Ndrangheta

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Chapter Seven

Ellen hastily went up the steps to her apartment. Edward had instructed her not to take the elevator because he didn't trust her with the emergency help button. He followed closely behind her with every muscle in his body tense and ready for action if she did anything out of place. She ran up the last few steps and came to the exit for her floor. She went to the end of the hall and pulled out her keys.

"Let's not do anything stupid, understood?"

The roughness of his voice scared her. Ellen nodded with understanding, not trusting her voice to answer. She unlocked the door and stepped in with Edward at her hip. She pointed to her study table at the corner of the living room. Edward brushed past her and grabbed the book from the desk, flipping through the pages in a hurry. He threw her bookmarker on the ground as he stalked back to her.

His eyes were deadly. The only thing she registered was the thud of his footsteps. Her eyes became focused on the carpet and as she dared to look up she saw his hand coming down above her head. The impact of his fist hit her with full force and she hit the floor. Pain exploded in the side of her head and she felt her eyes drooping. A second hit assaulted her again and in the next few moments, everything turned black. She vaguely felt herself being moved around like a rag doll but eventually, she succumbed to the darkness.

Ellen dreamed of the moment she would meet Marcus. She knew it was a stupid thought but she couldn't help imagine what he would look like. What he would sound like. He intrigued her nonstop and she knew it was wrong but...she couldn't help how she felt.

She found herself floating around in a somewhat alternate universe. Her feet hovered above the ground in a fairy-like fashion. Somehow Ellen felt it was all a dream. Her dream self knew it wasn't real...but why was she in this state? This state of unease. The last thing she could imagine was an angry man doing damage. She floated around some more until she began to feel heavy.

Her limbs suddenly didn't feel weightless anymore. Her arms and legs drooped at her side and her feet touched the ground. The world was tilting...

"Wake the fuck up!"

Ellen painfully tried to open her eyes. They were misty and everything seemed gray until she settled on a moving figure. Her vision slowly cleared with each blink until she realized what stood in front of her.

Edward was standing in front of her with his arms crossed and a slightly angry scowl. He held the log in one hand and stared into her eyes. Ellen leaned her head to the right and felt a surge of pain erupt from her temple. Vague memories of what happened came to her in pieces. He had hit her in the head. Her forehead felt sticky and wet from the blood that seeped through.

"Finally," Edward sighed, " You are awake"

She pulled on her arms a little but they wouldn't budge. She noticed they were tied behind her back with something sharp cutting into her wrists. Her feet were also bounded and she was lying on the floor sideways. Edward roughly pulled her to stand and shoved her to sit on a wooden chair.

"Now, I have a few questions Ellen"

Edward flipped through the log and calmly paced back and forth.

"Did you read anything in the log?"

Ellen whimpered. He was toying with her. She started to feel the tears coming again but refrained from becoming a mess. She composed herself and looked around the room. The walls were all brick and mortar, signaling she was in a basement of sorts. Only one light bulb was lit above them so she couldn't see her other surroundings well.

Maybe she was-

Pain ran through her body again. It was harsher this time. The hit was aimed at her temple again and she managed to look into Edward's face. His free left arm was taut at his side and blood covered his knuckles. He had hit her again.

"Now isn't the time to be distracted, Ellen. Did you read the log?"

She swallowed. "Yes," she responded. Her voice was so dry it felt itchy as she spoke.

"Did you tell anyone?"

"No"

Edward started to pace again.

"How can I be sure?" He questioned.

Ellen frowned. "Who would believe me if I showed them that crazy book? I kept it to myself."

Edward listened to her though he wasn't moving.

"Besides, I was also worried about being caught. Who could I trust?"

Edward still hadn't looked at her again.

"Are you even listening to me, you asshole!"

Ellen barely heard her own words. Rage fueled her at this point. He had kidnapped her and now ignored her? For what purpose? He was starting to become a real pain in the ass. Edward stopped pacing and faced her. His eyes were focused on the ceiling.

"You're not stupid, I'll give you that," he stated calmly. "But you're a threat. Until I can prove your usefulness, you'll remain here. If I were you, I'd forgot about that test tomorrow"

His smug smirk made her even angrier.

"Fuck you" she spat.

He turned his back to her and went up the stairs. She watched him glance at her one more time and slammed the door shut. She was left on the chair still tied up.

"Shit, why'd I get myself in this situation," she whispered.

Edward had struck her three times. Even if she could make it to her test tomorrow, she had no idea where she was and the bruise would be too hard to cover up. It was hopeless against a trained killer.

"Edward!" she shouted.

He didn't come.

"Edward, you bastard, get back here!"

Silence remained again.

"I didn't tell anyone, I swear!"

Her pleads became frantic and verged on begging.

"Please...don't kill me..."

Still, the silence was her only audience. He had left her there. Ellen sulked in her chair. Her end was beginning, she was sure of it.

---

After some time, Ellen had fallen asleep. When she woke up, she was stretched out on a small bed. Her arms and legs were still restricted but she comfortable enough. So engrossed in her own thoughts, she hadn't noticed Edward sitting at her feet. A tray of food and some other utensils were behind him on a wide desk.

She glared at him with hatred but the expression on his face was calm. He rubbed his face frustratedly. He stood up and motioned to her to keep her mouth shut. She didn't want to but she obliged. If he hit again she'd surely have a concussion. She watched as he proceeded to pick up a cotton ball from the desk, dab it in some liquid and approached her. He gently rubbed at her temple.

By now, the wound had clotted and the bleeding had stopped. He continued to use a cloth to clean away the rest of the blood then wrapped around her head twice with a clean bandage.

"Your forehead doesn't look too bad. After I iced it for an hour and now it's clean, it should heal well," he told her calmly.

She stared behind him to see if anyone else was present. When had he iced her forehead?

"You've been asleep for six hours. I found you half-way on the floor," he shared once again. Edward retrieved the other tray from the desk and set it at the foot of the bed. It was a large bowl of cereal, a serving of yogurt and orange juice.

"It's all that's here right now. Take it or leave it."

She nodded in acceptance.

Edward took a knife from his back pocket and carefully cut away her bonds.

"I trust you won't try anything stupid," he warned. "I'm not averse to hitting you again"

Ellen rolled her eyes at him and took the tray. If he wanted to kill her, poison wasn't his best asset, so she chugged the food down without caution. It all tasted good and her stomach rumbled in pleasure. She knew Edward was staring at her from so close but refused to look at him. She was already scared enough.

"I don't feel like killing you just yet because I may need you to do me a favor"

Her head snapped to him.

"My plan to have Marcus released isn't going the way I'd hoped. We'll have to break him out of course but I need someone to get inside"

Marcus? Did he say, Marcus? Ellen racked her brain and picked MW, the signature from the log. So M meant Marcus, she mused. Her conclusion that he was in prison was also correct.

"You'll be my guinea pig. If you refuse, I'll kill you. If you do it, I'll kill you."

Edward's encouragement made no sense to her however, she realized she was getting the opportunity to meet the man she envisioned most nights. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

"I'll do it," She answered strongly.

Edward formed his fingers into a steeple and rested his elbows on his thighs. "Great!" He rejoiced. "I won't question your reasons for agreeing but it doesn't change my mind about killing you"

Ellen looked away. Anywhere else but at Edward.

"I'm dead anyway, kill me if you wish" she challenged.

Ellen had no clue where this sense of courage came from. She wasn't usually outspoken but this man bothered her last nerve to no end.

Edward shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and straightened on his chair. "For the time being, I'll leave you untied. I need you to look normal for the plan ahead."

He stood up and took her tray. "Just so you know, you won't escape. There are no windows and there's only one way out."

He pointed to the door he came through. "That is your only way out. But be warned, if you manage to come through that door, you'll have me to deal with"

Ellen was going to give a snappy retort but thought better of it. She kept her mouth shut and breathed in a calming rhythm. Edward smiled at this and nodded. He started to make his way out of the room but stopped at the top step.

"I know you're afraid of me, Ellen, but you haven't met the real monster," he said with a smile.

"This monster...is scarier than your worst nightmares"

And with that, he shut the door.

Ellen slumped on the bed and cuddled herself. He had made her fear him more. She feared them both.



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