Breeding Lilacs – Alice La Roux

This novella is part of the Death Blooms world created by Yolanda Olson. It is not rainbows and sparkly unicorns and deals with some dark topics so reader discretion is advised. What’s grey for you, might be dark to others. Kidnapping, human trafficking, forced breeding, violence, sexual situation, potential incest, non-con, dub-con, murder, being buried alive and abuse are all mentioned, some in more detail and graphic than others. PLAYLIST AFI — Silver and Cold Twenty one pilots — Chlorine Bring Me The Horizon — Can You Feel My Heart Fall Out Boy — The Last Of The Real Ones Bring Me The Horizon (ft. Amy Lee) — One Day The Only Butterflies Left Will Be in Your Chest As You March Towards Your Death Architects — Do You Dream Of Armageddon? YUNGBLUD — hope for the underrated youth Machine Gun Kelly — Bloody Valentine The Offspring — You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid Broods — Bridges Dido — Life for Rent Amber Run —Worship This book is for all the flowers who bloomed despite the shitty conditions they were planted in, or the careless gardeners who were supposed to help them grow. You are still thriving. “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” ― T.S. Eliot H LILAC ave you ever had that feeling? The one where you wake from a nightmare, skin slick with sweat, chest heavy and tight as you struggle to catch your breath. At that moment you’re sure that it’s all real because no dream could ever be that convincing, that haunting, that soul-destroying? After a few moments, the remnants of the sleep haze fade, the fear dwindles and slowly you come back to your senses, and you’re safe and warm in your bed. Exactly where you should be. Except as I listen to the sound of water trickling down the wall, falling to the floor with a slow monotonous drip, as the cool air wraps itself around me, the dream state doesn’t fade. It clings like a fog, no matter how many times I close my eyes and count to ten.

No matter how many times I reach up and rub the sleep from my eyes. No matter how I beg and scold myself, shouting ‘Wake up!’ I know it’s not really a dream. This is my new reality, and I don’t understand it. I don’t know how I got here or where here even is. The last thing I remember is leaving a work dinner, slightly worse for wear and trying to hail down a cab. There was a man…I think there was a man. I don’t know. I can’t seem to remember, my memories are just broken shards, flashes of colors and smells. Like the sickly-sweet scent of lilies lingering in the air, reminding me of funerals. My body feels like lead, like I’m nothing more than a combination of hulking limbs, pulling me down into the mattress. The steady thumping in my head is unlike any hangover I’ve ever experienced and the way sensations slowly seem to be trickling back into my fingers and toes tell me that something isn’t right. I was drugged. I must have been. I’d only had two glasses of wine, and wine didn’t make you feel like this the next morning. And then what Lila? Where are you now? Who would do this to you? Glancing around the room, nothing is revealed.

It’s small, dark and damp with concrete walls and a cold stone floor. The water trickling in seems to be caused by a leak from above since there are no windows or pipes in here. I’m lying on a small cot tucked away in the corner, with a mattress that is surprisingly comfortable considering how bare the room is. My eyes snag on a steel door with bars that run the length of it, reminding me of a cage, the kind you imagine inside a prison and it feels like my heart stops as I try to breathe. Fuck. Where am I? When I finally feel stable enough to move, I push myself up into a sitting position with great effort. It’s like my arms are noodles, weak and soft as I try to support my weight. With my back against the wall, I pull my knees up to my chest and flinch when I realize my left ankle is shackled to the bed with a length of chain. My clothes are gone and instead I’m wearing some sort of cream cotton shift nightgown. Positioning myself so I can watch the door, I try to get my ragged breathing under control. Remember. Come on Lila, remember something. Anything. There’s nothing. Just a hollowness that settles over me.

I’ve seen enough horror films to know that panicking is not going to get me anywhere. And I grew up inside the care system, so I know no one is going to help me—I have to help myself. To do that, I need to figure out what the heck is going on and what my options are, but I know that freaking out isn’t one of them. I don’t have the luxury of that. Not if I want to survive. And I want to survive. I didn’t go through eighteen years of hell to just give up now, not when I was on the verge of freedom. No one was going to come looking for me because I had no one. I was alone, and I liked it that way. I finally had my own apartment, a job I liked, and at twenty-one, this was my chance to live life the way I wanted. Squeezing my eyes shut and trying one last time to wake myself from the nightmare of my life, I pinch myself and inhale slowly. When I exhale, I’m still in the small dark room, chained to a bed with no memories of how I got here. Time passes but I’m not sure how much. I finally have full control over my body and the sluggish feeling dwindles, but now there’s a gnawing in my stomach and my mouth feels like I’ve eaten a thousand cotton wool balls. Standing, I shuffle towards the door, getting as close to the bars as the chain around my ankle will allow.

“Hello? Is anyone out there?” Silence. Trying again, I manage to croak out, “Hello? Can I please get some water? Maybe something to eat?” Finally, I hear a soft whimper somewhere down the corridor to my right. I can just see a dimly lit corridor, with several dark shapes. I think there may be other doors but with no light, I can’t be sure. With the uneven walls, it feels almost like a creepy cavern rather than a building. Another voice hisses from somewhere to my left I think, but my head is fuzzy. “Be quiet! Hush before she hears you!” “Who? Who will hear me?” Part of me is relieved that I’m not down here alone, another part is terrified about what that means. “Shut up!” The harsh voice growls and I realize it’s female. The whimpering becomes a muffled sobbing.


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Updated: 15 September 2021 — 03:02

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