I was going home.
But why does it feel like I was waiting for a cage to find instead?
Desmond didn’t give me much choice to argue or actually try to escape. He just forcefully shoved a napkin over my nose and the next thing I know I woke up to the jet already in the sky. And the worse thing is I was leaving Seth in the care of these people.
When I knew how dangerous it was for both of us.
Desmond’s words about their plan still flash over me in small motion. They are planning a private party with enough alcohol to make him remember the horror of his teenage years. Not only that, he will be forced to use as-My throat goes dry at the thought of no grin on that face. No joy on those blue eyes. Only a cold reminder of what he endured because of me.
It was always because of me, isn’t it?
Mom, Grace, Seth...
Will I ever get to save him? Can I even save myself from my own father?
My nails dig into my skin breaking it. Tiny drops of blood sip into the floor like always yet I can’t feel the pain, I can only feel his pain. The loath he will feel once he gets to know that I’ve left him to suffer alone.
“Buckle up, bitch. We are almost there.” I want to ignore everything. Where I am. Where I am going. Where I want to be.
But reality doesn’t give me the solitude I badly need. It comes into a form of Desmond. His hands are harsh on me, drawing my attention from the doom I’m walking into. “Enjoy your luxury while it still lasts. Pedro wouldn’t love it if you walk up to him with that disgusting look on your face.”
“Well, I’m disgusted.” I can’t stop but retort. Maybe if I push him too much, he will finally throw me out of the jet. One can only hope.
My freedom doesn’t come that easily though. He only snorts at my words and turns back to do whatever he was doing. Apparently dead woman like me doesn’t have the right to mean something.
“Sir, we’re ready to land.” A new voice says. This man is dressed in a suit, a gun casually in his hand. Another one of Ceaser’s people?
“Good. Then go! Why are you staring like a fool?” Desmond shouts clearly irritated to get disturbed.
“Uh...Sir-” The man only glances at me warly once before looking away. “We got some calls from the base. There’s some kind of error in the security. We’re looking into it but it’s been more than half an hour without any contact.”
Desmond curses loudly shuttering the deathly silence. For some reason, it’s easier to pretend that Seth has escaped and safely reached Southside. It’s not harder to imagine him telling everyone including my sister what happened. It’s not painful to imagine him moving on with someone else.
My heart doesn’t agree with him moving on. It waits for the jet to land. And when it does, I’m in that horrifying nightmare again. Desmond drags me to a car and shoves me inside before climbing in to sit beside me. I want to scream. I want to ignore his wondering hands all over my body.
“To Knight Manor. Go!” The driver doesn’t even look back to see what’s happening. He tugs my hair almost making me whimper in pain. Finally, I can hear the ugly sniffling. I can hear my breathing coming in harsh.
“It all will be better.” That’s the last thing I hear before something slams into me and I think I’m finally free...
“Wake her up, Desmond. Señor doesn’t like tardiness.”
I’m flying into the darkness. My ears are buzzing and head disturbingly dizzy when someone trails a hand over my cheek. Desmond? No, his touch isn’t this careful.
“I’m not late! Let’s just hope that I don’t get into trouble for this bitch.” There’s an edge in his voice. He sounds afraid, terrified even. A fact I find more humorous than I’d like to admit.
Someone helps me stand. My legs wobble as if I’m standing over clouds. The hand holding me isn’t as harsh as Desmond. “Language Desmond! Señor would have a word with you if you keep disrespecting our guest.”
“Yeah, guest.” He laughs while I try hard to open my eyes. “Don’t pretend as if we both don’t know why she is here.”
I don’t have the energy to ask him questions. So, I don’t. Instead, I work to walk on my own and open my eyes to see where we are going. My sight is nearly blurry when I finally manage to open my dark eyes.
My first sight is the blurry garden. It’s a memorizing place when someone wants to think alone. But I don’t think there’s some use to this beautiful place as I see some of the flowers dying and another half almost rotten.
Like the owner of the house.
“Ms. you alright?” For the first time, I turn to look at the person holding me. Her accent is heavy and she’s using broken English. Her hair is in an elegant bun and she has a long gown in her body. Who is she?
“Ms. do you need anything?” I can see Desmond’s jaw clench in anger. He obviously didn’t like her asking me questions. So for the kick of it, I give her a small smile.
“I am fine.” If we forget the fact that I can feel my cheeks sting with new cuts added. “If you don’t mind-Who are you?”
“I’m your personal maid, Ms. Señor trusts me enough to take care of you.” The way she delivers the words brings a new wave of panic.
She doesn’t show that I’m starting to step back though. She tugs my hand towards the front door with a happy smile plastered in her face. “We will get along just fine. Señor would love to meet you now, come on!”
I stiffen at the sound of my name. The tinge of accent reminds me of where I am. When did we reach the opened door? I can’t move, my hold on her tightens. In fear? Or curiosity? Who is this man who’s blood I share?
“You look...beautiful.” I don’t have a choice other than look up. A storm stares back at me. The same dark eyes I see every day in the mirror. The same nose, the only difference is, his are slightly crocked as if he has broken his nose too many times and a tight-lipped smile.
“Señor, I was just taking her to your study. Isn’t she a beauty?” The woman says softly, running her fingers down my neck. I don’t question her reason to be happy. Maybe I’m the only entertainment source she has found in days. I’ll let her one last fun out of me.
Pedro stares at me longer than a second, then he sighs. “Take her to her room. I want her for dinner at 8. And by the time she’s down here, I want to see her free of every scar and in the dress I’ve put in the closet. Am I clear, Carmen?”
Carmen nods stepping back when he starts to walk out with Desmond in tow. My heart beats harder. I’m drenching in sweat and blood. My head is still dizzy to think about escaping. Just when I thought I was saved from the trouble, Pedro stops near the staircase. I think he talks to Carmen but his eyes are on me.
“Make sure no accidents happen in the way. I’d really hate to ruin a perfect day.”
The threat is clear making me flinch. But Carmen is obvious to everything. She helps me walk until we are standing in front of a room not old to be mine. The walls are painted in pink and blue, a mixed hue any kid will love. Inside the room, there are toys scattered around, there is a bed but the size is too small as if the whole room was meant for a six to ten years old.
“Who lived here before, Carmen?” I ask despite wanting to do nothing with these people. I watch her going through dresses from the closet until finally settling on a black knee-length dress.
She gives me a heartwarming smile before starting to undo the zipper of my dress. “This room is yours. Always has been yours. Señor sometimes comes here when he needs to calm down.”
“Clam down?” I’m curious. “Why?”
Her face dampens. She’s too busy wiping my blood off my face. This is something she can’t say, it’s clear. yet I can’t help but ask again. “Why do I have a room when I never lived here?”
“Because your father waited for you for years.” The word father makes me want to barf but I hold it in. “He was practically beaming when he got the news that Desmond found you.”
Yeah, found me only to give me my punishment. Something tells me that man like Pedro can’t be beaming. They only know how to kill, devour until there’s not a soul left in their body.
After bathing and getting rid of half the cuts with makeup she could, she helps me put the dress on. The neckline is too law for my own good but at least it’s modest than what my first impression was. She also gives me a neckless with pearls. They shine against my cleavage. The scent of the perfume fills the air as she sprays over my body with a smile.
I don’t recognize the woman staring back at me from the mirror. She looks too dead. Too much secret in her eyes.
“It’s almost 8.” Is it? “Why don’t we start early? We have so much to talk.”
Talk? Where’s there to talk?
I don’t stop her when she tugs my hand to make us walk. She points out every room and their purposes. Only when we reach near the study room that she says something odd. Something...useful for once. “This is the study room. Señor barely leaves this room however later I noticed there was a hidden door behind his room that actually leads to outside. That’s how he walks out of the manor and no one sees him leaving the property.”
“Oh?” I’m surprised she doesn’t notice the hopeful tone in my voice. In fact, she keeps the smile on her face the entire time.
“It’s clever, isn’t it? One time a man broke in through that door. Señor hung him from the ceiling in front of our eyes.” Is she trying to warn me? I don’t have the time to ask as we almost reached the dining room.
“Look-” I’m barely inside the room when she stops me. “When you see Señor, offer him a meaningful hug and pick the first dish I choose for you. Not any cook’s, only me.”
There’s no smile in her face. Just a snippet of a tired woman. The words blend together but her stern eyes don’t lie. She wants me to give her my word. So I nod. There’s nothing wrong with hearing the help who has known my deranged sperm-doner far better than I’ve.
“There she is.” My trance breaks when I hear the same dreadful voice. Pedro. He observes me like an object people would gush over but can never have.
“Is she looks at your standard, Señor?” Carmen asks the man, with a slight grin. I don’t know why he doesn’t get his gun out and shoot Carmen with it. Instead, he beckons me to come closer. I want to walk past him but then I remember her. Turning back I notice the same smile still on her face but there’s a slight crack. Just tiny enough for me to walk up to Pedro. My hand trembles when I force them to close around him. His stiff body looks surprised for once when he slowly hugs me back, inhaling my scent in.
“My favorite perfume.” My frown deepens when he abruptly leaves my side. He looks shocked himself. “How do you know I love that one?”
How do I know? I want to glance at Carmen but don’t know why I don’t throw the woman under the bus. “Um...it was just in the room. It’s my favorite too.”
“I see.” He doesn’t sound too happy but thankfully lets it go. But the topic change makes me more nauseous than I’d like to admit. “So, how’s your mother? Still running with money and drugs?”
My fingers twitch to just give up on control. I wouldn’t be able to survive this dinner if he keeps talking.
“She’s dead.” The words don’t hurt as much. “Actually was killed by one of your dealers.”
Desmond chokes on his drink but doesn’t say a thing. Pedro however-A dark look forms behind his eyes as if he can’t believe me.
“And, who was this dealer?” He pauses as if waiting for me to start crying. “By any chance, I know them?”
The smart thing would be to say the bastard’s name. But I was never too smart, to begin with. So I glance at Desmond with a coy smile. “Ask him. He was there too when she was killed. In fact, he’s the one who took my virginity. Among other peers of yours.”
If he was angry before he was fuming now. His harsh glare thrown at me. “What the fuck did you say!? Don’t play silly games with me, little Gwen. It’s not funny.”
“Of course, it’s not funny!” I want to break the whole chair over his head. “But then again I never had a choice. Just like my mother didn’t. Like mother, like daughter, huh?”
He waits a few seconds to I think to control his anger. Then he calmly smiles. “That was different. Your mother was a money-hungry whor-”
“She was still my mother! She would have never abandoned me. Never make me dine with my rapist. Unlike you.”
He laughs. Actually laughs before turning to sit on the chair. Carmen quickly shoves me toward my seat. For my sake or his. That I don’t get to know. He gives me a stern look the next which makes me stumble over to sit next to him. Desmond snickers but I’m already planning to look for the hidden door at night when everyone goes to sleep.
Then I have to look for Seth.
“Gwen?” Only when I hear my name calling that I look up.
“Yes?” Everyone stares at me. I wark my mind trying to recall if I’ve slipped some of my masks. Then I see it. The dish Carmen told me about ready to place.
“Señor, she is still overwhelmed. So why don’t I serve her today?” She sounds nervous for once. Her eyes glance between me and Pedro when Pedro finally nods and starts to eat his own.
Desmond and Pedro talk about business while Carmen serves me as if I didn’t snap just a few minutes ago. As if he didn’t insult my mother. The food smells good but I have no appetite. No desire to even look at it. But a hard nudge makes me look down in surprise.
My shiny new friend looks back at me like a mocking freedom. I don’t know what to make of it. Why would Carmen give me a-
“C-Carmen-” The words sound different from the ruthless man a second ago. They slurl into each other as if drunk. “W-Why do I feel-”
“Use your weapon, Gwen. Free us.” Carmen doesn’t need to remind me. The cold gun is already in my hand. I have to grip it tighter to actually make an aim.
“You chose a wrong day, Pedro,” Carmen says smiling. “None of your guards are with you. How can you be so foolish to think you can find your daughter when I just lost mine because of you? How? How can you get past the fact that this is not my first time trying to poison you!”
I watch as Desmond whines in pain. His eyes are wide in fear. Blood sipping from his lips. Poison? Was it the food? I don’t have to feel a damn thing when I pull the trigger. The sound breaks through the room like a storm.
I’m not satisfied with one. So, I aim and shoot. Over and over. Until Carmen takes my hand off the gun and giggles.
“See, Pedro? Your daughter is braver than you ever was.”
He reaches out to hold the table but his legs give out. “I-I didn’t eat a damn thing-”
“It was the perfume.” She mutters chuckling. “You’re severely allergic to daisy. I just had to spray some into the bottle. You’re getting killed by your daughter with your favorite perfume. I think I gave you more respect than I originally intended.”
The words sink into me like a nail. Or an annoying moth. I think we’ve dragged it too long. So the next time my hands are on the gun, I don’t even have to shoot multiple times. I only aim at the heart.
This time I share the same smile as Carmen. We are both lost souls. Both hunting for revenge. Both need to be free.
“Y-You don’t mean it! You can’t k-kil-”
“Goodbye, daddy.” I don’t think. I don’t hear his silly plea. He only shouts in pain when I pull the trigger. He screams in agony and we wait. We wait and watch as he takes his last breath. At least I gave him one last gift to be called a father. Even if he doesn’t deserve it. Just like my mother. Even if she was selfish, money-hungry....she was still my mother.
“We’ve to go. After midnight his guards are coming back.” Carmen says while dragging me from the dining to the study room. It’s all dark in there, just like my mind. But there’s still hope. There’s still Seth somewhere waiting for me. And when the hidden door opens with a lurch, I don’t have the energy to lift my head and smile. My energy is all spent. I’m just tired. So damn tired.
I raise my hands somewhere in between when my hold on Carmen loses and I slam into the ground like a fallen angel. Flashes of blue worried orbs stare back at me when my world finally fades to white.