Unforeseen Dives – IVb – A Bump on the Head

<< IVa – A Bump on the Head

The first thing I noticed when I came to was the smell. The nausea-inducing tang of iron filling the ambient air as blood dried and the pungent smell of decay were way too familiar. I cracked my eyes open. No surprise hit me when I recognized the ceiling above my head. I raised a tentative hand toward the chain around my neck and tugged on the metal. The clunk confirmed I lied back on square one.
“Look at that,” a wry male voice said. “The fiery smut finally snapped out of it.”
Not quite square one, then. More like a few paces behind it.
My ears informed me that a foot tapped the floor close by. Unable to catch a glimpse of my captor in my position, I pushed myself up. I winced as the familiar pain shot through my arms. A new source of suffering pulsed in my head. Lights danced in front of my eyes. I closed them and focused on dodging my lurking unconsciousness.
By reflex, I inched my buttocks backward until my shoulders leaned against the wall. The impatient tapping never missed a beat. I ignored it. My heart slowed and my breath came more easily. The Ocean menaced to take me; any form of concentration was thwarted by my headache.
“Look at me now or you’ll wish you did.” The new guy courted.
The sickening tenderness of his tone snapped my eyes open more surely than the worded threat. The tapping ceased instantaneously. My eyes rested on a dashing business man. He had abandoned his jacket and tie but the cut of his trousers and shirt spoke for itself. And the shoes. There were pricey Italian shoes under the bloody coating. A strand of curly strawberry blond hair stood out, caught in one of the laces.
Small victories: the blood ruining his shoes came from my head.
“Not as strong as we wished we were, are we?” The man teased.
I refrained from answering. It was useless anyway. The failed escape robbed me of my will to fight. Maybe that man was the one who would kill me. He seemed too composed to be driven to do it out of rage. But what if it was his role in all this? A worn out woman could dream, right?
“I hope you enjoyed your stroll. You won’t do it again. And if you try, I’ll make sure your legs cease to permit it. Clear?”
I nodded without conviction. Whatever you wished, oh captor, I was half past dead anyway. I honestly didn’t think I could endure more of this and remain strong enough to try to break out again.
The man drew a chair from the corner of the room and sat, one leg crossed over the other. His hand searched his pockets and came out with a folded piece of paper.
“Let’s see what the ‘Ridding The World Of The Reader Smut’ headline is today.” He theatrically unfolded the sheet and squinted at the tiny print, making a show of “hmm” and “haaa” as if he was discovering the note.
“Thou shall not suffer a reader to live. Such inspirational words.” His mannerism irked me. The shard of Rebecca’s personality slumbering in my memory diffused its metallic rage in my veins.
“Two of you are going out today. Angel Duff and Patrick Thompson. Friends of yours?” He shifted his look from the paper to my eyes and cocked an eyebrow to emphasize his question. His attitude rekindled the flame I thought I had lost.
“Why don’t you bother someone else with your improper use of the casual tone?” I snapped. He smiled.
“One would think you’re labeling me a violent man. How inaccurate,” he chided.
“Sorry Santa. I’m obviously going mad.”
Unabashed, he folded his note and slipped it back in his pocket. He rose and paced the room slowly.
“Truth is, I’m offering you an easy way out. Your prolonged misery is your own fault.”
I opted for silence. I could cuss at him, but it would do me no good. The best course of action remained to endure the monologue. I pried my attention from the man and, though my eyes continued to follow his back-and-forth, my mind turned to the haikus I read before my imprisonment.
My efforts failed to keep his words out.
“You know, Miss Parker, nobody is forcing you to end up like this.” He pushed Sean’s putrefying foot with the tip of his shoe. “Your own stubbornness is to blame if you get there.”
Yeah, right. It had absolutely nothing to do with the psycho holding the knife.
“All you have to do is give in to your heart’s desire. You want to crumble. Just let yourself go. Once you’re broken, we’ll light you up like a Christmas tree and you’ll go out with a bang.”
I snickered. “Go out with a bang” wasn’t as glamorous as one wanted to think.
“It’s quick and painless.”
“Oh! Sorry! I didn’t notice you experienced it yourself.” Sarcasm oozed from every word.
“Deride all you want. I’m telling you there’s no need to drag this pain on forever. Just trying to smack some sense into you. If you want to go all the way to this,” he waved in the general direction of Sean, “I’m sure we can find someone to arrange it.”
I gritted my teeth. Allowing these people to break and use me wasn’t an option. I glanced at Ryan who sat in the couch, immobile. Nothing in the conversation a couple of feet away from him stirred a reaction. I doubted any trace of his personality was left. That didn’t beat slow painful death. And being sent out sure didn’t beat neither of the other options.
I pushed my failed escape out of my mind, treasuring only the rage and the foolish hope I could get out. If I survived long enough for another opportunity to present itself, I would give my all to return to freedom and bring back the cavalry. I couldn’t care less that the man menaced to break my legs. I would get him first.
I squared my shoulders and held my chin high. The non-reader shrugged.
“As you wish.”
He snapped his fingers and Ryan rose from the couch.

24a – Appearances >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

12 responses to “Unforeseen Dives – IVb – A Bump on the Head

  • Jenn

    wow! I’m glad Cass is keeping her backbone! And the newspaper? At least I’m assuming it’s a newspaper. That’s so not good!
    Another cliffhanger but with a more satisfying ending!

  • Marsha

    OK you know how I feel about pain and suffering. This is the future, right? It can be cnaged?

    • Aheïla

      Yes, I know how you feel. And yes, it is the future. However, it is a future you, dear readers, are privy to but that Cassidy ignores. Thus, she cannot change it. She will end up at this spot eventually…

  • Phil

    Darn, I think you gave away something I’d been thinking Cassidy could pull off… Changing her future, or at least varying it so that she prevails. No worries though. It adds to the tension.

    • Aheïla

      It’s funny that you all think that. For me, it was very clear from the beginning, that the story was working it’s way up to the prologue and that all these glimpses at the future were meant to built tension. *laughs*
      Maybe I’ll work the angle a bit differently in the rewrite. Or not. It’s actually interesting to keep you guys guessing. Not that there isn’t some guessing left, of course. 😉
      Even Sab doesn’t have all the spoilers though she discussed the plot with me a few times.

  • Phil

    I totally get it. Unless you want alternative prologues, which I’m guessing you don’t, the chapters have to lead up to where Cassidy finds herself in your prologue. I was only imagining an alternative for her.

  • Phil

    Yeah. We all know you’re evil. xD

  • Alyssa

    Right – commentary – I like that there’s more dialogue in these scences because they make a little bit more sense now. 🙂
    Interesting Aheila!! I’m caught up! lol. To celebrate:

    • Aheïla

      And they’re going to make more and more sense until everything is explained! 😉
      *laughs* Congratulations on catching up with us. You can now too endure the torture of waiting for this twice a week. Luckily, tomorrow’s Wednesday so you won’t wait too long for that snippet.

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