A/N: TRIGGER WARNING!!!
This chapter contains rape and torture!!! Please be careful when reading, I will not say in when it happens, but it is later in the chapter. I completely understand if unable to read it, I am thankful you are reading the rest of the book either way.
Thank you reader!
Grayson and Phoebe were heading back to town as the sun slowly rose in the sky.
They were both exhausted and dirty from their night of fighting. When dawn had broken through the skyline, everyone had decided to separate to clean and get essentials, then regroup to start their journey to find Eleanor. Grayson would have preferred to go about the search alone, but then Alice had to remind him he was going into uncharted territory.
Once Alice had enough strength to stand, she approached Grayson.
The word Lamia hung in the air after it was said, causing a heavy atmosphere. No one really knew what a Lamia was, but the way Alice had said it, it was something they did not want to cross.
Grayson had decided to sharpen his sword after fully recovering. His wet stone made a scrapping sound that was pleasant to his ears, making him feel relaxed and prepared.
Alice cleared her throat since he did not acknowledge her when she approached.
He did not stop sharpening. “Yes?”
“I have an idea which way the Lamia could have possibly gone with Eleanor. However, I will not tell you unless you promise me to let us come with you.”
This condition made Grayson stop. He lifted his head to look at her. “No. It will be too dangerous.”
Alice scoffed. “Grayson, you’re entering into a whole new realm. You are going to see many things that should not exist. And once that veil is lifted from your eyes, it will never be placed down again.” She paused as if thinking of her next words carefully. “You are going to need our help to keep you sane.”
Grayson considered her words. “Alright. You and Avice can come with me, as a guide.”
Phoebe had overheard their conversation and came running over to them. “I am too! I need to make sure Eleanor is safe! Plus, I have coin that can help us with food and shelter.” She pouted her lips and batted her lashes.
Grayson groaned and brought a hand through his hair, causing the curls to fall over his eyes more. “Fuck. Fine, unfortunately I do not have any money. And as for the witch I am sure she has been living mainly off the land.”
Alice shrugged at his words. He was not completely wrong.
Avice climbed up onto Alice’s shoulders and curled around her neck while staring at Grayson. “It is settled. Let us go our separate ways to get materials and things we will need for the journey and meet at the edge of my forest by noon.”
That was already several hours prior.
Grayson and Phoebe had just stepped into town, with Grace following, when Grayson noticed something was off.
Even though it was early morning, patrons were already gathered in the streets. As they passed by, Grayson could feel their eyes on them, causing the hairs on the back of his neck to rise. His hand twitched to grip the pummel of his sword, but he refused to do it. The action would be viewed as a threat, which would cause immediate detainment and, therefore, delaying his chance to find Eleanor.
Grayson put his hand on the small of Phoebe’s back to guide her faster to the brothel. She giggled at the contact.
“Calm down Grayson, we will be there soon enough,” She cooed and batted her lashes at him.
Grayson rolled his eyes and leaned over so his lips nearly touched her ear. “We are being watched.” He said simply.
Her eyes widened slightly but went back to normal as she pretended that he said something naughty in her ear and gently slapped his chest.
‘Good cover up,’ He thought.
Once they were in front of the brothel, Grayson grabbed Phoebe’s arm and spoke in a hush whisper. “Hurry. I will be waiting.”
Phoebe nodded and ran inside, picking up her many skirts so she did not trip.
Once Grayson saw she was in the building safely, he turned towards his horse and distracted himself in making sure she was ok.
‘They are moving closer,’ the demon spoke in his head.
‘I know.’ Grayson responded. He could see the militia starting to form a few blocks away out of the corner of his eye.
He felt his hearing sharpen involuntarily, making him furrow his eyebrows in confusion and anger.
‘Relax, my dear Grayson. It’s so we can understand why they are stalking us.’ The Demon said nonchalantly.
Grayson did not respond. He wanted to know why as well, so he allowed the demon to take over one of his senses.
Relaxing his shoulders, he zoned into the conversation that the militia was having several blocks away.
“Are you sure that is the man?” A stout looking man asked while trying to fix his coat and hat. He was staring straight at Grayson, not bothering to hide it.
‘Idiot,’ Grayson thought as he stroked Grace’s mane.
A taller gentleman with a rifle strapped to his back nodded. “Lord Eilif instructed us and every high lord that he and that woman are dangerous and should be apprehended. He also instructed us to watch out for an older woman with a gray cat.”
A young-looking man nervously shifted his rifle. “What could an older woman and a whore do that requires detainment?”
‘Ah. A smart kid.’ Grayson thought as he pulled out his flask. He felt the weight of it and frowned. ‘Need to make a stop at a whiskey stand if we have the time.’
The stout man smacked the kid on the back of the head. “You fool! If Lord Eilif orders it then we carry it out, no questions asked!”
The young man frowned but did not question further.
The stout man did not look satisfied by the young man’s silence. He stepped closer so his nose was inches away from the young man. “Unless you want to go against Lord Eilif’s orders and see what happens?” His voice was hushed and threatening.
Grayson tilted his head slightly, curious at this threat. Could this Lord really be that threatening? All the Lord’s Grayson has ever met were all fat and lazy, none could do a damn thing against a soldier like him.
Another thought struck him. ‘What would Lord Eilif want with me? I’m a lowly soldier that works on a tobacco farm.’
The young man cowered and paled at the threat. “No, I won’t question the Lord’s orders anymore.” His voice shook as he spoke.
The stout man patted his head. “Good lad.”
The militia continued to watch Grayson as he stood there, tending to his horse. They were waiting for the right time to make their move, and Grayson knew it.
Unbeknownst to Grayson, Phoebe was walking out of the Brothel with a beaten-up suitcase. She was about to call his name when two strange men came up behind her and dragged her to the alley next to the Brothel.
The men had covered her mouth to stifle any noise she would make, but she was already disconnecting from herself. Noise was not going to be an issue.
The tall gentleman looked at the stout man. “What are we supposed to do about the whore?”
The stout man grinned, showing off his brown-stained teeth. “I have men already on it.”
Grayson stiffened at this sentence. ‘What does he mean by that?’
As if to answer his thought, he heard a soft whimper come from the alley behind him. He whipped his head around and zeroed in on the sound.
“Nothing but clothes in the suitcase. I bet her money is in one of her skirts. Why don’t we look, shall we?” A gruff voice said.
Another voice was too muffled to make out.
“Found it! Woah, that is a lot of money you have there. Is this from all your whoring?” The sound of flesh being slapped filled the silence.
Another soft whimper drifted into the air.
Grayson looked back to the militia, only to see them getting distracted by prostitutes making their early rounds in the streets. Taking the opportunity, he moved Grace to block their view of him. Then, with a hand on the pummel of his sword, he slinked his way to the edge of the alley.
It was dark. Almost too dark to see.
But as Grayson focused his eyes, he could make out a suite case with clothes thrown about. He looked further down the alley and saw three silhouettes.
He rounded the corner of the alley and crouched behind some wooden crates. From the new angle, he could make out who and what they were doing.
A man was over Phoebe while the other was on his back with Phoebe on his chest.
The man over Phoebe was undoing his trousers, while the man underneath her had already ripped the top of her dress, exposing her breasts, and fondling them.
Grayson glared at the scene in front of him but froze when he looked at Phoebe’s face.
Her head was tilted back over the shoulder of the man against her. Her face was blank, but what struck Grayson to his core was her eyes.
There was nothing there. No life, no acknowledgement of what was happening. Nothing.
He recognized that look. Dissociation.
As he continued to stare into those raw eyes, the scene around him changed. The position of the bodies, the color of the eyes, the surroundings.
He was not in the alley anymore, watching Phoebe get assaulted. No, he was watching himself as a boy, being pinned down by a faceless man, in a dimly lit room on a bed with red silk sheets.
The faceless man covered the boy’s mouth and leaned over, whispering something. The boy fought against him as hard as he could but was met with a candelabra to his temple.
Even though Grayson was watching his younger self, he still felt the hit and the pain that spread from it.
The boy was dazed but still tried struggled.
A dark disturbing laugh resonated through the air as the faceless man grabbed the boy, shoved a dirty cloth into his mouth, turned him onto his stomach and held his arms behind him. The boy’s arms were bent at an odd angle, making it hard for him to move without dislocating his shoulders.
Grayson bit his lip as his vision blurred. He did not want to see this, but he could not tear his eyes away. It was like something made him watch one of the most horrific moments of his life, making sure he saw every detail no matter how traumatic it was.
The boy continued to thrash his head from side to side in an effort to break free. The effort was in vain.
Grayson watched as the man’s hands tightened as he heard the most disgusting thing in his life. The faceless man spit, then second later, thrusted his hips.
Disbelief and pain passed through the boy’s eyes.
That was the moment. The moment innocence left his eyes. The moment he left his body in order to deal with what was happening. The moment he realized as a boy, that the world was a big cruel joke.
Grayson tasted blood. He bit his lip so hard he could feel his teeth scrap against each other.
The scene cracked like a broken mirror, each broken piece falling away until it was Phoebe and the two men again. The man on top was thrusting into her and the other was groping and encouraging.
Phoebe’s eyes continued to be uninhabited as her head hit the cobblestone road again and again, a small spot of blood decorating her hair.
Grayson stood. His eyes dilated so much that the color could no longer be seen. The blacks of his eyes invaded the whites, making his vision in the dark alley clearer.
Pulling his sword slowly out of its sheath, he walked calmly over to them.
Grayson could tell the man on top was close to finishing, his thrusts were fast and irregular in rhythm. His breaths were coming out in pants, like the dog he is. Sweat trickled off his face and onto Phoebe.
The man underneath was enjoying himself as well, his eyes were closed as he continued feeling Phoebe.
Phoebe was still somewhere else in her mind. She did not even register that Grayson was close by.
Taking his last step, he stopped in front of their heads. Grayson twirled his sword and thrusted the tip through the back of the man on top’s head. It was deep enough that the tip of the sword came out just below his eyes.
Grayson could not see the man’s eyes, but they were moving back and forth as an attempt to find the cause of disruption.
The body shivered slightly, then collapsed.
“HAHAHA! You finished Chuck? Get off so I can have my turn, maybe we can both take her ass -.” He opened his eyes at the sudden wet spot on his face.
“Wha?” He stared in confusion at his buddy. “What the fuck!” He yelled when he noticed the sword still sticking out of his friend’s face.
Panicking, he shoved and kicked Phoebe and his friend away from him as he wiggled out of from under them.
Grayson continued to hold onto the sword.
When the man was out from under the two, Grayson pulled the sword out Chuck’s head. The squelching sound sent a satisfied shiver to run up his spine.
“What did you do!?” The man yelled, pushing his back against the brick wall.
Grayson took a step towards him. “You were raping my friend. What makes you think I would let you two get away with that?” He gripped his sword as he slashed through the air, letting blood of Chuck cover the man.
The man looked at Phoebe, as if seeing her for the first time. Then his eyebrows furrowed together in confusion. “Her?” he pointed. “Your friends with her?” The man barked out a laugh.
Grayson narrowed his eyes.
The man stopped laughing and sneered. “That,” he pointed again, “is a whore. They are worthless beings only born into existence for pleasuring men. They are nothing but a plaything. Just like a doll, they are played with, then tossed to the side the moment we get bored.” He leaned forward as if to tell a secret. “When I play, I make sure they are completely ruined so no one else will want to play with them.”
Grayson inhaled deeply after the man finished his little speech. As he exhaled, he smiled.
He took another step forward. “Oh, its been so long since I’ve had someone with a mouth like that.”
Putting his sword back into its sheath, Grayson spotted the needle and thread that was in Phoebe’s suitcase.
Grabbing it, he sat on the man. The man struggled and tried to punch him.
Grayson easily caught it and trapped the arm under his knee. Then again with the other as the man dumbly tried again.
While his arms were trapped, the man realized he still had his legs.
“I wouldn’t think of doing that if I were you.” Grayson snarled.
Before the man could yell for help, Grayson grabbed his cheeks.
“Shhh. You’ll only make it worse.” Another smile overtook Grayson’s face as his black eyes danced with psychotic glee.
The man’s screams were muffled by his smooshed lips. Tears trailed down his face as the needle pierced his lip for the first time.
Grayson ignored the muffled wails of agony and continued his work.
When he was done, he took a step back and admired his handy work. The stitching was amateur at best. The X patterns were uneven and spaced out irregularly. His lips were already starting to swell, and blood leaked out of each hole. The man was whimpering as he was starting to drift in and out of consciousness.
Grayson turned to Phoebe who was still staring off into nothing. Kicking Chuck off her, he took note that the side of her face was red and swollen and her breathing was shallow but there.
Turning back to the man, he noticed his eyes were closed.
He tsked. ‘That won’t due.’
Squatting in front of him again, he put a hand to his temple. A surge of power rushed through Grayson’s fingertips and instantly woke the man up.
He tried moving his lips and instantly regretted it. Touching the stitching, his eyes shot up to Grayson’s in a silent plea.
“Your punishment is not over yet.” Grayson growled.
Grabbing the man’s trousers, he pulled them down to his ankles, exposing the man’s pathetic attempt at being a male.
The man stiffened, many guesses passing through his eyes while Grayson smiled at his attempt in figuring out what was next.
Lifting a foot, he slowly put it down with the ball of the foot resting gently on the man’s testicle.
“I think a good ole castration is in order for this assault.” Grayson smirked. The man’s eyes widened in panic as he tried to struggle free again.
Bouncing his foot lightly on the testicle, Grayson suddenly and forcefully, stomped on the testicle, causing it to rupture. Red, pink, and white decorated Grayson’s boots and the man’s legs.
The man’s muffled scream echoed slightly in the alley, making Grayson angry. So instead of waiting like he originally wanted, he stomped on the other testicle without hesitation.
The man screamed again and slide to his side. He was barely conscious as Grayson stood over him. The power surge he gave the man would keep him awake with the pain for hours.
Knowing his time was limited, Grayson unhappily decided the man’s torture was done.
Gathering Phoebe in his arms and a few of her clothing items, Grayson whistled. The horse trotted around the corner a minute later, staying close to the road.
He swung Phoebe up, then himself. Positioning her so her exposed chest was mainly covered by his body, he set off to go meet Alice.
As they trotted back the way they came, Grayson spotted three things. One, the militia was searching for him again. Two, there was an abandoned cloak draped on the whiskey stand. And three, the man with the whiskey stand was already drunk and practically passed out.
So, as swiftly as he could, he kept his head ducked, grabbed the cloak to cover Phoebe, and grabbed a large bottle of whiskey.
Flicking the cap off the bottle, Grayson tilted his head back and chugged.