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Thorn In My Side

I could still hear her voice in my head. It gave me a headache, yet nothing could get rid of it. It was a thorn in my side. It was a persistent ringing in my ears, preventing me from hearing what my leader was saying.


"-real good job," he was saying when I snapped my eyes back to him.


"Thank you, sir," I said quietly.


"I don't think we'll be having trouble getting her parents to do anything," he remarked, striding over to the window and looking out.


"How do you plan to get them to cooperate?" I asked.


He turned slowly and smiled. "Torture, of course," he said with a smirk. "People can't stand to see their loved ones injured."


Something within me gave a growl, and it wasn't my stomach.


"Visual proof of their daughter being tortured should loosen up their wallets, and give us access to that essential information," he said, turning back to the window.


Biting my lip, I focused my attention on the bald spot on his head.

"What do you want me to do next?" I asked.

"Oversee the torture," he said dismissively. "You know how it's done; you're practically an expert. So you should know the best ways to get her parents talking, hmm?"

"Understood."



The walk to the holding room was longer than I thought it was. For some reason, I dreaded going there. This had never happened to me before; I never cared about what would happen in the holding room. The pain that my victims felt was not mine, and so I did not care what happened to them.

But torturing Lisisa was different. For some reason, her pain would be mine. I just knew it. And I hated the feeling. It was a weakness I had worked so hard to get rid of in the past. And it was back.

When I entered the room, the men supposedly watching her immediately shut up and stood at attention. I knew what they were doing; they were mocking her. They always mocked my victims, and in the past I didn't care.

She looked up. She narrowed her beautiful, crystal eyes. "You," she greeted coldly.

My expression indifferent, I replied, "Me." I motioned to one of the guards standing nearby and he brought a briefcase to the table.

"What's that?" she asked, her cold tone not changing as she nodded her head at the briefcase.

Without answering her, I opened the briefcase and ran my fingers over the handles of various daggers. The once-familiar weapons now felt unwelcoming, reluctant. I forced my fingers to close around one of the smaller daggers.


"What, I'm a stranger now?" she said, her voice raising.


The dagger went around, around, around in my hands.


"After all you've put me through, after making me believe that you actually cared, you're just going to blow me off?" she shrieked, a few strands of her white hair falling into her face.


A forbidden memory of me running my fingers through that silky hair when we kissed forever ago flashed through my mind. I closed my eyes, willing the memory to leave my mind. That kiss was only to distract her, to keep her from figuring out before it was too late that she had walked into my trap.


I walked over to her slowly, still twirling the dagger in my hands. One of the guards prepared his camera, ready to take the pictures that would be sent to her parents.


As my dagger carved lines into her skin, I felt the thorn pierce me even deeper. But why? Why should her screams reach me like this? No one else's had.

"I loved you," she sobbed, gasping for air when I was done with one of her arms. "I loved you, actually, truly loved you. And now I find out you've just played with my heart. Well, curse you." She gave a whimper as I started on the other arm.


Inside of me, that thorn drove itself deeper. I could feel the blood leaving my heart, and I willed it to flow away with every inch of pain I felt as I carved more red marks into her skin.


As I worked, the guards taunted her, laughing at her pain. With every taunt, every laugh, I bit my lip harder, not stopping even when I tasted the irony taste of blood. The irony that I was spilling both of our blood, when not too long ago I made a false promise to protect her.


It was surely hours later before I finished my work. I straightened, not looking at Lisisa, nor at the streams of blood that I had caused to flow from her arms. Nor did I look at the words I had carved into her arms; the words that would get her parents to give us any money we wanted, any information we desired.


"Wonderful photos," one of the guys said, smirking. "They'll definitely get what we want."


Get what we want . . . . If those pictures were sent, it would only mean more torture for Lisisa, in order to get more of what my leader wanted. The only way Lisisa would be sent home was when she was dead and was of no further use to my leader.


Stretching out my hand, I commanded, "Give the pictures to me."


"Sir, I'm to send them-"


"Now."


Hesitantly, he gave me the photos. Once I had them, to the horror of everyone in the room, I shredded them so they could not be even taped back together. I tossed the bits to the floor, making it snow colors of the room onto the floor.


"No one speaks of this," I said, walking out the door and slamming it behind me. I kept up a fast pace as I headed out of the building. I wanted to be as far away as possible from Lisisa. Maybe then will the thorn come out.

But her words kept playing in my head, driving that thorn only deeper. It was too deep for anyone to dig out, I knew. Except for Lisisa.

Maybe, just maybe, she'll forgive me sometime in the future. But for now, that thorn in my side just goes deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper . . . .



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