Prey

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Crashing Down

I woke up in the dark feeling like I'd been sucking on a pair of used sweat socks all night.

I had to rub dried gunk out of my eyelashes before they could open, and I instantly wished I'd kept them shut as a bolt of lightening shot through my head.

"Good evening," a female voice said above me.

Opening my eyes slowly, hoping it wouldn't hurt again, I looked up to see Aida looking down at me with concern in her eyes.

"How are you feeling?" she asked.

"Ugh," was the only sound I could manage turning away to bury my face into my pillow.

"Yeah," I heard her sigh, feeling the edge of the bed dip. "Looks like Lara slipped you one of her 'special' pills she makes.

"Here," she offered, "drink this."

Peeking out from under the bundle of fluff, I saw she was holding out a cup of something that looked like green sludge.

"What is that?" I asked, feeling nauseous looking at it.

"It will help you feel better," she assured me, pushing the glass closer.

With an excruciating amount of effort, I pushed myself up into a sitting position taking the offered drink as I pushed my hair out of my face.

With a dubious look I took a sip, gagging the moment the green liquid touched my tongue.

"Oh my God," I said, holding the cup as far away from myself as I could, "that is horrible."

"Not as horrible as the headache you're gonna have in about..." Aida paused, looking around at the clock. "About now."

Headache was not how I would describe what happened, that word is too sedate, too kind.

What happened felt like someone had taken a handful red-hot ice picks and begun shoving them one by one into my brain until the tips all touched the same spot.

"I highly recommend you drink," she said, helping me stay upright as blackness played at the edges of my vision.

Deciding drinking toxic waste was better than the agony that was my brain right now, I choked the vial drink down in three long gulps.

Coughing, and gagging, I managed to keep it down.

"That was so gross," I breathed, leaning heavily against the other woman.

"Feeling better?" she asked leaning away.

"Yeah," I said in surprise. I actually felt so much better, like the ice picks were being dislodged. "Thanks."

"Good, I need you to get up," Aida said, taking the glass from my hand and standing.

"Why?" I asked, confused by her sudden change in demeanor.

"Lord Lothaire has asked that you be brought to him tonight," she said sadly, looking back at me.

Suddenly, the feeling of relief I'd been enjoying disappeared, replaced by dread.

"I'm sorry," Aida said, the expression on her face making it clear she really was.

Nodding my understanding, knowing she had as little choice in the matter as I did, I began to mentally prepare myself for what would surely be the worst and last night of my life.

"Liberty," Aida said softly as she styled my hair, "last night you said you were Lord Aric's pet."

At the mention of his name, I felt tears prickle the corners of my eyes.

"I was," I sniffed, trying to hold them back, "but after what Lord Lothaire did to me on the plane, and what he plans tonight I don't think there's a chance in hell Aric would take me back."

Dropping my head into my hands I sob, I can't hold them back any longer, having just realized that no matter what, Aric would never want to touch me again, never hold me close.

I don't know what our relationship could have grown into, and now I never will.

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