Chapter 1: 4am
Screams of terror, the agony of pain, wails, and cries of the weak reverberated through the dark, frayed and thick walls. There, on the hard, cold, and rough concrete floor laid a young girl, battered and whipped. Her clothes tattered, her flesh pale, painted with harsh red blemishes. “I told you TO STAY AWAY FROM HIM!” a voice exploded, furious and enraged as his arm swung upwards descending down with a speed.
A painful moan escaped her swollen lips as the whip met her scarred back leaving another red tender mark, reminding her of whom she is.
“I-I’m s-sorry sir” her voice was frail and shaky, her lips chapped and dry. Quivering with fear, she hid her face in her arm as another hit struck against her back. “DID I TELL YOU TO SPEAK?” the deep voice of a man boomed as another cry was let out her from her lips.
“Ahh” she screamed feeling her scalp burning. The pulling of her roots was so strong that she felt like she would become bald anytime soon. Grabbing her dense, black thin hair, he yanked her upwards making sure her bruised face was visible to him. Her eyes just about opened, the heaviness of her swollen eye giving her immense pain as he tightened his grip on her hair. “Next time, if I see you even talking to him yet alone standing 2 meters close to him...I will do much worse” he warned her with a dark menacing voice.
His face was disfigured more like blurry, her eyesight blackening out time to time as a sharp smack landed on her cheek, something flat...like an open hand.
“Now...time for you to fulfil your duties” she could make out the slight lift of his lips turning into a sinister smirk, a deadly smirk that always scared her...made her heart fall to her stomach, twisting and churning making her nauseous.
“P-please...I beg you...I’m a-already sore” her trembling hands lifted meeting her other hand as she pleaded for mercy, mercy that was never granted to her. Deaf was her voice to him as lust overtook the anger that was in his eyes just a few seconds ago.
Roughly grabbing her forearms, he pushed her to the ground, her body laying flat on the coldness of the concrete as he over towered her with his tall body. “P-PLEASE...STOP...HAVE MERCY...HAVE MERCY” she trashed around crying as she heard the familiar sound of the unzipping of his pants. Another smack struck on her already heated and throbbing cheek as she laid there weak and powerless. His strength and power were too strong for her to fight against. She was now trapped in his tight grip. Crying for help, screaming for someone to hear her, she closed her eyes tightly as a sharp pain penetrated into her. “AHH-”
Liliana jolted awake. Her face deathly pale, eyes opened wide with fear and anxiety as she stared straight ahead, eyes fixed on the closed door in front of her. Her lips opened ajar, gasping for air as she tried to calm her heavy, fast breathing. “Why?” she whispered sadly to herself as she ran her hands all over her face. Every day and at the exact time she would wake up to a girl screaming. She didn’t understand why she got these dreams. Who was the girl in her dreams? why was she screaming, crying? Her screams were tormenting her...haunting her, driving her insane. Taking a moment to herself, she took in a deep breath before facing her left only to see the other side of her bed empty and now cold of no traces of anyone sleeping beside her.
She sighed now looking at the clock on her bedside table. 4am. It showed. Not feeling sleepy, she massaged her scalp before tying her hair up into a messy bun and leaving her bed as she walked into the bathroom to take a nice warm shower to relax her mind and body.
Lilliana was scowling, her forehead creasing with lines as she frowned whilst walking to the kitchen to make herself a snack. She was mad, upset, and angry...slamming the fridge door shut as she stomped back to the chopping board cursing at her dear husband in her mind.
Again he left without telling her. No note, no message, not even a text.
This was a daily thing for Liliana. Making love at night and waking up to a cold empty bed in the morning. Was he hiding something from her? was he cheating? No, that couldn’t be. Matias worshipped the ground she walked on. He was madly and utterly in love with her, he couldn’t be cheating...right?
Lilliana already felt guilty for thinking so low of the man she loves. How could she stoop so low to be even thinking of him committing adultery with another woman?
Her eyes kept glancing back to her phone, waiting for just one bell...one bell that will make her sigh in relief. She didn’t want to call him, it was a big hit to her ego. Lilliana wanted Matias to call her, she felt at peace when hearing the care in his voice for her. Was he that busy at work that he didn’t even have a minute to call her?
Lilliana huffed taking a bite out of her cheese sandwich. The whole day went by with her doing some gardening, greeting neighbours, and just sitting around doing nothing. She badly wanted to get a job, her dream of becoming an artist came to a stop after she married Matias but the strive, the ambition, and love was still very much alive in her heart.
Not having anything to do, Liliana smiled as she walked to her favourite part of the house. Her art studio. Her white, flawless, cotton dress that stopped till her knees swayed gently as she walked faster in excitement opening up the door to her world. The world of colours. The walls were painted black, sombre and dull. This was Lilianas’s idea. She wanted the room to be dark so that her lively colours on the canvas would brighten up the darkness of the studio and it indeed worked. Hundreds of colourful paintings were hung onto the black walls adding a wild swirl of existing colours to the room. Pulling out an aisle, she sat down with her paintbrush in her hand and her palette in her other hand waiting in silence, eyes just focused on the plain white A3 sheet in front of her until an idea clicked in her mind.
Suddenly, her hands started to magically work. The brush was moving wildly, dipping itself into different colours as the strokes became harsher and dense. Liliana was lost, lost in what she was doing. Her mind was overtaken by the image flashing in her mind. Her hands were unstoppable, moving with speed not taking a rest at all.
Blank was her face, focused were her eyes. Silent was her words and her painting was coming to life. Her wild strokes were causing devastation to the now dark paper. She was spilling out her feelings, her frustrations, her anger until her hand abruptly stopped dead.
An arm slowly wrapped around her shoulders as she felt a prickly feeling beside her cheek. She didn’t know how long she was in the room for. 10 minutes? 1 hour? 2 hours? she had no clue.
The warmth coming from the figure who was hugging her from behind caused her stiff body to now relax. She now felt contentment in his arms securing her and keeping her safe. Her lips tugged up into a small smile as she placed her palm on the arm wrapped around her. “I missed you” a deep manly voice whispered softly into Liliana’s ear causing her to get goose bumps as she felt his warm breath tickle her sensitive neck.
“Oh really?... I thought you had forgotten you had a wife at home probably worried and alone, always waking up to a cold bed after her husband makes loves to her” she complained, trying to hide the urge of shaking with mirth. “I’m sorry my love...I had an important meeting and seeing you sleeping so peacefully, I didn’t have the heart to wake my beautiful wife” he left a kiss on her neck making her breath hitch at the sudden tingle running down her spine.
“Uh-huh? that’s why you leave me alone everyday at 4am in the morning...seriously 4am Matias?” she stood up now facing him with a cute angry pout. A beautiful sound left his lips that sounded like music to Liliana’s ears. Matias laughed finding his wife adorable and cute. He was struck by her vivacity, her cuteness and also charm. Wrapping his fingers around her neck, he leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on her lips. “I’m sorry...I won’t do it again. Since my new project has launched, I’ve just been busy with meetings and new clients...I’m sorry sweetheart...I missed you” he placed another kiss on her lips but this time it was deep and hungry.
“I missed you too” she wrapped her arms around his waist hugging him with a happy smile playing on her face. Matias caressed her soft light brown hair, his nose nuzzling to her neck as he hugged her tighter. He loved her scent, he was addicted to her...she is his love...his world and he was ready to lay his entire life out for her.
Just then his eyes froze for a moment on the painting in front of him. His gentle smile suddenly loosened into a straight line. His arms started to become even tighter around his wife as he stared back at the image with an unknown emotion lurking its way out. “Matias...can’t breath” Liliana’s voice came out raspy as she struggled to breathe but he was too focused on the horrifying painting in front of him. “Matias,” she said louder catching his attention allowing himself to let her go. “Sorry...I-” he stopped as his eyes continued to stare at the painting but this time his face was masked with worry.
Trepidation, he was feeling. How is this possible? Shoe couldn’t have-
“Matias” she called out, her eyebrows furrowed. Noticing his attention on something else, she turned around finding him starting at the painting she had just created. A small gasp left her lips as she took in her own creation. For the first time ever Liliana had created something dark...something dull that did not suit her colourful studio or herself. She was so focused on the image in her mind that she didn’t even realize what she had created on the simple piece of paper. Was she possessed? how could she had not noticed?
“Lilliana...what is this?” he questioned her as he stepped away from the painting acting like it was some sort of disease to him. He seemed to have qualms about the painting. Darkness, gloominess, the same room to the extent of drawing the same dress, it stupefied him.“I...I don’t know...” she was shocked herself.
In front of her expressed an image on the canvas. It was murky...mysterious but immensely painful to see. A sudden chill ran down her spine as the air around her became uncomfortable and...dolorous. The once clean and white paper was now outdistanced by blackness and dark shades of deep red. A young woman was laying on the floor, her face hidden in between her arm, her white dress ripped and stained with blood as a man behind her stood there with a whip raised in his hand.
Ugliness could only be described as her eyes laid on the man. His face was disfigured. It wasn’t a face of a human neither an animal, even Liliana herself didn’t know what she had painted. His face was like a demon...a very ugly demon...an evil demon...sinister and venomous...his smirk deadly, like a destruction.
“Where did you get this idea from?” Matias turned towards her, waiting for her reply. He was worried for some reason, anxious you could say which Lilliana noticed but the question was...why?. “I...I saw it in my dream”
Matias didn’t know what to say after hearing her reply. He was shocked and speechless with premonition but managed to hide his discomposure by giving her a small smile. “Oh no...is my wife getting nightmares?” he pulled her into her chest, hugging as he swayed side to side. “Hmm...and I blame you since you always leave me alone” she punched his chest playfully. A small chuckle left his lips before laying a kiss on her head and pulling away from her. “I won’t leave you again”
“promise” she looked at him with hope. “promise” he repeated after her. She hugged him once again making his heart lighten up but his mind was elsewhere. He again glanced back at the painting but this time with impassion. He needed to take her away...he needed to keep her safe if not then he was going to lose her and he was not ready to lose her again...not after all the hard work he had done to finally make her his.