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   Chapter 25 24.

On Her Knees By Chyna McCartney Characters: 18398

Updated: 2018-02-11 17:16

This was a dream; my mind was aware of it but the sight before me seemed far too real..

I was in the dark room again, banging on the door that Armand had slammed in my face, with my fists. Then I felt the cold press of a foreign hand around my waist; the stranger's voice laden with a French accent, reverberated off the stone walls of the empty room.

"He description of you has done you no justice, but I think, " he whispered in my left ear. "that you and I are going to have a great deal of fun here, la fillette."

The hand that was not on fire, grabbed me by the back of my throat and dragged me backward into the dark expanse, the glow from his flame illuminating small patches of the room as we moved toward a wooden chair at the rear of the room.

I struggled: kicked and screamed and clawed at him, but my attempts had no affect on him. The stranger was nonchalant and unperturbed, whistling a tune as he closed the cuffs attached to the arms and legs of the chair around my ankles and my wrists.

In the light from his flame, I could see the man's face now. His hair was a strange pale platinum blonde, framing a striking, angular face with eyes like gleaming emeralds. His fangs-- four elongated canines like that of a large, predatory cat, were already retracted and peaking out from between his smirking lips.

"Shall we begin?" His hand, with it's dancing flame disappeared from my line of sight and a scream escaped my lips.

The smell of burning flesh permeated the dark room...

I woke with a start and gasping for air, sweat dewing on my forehead as my skin still tingled with the vampire's touch. My eyes wondered wildly around the dimly lit room until I was convinced that I was in fact, laying on my lumpy mattress in the huge make shift bedroom and not in that room of horrors.

I was still whole, and perhaps thankfully so. My limbs and my virtue were still very much intact. I even still clutched onto my dignity albeit, it was a little bruised. But as for my sanity...

It has only been one full day since I was released but even now I doubt that my mind will survive the days to come. I spent a week imprisoned with the man-- who later revealed that his name was Christian, and at the mercy of his burning hands.

He was meticulous and patient, choosing a particular part of my body and focusing his touch there, searing my skin and the muscles underneath just until I was brought nearly to the edge of consciousness and only then did he stop.

He would remove the hand that held the fire and would heal the damage with another, only to move on to a different part for me the next day. So, I had no marks on me to serve as evidence of my abuse. The skin everywhere was perfect except for the wounds on my back that were no doubt festering by now since I had not been allowed to shower in a little over a week.

Someone else in my position may have considered not being scarred any more than I already was, to be a blessing but somehow that was the worst part. The pain that remained was solely in my mind now: manifested in the forms of paranoia and a clawing under my own skin that I could not run from. Something inside had broken in me and the world around me was tainted with hate. Hate for the fanged creatures that plagued my every nightmare. I despised them all; or at least I thought I had until I met with Giovanni last night.

Seeing him and finally hearing his motives for being here reaffirmed what I was already convinced of about his character. Giovanni was nothing like them.

"Yet still you said such a terrible thing in his hearing, " my subconscious reminded me.

I could hear myself declaring it to him as I had only hours before. "..I hate vampires. I hate them all..."

I can still hear the sadness in his voice as he responded. "And alas, there has never been a man who has wished to be human more than I do.."

He said he wanted to be human... I had never heard him verbalize that before. Not until I had made such a rash comment; something I did not truly mean. He had only admitted that in response to me.

Giovanni wanted to be human...because of me..

This I wanted to believe but again, my own insecurities got in the way; his being with another woman was not the only reason why I hesitated to think too deeply about our relationship. Girlfriend or not, he was still out of my league. He was a perfect man: every inch of him was pure and good and unbiased. I was, on the other hand, a penniless, motherless, fatherless girl who had never had the means to do much with her life, not that I had anything to offer this world anyway.

I could see no reason why he would want me. Yet, he did seem to go to great lengths to get me the things I asked of him.

I sat up with great difficulty and looked over to the cot directly across from me. I smiled at the sight of the empty bed. Melanie was safe and away from this place because of him.

I felt fingers on the skin of my back through the exposed gauze and I jumped; partially from the pain the pressure caused and partially from my newfound sense of uneasiness with the world.

"You should get this looked at, " someone said behind me, running their fingers down my spine. I knew from the touch that it was Marcus before he stepped in front of my bed. In his right hand, he held a tray with a covered dish and for some odd reason, he was shirtless.

His sculpted alabaster chest was marred with large c-shaped scars almost carved into the flesh; just like the ones

g that she's a ghost."

Antonio nodded. "A spectre. A spirit. El fantasma... I suppose she is any of these things depending on what it is that you believe, little bird. I for one, did not believe in such things until I first saw her but regardless of what she may be now, I knew her as Vivian. She was a part of the human shift that came in during the mornings. And that of course, was when Marcus first saw her."

"Marcus?" The name of the monster sent a cold chill down my spine.

"Si, little bird. He tormented her; stayed in this building longer than he needed to so that he would be here when she came. The poor girl fought his sexual advances until he finally overcame her. I found her crying in this very office the morning after he took her." His brown eyes settled on a space on the hardwood floor behind where I stood. "I could do nothing to help her but listen, " he murmured, the guilt evident in his voice. "I could not kill him; it is forbidden, you see by our laws. Only certain circumstances warranted a just killing for our kind and defending a human life was not one of them."

I asked the ultimate question. "How did she die?"

"By his hand, of course. I had a friend who was willing to whisk her away for me but somehow, Marcus found out. The next morning, I found him here in my office instead of Vivian and he told me what he did... How he cut her throat because she wasn't good enough to drink from anymore. He left me pictures of her broken body; of all their broken bodies..."

"There were others?" I whispered in disbelief.

"Yes. Countless others. Dozens of human girls. Girls they kidnapped and brought to our world. Girls who Armand employed. Sometimes a blonde, or a brunette. There was even a girl with beautiful red hair. He never really had a.. 'type' as you human's like to say. He had no true preference. He just became infatuated with a girl and he would take and take and take until they had nothing more to give him."

I felt his pain and his disgust; it radiated off of him and hung in the air. "If there were other girls, why is Vivian the only one who seems to be lingering around?"

"Maybe because her situation was different from the others. His other victims suffered alone but Vivian had me to confide in. If I had been given one more day, she would have been free of this--safe and relatively comfortable at this moment somewhere far away from this world of horrors. Most importantly, she would be alive. She was so close to that life; closer than most of them and in that vein, maybe she suffered the most because of this. So much hope squandered..."

I walked over to where he sat behind the desk and placed a hand on his shoulder. Although he seemed to relax under my touch, he still stared forward--brown eyes lost and haunted.

"I fear for you, little bird, " his voice was barely a whisper. "He looks at you in the same way that he looked at my dear, Vivian. The same way that he looked at all of them... I kept record of all of them in this room, so that I would not forget their suffering. I suppose it was to punish myself for not doing more to protect them. I fear that when he comes for you, I won't be able to protect you; that I'll fail you just as I failed Vivian."

My heart was pricked by his sincere vulnerability. "You know that I don't require your services, only your company, " I murmured, throwing his own words back at him.

A small smile graced his soft lips and he nestled his cool cheek against the hand that I laid on his shoulder. "Perhaps, that will be enough for a time."

And in the back of my mind, I realized that I might have just found my get-out-of-jail-free card...

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