Day 15, Autumn 1851
She tried opening her eyes when she felt something cold and oppressive being tethered around her wrist. But her eyelids were so heavy and sore. She could manage little better than to open them beyond a slit, but her sense of touch was unscathed and her stomach clenched at the realization of what was being done to her.
She twisted around shaking her head; turning it in every direction, attempting to focus on the blurred images walking around the dimly lit chamber. “Please,” she rasped, with a begging plea. But the blurred figures ignored her and maintained their onslaught and communicated in a language she didn’t understand. One yanked her forcibly from the bed by her now chained wrist, provoking her to roughly collapse at his feet. The loose-fitting long-sleeved shirt left her little modesty when it was the sole item she was permitted to wear. It hung almost to mid-thigh, leaving the rest her bare down to her exposed toes.
Her mind raced as she boosted herself up to stand on wobbly legs. She recognized the narrow slit in the drapes was commencing to lose light, signaling to her that another day had come and gone. She wasn’t confident how much time had passed since Gordon abducted her and she struggled to keep track of the changing days. He made it utterly impossible when his objective was to keep her in a drug-induced state most of the time.
One of the mysterious figures lit a lamp sitting on the corner dresser, then his rigid form walked over to stand before her. “You are to be punished for the blemish you bestowed on master Gordon. Do you understand?”
She squinted her eyes, trying to focus, and see his face. “No, I don’t understand. W-What are you talking about?” she regarded him as he turned, avoiding her question. He nodded to his companion, and he stepped forward sliding a chair along with him.
Once at her side, he stood onto the chair and reached up to pull a hooked chain down from the ceiling.
Her mouth went dry as they went to raise her tethered hands over her head towards the hook. “No,” she cried, trying to twist and turn from their grasp, but she was too weak compared to them. With little effort on their part, they easily looped her chained hands into the suspended hook.
She could hear them whispering to each other, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. She was deluding herself if she considered they discussing anything else, but her.
Pushing up on her tip-toes, she worked to elevate and offset her weight pulling on her joints. “Why-why are you doing this,” she cried, glancing from one to the other. Then the door clicked and gradually swung open.
Gordon stood in the entryway for a few moments, then stepped into the chamber. He carried what looked like a long stick in one fist and with each stride, he slapped it onto his open palm; only ceasing when he was directly in front of her. His eyes wandered the length of her and a half wicked smile tugged on his thin lips. “After much deductive reasoning,” he said, lifting one hand to touch her face. “I have determined the appropriate discipline for you Rose.” He shifted then and gestured to his companions.
She had no concept of what he was talking about or why she needed disciplined. The two men walked towards her and she tried pleading with Gordon. “What did I do?” she cried, wiggling around trying to follow their every movement. “I’m sorry. Whatever I did, I’m sorry.”
Gordon held up his hand halting the men, then walked up to her again. He pointed at the blood-filled bruise on his bottom lip. “Look at this Rose,” he asserted with clear agitation. “I can’t even go out in a public area because of what you did to me.”
Her mind raced trying to recall the incident he spoke of, and a fog induced memory was coming back to her. The drugs he gave her was making it hard for her to identify what was real and what was a hallucination. She closed her eyes as a vision of his mouth touching every part of her body and bile rose to her throat, threatening to choke her.
Gordon watched as various emotions crossed over her features. “I see your memory is coming back to you now, Rose,” he sniffed, then gestured to his companions to continue on. “I am quite positive from the first day I brought you here as my subject.” He wavered, peering down and fretting with his ruffled shirt as he circled around her. “I demanded you to be totally compliant to my needs. Last night, you severed my trust when you bit most viciously into my lip, creating excruciating pain and discomfort for me. Now you will be punished for this transgression. Do you understand?”
Aniela’s chest heaved with quick panic-laden breaths, but she wasn’t going to beg for mercy. Lifting her chin, she turned her head defiantly away from him.
Gordon sprung at her, his fingers burrowed into her skin as he clenched her jaw, turning her to look at him. “I warned you, Rose, not to ever, EVER dismiss me,” he provoked, their faces almost touching. His head bent and he licked and bit at the flesh on her neck. “Maybe I will draw blood as well. How do you feel about that? Would you like it if I chose to draw blood on beautiful flesh, Rose?”
She stared into his crazed eyes and a lone tear slid down her cheek. She cringed when he wiped it from her flesh with his forefinger and directly stuck that finger into his mouth, licking the salty taste from his skin. “After tonight my dear Rose,” he confided, leaning to brush her lips. “I’m confident you will never seek to inflict harm on me again.” Then he chuckled and turned away from her.
He walked to a nearby dresser and promptly loosened the buttons of his velvet blue waistcoat. Once it slipped off his shoulders, he held it up for one of his henchmen to hold, while the other one worked at rolling the sleeves of his ruffled pink tunic.
Clenching her eyes shut, she told herself not to scream, no matter what he did to her. She could feel herself being turned away from Gordon and she opened her eyes, fixating on the gaudy pattern of the mauve wallpaper like so many times before.
She caught sight of one of them out of the corner of her eye as he walked to the dresser and removed a pair of scissors from a drawer. She wasn’t surprised when he walked up behind her and commenced to cut in a straight path up the back of her shirt. Once executed, they pushed the coarse material aside, exposing her pale unblemished skin for Gordon’s eyes.
He walked up to her, permitting his hand to drift slowly down her spine. “Such a pity to mar such perfection,” he murmured close to her ear. He pushed away from her and promptly administered the first blow to her pale flesh. Aniela jerked forward but didn’t cry out as an angry slash appeared immediately centering her spine.
Her muscles tensed anticipating the next blow and she balled her hands into a fist gripping her chains for support. When the second blow connected with her flesh the force of it knocked the air from her lungs and her abdomen muscles seized hold of her belly struggling to squelch nausea threatening to grab hold.
The fourth and final blow cause her legs to buckle and she hung suspended holding her weight on her wrist alone. Her body quaked and trembled from the blinding pain administered to her defenseless body.
Gordon grabbed her hair and drew her head back until her chin pointed to the ceiling. “I confident you will be compliant from henceforth,” he said emphatically. “Because I don’t like prolonging the inevitable Rose. The sooner we consummate this little relationship, the better it will be for everyone involved.” He let go of her and her head jerked forward.
It was seconds before she felt herself being lifted and she didn’t even seek to resist as she laid limp in her captor’s arms. He laid her on the bed face down and didn’t hesitate to restrain her to the bedpost once again. With every movement or tug on her limbs, pain stabbed her throbbing back.
She felt the bed give as Gordon seated himself beside her.
He brushed aside the stray curls strewn across her face. “You did quite well Rose,” he admitted, not trying to suppress his surprise. “Irrefutably better than any of my subjects prior to you.” He leaned up reaching for a bottle and a cloth sitting on the nightstand. Lifting the bottle over her, he poured its contents down the center of her back.
A cry spilled from Aniela’s lips and she twisted her head attempting to smother her moans into her pillow.
He could see her muscles tense as he glided a cotton cloth across her bruised flesh. “I know it hurts Aniela,” he stated with an insidious smile. “But in the end, we will both benefit from what will be a most desirable outcome for the two of us.”
She clamped her eyes shut at the insinuation of his words and pushed down the bile rising in her throat. The mattress sank as he rose to his knees beside her.
His lips pressed into the open wounds one by one as if kissing them would make them better. He ascended up her body until he settled at her ear, taking the lobe between his teeth, he whispered in great detail what the ultimate ending for her was going to be. By this point, she didn’t comprehend the words conveyed to her.
The darkness had already settled in and joyously overtook her mind.