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Life after that settled into a terrible and grueling blur of hellish repetition for Elissa. Wake in the morning sticky and covered in the aftermath of the previous night’s ravishing. Spend the morning wandering the city and exploring one shack after another, being careful not to hurt herself in the process. Afternoons were spent in the blazing sun pulling weeds and slowly clearing the yard.

On those days when it rained, she had a chance for the closest thing to a shower since arriving in The Maze, as she had started to call it. No matter how much she’d wandered, or how many wells and fountains she had checked, Elissa hadn’t found a source of viable water in the whole ruins. There wasn’t water for baths or showers like she was used to, and Elissa slowly grew accustomed to the intermingled smell of her own sweat and the odor of The Darkness’s lust he indulged upon her body, and the difference in the smell and feel when she did get to indulge in her first rain shower amazed her. It was almost like she’d been reborn!

But, that feeling didn’t last long, as there was always more dirt, more grime, and more sweat waiting for her – not to mention the promised ravishing which occurred every night and left her stained and lust covered every morning. A shower in the rain, as refreshing as it might be, didn’t last long, and neither did the water in the city.

How she survived without drink, or even food, confounded her. Each evening when she performed her duty, and submitted herself to The Darkness, she was parched and wracked with hunger. Each morning, when she awoke, she felt sated and refreshed. Somehow, sometime during the night, she was restored, but she didn’t know how or when.

One day blurred into the next, and then one week into another. Diligently, Elissa tried to count the days that she’d served, but as time passed, it became harder to keep track of them. Soon she found herself scratching marks onto the wall in the kitchen to remind herself how long she’d been there, and then soon after that, she found herself wondering if she’d scratched each day properly. Had she forgotten and missed some? Thought she’d missed some and counted them twice?

After that, she simply gave up counting and resigned herself to the monotony. Mornings spent searching, afternoons spent cleaning the yard and working the land, evenings spent as a ragdoll for The Darkness’s endless lust, and nights passed out in an exhausted slumber.

Slowly, at a pace so gradual that it was hard to notice on a daily schedule, Elissa began to illicit a change to her surroundings. After the first week, she had a usable path to the gate. By the end of the first month, she’d cleared the front yard. Weeds had been pulled and left in the road to wilt and dry under the scorching sun. Garbage had been collected and dragged all the way to the end of the street and piled in one massive heap.

The yard was slowly being worked and rich dirt was replacing the overgrown weeds. Not having any seeds, and not wanting the grass to come back and take over her freshly worked soil, Elissa wandered the ruins and collected dozens of flowers and planted them in the yard to protect the integrity of the top soil. From ragged wasteland, the front yard slowly bloomed and became a vibrant flower garden.

As the outside of the house slowly changed, so did the inside. On days when the rains would fall, Elissa would rush outside to wash herself as clean as possible – especially her long vibrant hair – and then after she would come back in and devote the day to cleaning the home as much as possible. Slowly, bit by bit, Elissa picked up the garbage, cleaned off the dirt, and wiped away the mold.

Most of the garbage ended up joining the ever growing pile at the end of the street, but some things she managed to creatively find a use for. With the rotted hog’s carcass, even though it gagged her, Elissa tore off chunks of the blackish green flesh and bones and used those to introduce herself to the dogs that roamed around the ruins. At first, skittish or wary, over time they warmed to her presence, eventually even wagging and waiting for treats when they crossed paths.

Some of the putrid and rotted vegetables, Elissa tried to plant and grow. Most were too far gone to do much more than decay and fertilize the ground, but after a while a few tomatoes and onions began to sprout amongst the flowers. When the first tomato ripened enough for her to sink her teeth into it, the flavor and juice was so sweet that Elissa nearly swooned with the pleasure. After months with only drinking the rain she caught on tongue, and without eating anything, a tomato was a gift from the heavens above, and Elissa had to resist the urge to indulge and not eat the whole crop in one setting.

Also, though she didn’t notice it herself it was so gradual, Elissa herself began to change. Already fit and muscular from her training as a knight, Elissa began to shape and tone her body even further. Endless hours laboring and sweating under the hot sun melted any of the last vestiges of soft fat from her body and replaced them with well-developed muscles. Her hair, already long, grew even longer with no one around to cut or trim it, and her body developed a uniform light tan, with no lines or discolorations.

Athletic by nature, Elissa found herself growing much more flexible and limber, thanks to the endless manipulation of her body when The Darkness indulged its pleasure upon her every night. Over time, her strength grew as did her endurance and stamina, with her remaining awake and conscious ever longer into the nighttime hours while being ravished.

Slowly, a metamorphosis was occurring all around, with the exception of The Darkness. The Darkness never moved. Never offered to help. It simply sat and rocked, staring endlessly at her, until the sun went down and then it would have its way with her until exhaustion set in and she passed out.

No matter how much other things might change, The Darkness simply sat and rocked, only stopping to ravish her, before going back to its sitting and rocking. Other things might change, but The Darkness simply was.

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