Darkness in me
Who me?The dog came at me, snarling, snapping and spitting. I fell back and scrambled to escape those, giant, deadly teeth. With a yelp, the dog was yanked back by the man holding the leash. I looked up and around me; men in shadowy black cloaks surrounded me, cloaking me in a blanket of darkness. In desperation, I lunged at a pair of knees close to me. I was easily kicked back into the middle of the circle. I hissed in pain as I felt the sharp stab of a needle in my arm and felt my eyes going fuzzy. Struggling
I woke, tangled in a blanket with a small silver chain snaking around my ankle. I shrieked and tore at it with desperate hands. But the chain was tough as steel, and wouldn’t budge. I looked up as the door scraped open and a man came in, making no sound. I retreated into a far corner but he advanced. He came close and crouched on his heels; he lifted the heavy black hood from his shrouded head. Cold, gray, eyes captured my own green ones. I couldn’t look away and I felt as if he was looking into my soul. I shivered and that one movement caused the connection to break. The candle that was once beside the bed was now in my hand and I slashed at the face so close to mine. He grasped my hand and I froze as he spoke, “There is no way you could possibly overpower me young child. I have many years of military training as well as many years as a fugitive. I know much more than you can comprehend.”
My hand shook in his cold, gray one. I studied his face. Short hair, just enough to cover his forehead, cold eyes, tan cheeks, though I don’t know where he could have gotten any sun. A hand like ice gripped mine, I somehow managed to speak, “I have the right to know what you plan to do with me, you murderer.”
I spat the words in his unblinking face. The side of his mouth curled up like smoke, smug and I could see he was laughing at my attempt to be brave. “What could you possibly earn from kidnapping a sixteen year old girl? Hmm? Pleasure of seeing the look of fear on her face? Do you like scaring people? Because you don’t scare me.”
He released my hand and stood, “Your sixteen years old?”
He demanded of me. I lifted my chin and his mouth tightened. In one motion he had lifted his hood into place and reached for me. I screamed and kicked at his hands. He held a hand in the air, as if to backhand me and I quickly froze. He slowly reached down to my ankle and I heard a sharp click. He had released the chain from my ankle and pulled me up to a stand. He looked at me closely and said in a soft voice,
“Don’t say a word and you might live the rest of the hour.” I tried to pull my arm from
his grip but it was like steel. He shook me and said in a fierce whisper, “Are you listening to me? I’m trying to keep you alive you stupid girl.”
I easily spat back, “Why would you wan to keep me alive? What am I to you?”
He glared at me and then snapped a chain around my wrist, hooking it to his own wrist. I pulled back and tried in vain to pull my wrist from the chain but I couldn’t. I quickly realized I was wasting my energy and stopped. He put a finger to my lips and glared at me until I nodded. He quickly swept us out the door and down the hall. I watched as two cloaked guards started after us and tugged on his sleeve. He whispered down to me, “I see them.”
Then turned around to face the two cloaked sentries. “Da’ra has sent for the girl and asked me to bring her to his chambers. Alone.”
The sentry on the right replied in a husky voice, “Thresh, the girl was supposed to stay in her chambers until dusk. That’s still three hours away. Although, you know that.”
Thresh rolled his eyes and started to turn away. Next thing I knew he was against the wall with a dagger to his throat and I was on the floor, arm stretched up because of the chain. Thresh smiled and reached slowly into his robe and brought out a roll of paper with a string around it. Handing it to the other sentry he smirked as the man standing over me motioned the one holding him to the wall, to back off once done reading. He stood straight and helped me up. I realized my arm was sore when he pulled me up with his steel grip. Clenching my teeth, I walked alongside him again.
Taking a maze of halls we reached a door. The door was a good six and a half foot tall and it had three metal bars going across it. The handle was intricately carved as the head of a snake. That’s when I realized the door was covered in burns that were the shape of cobra heads. I shivered as Thresh knocked and it sent an echo all the way down the hall. A rattling came from the other side of the door and it opened. A flourished male face appeared and I almost giggled. He had hair that stuck straight up and a face that was covered in soot as if he had been staring up into the chimney. His clothes barely clung to his skinny frame; he had a natural surprised look on his face. When he opened the door Thresh didn’t even wait for an invitation and strode right in, pushing past the surprised man and pulling him away from the door in order to slam the door closed before locking it. He quickly unlocked my chain and threw me to the floor. All kindness lost, well, what little there had been before. Turning on the small man still by the door, he spat, “You lied to me Da’ra. You told me she was over eighteen. You know she can’t have come into her powers so young.”
The man calmly looked at the fuming Thresh standing over me. “You don’t know what I know either Thresh. She is young yes but as my men have reported she has.” That’s when he looked at me. “Show me girl, light a fire like you did the night we came for you. The night you were taken.”
I shook with fear under this once-funny looking man, “I don’t know what your talking about you freak.”
His hand sent me sprawling across the floor. Thresh came to my side and I cringed away from his touch. I felt my face as he inspected it and I could still feel the warmth and sting of the slap. Thresh gently removed my hand and peered closely. Then he turned on Da’ra. With quiet menace he told him, “If you strike her again it will be the last thing you ever do, this is not a threat, it is a promise.”
Da’ra shook as Thresh’s eyes made contact with his. He nodded and moved to help me up. I scrambled away from him. (Da’ra of course, not Thresh.) He slowly pulled his hand back and straightened. Then Thresh held a hand out and I took it instantly. He pulled me to his chest and I buried my head into his shoulder and sobbed. He stood there stroking my hair and enveloping me in a warm cocoon. There was nothing left of yesterday in me. I was someone I never wanted to be, I was, a witch.
Waking to a soft rocking motion, I was looked into Thresh’s eyes as he cradled me to his chest, carrying me somewhere. I must have fallen asleep after sobbing all my tears into his thick black cloak. He softly asked me, “Do you want to walk?”
I shook my head and buried my head into his warm chest. He laughed quietly and tightened his grip on me.
“You aren’t afraid of me anymore?”
I shook my head and mumbled something that even I couldn’t understand, half asleep already. He laughed a single laugh and we were both quiet until he reached a set of oak doors. He stopped to open them and I squirmed. “What are you doing? This isn’t my room Thresh.”
He shook his head and mumbled, “I know its not. That’s because they’re mine.”
I jerked up and he almost dropped me. “Careful! I don’t want to drop you.”
I instantly cowered under his intense gray eyes. He slowly turned the big crow-head shaped handle. I gasped as we entered his rooms. Yes rooms. As in more than one. Actually six as he told me as I struggled to look at everything at once. The window was huge and made from stained glass, the doors were made of solid pine. I sucked in a breath through my nose, enjoying the rare scent, unable to get enough of it. He gently set me down on the front rooms couch and just watched me with no hint of embarrassment for about three minutes as I squirmed nervously under his icy gaze. Finally I snapped out, “What are you staring at Thresh? I know I don’t look perfect but still. I did just get kidnapped and slapped as well as covered in soot.”
He shook his head with the hint of a smile. “I was not looking at your oddities at this time, but instead I was wondering how a girl could look so beautiful and so… rugged.”
I blinked in surprise. He called me beautiful. This hunk of hard warrior, who would kill at a moments notice because a man struck a woman, had called me beautiful. I blinked again and he held a hand out to pull me from the couch. I took it and he led me through a maze of halls before coming to a door that was decorated in bubbles and mermaids pulling their hair across their chests. He pushed open the door and I gasped. The bathroom was huge. The bathtub and shower were not one thing but instead they became two separate objects. The bathtub could have fit five people easily. Before I knew what he was doing, he had scooped me up into his arms and started to stride towards the bathtub, which had started to fill up as he flipped a switch by the door. I shrieked as he dumped me into it, clothes and all. I came up spluttering and he was sitting on the edge of the tub, laughing as he hefted a bar of soap in his hand. I glared at him, “You could have just showed me how to work it, that way I didn’t have to get my clothes wet.”
He just laughed, “Would you have preferred I had undressed you before dumping you in? I could still do it you know.”
I shrunk back into the far corner of the tub and ducked my head so my chin met the top of the water. He laughed and tossed the bar of soap he was still holding to me. I barely caught it and when I looked up he was standing at the door. He held a hand up. “You have twenty minutes or I will come get you myself. I’m hoping you take long.” With a wink he left the room, closing the door with a click of finality. I wasted no time undressing and scrubbing my rough skin smooth with the tangy smelling soap. By the end of twenty minutes I was standing, shivering in a large fluffy towel, the smell of hot soapy water enveloping me. He walked into the room with no hesitation and I turned from the large window to look at him. He himself must have taken a shower as well because his long brown hair was wet and slicked down. I backed away as he advanced on me. All I had on was a towel for God’s sake. I felt my back hit the cold window and he came close, slowly reaching out his hands as if to a scared animal, to cup my face gently. I couldn’t help it, I leaned into his embrace and he held me as I stared to sob. I buried my head in the crook of his shoulder and I gripped handfuls of his shirt in my fists, his arms around me. If it hadn’t been for his arms I would have collapsed, right there, on the floor in front of this man I didn’t even know. He held me as if he had known me his entire life and for some reason, I didn’t mind. Now, this may seem odd, but I had problems with touching people. Even my own family couldn’t hug me like this. I didn’t know what he was doing to my head and I don’t think I liked it too much. I instantly pulled away and shoved him away from me while I backed into the corner and crouched to bury my head between my knees. He didn’t look fazed in the slightest although he was on the floor about seven feet away from where we had been standing. And he was cradling his arm as if he had been burned. I lifted my head just a tiny bit and watched him watch me. His eyes didn’t show much but right then I could see the pain filing his eyes. Not emotional pain, but physical. It burned with a fiery passion in his eyes as he brought his arm closer to his chest. I slowly crawled up and made my way towards him, his grey eyes following me, watching me as I came closer.