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Hate Never Dies (6)

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We stop for a moment while He unlocks the door to his dungeon. That done, we proceed down the stairs to my personal purgatory.

“How do you like it, Jeff?” I ask, trying to sound like I’m trying to sell him the place. “Over here, we have our arrangement of shackles, built for all sizes. In that corner, there’s a lovely assortment of knives and torture instruments. Remind me to show you my scars some time. That room over there is for washing up, A.K.A. washing off the blood. And then there’s that lovely smell of blood, death, and must. Whaddya say, Jeff? Wanna buy it?” By the time I’m done, Jeff actually looks a little sick.

“You’re joking, right, Julia? That’s not what this room is actually for?” Jeff asks a little desperately.

“Nope. Look around for yourself. If Mr. I’m-So-Wonderful would set me down, I’d show you the lovely tapestry on my back. It’s a real piece of art.” I try to sound cheerful, but it’s all I can do to not try to fight my way out of His arms. I know that my 8 years of Aikido aren’t enough to get away from Him. As it is, I am already squirming a little. I am also surprised that He hasn’t tried to shut me up. I glance up at His face. He is wearing that little smirk that means He thinks me amusing.

“I think he should see it, actually. It will show him what happened when you resisted.” He murmurs, setting me on the floor. I immediately step away a few feet, turn around, and take off my shirt. As I do so, I concentrate and move the ornate tattoo of my computer around so it is high up on my stomach.

I hadn’t been lying when I told Jeff that the scars on my back were a work of art; if they’d been on a canvas, He could have sold it for a lot of money. Vines and flowers formed a border inside which birds flew and dove. Along the bottom, a dolphin swam under some waves. But the real work of art was the centerpiece: a rose, delicately and masterfully done. Whiter even than my skin, it was extremely lifelike.

When I decide that Jeff has seen enough, I pull down my shirt, moving my tattoo back to its original spot as I do so. Jeff actually looks like he was going to be sick when I turned around.

“How did you get those, Julia?” he asks slowly, like he is fighting off nausea. I walk over to the table and draw his attention to the array of instruments resting on it.

“Well,” I say speculatively, “I’m pretty sure that this knife was responsible for 80% of the scars on my body. Most of them are actually pretty.” I hold up the knife I mean. It is really lovely, with a carved handle and a straight, leaf shaped blade. As I hold it, I have another flashback:
-I am chained to the cold floor of the dungeon. He stands in front of me, holding the carved knife. As he leans forward, I do my best to cringe away.

See what happens when you resist? He whispers, eyes alight with some emotion I can’t name.
I have to do this. Then the pain starts.-

I shake myself out of the memory and smile at Jeff. Actually, it’s probably more of a grimace.

“However, the best scars, like the ones you just saw are done by covering this beauty,” I wave the knife, “with diluted acid. Well, this or a paintbrush or something. It hurts the most, takes the longest to heal, and makes the best scars. Mr. I’m-so-Wonderful here loves that. He’s good at it too. So,” I turn to face Him, “Are we going to get this over with, or do you want to listen to more banter? Because if we’re showing him your true nature, then we should really get on with it.” I’m just being brave here; I don’t really want him to come over here and chain me up and have my nightmares-memories come to life.

So I can’t help the growling that comes out of my throat as he approaches. He lifts his hand, brings it down, and I see no more.



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