My fingers bled as I held the single, small blade in my hand; the plastic shaving razor in pieces in the sink.
My body was a bloody canvas, and if the man were to walk in he might’ve thought I had attempted something that I wasn’t actually attempting to do. The blade I held in between my fingers was not going to be used to inflict harm onto myself, but onto the beast of the man who had me here.
I didn’t think that I would be able to use this puny little blade on him when he was awake and alert, but I knew I could do some damage when he was asleep and vulnerable. I was no quitter when it came to achieving my freedom—I may have tried for it in brainless ways, but it was better than trying in no ways at all.
I placed the blade in between my teeth as I began to roam through the cabinet mounted on the wall, trying to find bandaids so I could put an end to my bleeding. I was thankful that I was still naked because I would’ve gotten blood all over the mans clothing. I had left the water in the bathtub, knowing that things were bound to get messy at some point. I’d have to soak and scrub the blood off.
A pack of waterproof bandaids were tucked in the corner of the top shelf; unopened and unused. My hands were shaking like tectonic plates before an earthquake as I struggled to rip the package open. When I did manage to open it, I took out three bandaids to place on my fingers; two on my right index and one on my thumb. I threw the trash in the garbage bin that he kept under the sink, along with the pieces of the razor.
Taking the blade out from between my teeth and placing it on the counter, I walked over the bathtub and plunked myself inside. The water was still lukewarm, and was enough to neutralize my shaking limbs; to soothe my nerves. I scrubbed the dry blood off of myself with my uncut fingers, getting out of the tub when I was content that I was clean.
I unplugged the drain and turned to put on the clothes that the man had set out for me, grateful that it wasn’t anything skimpy or revealing—he wasn’t trying to dress me up like a doll just so I could be sultry to his eyes. He had laid out pale grey sweatpants, and a baggy black t-shirt along with black boxers. They smelt like him...musky and masculine.
I put on the boxers and sweats, tightening both as tight as they could go so they wouldn’t fall down to my ankles at any given point. I put my bra on underneath the t-shirt that fell down to my knees and blurred my shape. The clothes were comfortable and airy, and didn’t give away any definite outlines to my figure. I untangled my sopping hair with a comb on the top shelf of his cabinet.
I took the blade off of the counter and placed it in the wiring of my bra in between my breasts, making sure it wasn’t at an angle where I’d cut myself. I collected my clothes off of the ground, bunching them in my arms as I grabbed the doorknob, trying to twist it open. I had checked the room for any possibility of an alternate escape route, but found none.
When the door didn’t open right away, I was both alarmed and confused until I remembered hearing the scraping of the chair, and the man telling me to knock three times when I was ready to come out; as if I was knocking the holy trinity. I knew right then and there that he had locked me in, placing the chair underneath the outside knob so I couldn’t open the door.
It was nearly dehumanizing, having to knock for permission to leave a room. There was definitely layers of mistrust between us, but I didn’t agree this was the way to gain it on my account. It could be argued that I had to earn his trust on my behalf—but to do so was to stop fighting for my freedom.
And that was not an option.
Swallowing down my pride, I rapped three fast knocks on the door. I stepped back instantly, a part of me expecting the door to fly open so quickly it would knock me over like a domino. But instead I waited, maybe a minute or two, and miserably thought that he had forgotten that he had left me in here.
But I heard his footsteps approaching from the end of the hallway; which meant that he had been downstairs. I dropped my chin to my chest, expecting him to open the door right away. He didn’t, and I grew confused as he went into the bedroom before he came to fetch me. I couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief when he scraped the chair back to where he had gotten it from before opening the door. I could’ve opened it myself after he took the chair away, but I felt like my only option was to accede to him.
He opened the door, and the smell of him became so overwhelming that it burned. I didn’t look up at him—couldn’t, really, unless I wanted to relive that chagrin and distress. The mountain we had failed to climb over still haunted me, like an evil spirit that refused to get off of my back.
He took my clothes out of my hands, his fingers brushing my arms. I retracted from him instantly, becoming nervous and edgy. I wished the floor would open up and swallow me whole just to take me away from this disaster of a scenario.
“Come,” he ordered me, his voice gentle and persuasive. My eyes watched his feet step to the side to allow me to get in front of him. Keeping my head down, I followed his instructions and stepped in front of him; my ambition, for once, not to run. “Go into the bedroom.” He said, but did not touch me or force me into it.
Once we were in the bedroom he told me to sit on the bed, so I did. The blade tucked in between my breasts taunted me—the coldness and sharpness teasing me. I wanted nothing more than to use it against him, but I knew now was not the time. I had to be patient, but patience came with a cost.
The cost being more time being wasted beneath this roof.
“Look at me,” The man demanded. Feeling uneasy in his presence, I winced at his demand. I wished he would just go away and leave me alone, but he wouldn’t until he was done toying with me. He proved this by saying my name when I wouldn’t listen to him right away. “Edie.” He urged.
I didn’t look at him directly, but I peeked up at him through my lashes which he luckily decided as good enough.
“I’m leaving for the day,” he began. “I have to go to work and I won’t be back until after dark. I left you a meal on the nightstand. It’s up to you whether you touch it or not. I won’t be here to force it down your throat. I’m keeping you locked in our room until I get back, once I’m here I’ll let you out.”
I scoffed, and couldn’t come up with a cynical enough comment to throw at him.
He smirked, aware of my contempt as he walked across the side of the bed I sat on and reached over to the nightstand; holding my clothes in one arm. Leaning down, he grabbed a ripe, scarlet strawberry—the leafy part already chopped off—and popped it in his mouth. He left the room, shutting the door behind him. And locking it.
I waited until I couldn’t hear his retreating footfalls anymore, and unplugged the lamp from the wall; tearing it off of the nightstand. I walked over to the window, keeping the lamp on the floor right beside me as I kneeled on the bench. I looked outside, watching as the mans towering stature walked away from the cabin; his back turned to me as he put more distance between us. He didn’t turn around once.
I tried to pry open the window with my hands, but knew it was unachievable to me when I couldn’t move it an inch with all my strength and strain. I wasn’t surprised, however. I had a feeling that he would’ve ensured it was impossible to open, so I couldn’t slip through it again. That was why I had the lamp.
Holding the base of the lamp in my hands, I stood directly beside the bench as I used the bottom end of it to swing at the window like a baseball bat with all of my vigour. It didn’t so much as crack the first couple of swings, so I continued to hit it over and over again maybe thirty times until I realized I was getting absolutely nowhere.
Sweating, I dropped the lamp as I stood on my knees on the bench. I didn’t think I had a weak arm, and the bottom of the lamp was sturdy and metal, so I knew that something about the window had to be preventing me from breaking it. I held up my left hand, realizing I knew precisely what the issue was.
My left hand had two reflections. The glass was shatterproof.
Insentient, defeated and kicked down, I slumped over and covered my face with my hands. I let out an enraged shriek into my palms, completely withered of all feelings of faith and promise in my capability of escaping. I knew I couldn’t break down the door, and I knew I couldn’t pick the lock because the door could only lock from the outside; perhaps a new instalment for my arrival.
Insensibly, as tears ran down my cheeks in a hot stream, I stood up and grabbed the lamp and walked it back over to the nightstand; plugging it back into the socket as I put it back in place. I grabbed the plate of food he set out for me; a handful of strawberries, two pieces of toast, and a tall glass of orange juice. I managed to keep it balanced as I walked back over to the window.
I sat down with my back pressed against one side of the wall, my legs stretched along the length of the bench. I was completely numb and heedless as I began to eat and drink the plates contents, not even bothering to see if anything was drugged or not. It wasn’t, and it was probably the only time I wanted it to be.
Because I was forced to wait, from sunrise past sunset, until the man got home so I could be released from my jail cell.
I didn’t move from the window bench once the whole day. I sat in the same position for hours upon hours, in and out of daydreaming of days where I had control over my life. The plate was set on my thighs as I stared out of the shatterproof glass, void of focus.
I hadn’t even turned the lamp on. I relied on the silvery glow from the moonlight to provide me with illumination. The moon didn’t provide an abundant amount of light, only because it was a crescent; its majority blanketed by shadow.
When the bedroom door opened, I nearly jumped out of my skin because I had been too zoned out to pick up on the sound of the mans approaching footsteps. I had to grab onto the edges of the plate to prevent it from falling onto the floor and smashing into a million pieces.
He flicked on the light switch, and the brightness stung my eyes as they sent waves of pain to travel into my skull through my optic nerves. I had to blink a couple of times to readjust to the light, and to send the headache away.
The man almost completely took up the space of the threshold as he leant against the doorframe. He was staring intently at me, if not with a bit of humour. I couldn’t stop myself from focusing on his corded arms crossed over his broad chest, the crooked smile on his full lips, his tussled raven hair. I hated him for being so handsome, but I hated myself even more for noticing.
“Come here, Edie.” he ordered. It was piteous how giddy I was to be released from this unenjoyable room; it was dull and depressing, like a sanitarium. But this wasn’t curing my insanity, however; it was provoking it.
I leaped to my feet instantly, scurrying over to him with the plate in tow. He held out a hand for it as I came to stop in front of him, and I handed it over to him without question. He didn’t say anything as he continued to look at me, and I was worried that I had done something to piss him off. I wasn’t scared to argue with him, but I was scared he was going to lock me in here again. I placed my hands in the pockets of the sweatpants, trying to calm their shaking.
“I want you to run me a bath,” he said after a few seconds, and my brows furrowed as I looked up at his face to see if he was kidding. He wasn’t. “I’ll be in the bathroom in ten.”
“Why do you want me to run it?” I asked, suspicious.
He stopped leaning against the doorframe, and bent down so we were eye to eye. I placed a leg back, mostly to support myself than to take a step back. “Because I will not feel clean if not washed by your hands,” he elaborated. “Don’t think about trying to run, because no matter where you go I will find you.”
I didn’t query him because I believed him.
I grimaced as I stepped around him, hooking the right to the bathroom. I turned on the light and avoided my kidnappers eyes, closing the door instantly without locking it. Unlike the bedroom, this door didn’t lock from the outside. And I wasn’t stupid enough to lock it, because I knew he could break it down. He had in my home.
I ran the water and plugged the drain once it was warm, then removed my bandaids and threw them in the trash. I did, however, bend the rules for no longer than a minute. I locked the door as I used the toilet; my bladder full from holding in my pee all day. Once I was done and finished washing my hands, I unlocked it again.
Feeling in a generous mood—towards myself to occupy my ten minute break away from him—I grabbed his body wash and held it under the rushing water being spit out from the tap. I squeezed a large dollop from the bottle before putting it back on the shower shelf. Getting on my hands and knees beside the tub, I energetically thrashed my hands in the water until I created hills of peppery, bubbly suds.
I shut the water off once I knew it was breaching the height that risked overflowing once the man set his body into it. The moment the water stopped running, the bathroom door creaked open as the man entered, then closed it behind him without locking it. I took a deep breath and sat on the closed toilet lid, swallowing the lump in my throat as I turned my back to him; revolted by the idea of watching him undress.
He slipped into the tub, and didn’t complain that the temperature of the water was too high or low. I made sure the water was cooler than what I usually bathed in; I liked it when it was just below burning—steaming. I could sit in it for a long time, feeling the stages as the water lowered to room temperature.
The atmosphere in the room was awkward and tense; on my behalf at least. When I finally gathered the bravery to look at the naked man sitting in the tub, he was staring at me—the same intensity in his eyes as there had been when we first met in the gas station. I wished I hadn’t taken on that night shift.
“Come sit.” he said, motioning for me to plunk myself on the edge of the bathtub. I gritted my teeth, nonplussed at how he was so comfortable ordering me around. Sure, I was at his mercy, but he talked to me like he had known me for years.
“I don’t want to wash you!” I blurted out, lifting my knees up to my chest; folding into myself. “It will be an unendurable process for me. I don’t want to wash you.” I reiterated.
“I know you don’t want to, but you’re going to,” he said nonchalantly. “We’re not leaving this bathroom until you wash me.”
My whole face seemed to spasm as I cringed. “I could run. You’re wet and naked. Wouldn’t you feel shame, chasing me across this territory, as naked as the day you were brought into this earth?”
“Nudity is not frowned upon in these parts like it is in your human towns,” he informed me. “I think you would feel more ashamed being chased by a naked madman, would you not? Especially when he catches you.”
I gritted my teeth harder, unable to argue. “Why are you so insistent that I wash you? What do you get out of it?”
“Do you intend on taking advantage of me?” I asked, my worry enunciating my words. I was scared he’d try to rip my clothes off and force himself upon me, then drown me in the bathtub when he was done with me. Being stuck in a bathroom with him was disquieting, because if he suddenly decided he wanted to overpower me he could.
But he persisted the opposite of what I thought. “If taking advantage of you means getting you to wash me, then yes. If anything, Edie, you’re taking advantage of me.”
“It’s only taking advantage if you’re dubious about it.”
“And I’m not. So what are we waiting for? The longer you blow off washing me, the longer we’re stuck in here. I get irritable when the water gets cold.” He joked...joked; like this was all just one big joke to him. I didn’t doubt that it was.
On the sink counter, in the left corner, there was a basket of dark grey hand towels. I stood up and grabbed one of them before walking back to the bathtub. I didn’t sit on the edge like he had asked, but I stood on my knees on the floor, right beside where he had motioned me to be.
As I soaked the cloth with his bath water, I met his eyes for a short second to get my point across; to let him know how serious I was. “I’m not cleaning your manhood,” I told him sternly. “So don’t bother asking me to.”
“I didn’t expect you to. I only expect you to clean what’s above the water.”
I took the cloth out of the water and broke eye contact, looking as his chest. “The only reason you want me to do this is because it’s erotic to you. Not because you feel like I’m the only one capable of cleaning you.” I accused.
He chuckled. “You have me pegged.”
I didn’t respond, cutting an end to our conversation as I slapped the soaking cloth onto his chest; my lips curling as I grew more and more uncomfortable as this situation became intolerable. There was nothing sexy or titillating about this whole experience; it was nothing if not traumatizing. I wanted to kick him out of the tub, drain the water and refill it, then scrub myself clean again. Being forced to clean him made me feel cheap.
I rubbed his chest with the cloth in hard, angry motions; making sure he knew how unappealing this was to me. In that moment, I wished I could scrub him dirty just so he knew how I felt. I was surprised he didn’t scold me or tell me to relax. It was the most considerate thing he could do...aside from telling me to stop completely.
“We need to talk about what happened earlier.” He said. I pursed my lips.
“What is there to talk about?” I asked, trying to sound disinterested. I didn’t want to talk about it...I wanted to forget about it. I knew it was something you couldn’t just forget about...but it didn’t change the fact that I wanted to.
“Everything. Clearly you’re aware of what I am. I won’t give you the back-history of how our existence came to be, but I can tell you what you are to me. Everything will make sense. It might even offer you some closure.”
I relented my bullheadedness. “I’m listening.” I said, dunking the cloth in the water as I moved onto the arm closest to me. At this point I was cleaning him in order to attempt to distract myself from zeroing in on the fact that I was cleaning him—an oxymoron.
“Do you believe in soul mates?”
I paused; continued. “No.” I answered honestly.
“Well you should, Edie, because they’re real. What’s a soulmate to you?”
“If I believed in them, I’d think that they were two people created for each other.”
“That’s what they are. Two souls created for each other. Do you know what connects them?” I didn’t answer, so he continued. I stopped cleaning his arm, and leaned over the tub for the other one; noticing the absence of the wound I had given him. I ignored the mans intrigued face, and ignored his scarless skin. “The moon. The moon connects them. We worship the moon like a Christian worships God, and in return for our devotion she grants each of us a soulmate that’s perfect for us.”
“I’m not of your breed.” I interjected.
“No. You’re correct about that,” he stopped, deliberating. “But you’re perfect for me. She paired us because you complete me; there’s something about you that must make me whole.”
“I was perfectly complete without you.” I sneered. I stopped washing his arm and threw the towel onto the floor behind me, not caring how rude and callous I was being towards him. What he was spewing out sounded like bullshit a person with mental issues would come up with...but yet I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t believe him. He wasn’t human, clearly. His beliefs, also clearly, differed from mine and I wouldn’t discriminate against them.
But it didn’t change the fact that what he was saying sounded so far-fetched I had trouble stomaching it.
“Watch your tongue,” he barked at me as I stood up, ending up having to grab the towel I had thrown onto the floor. I followed his advice and bit my tongue to prevent myself from lashing out at him again. I sat on the toilet lid as I dunked the cloth back in the water, wringing it once I took it out. I began to rub his hair with it, doing my best to not grab handfuls and rip his black strands out in clumps. “Do not insult what we share that way.”
“What do we share?” I retaliated, unable to bite my tongue for long. “Because so far all I feel towards you is nothing good.”
“We share a bond. Without you I am nothing, and without me you are nothing.”
“I am not nothing without you.”
“But you are not everything.” He countered.
I laughed, mocking him. “Who is?”
“You have a duty, now. And that is to run this territory alongside me. You know what that means? You are my equal. You are of the same power status that I am. And do you know what that means? You and I, we have an obligation. And that is to make sure my bloodline doesn’t die. You will provide this pack a heir—male or female—and that is when you and I become everything.”
But his long speech left me nothing but seething.
I stood up off of the toilet seat and threw the cloth in his face. He instantly grabbed it and threw it into the water, looking at me with livid eyes. I only added fuel to the fire, however, by sticking my hand into the water and splashing it into his face; blatantly more disrespectful than your standard slap.
“I am not your whore!” I yelled at him, my face hot with anger. “The moment I become everything is when you drop dead!” And under no circumstances did I think my statements would blow over smoothly with him.
But when he looked at me with that same murderous rage as the wolf had, I knew that I had went too far.