking like it should be the most obvious things in the world to him.
“Well I don’t really understand what you want me to do Lacey, there’s nothing I can do to help her. I’m afraid to tell you that I am not permitted to do anything. I would be risking my life and jeopardising the lives of my people,” he stares at me apologetically, his eyes full with faux sympathy.
“I hate you, I can’t believe I actually thought you could help me … did I actually think you’d help me! Déjà vu much?” Wait I was talking aloud. Note to self, don’t do that! I knew this is what would happen, but I came for help anyway.
“Say I could help you and I’m NOT making any promises, but what would you want from me?” asks my dad staring at me, looking into my eyes with true sadness.
“I don’t know, you are the one with a whole army, correction, A WHOLE FREAKING GROUP OF PEOPLE! Why don’t you find some solution, because I’m 15 about to turn 16 and YOU are the adult. And she is your daughter!” I frown at him and he doesn’t respond right away.
“Lacey, I’m sorry okay? It’s complicated right now. There are people who are threatening everyone. I know it sounds harsh, but it’s Karly or everyone else. Just so you know, everyone else includes you,” he says sadly.
“I can take care of my-SELF!” I shriek, staring daggers at him.
Men, the disease of the world. UGH! Women are the victims, but what’s the cure? Some people think it’s love, but wouldn’t it be annihilation? No, maybe, I don’t know, it would doom me to solitude for eternity. Perhaps not all, but definitely the bad ones. Definitely my dad, definitely Lucas …
“Don’t, tell me that you are doing it for me, because you’re not. If you really cared, I would be living in a palace, not spending the last minutes of being 15 and about to … I don’t know what-“ my voice drags on into a halt.
“She’s not my daughter. Shme is not even your mother’s daughter. She was adopted. Your mom wasn’t pregnant with her as a second child, she just never gave birth to your brother ...”
“WHAT?” I don’t understand.
I don’t want to say this aloud but that that would explain so many things. I don’t remember falling to my knees, but they feel really sore. I don’t remember passing out, but I guess I wouldn’t, but it feels like I did and now I’m some kind of limbo between reality and something else. Everything is a mess in my head right now. But I think I passed out or am currently on my hands and knees, collapsing onto the floor.
Karly was never my responsibility.
I don’t think I have moved an inch. I think all the blood has just coursed straight to my chest as my heart refuses to beat out any more blood and seems to demand that I live off the supply I’ve already been given. I can’t though. My knees are shaking and I do fall to the floor, for real this time and I let my body collide with the ground as I begin sobbing uncontrollably.
“You lied to me,” my voice is hollow and barely audible through the sobbing. “I don’t forgive you.”
“You need to calm down Lacey,” he pauses as his head and the guards’ whip around. They must’ve heard something, because there is worry evident on my father’s worn with age face.
“You need to calm down and face the looming reality in front of you right now,” his voice trails off.
“You heard something? What was it?” I ask.
“I’m not sure, no one here really appears to know what that sound was, but I have a bad feeling about this.” He says.
“I don’t like this,” I say. “Something fishy is going on here and it’s not right.”
Something shifts behind me. This time I am the only one who hears it. I whip around and star around the area. Quick glances. That is all I have time for in these few seconds that are imperative to their lives. And to my life.
“Who is there?” I say glaring around the room searching for the cause of the sound. The reason for the slight disturbance.
“Huh,” the sound escapes my lips as I try to detain it.
“What? Lacey what is it?” asks my dad fiercely.
Do you ever like that second when the pain reminds you, you’re still alive? I push myself so far sometimes so far I think I might crack. I think I might surpass my limit of pain threshold and become something else. Something inhuman. Something, someone that I am not and I don’t ever want to be. But it’s the exhaustion in me when my muscles are being abused That is what keeps me breathing and keeps my heart beating. The will-the need to survive trumps all. Somewhere within me it’s there. And in the single split second, you are alive. That’s what I need when I hear his voice. I breathe out hard to make sure I am still breathing and my father has a steely look in his eyes replacing the concerned one.
“Lacey,” the word rolls off his tongue smoothly and send me spiraling of the rails. Mute, I dig my fingernails into my palm until the hot red sensation of blood running down my hand is there. I can feel the heat leaving my hand and running down my arm. His eyes follow the thick trail of warm blood down my body. I bury my teeth in my mouth and taste the salty flavour of my blood. But it is not enough.
“Lacey,” his voice coos. I step back and look at him. Really look at him.
“What?” This reaction surprises him. It isn’t what he expected. I try to coax myself into raising my head to meet his eyes, but I can’t do it.
“Go!” he turns to face my father and the guards behind him with a smirk.
“What?” asks one of the guards wide eyed. “We aren’t going anywhere.”
“Yes you are,” he flicks his wrist and they go flying out of the room. Now it’s time to be scared. I am absolutely alone …
“Do you want to die?” He laughs. A deep, cold laugh. It’s almost detached from his body. It’s as if he has been possessed by another person, a bad one. “Because, you seem to have a death wish.”
“No thanks. But, you know silence is golden, sometimes it is better to shut your mouth you little, stupid bitch.” He says smirking. I laugh at that. As if.
“Did you think I was offering?” I ask.
“I like the first thing more,” he says.
“I’m not a prostitute!” I shout at him. He takes a step towards me.
“Really? Because, you were so desperate and so depressed before when I refused you,” he takes another step.
“Stay away from me,” I whisper. I don’t think he hears me or he just doesn’t care. He takes another step forward. Now he is only about a metre from me. I glide my foot back slightly and put my weight on it, shrinking back.
“No,” I shrink back into the wall and he traps me against the wall with a dark expression. He moves a few stray blond strands of my hair behind my ear. I lean against the wall for support, because his arms are blocking me from escaping. “No, I don’t think you want me to.”
I slump against the wall feeling my resolve fade.
“What do you want from me?” I ask avoiding his stony glare.
“Why do you think I want something?” he asks. He obviously wants something and is trying to play with my head, but I’m not sure what to say for my response.
“If you don’t want anything then let me go,” my voice trails off as I try to shrink even more out of his grasp.
“Then what do you want?” I inquire finally meeting his eyes. Just for a second and then they flit away. They aren’t red anymore. Now they are inky black. I want to crawl out under his arms, but to lower myself to below him and go under his arms gives so much opportunity. He can grab me from behind, he can kick me down, he can throw my head into the floor and knock me out cold. I’d rather he not.
His hand is under my chin pressing me head up so my face is inches from his. I’m stuck. His other hand is against my shoulder holding me so hard to the wall that my feet barely graze the ground with my toes pointed. He presses his face even closer if even possible.
“I want,” he pauses and stares at me hard. His eyes survey first my face and then the rest of me, scanning up and down and then back to my face and eyes. His hand moves from under my chin to the back of my head. Suddenly, he pushes my head hard with our faces making contact. His lips press hard against mine.
My mind is foggy and the only thing I can sense is his lips on mine and his fingers around my head, the other hand wrapped around my back. It’s so sudden I barely process it. It’s over as fast it started.
His hands move from my off my back and head and instead press against my shoulders and shove me hard against the wall. I feel one of my shoulders shift out of place in the jolt from the momentum as my body collides with the wall. My head slams against the wall and my nose feels sticky and wet. I lift my hand behind my head and put it in front of my eyes. My fingers are covered in hot, red blood. He stares at it with his head cocked to the side. He grabs my wrists and pins my hands above my head by my wrists with his left hand.
“To kill you.”
“What?” I ask still dazed.
“You want to know what I want and what I want is to kill you,” he smirks at me with cold eyes.
I’m fast, but not enough. I’m still dizzy and foggy so my reaction time is off. By the time I have processed what he has said he has his weapon unsheathed. I try to slip past him, but his knife grazes my arm. I reach the other side of the room clutching the dislocated shoulder and bloody arm.
“Ah I am shrieking in pain. It’s something with the metal. I’m on all fours and there are tears running down my face. I am hysterical. It hurts, so much. I don’t want to fight. I press my body against the wall and try to pick myself up leaning against the wall with my back. I slip and fall back onto the ground, flailing.
He walks up to me and looks down at my shriveled form. He lifts his foot and I know what he is about to do. All I have time to do is open my mouth to scream. His foot hits my ribs hard and knocks the wind and the voice out of me. I don’t want to beg him to stop, but his kick sent me rolling a few feet away from him.
Oh god. He is walking towards me. I don’t think I can get back up. My breathing is laboured and I’m having trouble picking myself up.
“No, no, stop it! GET AWAY FROM ME!” it sounds like a scream, but it’s so quiet it comes out barely audible. I can’t hear but I think I am screaming and yelling and maybe even begging for him to not come any closer. I don’t want him to come any closer to me, but he is still slowly coming closer and closer. As I try to stand up I slip back onto my back and feel my ribs hurting. I think I heard some of them crack. The words run out of my lips before I can bite my tongue. “Stop it. Please. Don’t come any closer to me. PLEASE,” he is still approaching me and I try to put my hands out to defend myself, but my left arm and shoulder are still out of commission in this fight.
He walks right up to me and bends down to look at my face.
“What? Don’t like being the one with no fight left within them? Did you miss me when you left darling? Oh I kept waiting for you to come back, your sister kept waiting for you to come back. But, you were long gone by then weren’t you?” he looks at me with such disdain, such longing that it makes me almost sympathetic for him. He is messing with my mind.
He stands up and disappears from view for the blink of an eye. When he returns he has a crowd of people trailing behind him confidently.
He walks out with a “crew” of evil behind him and I almost laugh, but not quite. A miniature army follows behind in their wake staying within the large overcast shadows of left by Lucas.
“I’d think that you would have had the common sense to bring some form of back up with you. I mean I don’t know … you have all those people always following you around and yet you chose to be the idiot who comes alone to the fight where they are already outmatched without knowing of an army.” He has a look in his eyes that says he is detrimental to my life.
I gulp a little bit too loudly.
“I don’t need any,” I whisper inaudibly. Or so I thought. I guess I must have mouthed it, because they are all staring at me heads tilted, confused glares.
“What was that darling?” Lucas asks. The taunting nature in his voice irritates me. I want to move away from him, but as my body tries to repair itself I am left paralysed.
“Did you miss me?” asks Brad. I try to push myself up just long enough to spit in his direction.
“You don’t have to be rude you little piece of crap,” says Brad. “Someone ought to teach her some manners!”
Lucas nods and walks towards me and lifts me up by my bad shoulder. I shriek and flail trying to get him to let me go. He lifts his fist and socks me in the face. I cry out, but no one does anything. He opens his hand and drops me hard onto the floor. I curl up into a ball not looking up at anyone’s face.
“It’s too bad you didn’t come prepared,” sneers Lucas.
“I don’t need anyone!” I scream. My voice echoes through the walls and the ceiling and everyone stares at me. Lucas stares down at me. He walks right up to me.
“Shut up!” he says kicking me in the side again leaving me howling in pain. I try to regain my position, but my body is curved in unnatural angles.
“I don’t need and I don’t want anyone’s help. All I need is me!” I say much more quietly.
He leans down to me with his confidence radiating off me with a boasting air.
“Are you sure about that sweetheart?” his breath smells sweet, but there is some undertone of something rotten. It’s as if he digested burnt flesh and ate some candy or sugar to cover the scent, but the smell didn’t exactly disappear quite as well as he had hoped.
Am I sure? Honestly I am not sure that I am cut out to be cut off. I don’t think I am strong enough as a fighter or a person to be a loner forever. I don’t know. I don’t know who I am up against. I don’t know what sort of powers Lucas has developed but I am confident that they surpass mine. I can feel his powers bouncing around the area. His … I don’t know … skills are almost hypnotic though. I am drawn to his abilities. His power is containing lust. It’s the level of the power that attracts my abilities to him. It might not even be proper attraction of love based emotions. It could just be everything I feel is based on the power he has and my power wants to be with it.
He smirks at me with an almost knowing smile. I think … I think he knows what I am thinking. I shift my head curiously and he smiles. He can hear me. Gosh is there no more privacy in this world anymore? He walks up to me and bends down so close, too close for comfort.
“If you don’t need an army then why are you here?” he asks. He has a good point actually, I came to my father in search of an army to save my younger sister, because I couldn’t do this alone and I guess I still can’t.
Swallowing hard I attempt to shift back, but the most I manage is to somewhat move my head.
If he is actually in my head right now, then I can’t think about anything I don’t want him to hear anything secret and important that I know all about.
The second I think that, the next thought jumps into my head before I can prevent it. I don’t want to die. I’m not ready to die. I am too young, too strong, too useful, too innocent, too much unlived life. He is laughing, but that’s the truth I am not ready to die even though I am not a beggar. I don’t want to beg for my life, but I know if it comes down to it I will plea and cry like everyone else does. I don’t want to beg for my life. Don’t anyone dare try to take it. Don’t anyone dare take it away from me. Don’t anyone dare. I direct my thoughts at him. Don’t you dare even consider it. Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare!
“Don’t. You. Dare.” I say.
He makes a little flick of his wrist. A tiny gesture to signal something. At that everyone else in the room quickly files out. Quickly and quietly. No one lingers. I hear the door slam on the way out as the last person leaves. It feels like forever even though it is a matter of seconds.
He puts his body on top of mine as I remain lying down beneath him.
“Why not? Are you scared? Are you frightened? Are you terrified? Are you paralysed in fear?” he smiles at me happily. I wonder if I can host this conversation half in my head instead of talking. My nose isn’t bleeding anymore. I think most of the damage to my ribs and body is healed. Except my arm is still gushing where he slashed my skin open.
He presses his chest against mine. I shouldn’t have announced that my injuries are healing, because now he isn’t allowing me to move out from under his body weight. He is shaking his head so I guess I am right. I hate when this happens.
“Why are you so fascinated with me?” I ask.
“Because you are fascinating,” he says twirling a strand of my hair. “The red streak you had in your hair is practically gone. It would look so much better with a black streak though now.”
“So it can change to match the colour of your eyes?” I ask with a misty, detached voice.
“So people can know who you belong to. You’re mine now.” He says. His? I don’t belong to anyone … I think. Or do I? I think I am disoriented. Do I belong to him? I am not sure anymore … I think I do. I do don’t I? I don’t know these thoughts don’t sound like mine, they don’t match me.
“Are you messing with my head?” I ask.
“Darling, I own you, you don’t have your own thoughts. Whatever thoughts you have I own. Which means I can change,” he pauses and presses his lips an inch from mine. “Anything any thoughts that you have, because I can change anything I own. You own what I let you own.”
“Uh huh,” I own whatever he says. Can I still think? Can I still sleep? What do I still own then? Do I own my mind? Do I own my ability? Do I own my body? What do I own? If he can hear my thoughts I should just ask them allowed to him so he doesn’t have to bother wasting energy on me. It isn’t like I really own my thoughts or my words so I might as well speak allowed to him.
“What do I own?” I say as he locks eye contact with me so fiercely I want to look away, but I don’t.
“Think what you want unless I tell you not to. You use your abilities ONLY when I say you can. You wear what I want. You go where I want. You do what I want you to. You don’t talk to, you don’t go near, and you don’t be with any other guys unless I say you can.
Wait … since when do I belong to someone. There is something wrong about my thoughts. I feel like clarity is this bright yellow light and I am waddling through mounds of grey clouds. I can’t feel what is wrong, but I just no something isn’t right. There are weights tugging on my brain making my limbs heavy to move and get past the grey clouds. Where is clarity? Please! I need it.
“What are you doing?” he asks staring at me confused. He doesn’t like it, he doesn’t like me searching for clarity. But, I still want to find it. Where are you? Hurry up me. I’m running out of time. He is suspicious, I know he is on to me. Oh no he looks mad.
“I don’t feel quite right, something feels off inside of my mind. Can you please tell me what’s going on with my brain right now? Is it you doing this? Are you the one who is messing up my mind so that everything feels not right? In the past few minutes I feel like my brain has been continuously melting and reforming into a different brain.”
“Calm down sweetheart. You are just fine. Stop exaggerating a little bit of nothing! It’s so annoying. Why do you always act like you are always in trouble and always the damsel in distress who doesn’t want the status of victim, but you LOVE the attention!” he shouts at me.
“I don’t understand. Why are you yelling? Why are you being so mean to me? Can you please stop? I’m sorry, I’m not trying to make you made I swear. It’s just I always do the wrong thing, I always make the mistakes.” Wait. Why am I the one apologising when he was the one shouting at me? He was the one who get mad at me for something I don’t think is wrong and that is not even true. I shouldn’t be apologising for my personality. He should be apologising for getting mad over something he doesn’t like and instead I should be the one considering whether or not to forgive him.
But, it doesn’t work like that does it … he owns me. I am lower then him. It is the people on the bottom who are to blame for everything. It is my job to apologise for both of our mistakes. Right? RIGHT?
“Right,” he says. He speaks my thoughts aloud and voices them, so they actually sound correct now. “If I move will you run or will you sit?” he asks curiously looking into my face with this creepy, horrific expression.
“I-uh” his expression I can’t interpret it. It’s freaking me out. I want to move away, away from those haunting eyes staring into me hard. They leave a memory, a fingerprint in my mind now permanently that will scare me forever. I’m sure I will always remember this face. It will change me, but I’m not sure how. This face has shifted something within me that is leaving the permanent marking in the place filled with all of things that scare me.
“Yes or no?” his voice is different, colder. But, there is something else. It’s as if he is going through the motions within someone else’s control. I want it to stop now!
“You are scaring me Lucas,” I say. Admitting my fear scares me even more, but it’s not like there is any privacy or secrecy within my thoughts so I might as well voice them in the words.
“I know,” he lengthens the final syllable. It rolls off his tongue in this creepy, but sensual way.
There it is. I see it. It’s there in my mind, all of the things I need to know. Everything I needed to remember rushes through my mind now in this yellow light.
I shove him off me as hard as I can manage.
What the hell? What is she doing?
Am I in his head? What did I do? It has to do with the yellow light I bet. He looks confused, why?
Why can’t I hear her?
Huh, whatever I did it got him out of my head and myself into his. I can hear him, but he can’t hear me! That means I have my privacy back. Whatever he did with my head I wonder if I know how to do it also. Wait I can’t hear his thoughts anymore. I don’t understand what happened.
“You look confused, take a little at yourself I think you will understand pretty fast,” he says aggravated.
“I don’t have a mirror,” I say annoyed.
“Well that sounds like your problem not mine,” he has the face of someone who thinks they know everything.
Where is the yellow light now when I need to know something again? I can see it burned in front of my eyes just faintly. It reminds me of the dying embers of a fire burning yellow faintly as the flames burn out. I need to know what is causing the yellow light in my mind. Before it fades out. And then it’s gone.
I feel whatever strength that surged through me go out entirely and send me spiraling back to the reality.
“Get away from me?” Is that right?
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