45 years later...
Dark shadows danced along stone walls. The cold damp air was bone penetrating and scents of urine mingled with the metallic stench of blood were prevalent in the ten by ten room. The pitter pattering of murky droplets of water seeping in through the cracks of the high ceiling echoed throughout the room.
One hundred and seventy-six days: that was the amount of time she had been kept prisoner. Day after day, enduring excruciatingly painful and unimaginable acts, Nora had just about nearly lost all hope of escaping. She had been left for an empty shell.
The only thing keeping her alive was the prospect of reuniting with her sister one day. The notion had now become something equivalent to a dream―both wishful and out of reach. Nora had to survive, for Sam. No matter how much pain she had to endure, Nora knew she could not die; that wasn’t the way it was supposed to work. Nora was supposed to be able to witness her sister live a long and healthy life―only then would she allow herself to fall into the clutches of death.
She had made a promise to herself; a promise she could never forget. Because of this, no matter how battered she was, no matter how lost she felt, she would not die. Nora knew that she had little hope of escaping on her own, for her many attempts had only ended in failure. Therefore, she resorted to waiting. She would wait and should the opportunity arise, she would seize it no matter what the cost.
Her entire body was littered with lacerations, the only place left untouched being her face. It was an obsession of his. For some sick and twisted reason, that man regarded the facial area as sacred. Nora had been unsuccessful in ascertaining any information with respect to his identity. According to the woman who took care of her, most simply referred to him as the ‘The Handler.’ Though Nora had been averse to the mere prospect of calling the crazy son of a bitch Handler of all things―after having been subjected to various forms of corporal punishment―she had been forced to swallow her dignity and concede.
The shackles that had once chained her to the ground had at some point been abandoned, deemed pointless once she’d been weakened to the point of having lost most bodily functions. Clothing now nonexistent, her own blood coated most of her body. Sitting in an upright position, Nora leaned against the granite wall with her knees up. Resting her head against the wall, she was thankful for the lone lamp that was left behind. Although it emitted very little light, it was the only thing she had been permitted after he had witnessed one of her episodes.
Nora laughed bitterly at this. Most likely the only reason he allowed it was because of the fact that he didn’t want his favorite toy to die from a heart attack so soon. Fresh blood dripped down her arm from one of her more recent injuries, but she paid it no mind. Over time she had almost become desensitized to certain degrees of pain.
She was only grateful that the bastard had never taken it upon himself to go as far as forcing himself on her, though she suspected said fact was simply a means to ensure that her value didn’t cheapen whenever it was that he decided it was time to sell her off. As repellent as Nora found it to be regarded as chattel, it really was laughable to think that the bastard had enough professionalism to know better than to ‘shit where he eats,’ so to speak.
Speaking of which, Nora began to wonder why it was that the bastard hadn’t shown up as of yet? The man never missed an opportunity to torment her, so it was strange that he’d been gone for so long. Whatever the reason, she was glad. It wasn’t often she was granted a reprieve from his attentions. Prior to making the man’s acquaintance, Nora didn’t think she would ever truly come to hate anyone in her lifetime but he’d certainly managed to prove her wrong. Nora had come to loathe him with a burning passion, to such an extent that the mere sight of him repulsed her.
Rapid footsteps approached the cell and her body stiffened immediately in response. Distant shouts could be heard from the other side of the door. Chains rattled and the doors to her chamber slammed open with a loud clank. Pulling her legs in closer, fear creeped into the edges of her mind. A dark figure invaded the dimly lit cell.
Her body instinctively cowered. Awaiting the torture that would soon be inflicted upon it, she wrapped her arms around herself in protection. Nora knew it was pointless to do so, but it was almost as if her actions had become a conditioned reflex.
Seconds passed and nothing happened. The figure standing at the doorway stood frozen in place. Raising her head cautiously, Nora promptly came to a stunning realization.
It wasn’t him.
Both figures remained unmoving, studying each other without a word. The unfamiliar male wore strange clothing somewhat similar to how the Handler usually dressed. However, a notable difference between the two men was that this man did not seem to bear the same crazed look behind his eyes that she had become accustomed to. He bore a dark blouse with what seemed to be an armored plate on top of it, whilst holding a sword-like weapon in his right hand. Taking a step back, the stranger ran out of the cell without a word, not even bothering to close the cell doors.
Loud shouts could be heard from beyond the other side of the entrance. The man returned after what seemed like only seconds later, holding a thick woolen blanket in his arms. Nora remained speechless but this did not deter him, instead he approached her slowly as one would a wild animal. The man hesitated a few feet away from her, out of fear of frightening the young woman in front of him.
He wanted to prevent her from lashing out at him, but they needed to hurry if he was to get her out of there safely. Taking a few steps closer, he crouched down on his knees. Wrapping the blanket around her body, the man pulled away and held an arm out to her, as though he were testing the waters.
Uncertainty flashed behind Nora’s eyes. She was unsure what to make of the male, but she figured that at that point... At that point anything was better than the hell she was already in.
Slowly reaching a hand out towards him, she attempted to pull herself up but a wave of dizziness hit her with the weight of a truck, causing her to fall back. A pair of firm hands caught her just in time. Placing his hands beneath her legs, the man cradled her as one would a child. Both the amount of energy Nora exerted in attempting to stand up as well as the loss of blood, had finally taken its toll on her. Blanking in and out of consciousness, Nora was scarcely aware of what was going on around her once they stepped out of the cell.
Her breathing quickened as she surveyed their surroundings. There were people running around all over the place and blood was splattered along the walls everywhere she looked. The man carrying her, sprinted with Nora’s thin body in his arms, faster than what seemed humanly possible. They made it out of the building within seconds, but by then Nora had already passed out.
Making his way towards the commanding officer to report his findings, the man changed his mind at the last minute once he realized that the commander couldn’t be bothered at the moment. Instead he chose to make his way towards his horse. Mounting his steed, he held the young woman firmly in place.
The raid had been a success.
Looking down at the beat up female he held in his arms, the man felt a stab in his chest just by looking at the degree of the wounds marring the child’s body and chose to avert his eyes. His own daughter would have been around the same age as the child he currently held. Hands tightening around the reins, he decided it would be best to allow his direct superiors to handle this situation.