I don’t even count anymore. Time just doesn’t mean anything now. It’s completely insignificant. All I know right now is that today’s game of ‘Will She Break!’ has ended and I have remained the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world. My whole body is once again just a large open wound, but I can already feel the normal wounds healing. The magical wounds…well I have magical wounds upon magical wounds that will still be healing into the next century. Assuming I live past tomorrow that is…or is it tomorrow now? Who the hell knows.
Just to torture myself further, because apparently, I’m a massive masochist, I look down once again to take inventory. Some of my insides are, surprisingly, still on the inside. Which is actually an improvement on yesterday’s proceedings. My jailers must have been a little tired today. That’s not to say they didn’t still do their jobs.
My ribs are in pieces and are sticking out through my skin like macabre mangrove roots, but I’ve had worse. My breath gurgles out of my throat as I struggle into a sitting position. It’ll even out in a few hours, once my lungs and ribs have had a chance to knit themselves back together, but I still have to survive Garret. I have a few hours left before he gets here, and I only have one thing that can keep me occupied. I’ve finally found a gap large enough in the defences Garret put around my mind for me to slip through. I wait just long enough for the pain to dull before throwing myself back into my mind. Ignoring the pain of breaching Garret’s first layer of defence, which just so happens to feel like being electrocuted, and head straight to the abnormality in Garret’s power. I suppose if I had to describe it as a visual, I’d say it looks like a crack in a wall, but everything in here is just different waves of power. Memories, offensive and defensive power and thoughts are all interpreted differently, like different textures.
The blind spot feels a lot more like me, making it stand out amongst all the power that feels like Garret.
I make a beeline right to it, a disturbing sound grating against my senses as I get closer.
It sounds almost like someone calling out to me, but the voice sounds destroyed. I imagine my voice would only ever sound like that if my voice box had been cut out and I’d been left to grunt through the empty space left behind.
After weeks, months? It might be months. I step into my own mind, a place free of Garrets’ influence. I can feel myself. His power is still surrounding me, but I’m in the eye of his storm now and can begin to dismantle his barriers from within. The beautiful thing about this is Garret’s arrogance. He designed it so I could never break in, but he hasn’t bothered to stop me from breaking out. It will be time consuming to break his power down completely, but I can do it and for the first time since I was taken I’m beginning to feel a little hope.
I’m in a bloody brilliant mood when Garret arrives, but he’s taking it as more of my fake bravado. If only he knew.
“Why hello there, Garret. To what do I owe the pleasure?”
His ever-present chair follows close behind as he steps fully into my cell. God forbid he have to stand while trying to intimidate! The horror! Oh no, not Garret.
“Evening, Guinevere. I hope you’re well?” He replies, placing his delicate derriere upon the cushioned seat.
“Just peachy,” I say, waiting for the hammer to fall.
He seems excited about something, which is never good news for me.
“Brilliant! Nothing to stop me then.”
And he punches power into my brain like a battering ram.
My vision blurs, I hear the pained voice that was calling to me before, and then I pass out.
Someone is shaking my shoulder.
“C’mon G, what are you doing on the floor? Did you get sick?”
“Give her some space, Olly.”
Olly? No. Please, no!
I’m on my feet before I can even finish the thought. If Oliver is here, then I can guarantee Anya is too. And Derek.
I spin to face them, but they don’t look right. Anya is about two feet taller than she should be and Oliver seems to have gained about forty kilos.
What the hell is going on?
I reach out with my power and examine where I am. I don’t recognise this place. My power crackles through the air, causing visual cracks to appear in the walls and, seemingly, right in mid air.
The air seems heavy, my clothes fake.
And there’s entirely too much power here.
Why aren’t I in my cell? I look to find that my injuries are all gone, but...I can still feel them? And Garret was just - GARRET!
He was entirely too happy when he came in, and the power he threw into my skull...
Is this him?
I force power out from my body and -
I’m cold again. I’m panting and curled up on the floor, but so is Garret. He sounds like his lungs are a breath from failure.
His face is grey, sweat is pouring off of him and an air of bone deep exhaustion is permeating my cell.
Whatever he did, it completely drained him.
“What did you do?” I demand, using this moment of Garret’s weakness to try and make him talk.
“Nothing, it seems,” he replies and kicks the door.
It opens a moment later and Garret stands and stumbles out, slamming the door shut behind him. He even left the chair behind, which could be useful to me. Maybe I can break off a leg and stab the next person who comes in?
The door opens again and the chair is pulled out with lightning speed.
I sigh, there goes my potential weapon.
The voice is back.
I quickly run, mentally that is, through the checkpoints I have created in Garret’s defences and jump into the privacy of my own head. It is loudest here and I can decipher more words.
“Hello?!” I call.
The voice grows louder, almost deafening me, until it finally stops.
“Hello, my dear,” says one of the softest voices I’ve ever heard. I can’t see the speaker, but they sound like they are right next to me. It’s a little creepy, but I’ll go with it. My instincts are telling me that I have nothing to fear from this person.
“Who are you?”
“Gosh, I’ve had a lot of names over the centuries,” he replies. “You can call me Ira, if you like?”
“Ira. I like it,” and I do. It’s a good name. “Where are you, Ira?”
“Unfortunately, dear, I am only a few cells away from you. Your power is magnificent though, so I simply could not resist contacting you.”
“I didn’t know anyone else was here. My power has been, well, disabled I suppose. Garret blindsided me with that one,” the bitterness in my voice is a welcome change to the preppy cheer I’ve been using.
“Yes, he is far more powerful than he looks,” Ira sighs. “But he is also arrogant. You’d think a three hundred year old man would have found some humility, but he is simply incorrigible. I’ve been trying to weaken his bonds, but I have not gotten very far yet. You may be stuck a little longer yet.”
He’s been trying to help me? Someone has been helping me. That’s incredible.
“Thank you, Ira,” I say, a feeling of warmth spreading in my chest. “But you don’t have to worry. I’ve been inside his wards for a few days now and I’m breaking them down. I’ll be out of here in no time.”
“Amazing,” he says, and he certainly sounds amazed. “You are so much more incredible than I anticipated.”
“Have me met before, Ira?”
“No, dear,” he replies, a strange affection in his voice that, if I’m not mistaken, is a little paternal. “But I have been waiting for you. I’m sorry we had to meet here.”
And he does sound truly apologetic.
My curiosity about Ira triples.
“Do you have a plan to get out of here, Ira?” I ask.
May as well see if some of the work is already done.
“I’m afraid not. I have been here so long now, my body has grown so weak, that I don’t think I could get out no matter what I tried.”
Okay then. I’m a little disappointed but I can’t say I wasn’t expecting his response. His mental voice is so weak, I can’t imagine what his physical body must have endured.
“I’ll get us out, Ira. I just have to break Garr-”
“I must leave, child. They are here for me again.”
And the connection is lost, leaving me emptier than before when I had nothing but myself.
But now I have an ally.