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March 8, 2017
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The whip stings my flesh with each swing slowly getting stronger and stronger. I bite my tongue to insure nothing but pants come from me. No screams, no cries, no pleading. I will remain as strong as I was when I got here. I won't be the broken doll they try to make me with each swing. I'm used to the whip, even before I got here he was my friend. So I just greeted him with each swing. 'hello friend' I chant before it hits the ruined skin each time. Although I wouldn’t really call it skin anymore, It's been broken through to many times to even come close to the way it was before any of this had happened. 
"We're done for today miss," the man says rubbing down the whip with a white towel in the corner. I cringe at the thought of it being washed by the maids, how hard they would have to work to rub out the rusty red for it to fit back in with all the other pristine towels in the palace. Maybe they would just toss it out so they wouldn't have to deal with the hard task or the guilt, that’s what I would do. I hum out a reply still laying on the cold floor my blood starting to waterfall down my sides. A physician would be in here later but I'm sure the king would love it if my wounds were infected and suffered through death. He couldn't have me die though, not hidden like this, however many times he may wish. The guard closes the door locking it with a clink, he was too much of a gentleman to touch me in this state. I snicker at the thought of my gentlemanly guard even laying a hand on me, I would scream until someone had to check on me and then they would have to find a replacement before I started to fight my punishment. Oh and they would know if he tried because I have never screamed, not once, even the first day I was down here and they rained hits down on my back. 
I'm sure the king thought it was funny at the time how the whip had hurt me before and would torture me for eternity more after seeing the marks that fateful night. He probably remembered where every single one was on my back, precise enough that he could draw what the width and length of each as if given a picture of my back and told to pin the scar to the spot. I hear the guard set the whip on the nail and the clip of his fancy shoes as he walks away, the same sounds I heard every day. It would be precisely 10 minutes on the dot before I would hear those shoes again as well as the shuffles of the skittish physician. When your in a cell bored out of your mind for a year you remember every detail. Someone could blindfold me and I'd be able to tell them every crack in the wall, every scuffle from a weary guard, and the exact schedule of when human presence made its appearance. 
Except today, the devils decided they wanted to change up  my routine. I was greeted by no one other than the king of both hell and Ensure. I shoot him a glare still laying on the floor, the physician still having another five minutes before having to appear and I know for a fact I will not be able to get up till he comes and bandages the wound. Even then it takes another hour before I can sit up without throwing up everything in my meager stomach. 
"Good morning Anastasia." He smirks as he says it keeping a good step away from the bars even though he knows I'll be immobile for awhile. 
"Good morning Your Majesty," I spit right back wishing he would die on the spot. 
He crinkles his nose at the formal approach. "Now, now Anastasia you know my name and my old title." He teases me like a cat playing with their food.  
"Your highness," I whisper playing along in his never ending game. 
"That’s more like it darling, but I'm not just down here to torture you," he laughs at his little joke, "No I'm here to give you a proposition to get you out of this cell." 
If I could narrow my eyes any further  I would. What was he playing at? He hadn't come down here since the day I was brought down here and even then it was barely half an hour before he left, darkness still in his eyes before I was practically sealed in it. Even if there was a proposition what could it be? What would the king of an empire want from a murderer, one who committed treason. 
"Well what is it?" 
"I want you to become my queen," 
My breath stops. Queen. He gives me a crooked grin knowing he's rendered me silent for awhile.
"It would show that my father was a tyrant and needed to be stopped by someone strong, the new queen."
My mind whirls with more and more questions by the second. I should have been hung for killing the king a long time ago not becoming the second most powerful person of his lands. 
I start to shake my head before his luring voice breaks into my thoughts. 
"You know as queen you wouldn’t be hurt anymore. No more whipping, fancy meals, an actual bed." He purrs knowing he could tempt me with simple luxuries, the things I have craved since I first ended up here. I hesitate some more, "Fine suit yourself, everything will remain the same just forget I ever visited you." He turns starting to walk away. I count his steps as my mind goes in hyperdrive weighing the pros and cons of my situation.
He almost turns the corner before  my voice rings out on its own accord. "Wait, I'll do it." I whisper. 
"Hmm? I can't hear you darling."
I cringe before repeating my words louder, "I said I would do it, I'll become your Queen."
The shuffling of the physician makes its appearance as the young king smirks "perfect."
After my back was cleaned up I was ushered up many stone steps finally making it to a lavish room of silks and fabrics and the color white. As soon as I step in I'm intercepted by three girls who usher me to the bathing chamber. They sit me down in already warm water and I begin to think maybe he had this planned, he knew I would say yes as if I thought I could escape the fine living of a royal. 
They begin to scrub trying their hardest to get out the dirt practically embedded into my skin. I hiss from the sting of the rag trying to pull away from their steel grips. "Miss please calm down where trying to be careful," one of the ladies insist trying to calm my thrashing form, "We will be done soon," she apologizes fear in her eyes as she wearily notices the bandaged back. I huff settling down turning my back away from her gaze letting them continue with only slight snapping. 
Once my bath is finished I'm ushered out my body feeling bare from the shaving I had to endure and the smell of putrid roses on me, the kings favorite scent I was told. I shiver from the cold my toes curling in the rich carpet while the girls drape a silk robe on me tying it in the front. My skin crawls as it feels the expensive fabric I flinch at the thought of how much this cost, how many days of good food you could get from this, how many young girls fingers could be saved from making it. I brush off those thoughts though, I couldn't let them affect me here, they would only end me up back in that cell just like they had last time. 
I cut off that part of my brain looking into the reflection of the mirror I was sat in front of. Soulless eyes peer back at me, threadbare hair, hollow cheeks. I can only imagine what the rest of my body looks like. Another shiver follows that thought. Ugly pops into my head, the opposite of how I got here. "Don't worry honey we'll have you looking good as new," one of them smiles brushing my hair gently trying not to pull to hard. My stomach clenches at the thought but I nod my head somehow cracking a smile that I thought was extinct. 
"Thank you," I choke out my voice raspy. 
I got a nod in reply before I'm sent into the flurry of masking the ugly, better known as beautifying in the castle where not a dish could be even slightly different. Everything here was prim, proper, obedient, almost everything I wasn't. Wet gooey foundation the color of my skin on every imperfection on my face, pink powders brushed onto my cheeks, full rogue on the lips with a salve underneath to try and heal the welts from the constant biting to refrain from screaming myself hoarse. 
I stand on shaky legs when I'm instructed to a dress being brought to me, I wrinkle my nose at the heavy fabric and high collar but brush it off when I remember its to cover the scars, no mask the scars, make sure nobody knows of my suffering.
I allow myself to be dressed, strapped into a corset. The ladies went easy on my today making it as loose as modestly possible. The gown was a deep red a sickly resemblance to blood, I'm sure the king asked for it like that laughing at the irony but I know if asked about it he would pawn it off on the fact if my wounds reopened. I sigh stepping into the matching slippers glad one part of my body didn't have to go through torture. Even my hair had to be brushed and pinned up, it would never be let down in public until it gained back the golden glint and its volume. 
I start to walk out the door the dress swishing around my legs like water in a stream. There is a polished guard waiting for me at the stairs to escort me to the dining room, if I remember correctly. I take his outstretched arm and we descend the crystal stairs together the taps of our shoes echoing in sync from the spacious place. 
He lets me go as we near the doors to the dining room and resumes his post, both guards waiting for my say to open the wide oak doors. I give a nod of my head and the doors open up to my doom. 
I take a deep breath before walking into the classy room. Chandeliers twinkled above me and the silverware on the table bounced light off as I walked near it sitting across from the devil. I notice that the table had gotten shorter from the last time I had sitten here but maybe that’s just my imagination. 
"Hello Anastasia,"
"Hello Edward," his mouth tilts up
"You remembered my name?"
"How could I forget it when it haunts my dreams?"
His laugh is cold when it echoes off  the walls, "You dream of me Anastasia," he says with a wicked glint that makes me cringe. 
My mind starts to drift and I begin to think maybe I killed the wrong royal. That by killing the king I awoke something far more sinister and something that I couldn't kill now. I had already done my one courageous act and maybe that act calls for another, I bestow my luck to whoever it is. 
"I wouldn't call it dreams more like nightmares,"
"You flatter me Anastasia."

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