The After Effects

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The Dead of Night

After hours of tossing and turning, still feeling dread for some strange reason, I managed to fall asleep. That sleep didn't last long though despite my best efforts.

The creak of a floorboard that I knew lay by my bedroom door set me on edge. A hand across my mouth and another closing around my throat accompanied that floorboard creak. I reached for my dagger under my pillow, but felt nothing as I realized I had forgotten it in the meeting room.

The pitch black in my room made it hard to see who was currently covering my mouth and gripping my throat.

"I suggest you stop moving unless you want that pretty little girl to be punished for your actions." A raspy voice breathed against my skin as my eyes finally adjusted to the dark and I was able to make the rough features of a huge man standing over me.

I had no intention of freezing until I heard a small cry of fear from across the flat. Harper's tiny voice was cut off by something and I instantly stilled.

"Very good." The male moved his hand from my mouth and instead grabbed my shoulder, pulling me up and out of my bed.

I was roughly shoved out of my room and dread pooled in my stomach at the sight in front of me. Locke was pinned to the ground, cursing at the two Vikings holding him down. Harper was trembling against the wall as another Viking sneered down at her. Another one watched me as I entered the room.

Locke's eyes widened when he saw me. The hand around my throat tightened, closing my airway.

"Listen up everybody," The Viking holding me boomed. "We're going to be taking this lovely little thing and we sadly have to leave the rest of you." I immediately thought they were talking about Harper, but couldn't help but relax as I realized they meant me. The Viking turned me so I was forced to look at him. "If you fight me, my men will rape and murder the little girl then dismember your boyfriend."

I attempted to talk, but found it impossible due to the massive paw keeping my airway shut. The male smirked as he loosened his hold, I fought back the coughs trying so hard to appear calm.

"Not my boyfriend." I choked out, making the Viking grin even more.

"Let's not focus on the details." The Viking smiled, his blue eyes promising pain if I didn't cooperate.

"You're the one wasting time." I wanted to get this over with so the other two were no longer in danger.

"Eager are we?" The Viking smirked before looking at his men. "Let's go men." The two holding Locke let him go and the other two came to me, grabbing me and guiding me towards the window they must have sneaked in through.

Locke made to do something stupid and I snapped at him. "Don't!" I warned him. "Keep her safe and whatever you do, don't do anything stupid," I told my brother as I was suddenly thrown out the window.

Greedy hands caught me as I fell two stories. I felt so helpless as three Vikings grinned at me from atop their mounts. The one that had caught me made quick work of tying my hands to my back and gagging me with cloth.

I knew I could so easily take these four, but the other five still inside my suite were too close to my family. I could never live with myself if they died because I was stupid. So I willingly was tied and set on a buckskin horse.

A Viking came over with a syringe in hand. I knew that they were going to drug me but I didn't fight. All I could do was curse at the Viking as the needle was jammed into my neck. The drugs coursing through my body took effect immediately and my heavy eyelids fell closed, the last thing I registered was the ache in my chest.

The rhythmic rocking of the horse beneath me woke me from my slumber. I didn't move though and I kept my breathing the same as to not alert the males around me that I was awake.

I heard the crunch of leaves under the horse's hooves along with a stream babbling not too far away. The clues weren't helpful though as the only thing they told was that we were near trees and a creek.

Male voices surrounded me. I could clearly hear seven distinct voices though I remember seeing nine when I was first kidnapped.

"Here should be good." I recognized the voice as the male who had pulled me from my bed, the supposed leader of this Clan. "Tie her to that tree and we'll get a fire going until they get here." I didn't know who they were, but I had a pretty good guess as to who this clan was going to give me too, the only clan my father trusts to transfer his beloved Acer.

Rough hands pulled me from atop my horse and practically threw me against a tree.

"Careful," I glared at the Viking who had manhandled me. "I'm precious cargo."

The male sneered at me, his dirty blonde hair falling in my face as he leaned over me. "Someone think's highly of herself."

"No, I just know that if my father hears that his Acer was hurt before the Berzerkers even get a hold of me, then you and your clan are going to be in a lot of trouble." My voice was singsongy as I smiled at the male, the picture of calm, even though my words were practically threats.

"How do you know all this?" The male reeled as he looked at me in shock, he continued tying a thick rope around my middle and tightened it to where I could barely breathe.

"Lucky guess," I shrugged.

My words got a reaction from the male as he cursed and kicked me in the ribs. I kept the smile on my face as the male's steel-toed boot cracked one of my ribs. Pain rippled through my whole side, but I didn't care. It was always too easy to rile these buffoons.

"Settle down," The leader of the clan warned my abuser.

The Viking that cracked my rib glared down at me, realizing I had intentionally pushed his buttons. He cursed again at me before storming off.

Once alone, I took a shuddering breath. My rib was not happy with me, but I had dealt with worse pain. I got the rising panic in me to calm down, as I spotted another Viking approaching me as I laid tied against the tree. I spotted the syringe in his hand and rolled my eyes.

"Great," I muttered sarcastically, realizing I wasn't going to be awake long enough to harass the other members of the Clan.

The syringe pricked my neck as the Viking spoke, "Mouthy Bit-" I was unable to hear all of the Vikings beautiful words before darkness encompassed me and I was asleep again.

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