The Beauty of Grey

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Chapter 4

I blinked my eyes open as my lucidity came flooding back to me, my body abysmally sore. I didn’t know if it was from me throwing myself out of his truck, or from how I tumbled down a ditch then a hill. It was probably a combination of the two, but the pain in my left shoulder was so intense that it was all I could focus on.

I groaned as my head throbbed from a jackhammer headache, my chest heavy like someone had stepped on it and left their foot behind. My clothes and hair were still damp from the creek; not enough to drip, however. I was sweating an awful lot. Despite my cold clothing, I was burning.

My body felt leadened and infeasible to move, as if someone had beaten me up the night before. I had been beaten, just not up. I had been thoroughly defeated, sedated and knocked out. I didn’t know how long a pressure point could knock someone out for, but I must’ve slept like a baby long enough for him to drive and take me up to wherever he wanted to take me.

I let out a mewl, my eyes slipping shut again as I lifted my arms up so I could wipe my forehead with my hands. My shoulder flared with a pain strong enough to earn a squeal from me, like I had just ripped it from its socket. I wondered what type of damage I had done. I knew I had done something pretty drastic.

I gently wiped my forehead with my hands, scared to intensify the heartbeat within my skull. Perspiration soaked my palms as I swiped the sheen of it away, feeling no less cooler despite the fact that my hands were clammy. What a miserable state to be in, so sore you can hardly move and so hot you feel like you’re burning a fever.

I dropped my arms on the silk bedsheets, able to recognize that they weren’t my own; not that I thought they were to begin with. My bedsheets were cotton and fluffy and soft. The silk was pleasant...in a begrudging way; only because they didn’t belong to me.

I was too sore to shift and look around the room. I knew that there had been a window to my left because when I had cracked my eyes open there had been a faint glow from my peripheral, most likely from the moonlight. If I could’ve ran to it, I would’ve.

Especially after the door creaked open and my eyes shot wide as I stared at the ceiling, feeling panic creeping into my body like ticks under my skin. I began trembling like a leaf as my hands tightened around the bedsheets, craning my neck to look up at the door but dropping it right after because the movements hurt too badly. I had gotten killer whiplash, too.

“No,” I mumbled, my feet pushing against the bedsheets as I feebly tried to worm my way backwards. My eyes cringed shut and my teeth clenched as I threw my head to the side, matting my curls even worse. “S-stay away.” I warned weakly.

“Edie,” the man spoke, voice even more sonorous in the pitch black room. He sounded concerned if he were to sound like anything. “Calm down.” He said as he continued to approach me.

“No!” I cried, my voice cracking and croaking. “Stay away from me!”

He sat on the edge of the bed and set something down on the ground, aware of my obvious trepidation but not saying anything to settle it. I was terrified that it was a baseball bat or a gun or a baton or something else to bash my head in with after taking advantage of me. I wished adrenaline would’ve kicked in to counteract the pain like morphine, but I had no such luck.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said, but I didn’t believe him; especially after that what he did next hurt very much. I let out cries of displeasure as he placed his hands underneath my armpits and hoisted my limp body up into a sitting position before dragging me backwards until my back was supported by the headboard, my hands never unclenching from the sheets as I took them with me. ”Purposely.” He added as an afterthought.

I opened my eyes and looked at him as sweat began to bead on my forehead again. “Wh-what are you doing?” I queried, voice giving away just how nervous I truly was. He hadn’t directly hurt me yet, but I was scared he was going to. “P-please.”

He held eye contact with me as he leaned over to the nightstand and flicked on the lamp, a pale golden light eliminating the total darkness. It wasn’t overly bright where it hurt my eyes when it was initially turned on, but it was enough where I could see how I was surrounded by empty, boring black walls. Just being in this room and knowing what it looked like was depressing. The room felt stuffy with gloom.

“Your shoulder,” he began as he sat back in place. “How much does it hurt?”

I shrugged then winced, but tried to brush it off. His hand under my armpit triggered the pain, and my shrug was enough to reignite it full force. However, I didn’t want him trying to touch or treat my wound. So I lied; not very good, of course. “It feels fine.”

He gave me a small smirk, and I wanted to slap myself as I noticed how painstakingly and inconveniently handsome he was. If he had been our family doctor when I was a kid, I would’ve faked illnesses all the time. “Are you familiar with morphine?”

“Why?” I asked guardedly. “You gonna’ drug me again?”

His jaw clenched, my question striking a nerve. There was something deeply disturbing and freaky about this action alone, and I instantly wanted to apologize so he wouldn’t hurt me. “No. Well, yes—”

But yet I couldn’t stop myself from lashing out. “You wanna’ knock me out again?”

He gave me a look of irritability, lips tightening into a fine line as his eyes turned into slits. I was pushing all of his buttons.

“Do you like it when I’m impotent?” I challenged his glare. “Defenceless and helpless? I bet it turns you on, doesn’t it? I—”

“That is enough,” he put an end to my bashing session and my venomous vehemence. He leant in close to my face, his hand reaching out and grabbing my jaw; not tightly enough to hurt me, but tightly enough to let me know that he could. “I didn’t drug you to take advantage of you while you were defenceless and helpless, I did it so I could make your life easier.”

“My life? Easier?” I laughed bitterly. “Alright.”

“I never asked to tackle you down the stairs, I never asked for you to jump out of a vehicle, and I never asked for you to kick us down a fucking hill. You’re in pain because you willingly put yourself there.”

“So I was supposed to come with you willingly?” I retaliated. “What would you do?”

It was the first time I had shown any fierceness to him, and I wasn’t exactly sure of where it came from. It came in like a lion and went out like a lamb, leaving me feeling jittery and fearful once I realized what I was doing. It went to prove to me that even the meek will speak when pushed too far outside of their comfort zone.

I softened my glare as I pulled my chin out of his grasp, and he allowed me to. The way he looked at me sent chills crawling up my spine because it was so stone cold and icy. It felt like winter in the room, and I swallowed nervously as I dropped my eyes to my lap. Even after I looked away, I could feel his eyes freezing me solid. They say people infatuated with you often won’t look away from you until they get bored.

It took him too long to get bored of looking at me.

The bed shifted as he bent down to reach over the side for whatever he had brought in. I scrutinized him closely as he revealed a first aid kit, nervous that he was going to play surgeon and try to operate on me. I didn’t think I had any broken bones. I knew I had major bruising and nasty road rash on my arms and small cuts on my face, but it wasn’t anything critical. My legs and abdomen had been protected by my clothing, and by the fact that the man hadn’t been going any faster than fifty kilometres down the gravel road.

He opened the kit; an obvious homemade kit by the prescription ointments and small syringes—with sedatives or whatever else was required—already filled and ready to go. I began to grow fidgety, disliking all the homemade remedies he planned to treat my wounds with.

“I can do it,” I told him gently, apprehension seizing me as he took out a syringe and removed the plastic from the needle . He had already pumped an anesthetic into me earlier. I knew he was no stranger to these drugs and sedatives, but he was too quick to use them for my liking. “Don’t!” I yelled at him.

He looked at me through the tops of his eyes as he reached for my less damaged arm, grabbing my wrist. I tried to tear it from his grip, but he wasn’t going to let me get away so easy this time. I tried to squirm and pry him off of me with my other arm, but I could only do so much. I was so inept when it came to fighting him off; powerless.

“This is an analgesic. It will numb the pain,” he informed me, like it would make me feel more accepting of it. “I know you’re aching. This will take that away.”

He slid the needle into my forearm, injected it and took it out. Unlike the anaesthetic, it didn’t began to kick in after only a few seconds. I knew that once it did, though, I wouldn’t be completely opposed to it. I would never admit that out loud to him, of course.

He threw the used syringe onto the side table and reached into the medical kit for an ointment. He pulled out a white container the size of a pop can and twisted the lid off, setting it on his lap. The smell of the cream immediately filled up the room; wilderness in a bottle.

“What is that?” I questioned.

He looked pleased that I was showing an interest in something that belonged to him, even it was for my own wellbeing instead of innocent curiosity. He responded with a gentle edge to his voice, but was still vague enough to leave me wanting more information. I wondered if he did it to get me to talk to him more.

“It’s an antibiotic.”

My face turned blank, emotionless. “Well, yes. But...what’s in it?”

“Nature.” He closed the conversation with. I had misjudged him. He didn’t want to talk to me at all.

He scooped some of the product out of the container, using his index and middle finger to grab it. It was thick and white like penaten cream, and it made me feel a little uneasy. Sure, he gave me an analgesic, but it would only numb the preexisting pain. I was worried this would hurt too much for me to suppress another outburst.

My forearms weren’t affected by road rash like my biceps were. He was going to treat the arm I hadn’t landed on first, maybe to expedite my trust in this process sooner. He wouldn’t look at me as he began to apply the cream onto my bicep, but yet I couldn’t focus on anything except for him. I inwardly scolded myself, knowing how wrong it was. But yet I couldn’t help myself.

I blamed it on the analgesic because my whole body was numb and I was thinking nothing but happy thoughts despite the knowledge that it would not help me fly away to Neverland. My body was weightless and painless and I was filled with nothing but positivity.

The cream felt like heaven on my wound. It was cooling like menthol and further comforted me. The mans fingers were gentle as he rubbed it into my wound, and although I knew who he was and what he had done to me, I could not complain. He was a villain to me, but yet I placed him on the pedestal of a hero. I must’ve cracked up or something, my fragility and shock sending me over the edge.

“Does that hurt?” He asked smugly, knowing that it wouldn’t. I didn’t want him to stop, not even for a second, so I refrained from nodding my head in an effort to piss him off.

“No.” I whispered.

My plan had failed, however. His fingers stopped kneading my skin as he reached into the medical kit to pull out some gauze. He began to wrap it around my wound with more vigour than he had applied the cream with, but yet I couldn’t feel a thing. Whatever was in that analgesic worked miracles and wonders.

He secured the gauze after he was finished wrapping it around my arm before he stood up, taking the container and the remaining gauze with him. My eyes followed him like a hawk as he walked around the bed before sitting down on the opposite side. He grabbed my wrist and placed the back of my hand on his thigh as he began to rub more cream onto my bigger wound.

My brows furrowed as I brewed up a new critique, something I had just thought of. “Shouldn’t you be cleaning the wound first?”

“This kills infection.” He responded in a clipped tone. He didn’t seem to handle criticism well.

“But the dried blood. Shouldn’t you—”

“You worry too much, Edie. I know what I’m doing. I’ve done this before.”

“But—”

He hushed me like a parent putting their child to sleep and although it ticked me off how he was silencing me, I didn’t argue with him. If he knew what he was doing, then fine. If I developed some sort of life threatening disease and I died, then so be it. At least I’d die more peacefully that way than I would if he killed me with a machete or his bare hands.

I looked away from him, sulking and befuddled. I felt like I had little to think about even though in that moment I shouldn’t have been able to stop thinking—or fretting. But yet, as the man tended to me I felt nothing if not relaxed. I wished I had a clone that could visit me from the future and knock the stupid right out of me.

I figured I was being completely rational, oddly enough. He was tending to me, so clearly he didn’t want to hurt me as of yet. He was being patient with me for the most part, so thankfully he wasn’t a short-fused killer looking for a complete submissive to keep as a companion. He was determined, so somehow I had a purpose to him.

I just didn’t know what it was. And under the influence of whatever he had injected into my bloodstream, I couldn’t care to try and come up with conspiracies as to what purpose I was. But I did want to know why I wasn’t quivering with fear in his presence, because I didn’t think the drugs alone were capable of achieving that.

“Why do you not terrify me now?” I asked him, blinking at the wall past his forehead.

He stopped rubbing my bicep for a moment, before he continued again. His jaw, again, clenched. I didn’t think I had asked anything wrong, so I was angsty at his reaction. If anything I thought he’d be zealous at the fact I had indirectly confessed that he didn’t scare me.

“Because our connection does not allow inadequate fear.” He answered, clearly uncomfortable at my question. But yet I couldn’t stop myself from touching more on the topic, hoping I’d earn the answers I felt I deserved.

“Then what calls for adequate fear?”

He stopped rubbing the cream into my arm and began to apply the gauze. “My rage.”

I gulped audibly. “What about my rage?”

He didn’t give me a second glance as he responded. “Your rage doesn’t scare me. You cannot hurt me. Even if you tried. Even if I was bound by chains to a tree and you held a rifle to my forehead, you couldn’t hurt me.”

“Why?” I cocked my head to the side, ignoring the threat like it would make it nonexistent. “Are you made of steel? Are you superman?”

“One day you’ll understand what I mean,” He stated, a clear end to our conversation. He kept cutting my interrogations short and it was irking me. He secured the gauze around my shoulder oblivious to how peeved I was, using up the rest of it. “You’re lucky you didn’t break any bones.”

“Try driving over fifty then we’ll try for round two.”

He smirked at my juvenile sass, standing up and walking back over to the other side of the bed. He put everything, including the empty syringe, back in the kit before lugging it at his side like it was a suitcase, and then exited the room. He hadn’t closed the door behind him. He had every intention of coming back as soon as possible.

And I was under no disillusions that I could make a break for it in the time he was gone and I felt completely foolish as I sat there, having no choice but to wait for his return. My head was so messy and muddled that I couldn’t even begin to think of ways, even ones ineffective or unrealistic, to escape.

Because although I was sore and unafraid, I knew that I’d try to run away again. I was either incredibly sanguine or incredibly suicidal, but I was not completely succumbed to my situation and I had no forethought that I’d play housewife and appease him if only to make the most of this shitty scenario.

I was thinking strange and berserk right now, but I had hope that basic instinct and my rationale would aid me in getting out of here before things started to turn sour. Things weren’t exactly sugary sweet as of yet, but I knew things could get worse on the flip of a dime.

He came back inside, holding a glass of water in one hand and a grey hand-towel in the other. At the sight of the towel, dread began to replace my ease and with my numbed limbs, I tried to hoist myself away from him. I was worried that I had felt unthreatened for too long, and he was going to knock me out—this time with chloroform.

But my arms were like jello and betrayed me, unable to move my body away from him. He didn’t rush over to me to play knight in shining armour and I was glad for that, but there was something belittling about his lack of emotion as he watched me struggle.

He set the cloth down on the table and sat beside me, holding out the glass of water for me to take and drink. Disliking the idea of showing him I had no ambition to at least attempt to hold the glass, I lifted my arm up to grab it. Credits to me, however, I was able to grab the glass, but I was unable to grip it. The man understood and held it with me.

I was as thick as a brick apparently, too. I was so thirsty that I hadn’t bothered to get him to take a sip of it before I did in order to make sure that it wasn’t laced with anything. But it went down smooth like tequila; cold and quenching, making me forget I had ever been thirsty to begin with.

It was too satisfying, and I immediately knew that I had made a mistake. I was doing, thinking and feeling everything so absurdly and wrongly. Had I just been like any normal abductee, I probably would’ve been in a better place. But how does one so naive respond to being kidnapped? It was like grief, everyone coped with it differently.

But it’s arguable that you don’t cope to being kidnapped. You have to fight for your freedom until it becomes impossible. But freedom is never impossible. Nothing is ever impossible. Not unless you’re pushing up daisies.

My eyes began to grow heavy, and I felt so double-crossed—like I had trusted him only for him to turn around and stab me in the back. I didn’t trust him at all, and he technically hadn’t stabbed me in the back because he had no loyalties tied with me. I was trying to remain optimistic in a situation doomed from the get-go; the cards never playing into my hand.

“Why!?” I screeched as he set the glass on the side table, picking up the cloth. Was I not going out fast enough? Was he going to drug me back to back?

But to my greater surprise, he began to wipe my forehead with the cool compress. “Because you’ll feel better when you wake up.”

“You like control, don’t you?” I accused as my vision began to blur, my eyes harder and harder to keep open. “Always drugging me.” I spat.

He began to wipe my cheeks and nose, and I was able to feel faint stinging on my cuts. It was the cream itself that had provided relief for application for my road rash, not the analgesic. Whatever was laced with water on the cloth was supposed to disinfect; to cleanse and sting. Maybe this was his way of getting back at me for my pettiness.

“Making me your quiet captive. It’s what you want, isn’t it?” I slurred, sounding as drunk as I felt. The last emotion I felt before my mind shut down was an incomprehensible anger to the fact that I didn’t have control over how and where I slept, and that I couldn’t defend myself if he were to want to try something. So far he had knocked me out three times in one night. My chances of waking up unscathed and untouched were beginning to run out.

I wondered if he’d do it again and again just to beat the record of how many times he had drugged his previous victim. He seemed so expert and good at this; calm and composed, experienced. He knew what he was doing. I didn’t think that I was the first girl he had ever done this too.

But I was wrong. I was the first.

And the last.

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