Waking, Elissa groaned with pain. Trying to force her eyes opened, spots flickered across her vision several times before she could focus enough to make out the heap of garbage that she was sprawled atop. Covered in sweat and the flaking crust of dried male seed, every muscle screamed and ached as she tried to force herself to move and sit upright.
“You failed.” A cold, emotionless voice reminded her from off to the side.
“I did,” she agreed, barely being able to even rise up onto her hands and knees. While down on all fours, she weakly bent her elbows and dropped her head to the floor in shameful apology.
“And you’ve been punished for that failure,” the voice stated matter-of-factly.
“I was,” Elissa agreed, trying hard to fight back the tears that tried to form in the corner of her eyes. Defiled and ravished, even now she was still covered in the sweat and stain of her failure.
“So now what?” The Darkness’s voice was cold, low, and completely unemotional.
“My lord?” Unable to maintain the strength to hold herself even half upright any longer, Elissa’s arms buckled and she sprawled out face first onto the dingy grime-covered floor.
“It’s a simple question,” The Darkness stated. “Now what? Tuck your tail between your legs and run? Slice your own throat and die? Give in to despair and grovel as a worm forevermore, only fit for use in the basest of pleasures? What now?”
For several long moments, Elissa laid unmoving and unresponsive on the ground. She struggled and forced herself upright and into a kneeling position. Head still hung low, she slowly shook her head from side to side. “You’re wrong,” she forced the words out of her dry, parched lips.
“Wrong?!” At first The Darkness sounded startled, and then it laughed wildly. “Wahhaahaa! And pray tell, how am I wrong?” For some reason, he seemed to find her words endlessly amusing.
“I must humbly disagree, upon some minor reflection,” Elissa muttered, trying to lick some moisture onto her cracked lips. “I neither failed, nor was I punished.”
“You didn’t? You weren’t?” The Darkness leaned back in its rocking chair and one thin white hand slowly stroked its chin. Deep black eyes that were like gazing into an endless abyss started down at her, but Elissa somehow resisted the urge to flinch back from their penetrating gaze.
“The task I was given was to fetch My lord a beer,” Elissa stated, head lowered.
“Which you failed!”
“Nay, My Lord. There was no limit set upon the time for me to complete my task. I have not failed it yet; my duty simply remains unfulfilled. I have been delayed on the completion of my task, but I have not forsaken it yet. I shall still complete it,” Elissa argued, stubbornly.
“And your punishment?” The Darkness asked, quietly and in a voice that sounded thoughtful and curious.
“There was no punishment,” Elissa stated slowly. “My lord desired the pleasure of my flesh, and I have sworn to obey him and fulfill his needs. My lord took what was his, and I simply fulfilled my duty and submitted to my lord’s will. You cannot punish your hand by using it to pick up a cup for you, and my lord cannot punish me by exerting his will upon me.
“I am sworn to obey the lord’s will,” Elissa argued. “Doing so is not punishment. It is simply a fulfillment of my duty.”
“I have neither failed, nor have I been punished,” Elissa stated stubbornly. “I have simply done my duty, or attempted to do my duty and have not completed my task yet – as is the issue with the request from yesterday – and my lord has simply indulged himself with that which is his by rights. The matter is a simple as that, my lord,” Elissa adamantly declared.
“Wahhaaaahha!” Cackling laughter, The Darkness rocked back and forth several times. “Interesting. Very interesting.” Stroking its chin a few times again, The Darkness appeared lost in thought for several moments.
“You still haven’t answered my question,” it finally stated, cold and uncaring once again. “What now?
“Now, I continue to serve my lord for a term no less than ten minus one,” Elissa answered, trying not to sway side to side. Weak, hungry, parched, bruised, exhausted, and covered in stuff that she didn’t want to think about, it took all her willpower to simply remain sitting upright at the moment.
“I do my duty,” Elissa muttered, as the room spun in her vision and she began to lean dangerously backwards. “Nothing more, nothing less. I simply do my duty.”
Unconsciousness once again washed over her, as she fell backwards and sprawled out awkwardly on the trash covered floor. Rubbing his chin, amused and seemingly in deep thought, The Darkness simply stared at her.
Never moving. Never blinking. The Darkness simply stared.