When she opened her eyes, still blinking through the sleep that weighed down her eyelids, she was glad to realise that it was all a dream.
Except, none of it had been a dream and when she awoke back in that dark, dreary room with absolutely no chance or possibility of escape; she closed her eyes again and squeezed them tight, still holding onto the hope that all of this was a simple nightmare and nothing more.
Unfortunately, it was never as easy as that and as Anastasia glanced around the room, blinking to get adjusted to seeing in the dark again, her breath hitched in her throat and her eyes grew large and wide in size; suddenly realising the simple fact that this time, she wasn’t alone.
A groggy groan passed her lips as she forcefully lifted her body off the cold, hard ground, the chains clanging together at her movements. Despite trying to be as quiet as possible, a tried groan sounded from the other side of the room and before Anastasia knew it, she was staring into the dark eyes – she couldn’t quite pinpoint what colour as it was simply too dark to tell – of the only other person in the room.
A female, bound and chained to the wall. Just like her.
Anastasia blinked back at the woman who continued to hold her gaze, both her wrists and ankles chained to the wall.
“Who are you?” They both asked at the same time with equally confused and panicked expressions on their faces, almost as if mirroring each other.
“How did you get in here?” Anastasia asked quickly, her eyes still wide with shock and confusion as she blinked back at the female figure on the other side of the room.
“I don’t know.” The female couldn’t help but hiccup as she raised her knees and pressed her face into them so as to hide her tears. “The last thing I remember is putting my son to bed and going to sleep but when I woke up, I was here. With you.”
Akin to the state that she had been when she had awoken alone in this dark and dank cell of a room the first time, she couldn’t help but feel bad for the female in front of her. Especially after learning that whatever had happened to the both of them had separated her from her son.
“What’s your name?” Anastasia asked quietly as she shimmied back to rest her back against the wall. After the initial shock of the coolness that pressed into the skin of her back and arms, she very quickly became numb to it.
“Thea.” The other woman was able to barely whisper as she hiccupped onto her knees, her body shaking slightly as the occasional sob escaped her.
“My name’s Anastasia.” She offered even though she doubted being polite and friendly would be able to help the situation in anyway, but if they were going to be prisoners together, she’d much rather be on a name basis. “Do you know what you’re doing in here?”
Thea merely shook her head in response, refusing to look up; still whimpering quietly, her mind reeling with thoughts of her little boy and what could have possibly happened to him.
Blinking back at Thea through the darkness, Anastasia could only assume that this was the second woman that Harvey had implicitly mentioned the last time he had decided to drop by.
“They haven’t explained anything to you?”
Again, Thea shook her head but this time, it appeared as if Anastasia’s question had piqued her interest as she glanced up through watery eyes; her vision clouded as she attempted to blink back the tears.
“Do you know what’s going on?” Thea sniffled as she asked in a small voice; staring at the woman across the woman as she held her breath; hoping for some good news.
However, there was nothing Anastasia could say or do to make this situation better. Well, unless she had an effective escape plan which would remove the both of them from this situation but for now, a thorough explanation would just have to do.
“Let me start off by asking if either your mother or father are werewolves?” Anastasia asked directly, choosing to avoid beating around the bush.
Thea frowned slightly but after a few prolonged moments, nodded her head.
“My mother is a wolf.”
“So, that makes you half-wolf?” She asked just to clarify.
“Yes.” Thea nodded her head in confirmation. “Are you a half-wolf too?”
Anastasia shook her head. “My dad is a half-wolf which makes me a quarter wolf.”
“Okay, but what does that have to do with anything?” Thea asked as she reluctantly dropped her knees and stretched her legs out in front of her, struggling to get into a comfortable position on the cold, hard ground. Anastasia wanted to tell her to stop trying as there was no point, that no matter how she sat or what positions she tried, there was absolutely no chance of being able to get comfortable while stuck in these chains.
She couldn’t help but purse her lips as she stared back at Thea, struggling to piece together all the thoughts in her mind into a coherent sentence, one which wouldn’t scare off the other female however, she wasn’t quite sure if that was possible.
“You said you have a son.” Anastasia murmured quietly, unable to think of a better way to break the news to this unsuspecting female, one which appeared to be in the same boat as hers.
Thea’s lips turned down into a deeper frown as she stared back at Anastasia; her breath stilling as her heart suddenly started beating very fast.
“Yes. But what does that have to do with anything?” She asked in a wary voice, her words slow and deliberate.
“Everything.” Anastasia sighed as she lifted her knees to press them into her chest in attempt of consoling herself.
When Harvey had broken the news to her many hours ago, Anastasia had felt very violated and genuinely scared for her life, especially because he had painted her future as very dark and almost impossible to believe. Even though she didn’t know this woman, she couldn’t help but wish to break the news as gently as possible; wanting to cause as minimal damage as possible.
However, Anastasia wasn’t quite sure if that was possible as Thea had a son and now, she had been separated from him.
“What do you mean?” Thea asked in a barely-there whisper.
“Is your son completely human?”
“Why do you ask that?”
“I need you to answer me.” Anastasia insisted, needing to know however, Thea’s evident hesitation had already answered the question. “He’s a wolf, isn’t he?”
“How did you know?”
“Because you’re here with me.”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying.” Thea groaned in frustration as she blinked back at Anastasia, willing for her to stop speaking in riddles.
“They didn’t tell you anything?”
“I don’t even know who you’re talking about. Like I said, I put my son to sleep, went to bed and now I’m here. I really have no idea what you’re talking about.” Thea shook her head and sighed, bowing her head as she sniffled. “I just want to get back to my son. I need to know that he’s safe.”
“I wish I could help you, but I can’t even help myself right now.” A pitiful expression took over her face as she sighed and sent a sorrowful look to the woman currently trying to stay sane despite being separated from her son. “But the fact that you’re human and your son is a werewolf makes you very important to these people.”
“Who are these people?”
“I wish I knew.” Anastasia sighed and ran a frustrated hand through her hair, wincing when ran into some tangles. “But I only know what they’ve told me, and even then, I don’t know how much of that is the truth.”
When Thea’s eyes watered – visible even through the darkness that they were forcefully kept in – Anastasia sent her a soft look and a small smile, though she was certain that it came out as more of a grimace.
“What did they tell you?”
“I don’t want to scare you, but I don’t see how that’s not a possibility right now.” She groaned and ran her fingers through her hair again and just like last time, she pulled a pained expression as she pulled on the ends.
Another sigh passed her lips before she indulged poor Thea in the grand plan that the both of them were currently in the centre of, relaying everything that Harvey had told her of regardless of whether she believed it all or not.
“I can’t believe something like this is happening again!” Was all Thea could manage in a harsh whisper, shaking her head in disbelief; a fresh set of tears stinging her eyes.
“Again? What do you mean?” Anastasia asked in shock, her jaw dropped. “This has happened to you before?
“Not exactly this, but something just as horrible.” Thea spoke in riddles, struggling over her words after having learnt the severity of the situation which she had literally awoken into. “While I’m half werewolf, I’m pretty sure the gene is recessive in me as I’ve never shown any signs of being a werewolf.”
“Then that should also mean that the gene shouldn’t be passed down to your son.”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking for the past four years now.” Thea murmured quietly with a dark look in her eyes, though it was far from evil or menacing but rather, from a deep rage that had been burning inside her for many, many years.
“I don’t to be rude or to pry, but you don’t know how your son is a werewolf? What about the father? Surely you must know whether he’s a wolf or not.”
“I think being rude should be the last of our concerns right now.” Thea attempted to joke but neither of them laughed. “But you’re right. While I have my suspicions that Malik’s biological father is a werewolf, there’s no way that I can prove it.”
“Did you adopt or go something?” Anastasia asked warily, very aware that she was treading on dangerous waters right now. While she hoped that Thea had adopted either of those avenues, she couldn’t help but think that it was something far worse.
“No.” Thea gulped and shook her head, her eyes trailing down to stare at the ground. “I was raped.”
“I’m so sorry.” Anastasia apologised after a few seconds while holding her hand to her chest, her heart hurting for the poor woman in front of her. “I’m so sorry that happened to you and I’m so sorry that I pried.”
“I used to feel like that too.” Thea pursed her lips as an uncomfortable, pained expression washed over her face. “But now, I’m just so happy and grateful to have my little Malik. This may be an over indulgence since we’ve just met, but seeing as we’re in this whole thing together, I’m not ashamed to admit that while I hate what he did to me, he gave my Malik and I’ll never be able to regret my son.”
Anastasia’s heart squeezed painfully as she stared at the woman in front of her, at a complete loss of words with how this woman had been strong enough to keep, look after and love the offspring of such a traumatic moment in her life. While she commended the woman, she hated to admit the simple fact that if Anastasia had somehow found herself in such a situation, she wasn’t sure if she would have reacted the same way and handled it all so well.
“So, you don’t know if Malik’s father is a werewolf or not?”
“I like to think of him as a sperm donor, but yes.” Thea shrugged with a scarily neutral expression on her face. “Like I said before, I suspect that he is a werewolf but I can’t completely be sure.”
“I can only image that’s true since you’re here with me right now.” Anastasia sighed. “The only reason that they’re interested with us is because we’re akin to humans that are able to give birth to werewolves.”
“Baby making machines.”
Anastasia could barely bring herself to nod her head in confirmation, afraid that the movement would make her feel even more sick than she already felt.
“I don’t know if I can do it again.” The fear was evident in Thea’s voice as she spoke aloud in a quiet whisper. “I barely survived last time.”
“What do you mean?”
“The doctor’s said that I had died for three minutes.” She answered in a small, quiet voice; her eyes downcast as she thought of her precious little boy. “They tried to bring me back but it didn’t work. I only came back to life when they put my baby on my chest.”
Anastasia opened and closed her mouth, unable to handle the wave of sadness that had washed over her after hearing all the many pain and sorrows that Thea had been through already, and now, she had somehow been forced into the centre of a child trafficking scheme.
And to think Anastasia had thought that she had it bad with her hot and cold mate whom now, she would do anything to see again.
Before either of them could say anything further, the door abruptly opened and Harvey stepped back into the room. Except this time, he had brought a friend.
Wearing a long white lab coat, the woman scurried into the room behind Harvey and without so much as an explanation, she dropped herself to the ground next to Thea and began taking a sample of her blood.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Anastasia all but screamed in fear at the sudden sight in front of her. “Harvey? What’s going on?”
“You’re not in the position to be asking questions right now.” He merely snorted in response and spared her a sideways glance before turning his head to watch the doctor at work, forcefully taking another pint of blood from Thea despite her visibly panicking and trying to escape the torture.
Unfortunately for her, the reality was that as long as they were stuck in the room and chained to the wall, there was nothing that either of them could do to help themselves.
“Be a good girl and don’t make things any more difficult for us, okay?” Harvey sneered at her as the doctor walked across the room and prepared a fresh needle, having another three one-pint bottles that she needed to fill up for blood.
Unlike Thea who had tried to resist and resorted to tears when she found out that there was absolutely nothing that she could do, Anastasia merely stared at the wall in front of her with a blank look on her face, trying to block out the fact that essentially, they were just baby making machines to these people.
Other than wincing and whimpering slightly as the doctor worked quickly, not even bothering to be gentle, Anastasia barely moved and was glad that the tactic had worked as they done in about half the time that it had taken with Thea.
Seemingly finished with taking what they needed from both the surrogates-to-be, Harvey and the doctor walked out of the room, not even sparing a glance back as they closed the door behind them and slid the lock into place.
“What are we going to do?” Thea asked in a small voice after a few moments, unable to handle the eery silence any longer.
“I have no idea.” Anastasia groaned aloud, lifting her head to glance at the woman from across the room. “But whatever happens, we’re in this together now.”
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