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   Chapter 15 14.

On Her Knees By Chyna McCartney Characters: 21006

Updated: 2018-02-10 17:42


I felt like I had been floating for an immeasurable amount of time. But not really myself; not my entire body. Just the part of me that was capable of conscious thought. There was the feeling of weightlessness around my mind- like I was suspended in some foreign plane, just outside of reality.

I could not smell or taste or feel anything. Nor could I force any of my limbs to move. In fact, I felt strangely disconnected from my body. Occasionally, voices did float through the fog though: both strange and familiar. They were the only thing that gave me the feeling that on some level, some part of me still existed in the real world. Otherwise, I would never have known that I was still living.

The familiar voices helped me to keep a firm grip on my sanity whenever I came to, despite the eerie sense of absence in this strange, conscious state of physical unconsciousness. There was Melanie's anxious whisper; I could tell that she visited me frequently. I would imagine the frightened look on her too-young face. Her insistent sobbing over my condition was disheartening to say the least but it made me even more worried about the condition I would find myself in, should I ever wake up.

I must look pretty terrible to make her so distraught and my not being able to wake up must only add to that anxiety.

But then again, Melanie wasn't the most stable individual. The more I thought about her fragility, the more convinced I was that she must have been the victim of some unspeakable trauma. Its hard to imagine anyone being so inherently delicate otherwise.

I made up my mind to ask her about it when I was conscious again.

Much to my surprise, I was also able to remember hearing Marcus' voice too. He was near me at some point; his nervous mumbling accompanied by the voice of another - someone I didn't recognize. I heard portions of his conversations with men, whom I now assumed were doctors, barking angry questions at them and demanding to know how my health was progressing. For a man who had beaten me nearly to death, Marcus was more anxious about my well being than I thought he would be- or should be for that matter.

The memories of that dark room floated around my disembodied mind: the green-eyed vampire hoisting me up, the sound of cloth tearing and the wet thud of the whip cracking over and over and over again against my battered and bloody flesh. The memory of the pain that accompanied the beating intensified every time I relived that moment and I know that if I still had control of my own body, I would have shuddered.

I fought to push those thoughts away but the scents from that room filtered through. The stale air and the smell of my own blood perfumed the blackness and I plunged again into the depths of feeble unawareness.

____________

A few-- well let's call it moments later: it really could have been minutes or hours or years for all I knew. This place was just so void and still-- I heard Marcus' voice again.

"Why isn't she waking up? How long do humans need to mend? Was it something those moronic physicians gave to her?" He growled a flurry of questions. To my surprise I could feel pressure in the crease of what should be my elbow, after he spoke.

"Peter and his associated are very learned men: knowledgeable of the inner workings of every species, the fragile humans included. They have done the best that they possibly can for this girl. Only time can determine her condition. And to think, that there would be no cause to suffer such circumstances had you not lost control of yourself, Marcus." Another voice spoke. The accent was distinctly Spanish, minus the gleeful lilt that I remember hearing in Antonio's voice. This voice was wholly masculine; deep and menacing.

It left Marcus stuttering. "I don't know what came over me, Armand. I don't know what that was. I--"

"Foolish is what is was, " the voice rebuked. The voice of a man named Armand, supposedly. "There was a reason I gave you express control of product management and not Antonio. He would like to think that he is really in charge when I am not here, managing the books as he is but businesses such as this are nothing without quality control.

I thought that you of all men would be less prone to moments of idiocy. Was I wrong to assume such a thing? Should I instead have handed over total control to that puerile fool?"

"No, Armand. I am more than capable. I don't know what you would have me do to reassure you of that but I will do whatever you need, whatever you want..."

"Enough of this grovelling!" the voice boomed. "I need you to do your job, Marcus. I need you to do it with the utmost impartiality; before this moment, you actually seemed more than capable of just that."

" And I still can, my Lord." Marcus breathed.

"You will also work to maintain your control over the other humans and do so without resorting to extreme violence. We wouldn't want them feeling empowered by this one's moment of defiance."

"I think her present condition has rather had the opposite effect, my lord." Marcus murmured with smug subservience.

"Good. Alert me when this one is conscious again." The man, Armand said dismissively and then there was the fading whisper of the heel of boots against the concrete.

"Wake the hell up, Teryn! Please." I heard Marcus hiss again with that uncharacteristic tone of anxiety. Then momentary pressure on the inside of my elbow again and all fell silent.

'My lord?' Who was this man to make even the vile Marcus a little nervous and dare I say it-- afraid? Who was this Armand? And why did he want to know when I woke up from this unconscious state? Since when did anyone care about my life in this place?

Those unanswered questions pulled me under again.

_______________

Somewhere amidst the fog of disembodied voices and my absentmindedly wondering about Giovanni, my eyes began to flutter open; something that proved to be a difficult task.

My eyelids felt heavy but when I finally managed to pry them wide, I found myself blinking rapidly to adjust to the light in the room. Even the dim light coming from the single light bulb was too bright compared to the total darkness that I'd been submerged in for far too long.

I stretched, feeling the soreness, the s

that question.

She shook her head, brushing the thought away like it was a nagging insect. "Pretty macabre to think of it that way though. As if they could possibly choose who they wanted to drink from based upon the way our blood tastes; like the way some men choose between different cuts of meat." Her gentle voice was the emptiest I'd ever heard it, those grey eyes dulled to a dark steely color as she stared, unseeing at a portion of the brown covers. "We must all just be like different cuts of meat to them..."

I put my hand over her left one that was now balled into a tight fist as she squeezed her eyes shut tightly. She had never spoke this much in one instant in all the time that I'd known her and that was a little over a month's time. Her rambling was a distraction. Melanie was at that edge: her feet on the tip of that imaginary precipice with the waves crashing against the sharp rocks below her. I knew if she fell over into the icy waters of insanity, she would never resurface-- at least not any part of her that was still sane.

I pushed all the strength I had in me into my grip on her hand, letting her know that I was here; that I wouldn't let her fall over that edge. After a few minutes, she had steadied her breathing and when she looked up at me, her eyes were more focused- less cloudy.

"I'm okay, " she murmured more for her benefit that my own. I waited for her to continue.

"They tried giving you atropine and it kept you pretty stable for a while. At least until they attempted to flush the wounds out. Things got bad after that...." she said, eyes haunted. "Your blood pressure dropped way too low, way too fast and they started panicking. Peter was frantic, yelling things about defibrillators and your heart stopping for a moment. I couldn't get Bailey to stop crying.

It didn't take long for you to slip into a coma after that and you've been under, surviving on a saline drip until about two days ago. Peter said that you would be fine now that you were exhibiting more brain activity but I was afraid that something could still go horribly wrong. You were so still, Teryn. I thought you'd never wake up." She sobbed, leaning her head into my chest and I held her as best as I could, spite the stiffness in my shoulders, running my fingers through her silky locks.

Her body didn't relax completely against mine though and after a few heartbeats, she pulled away, furiously trying to brush the last remnants of her sadness from her reddened cheeks. She looked older then: less fragile and more composed.

"You look different. Older somehow." I voiced my thoughts, removing the last of her tears.

"I suppose this has aged me, " he murmured with a small smile, her voice hushed again. "Seeing you like that: so broken, it really put things in perspective for me. I realize that I can't depend on you to always keep me safe. I have to learn to protect myself."

A strange new confidence was set in the soft lines of her face and it gave me a sense of pride to see it. The kind of pride you felt when you realized that someone you cared for had finally matured in some sense.

All though my arms didn't completely manage to wrap around her because the movement tugged at the muscles in my back, I engulfed the smaller girl in a hug. She returned it almost instantly, folding her slender arms around my shoulders and tucking her head against my neck.

"But don't you ever scare me like that again, " Melanie scolded. "I'm trying to be strong but I don't think I could handle seeing you like that again."

I chuckled and winced when that amplified the pain. "Well I'll try not to get beaten half to death again."

I felt her smile and continued. "But just in case, I'm type O negative."

"That bit of information would have been most useful say.. two weeks ago my dear but obviously, we came to that conclusion by other means. So good to finally meet you, little one, " came a deep, male voice from the entrance to the room.

It was a voice I instantly recognized as one from the time I spent unconscious.

The voice of the man that spoke to Marcus.

I spoke his name before I could even think to stop myself, "Armand."

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