Fighting the Dark – Kassidy Carte

Beck and I are playing in the playroom our mother had set up. I will always remember that night like it happened yesterday. Beck tells me he’s going to be right back. He is hungry and wants to go sneak a snack, which wasn’t unusual because my father was big on no eating after a certain hour. If you didn’t eat your food, you didn’t get to eat until the next day. He lived by some pretty strict rules. Sometimes Beck and I would break them and do what we wanted. It’s how we were raised. It took a while for Beck to come back. He tells me he found some leftover steak in the fridge and had to heat it up. He more than likely blackmailed one of the maids into helping him. It’s how Beck is. He’s younger than me, but he is more manipulative than I will ever be. After an hour of Beck and I playing and laughing, my father calls me into his office. I used to love walking in his office.

Being ten years old and being summoned to talk with my almighty dad, I feel big and proud. Smiling at Beck, I rise to my feet. Wanting to impress my father, I brush my pants off like they have dirt on them and rise to my full ten-year-old height. Not wanting to keep him waiting, I walk in his office with a straight face and all business. He will probably only want a drink, but the moment I get to please my dad never goes missed by me. He is a great and powerful guy, someone I hope to become one day. When I walk into the room, he smiles at me as he stands up. A normal kid would run up to their father and give them a hug. I did that once, and I got smacked for it. With my father, there is no hugs or terms of endearment.

You stand there and act tough … act like you are not scared. You let him talk and then maybe he will shake your hand. “Mason, go get your mother. We are going to be late for the business dinner we have to attend. You know I hate being late.” He adjusts the cuffs to his shirt sleeve. “Right away, Sir.” Turning on my heels, I head out of the office. That’s how this goes. He gives an order, and you follow the order.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it. You just do it and never ask questions. I know my mom is going to look beautiful in her dress. My favorite is the yellow dress that reminds me of Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Martha, my maid and most times babysitter, always sits down and makes us watch Disney movies with her. She even tells me in a low whisper that my father is the beast and my mom is Belle. It’s probably why I love the dress so much. It’s not as big as Belle’s dress, but its yellow and pretty. Not wanting to keep my father waiting, I race upstairs to the dreaded bathroom that reminds me of sadness. The whole bathroom is black, and it makes me sad every time I go in there.

Knocking once, I wait for her to answer. She doesn’t so I knock again. “Mom, Dad needs to you hurry up. You know how he doesn’t like to be late.” I get no reply. So I knock again and again. With no response, I check to see if the door is unlocked. When the knob turns, I push the door open. Even to this day I can say I’m not prepared for what I saw. The blood is everywhere—it’s what I see first.

The confusion hits hard until I look past all of the red water. The red looks out of place in the black bathroom. My mother is floating in water. Her eyes are closed, making her look peaceful. “Mom, did you hear me?” I ask quietly. I know the answer before I even make it to her. She didn’t hear me because she’s dead. The tightness in my throat hurts from the tears I am holding back. I slowly extend my hand into the cold water. Taking her hand into mine, I pull it up and notice the gash that’s running down her arm.

The first tear runs down my face as I scream for my father. Beck comes running into the bathroom, asking what’s wrong, but I can’t tell him that our mother took her life. I drop her hand slowly back into the water and watch the water ripple with the movement. Making blood red waves. I take him in as I stand up, ready to give him a hug, yet I hold off doing any of that. Beck doesn’t even care; he doesn’t seem concerned or heartbroken like I am. The angel in my life is dead. Father comes strolling in and looks at the tub. You know how in old movies the husband is all distraught, trying to hold the women when they are hurt? Holding them in their arms tight and close to them. That didn’t happen.

My father calmly looks at me and Beck, telling us to learn a lesson. Telling us that our mother was a selfish bitch for leaving us. Telling us that she did not care enough about us to stay. The hurt inside my chest keeps climbing high into my throat, cutting it off from any air getting in. Beck glances at my father and whispers, “Bitch,” under his breath as he walks out of the bathroom. I narrow my eyes at him, wanting so badly to jump him from behind and punch the living shit out of him. My father stops me when he clears his throat. “Clean this up; I have a dinner attend.” He looks at the tub and then back at me. “She is a selfish bitch, Mason.

Time to play with the big dogs.” Turning on his heel, he heads for the door. “Martha,” he yells. “Help the boy clean up the mess his mother made.” He turns back to me and smiles. “I want nothing said about this. Martha and Troy will take care of her body. Mason, it’s time to be a man.” With that, he walks out of the bathroom and out for the rest of the night. Marth tells me to go to my room.

That it’s not my place to help clean up the mess. That no boy should ever walk in on his mother lying in a tub of her own blood. I listen to Martha and go into my room. That night my life changes. That night the light in the house goes out, and the only thing left is the dark. That is until Rylee. Most people would be excited to celebrate their twenty-first birthday—the night out to get wasted, being able to let loose and be carefree. That would be true for me if my father wasn’t an alcoholic who destroys people lives. But my father is an alcoholic, and he did destroy people’s lives by drinking. The last five years have been a lot of running and hiding from my father’s past.

If it isn’t his drinking that I have to run from, it’s the massive amount of debt he put us in with his gambling. I moved far away from all his issues, and want to forget about the life I used to live. My best friend Alice doesn’t understand why I am not excited to cut loose and relax for a night. I spent my whole life on the edge. Drinking to me isn’t fun, but I know she is right. One night of cutting loose and enjoying myself won’t kill me. So I agree to meet her out at the bar down the road from my house. Picking something out to wear is easier said than done. I don’t want to go in my normal ‘jeans and a T-shirt’ look. I want tonight to be different and special.

You only turn twenty-one once. So I rummage in my closet, desperately trying to find something to wear. It would be easier if Alice were here to help me. She’d know what goes with what. The black dress that’s sitting in the back of my closet catches my eye, so I grab it and hold it up to me. It will have to do. It’s cute and cut low in the front, showing off enough cleavage to make Alice happy and hiding enough to make me comfortable. Alice is one of those people who never has to worry about their body. You know, the skinny and amazing type. The kind every guy flocks to … while I sit in the background twiddling my thumbs.

Tonight I want it to be different. I want to be noticed and maybe, just maybe, meet a guy who will steal my breath away. Being an author and trying to meet deadlines doesn’t make room for fun and play. I am always hiding in a hotel working on my next book. In the book world I’m not Rylee Smith. I am R.S. Hinkens, the dirty author that comes up with amazingly hot sex scenes. In real life, I am quiet and quirky. Nothing about what I’m wearing tonight represents who I am really, and I’m okay with that.

Alice will be shocked when she sees me walk into the bar. Smiling at the dress, I slip my clothes off and slide the slinky dress over my head. The hem hits a little past my butt, making it so I won’t slip and moon everyone in the bar. Once I finish dressing, I walk into my bathroom and curl my long, straight, auburn hair and add some subtle makeup to my face to give it some color and life. Another downfall of being an author—you hid in the hotel for so long your skin forgot what the sun is. It also doesn’t help that I have fair skin because of the Irish on my father’s side. I finish putting myself together just ask my phone goes off with Alice’s text tone. When are you going to get your ass down here? I am two drinks in, and I’m starting to look like a drunk drinking by myself. Rolling my eyes, I quickly send her a text back. Leaving soon.

Keep your slutty dress on. I just finished getting ready. After sending the text to Alice, I turn my phone off and slip it in the mini purse I am carrying. I normally carry a huge purse that can serve as a body bag, but tonight I don’t want to worry about leaving it someplace. Sighing, I walk over to my shoes and slip on the black wedges I have. They are cute and more comfortable than the sky-high heels Alice wears. Once I get them on, I grab my mini purse and head out the door, ready for tonight to start. As much as I don’t want to go and drink, I know I need a night to chill out and spend time with my friend. The bar Alice is meeting me at is only a block from my house. Knowing it’s only going to take me a few minutes to walk there, I take my time.

The city I live in isn’t huge, but then again it isn’t small. It’s one of those cities where you are comfortable with walking alone, but you still keep your eyes open. The ones where not everyone knows you unless your dad has a bad reputation. He is the reason I hide away in my house and only talk to Alice. Everyone judges you when they find out who your family is. The bar comes into view just as that thought crosses my mind and I gladly think of something else as I open the door and step into the bar. There are two men standing off in the alley that is on the side of the bar. One is one the phone, and I can faintly hear a hushed whisper from their way. Minding my own business, I ignore them and walk into the bar. It being a Thursday night the bar isn’t busy.

With the over the top bring pink dress she has on, I spot Alice right away. She waves me over to her in excitement as soon as she spots me. Wanting to get a drink first, I throw up my finger telling her to wait for a minute and point to the bar. She shrugs at me as I look away. It only takes the bartender a second to hand me a cold Coors Light and wish me a happy birthday. Smiling at him, I say thanks and walk away over to where Alice is. “Hey, girl! Happy Birthday,” she exclaims as she gives me a hug. “Thank you.” I hug her back and sit in the seat she saved for me. Noticing there are two others, I give her a pointed look.

“Oh, these two hotties came over and started talking to me.” It’s always about guys when is comes to Alice. She can’t go anywhere without having them follow her. “One is super hot and total one-night stand material. The other one seems more your type … quiet. I invited them to hang out with us. They just ran out to their car quickly. The quiet one got a phone call. I don’t know, it sounded serious.” She takes a big breath after spitting that all out quickly.

“That’s kind of weird, isn’t it?” I take a drink of the beer, cringing a little at the bitterness it has to offer. “Wait ’til you see them. It totally cancels out the weirdness.” She smiles and takes her drink into her hands just as two men walk into the bar. It’s the guys from the alley. I didn’t really get a good look at them before because of the dark of the night, but Alice is right they are both really good looking. One is shorter with spiked dark brownish black hair, and is extremely built like the guys you see on the a lot of book covers. He’s handsome but not as handsome as the guy walking next to him. The guy next to him is tall with brown hair that looks to be short on the sides and longer on top. He isn’t built, but I can tell he works out.

His lean frame and face offer the perfect mix of sexiness. As they make their way to the table, the tall guy catches me checking him out and smiles at me. My heart jumps a little because damn that smile can stop a train at full speed. Alice kicks me under the table, causing me to tear my gaze away from the guys and back to her. “Are you done eye fucking him?” I blush a little because I know they heard her. “I wasn’t … you know, what you said,” I say lightly, taking another drink of my beer, trying to make my throat not as dry. “Hey, Alice.” The blond guy takes his seat next her. He must be the one-night stand worthy guy she was talking about. Giving him a sexy smile, she moves a little closer to him.

“This is my friend Rylee.” She points to me and smiles even bigger. “Hi Rylee. I am Dan, and this is my best friend, Mason. I hope you don’t mind us joining you. I know Alice mentioned something about it being a special night.” He speaks in a low, sweet voice, and I don’t really get a creeper vibe off him. “It’s nice to meet you guys. I don’t mind you staying at all. It’s my twenty-first birthday.

I think I can use a little fun for a change.” I give him a smile and peek over at Mason. He doesn’t say anything, just nods his head. It might take a little work to get him to talk. In an hour or so he and I are going to be the third wheel while Dan and Alice are doing what Alice does best. Three beers later and Mason still hasn’t said anything to me. While Alice and Dan are making out in the booth, Mason is looking down at his phone with a glum expression. So I take one for the team. I think it’s the beer that is giving me the courage. My dad used to always call his whiskey his liquid courage.

“Is your phone being mean?” I reach over and tap his screen to get his attention. His head slowly rises as he looks up at me and gives me a weak smile. “I wouldn’t say the phone is being mean; I would say the person texting me is.” “The best thing about phones and texting is you can tell that person to fuck off.” As I take a sip of my fourth beer, I can feel the buzz start to take effect. It makes me want to drink more, but I know I am at my limit. I push my beer to the side not wanting to finish it. “Some people you can’t just tell to fuck off. It’s not always that easy,” he replies, putting his phone into his jeans pocket. “ Are you not going to finish that?” I glance at him, shocked by his response, and then at my beer.

“No, I’m at my limit. I don’t drink for reasons that are too long to talk about right now.” Giving him the best smile I can pull off, I reach the water that’s on the table and take a huge gulp of it. “So, Mason, what do you do for a living?” It’s a random question, but I can’t stand the sounds Dan and Alice are making along with the silence. “I help with the family business.” He turns to me with a straight face, and then looks at the door. “Oh, that sounds fun. I’m an author.” I offer the information without him asking in an attempt to get him to talk. “It takes a very creative person to write books.

I admire that.” His acceptance for some reason causes me to smile at him.”Thank you. How old are you? You look older than twenty-one.” He gives me a sly smile. “I am twenty- nine.” His answer causes me to pause for a minute and stare at him. Now that I know his age, I can see it in his face and how he holds himself. He has a certain level of maturity to him … or is it sadness? There is something about Mason that makes me want to keep talking to him. I want to get to know as much as I can about him.

However, he doesn’t give me the chance to ask him anything else. When his phone dings, he looks at me and then digs in his pocket, pulling out his cell phone. He glances down at it, and a faint, “Shit,” escapes his lips before he stands up. “I have to get going. I will see you again I hope,” he says before he turns and walks away from the table, leaving me with Dan and Alice. Sighing, I stand up and grab my purse. I will text Alice and let her know I got home safe. I don’t want to interrupt them, and if I tell her I’m leaving she will want to leave to make sure I’m not mad at her. All I want to do right now is go home and curl up on the couch and turn some Netflix on. Walking to the door, I say bye to the bartender and pull out my phone, sending Alice a text.

The night air feels cold against my skin as I make the trek home. It’s so quiet; it’s almost eerie. Closing my eyes, I welcome the silence. Maybe that was my mistake, or maybe it was going out tonight to begin with, but I never saw the person coming. My body is pressed up against something hard. Before I can scream, there is a instant pain to the back of my neck. The prick of a needle. My body starts to relax, and arms grab me before I can hit the ground. I’m confused at first until I hear a familiar deep, husky voice whisper, “I’m sorry.” I think I try to panic, but the darkness starts to take over and its hard to fight the dark when it’s coming to invade you.

I had no clue what I was doing. I never wanted to take Rylee, but it was something I had to do. The moment I saw her sitting with her friend in the bar, I knew right away I was making a mistake. Unfortunately, the promise was already made to my brother, so it was something I had to do. When she tried to talk to me and get to know me, I didn’t want her to. As soon as Dan and Alice started making out, I tuned everyone out. That’s what I am good at—making myself invisible. But for some reason, Rylee didn’t want to take the brush off; she engaged in conversation anyways. Does she deserve what I am about to do? No, she doesn’t. From what I have learned about Rylee, she is nothing like her father.

She is a writer, and her only real friend is Alice. Not that she really is a great friend. She did choose to stay and hook up with Dan, leaving Rylee to walk home alone and right into the hands of danger. Dan did what I needed him to do. He was with me to distract Alice. By the end of the night, she wouldn’t remember what happened tonight. Hell, she wouldn’t even remember she was out with Rylee tonight or maybe what she had for dinner the other day. The drugs Dan is supposed to slip her are strong. Dan has been a friend of the family for a long time. He was my friend before the accident and was there for me when the darkness fought to take me.

He has been my rock and the one person I know I can trust with my life. I know he won’t tell anyone about what’s going on, why we took Rylee, or where she is. Rylee will be the next missing person, and no one will even know where to look. I have my shit covered. I know they will pin her to me. They can search me all they want. They can look into my family all they want. I have friends in high places. They are the type of friends you need around when you go off the deep end and kidnap an innocent person. Like Rylee Smith.

The plan worked out great. Alice was easy to distract—hook, line, and sinker the slut took the bait. When I left the bar, I knew right where Rylee’s apartment was. Hell, Beck and I have been following her for years now. Planning when the perfect time would be to make her ours. Well, to make her Beck’s. He has the plans for her. I’m just the monster who gets to take her and deliver her to my evil brother. As planned, she makes her way to her apartment. Lurking behind her, I try to walk as quietly as possible, not wanting to alert her of my presence.

As soon as she stops and pulls out her phone, I stop and watch her. For some reason watching her at this moment is different than watching her before. She presses a few buttons on her phone and slips it back in the tiny purse she is caring. She stands there for a second, and I hear her take a deep breath. I know my time is now. So I take it. I pull the syringe—which is filled with a powerful sedative that can knock a grown man on his ass in seconds—out of my pocket. Its the kind of thing you find on the black market, or you use those friends in high places. It’s a time of peace for Rylee; I can see it in her body language. I am about to take that peace away.

It takes me a second to reach her. I pull her soft body close to mine. I want just to hold her close to me and protect her. But I do what I have to do. I stick the needle into her neck. Her body jerks forward in response to getting away from the pain, but I pull her closer and hold her tight. I know the drug only takes a few seconds, and I can feel her body already start to relax. I’m not sure why I do what I do next. For some reason, I need her to know that deep down I am not as bad as she will see me. “I’m sorry,” I whisper as her body goes fully limp in my arms.

I’m not sure if she heard be, but I am going to tell myself she did. It might make me feel better at night. Probably not, though, because I am that monster she will see me as. As soon as I know she is asleep, I gently carry her to the car I have waiting not too far from us. Opening the backseat door, I lay her down as gently as I can. She doesn’t stir the whole hour and a half to our house. The house my parents used to live in with us. The house we grew up in and the good memories we had before that fateful day. The memories for Rylee won’t be so good, though. Once Beck gets his hands on her, she will wish she was never born.

When we reach the house, I pull her out of the car and cradle her to my chest. Again I feel her soft body against mine, and I have to fight the urge to put her back in the car and take her to her place. Once I get her situated in my arms, I hit the door with my hip, causing it to close. The noise makes Rylee stir in my arms, snuggling up close to me. One of her tiny hands is on my chest. The heat I feel under it is strange, and I won’t lie … exciting. I normally hate people touching my chest or really touching me. The scars I have are irritating and a reminder that Beck is no longer a sane person. Clearing that thought out of my head, I start to make my way up to the house. She isn’t mine; she belongs to Beck.

He would kill anyone—including me—to have her. This whole thing started out small. Until the night he demanded that I kidnap her for him. That I owed him this one thing in life. The house is dark and quiet. I know Beck’s home because he never leaves the house. He is probably up in his room waiting for me to tell him she is ready for him. Kicking the door shut with my foot, I take a moment and gaze down at her. She is so beautiful and innocent looking. The soft expression she has on her face makes me want to lean down and kiss her on the cheek, but I don’t.

I don’t worry she will find out or know that I stole a kiss, because the drugs will keep her asleep for hours. I worry because Beck is a sneaky fuck, and if he saw me kiss her even on the cheek, he would lose his shit and is sick enough to take it out on her. Sighing to myself, I head through the foyer to the dark cherry wood stairs that make their way up to the second floor where the bedrooms are. Beck wanted her in his room right away, but I talked him out of it. She is going to need time to adjust to this. Not that he gives a shit. I make my way up the steps, taking them slowly until I reach the top. Inhaling a deep breath and adjusting her closer to my chest, I go down the hall to the room Beck wants her in. He picked the black room. My mother had a thing for colors, so every one in the house is different.

I suppose the color black is fitting; it’s dark and can be scary. It’s the color of death and evil. The door to the room was already open; I made sure of that before I left tonight. We installed a set of locks on the door that can be a pain in the ass when your hands are full. During the last few weeks, everything was prepared for Rylee. Even Mrs. Tompson helped us out. She is a part of this family only because her mother was my mom and dad’s maid until the day she died. Mrs. Tompson really didn’t have a choice; she had to work for my family or die.

She knows too much about our lives, and now she knows about Rylee. She is a really trusting older lady, though. I never worry about her telling anyone anything. I don’t want to waste much time; all I want to do right now is deposit Rylee on the bed and get away from her. My chest is starting to itch with the pressure of her body pressed up against me, so I hurry to the bed and lower her down on it so her head in laying on the soft feather pillows Mrs. Tompson picked out for her. I look her over again before I walk to the other side of the bed and grab the chain and cuff that is soldered to the bed frame. Bringing it to her arm, I grab her wrist and click the cuff into place. I pull the cuff once, then twice making sure it’s locked and she can’t get away. Gazing down at her peaceful body, just resting without a care in the world, makes me want to punch something.

I can feel the anger I try to keep hidden start to rise. I can taste it as I stare at her. Leaning over her, I whisper, “Sweet Rylee, I am so sorry for all the shit you will endure. I’m sorry that I’m a monster, and I’m handing you over to something that is scarier than the monsters in your dreams. From watching you, I know you are strong, and you’re a fighter. Just don’t let him break you. You need to fight the dark surrounding you.” I know she can’t hear me. It doesn’t matter because I said it all for myself not for her. I needed to say it to feel better about the fucked up situation.

Once I know she is secured, I stand up and turn the bedside lamp on. It’s a dim bulb and doesn’t put out a lot of light. Without looking at her again, I walk to the door and stop. Turning the main light in the room off, I leave the room and head to mine. The urge to hit something is growing more and more, so I quickly change into my workout gear and head to the gym in the basement. I bypass the treadmill, which is normally my first pick because running lets me forget about everything, but tonight I need more. Tonight I have to make myself hurt. I need to beat something until I bleed. I make it to the punching bag with a mission. The last glimpse I had of Rylee her hair was spread out around her, making her look like an angel trapped in the depths of hell. I lose it with that thought. The first punch is for Rylee, and the second is for the shit life she will have. Each punch after is because I don’t fucking care about any of it anymore. As a child, I used to be afraid of the dark. To the point I would hide under my covers with a flashlight until I felt it was safe enough to come out. I hated the dark for some reason. As I grew older, the dark didn’t bother me as much as is does at this very instant. When I open my eyes the darkness hits me, as does the silence in my room. My room is normally noisy from the traffic on the streets, and the sunlight usually shines in my window, alerting me that it’s daytime. I don’t remember going to bed or going home after the bar. With a groan, I turn over to my right, but my arm is stuck, making me pause. The movement causes my head to throb with the intense pain of a headache I didn’t realize I had. I groan again as I try to pull my arm from its stuck position, but it doesn’t budge. Thinking it fell asleep, I go to reach over so I can pull it to my other side, but before I can even make it to the arm, I am stilled by a voice. “You won’t be able to get out of that.” The voice isn’t familiar. It’s deep and sounds sinister. I know the man knows I am awake, but I still don’t want to move, nor do I want to make a sound. The man is talking about my arm—it’s not asleep, it’s chained or tied. I’m not sure since I can’t see anything. The fear I am feeling causes me to squeeze my eyes shut. If I fall back to sleep, maybe I will wake up in my bed at home and safe. There is a faint light behind my eyelids, and I’m not sure if he turned the light on or if it’s from the force of how hard I have them closed … and right now I really don’t want to find out. “Nothing will save you. You can try to hide from me, but I will always know where and how to find you.” With the last word the man says, I feel a light touch travel down my chained arm and lightly make its way to my face, tracing the lines of my jaw. The touch is so light it makes you want to lean into it, even with the implied threat. Before I can lose myself in his touch, the force of his finger squeezing down on my cheeks and jaw causes me to gasp in pain. “I’m going to hurt you. I am going to make it so you will never want to close your eyes. Your dreams will be filled with me as your nightmare.” The pressure starts to become so intense I want to cry out and yell at him to let go. It feels like he is going to break my jaw. I know for a fact there will be fingerprint bruises. “That’s enough,” an angry deep voice snaps. The voice comes from my other side, and I can only guess the person is standing by the door. The guy’s hand loosens a little on my jaw. “This doesn’t concern you.” He shoves my face away from him, causing me to fall onto my side from the force of his push. Wanting to see who the guy is, I finally open my eyes and look up. Shock hits me, even though I had a feeling he was the reason why I was here. He was the last person I remember from the night before. Our eyes lock on to each other, and it takes everything in me not to scream at him. I want to do more than scream at him—I want to hit him or hurt him. He gives me a sad look and breaks eye contact with me. The mystery guy leaves the side of the bed and walks over to Mason, the guy from the bar. The guy I knew not to trust, but I wanted to have fun and be different. I’m such an idiot for allowing this to happen. Leaning my forehead on the bed, I take a few deep breaths. I’m not sure what kind of situation I am in, but the mystery guy didn’t sound like he was playing around with me. He promised pain and nightmares. I don’t want them to see me crying, so I try to hold my tears in as I curl into a ball the best I can with my arm chained to the bed. I just want to escape this nightmare. Maybe it really is a nightmare, and I drank too much the night before. Mason could have been a nice guy and walked me to my door. He seemed normal. “I told you to wait before you came in here. To give her time to adjust to this,” Mason snaps. I try to ignore and escape the situation thinking of things I love to do. Like writing, I love writing and creating a story. Making characters come to life. “I gave her time,” mystery guy yells. “I wanted to her realize right away that her life is now mine. Not hers, and not yours. I own her! Get that through your fucking head, brother. You gave her to me, and now she is mine. So back the fuck off and leave us alone.” His words hit me hard and cause me to stop thinking happy thoughts. I peek up at them. The mystery guy—who I guess is Mason’s brother—is face-to-face with Mason. “I’m not leaving her alone with you right now,” Mason says with clenched teeth, looking as if he wants to hurt his brother. I can see the vein start to pop out of is neck as the anger starts to build up in him. The tension rolling off his brother’s back it strong enough you can almost cut it, but he backs away, leaving a space between them. “Fine, but the father will be hearing about this,” the mystery guy snarls when he walks past Mason, shoulder checking him as he leaves. Mason’s eyes follow him out of the room. He stands there for a second making sure he is really gone. I’m not sure, but I don’t think I am comfortable being alone with him. The anger I just witnessed was not the same guy I meet last night. I watch Mason for a few seconds and slowly sit up. Laying down is a vulnerable position to be in. So is being chained to the freaking bed, but I don’t want to think about that. Just as I am sitting up, Mason starts to turn around and looks directly at me. The look in his eyes is enough to stall me. You can see the anger and hatred seeping out with just one glare before he shakes it off and stalks toward the bed. “Please?” I whimper, moving toward the other side of the bed, as far away from him as I can get from him. “Please, what?” He grins at me; not in a sexy way, but more of an evil way. “Please let me go? Please treat me like the slut that I am? Please, please, please … Typical word to say to someone holding you captive. Why not ‘fuck off, you asshole’, or ‘I hope you die’? Call me some names maybe. I don’t know, something other than the fucking word please,” he screams, clenching his fist tightly as he makes his way toward the side of the bed I am on. I go to say something, but he lifts his hand up, stopping whatever words were going to leave my mouth. “Better yet, don’t talk. Don’t say anything. I don’t want to hear one word come from that pretty little mouth of yours. You got it?” Did he just order me not to talk? Is he for real? This asshole plays me, kidnaps me, and then orders me to stop talking. That weak little plea I just had pisses me off, even more than I was. I can’t help what’s about to come out of my mouth. “Who do you think you are? You low life, piece of shit. You think you’re bad because you kidnap girls and tie them to a fucking bed? Well, you’re not. You are scum, a monster, and a piece of shit that deserves to not die but to rot in hell.” My little rant costs me, I know it has. He looks even more pissed off than before, and before I can even say another word he is on the bed so quick I don’t even have time to move away. He moves swiftly, causing me to fall onto my back. Mason gives me no wiggle room as he slides his body up mine, pressing me into the mattress. My heart rate jumps as my breath catches. I want to say its from fear, but I have a feeling my body just betrayed me. “You think there is a special place in hell for me? A special spot for me to watch all the worthless scum of the earth suffer? If I belong in hell, then my father is the Devil and my brother and I are his demons sent to make you suffer.” He lowers his face closer to mine so our lips are just about touching. “I would watch what you say and how you speak to us. Believe it or not, I am a lot nicer than my brother.” I can’t think with him this close; with his lips almost touching mine. I’m more pissed at myself right now than I am at him. My arms are down at my sides, so I raise them up and try to shove him away from me. I don’t want him this close to me. He just pushes his weight on to me more, not letting me budge an inch. “Don’t fight this, Rylee. You won’t win. Not against me, not against Beck, and for sure not against my father. Just follow orders and do what we say. I tell you not to talk, do not talk.” He bites the last part out through clenched teeth. If he is trying to scare me even more, it’s working. Staring into his haunted green eyes, I nod my head. The fear is getting to me, making me weak, but I am pinned with no way out of this. I need him off me. I want the mixed feelings I have to go away. He wants to be mean, but I can see there is a soft side to him. A side that doesn’t really want to be doing this. We just stare at each other, a sick part of me wanting to know what he is thinking. His face holds a good mask and I can’t read his emotions. “Shit,” he whispers and breaks the stare first, dropping his forehead down to the mattress before he pushes off me. I lay there trying to still my heart and stare at the ceiling, wondering what the “shit” was for. There is no way he was feeling anything. As I told him, he is a monster and not the loveable kind from that Disney movie. No, he is the kind that goes bump in the night, the kind you want to run and hide from. “I’m going to unhook your hand so you can do use the bathroom and clean up,” he explains as he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the key for the lock. Very slowly he walks over to me and gently grabs my wrist. I want to hesitate, but I don’t. Once my hand is free, I pull it in toward my chest and rub it. For not knowing it was there ten minutes ago, it sure feels good to have it off now. “Thank you,” I murmur as I move to the edge of the bed, putting my legs over the side. Mason grabs my arm lightly, helping me stand. I stumble a little but gain my balance as he walks me over to a door that sits on the other side of the room. “Don’t think of doing anything stupid. The door doesn’t lock, and there isn’t anything in there other than show stuff. The mirror is shatterproof … so you can try to break it for a weapon, but good luck with that. Mrs. Thompson put some clothes in there for you. I will be right here waiting.” I close my eyes and nod my head before opening them again and grabbing the door handle. Once I am in the bathroom, and the door is shut, I lean my head against it and let the first tear fall. What the hell am I going to do? How did I allow this to happen to me? I’m terrified they are going to hurt me, terrified I won’t ever get out of here alive. I suck in a sob as another tear falls. I don’t know how long I spend leaning against the door letting everything sink in. At one point I get enough strength to walk over to the mirror and see how horrible I look. My blonde hair is a mess from laying in bed. My makeup is smeared, and I have the ultimate raccoon eyes. But my pretty green eyes, which I love so much about myself, look lost. It makes me sad and angry again for allowing them to take the happiness I had away. I glance back at the door and back at the mirror. I will not let them win. I will not bow down to them not matter what. Fuck Mason and his damn brother. With more determination I remove my clothes and climb into the shower, wanting to scrub the feeling of Mason off of me. I let the hot water wash over me for a while before I decide to step back out. Wrapping the towel around me, I look around the bathroom. The bathroom is nice, I have to give them that. The color matches the room they have me in—black. The floor tile it black but has a pretty shine to it, making it look flawless. The tub and sink are white and black marble, tying in great with the floor and black walls. They definately have a ton of money; I can tell just by the look of the room and bathroom. Noticing the clothes sitting on the counter, I pick them up. The panties are a little sexier than I would wear, but it beats putting on dirty underwear. The sleep shorts are red silk and they match with the red silk tank top. Sighing at the too sexy sleepwear, I search for my bra. There is no way I am wearing that without a bra. It would leave me too open. After slipping the bra on, I put the outfit on and look in the mirror. Mason’s words didn’t hit me until now; him saying that I’m a slut. In this outfit, you would think it’s true, and that pisses me off even more. I am not a slut … not even close to it. Without thinking, I march to the door and fling it open. “You have some nerve calling me a slut,” I scream as I walk over to him. Startled, he stands up quickly, and is caught off guard as I raise my hand and slap him as hard as I can across the face. He gapes at me as surprise shines in his eyes. Then he glances above my head at something. I’m not sure what it is until I am grabbed from behind, my arms forced behind me. The person behind me threads his arm through my elbows, locking them tight together and pinning me in place. Fear—its all I can feel right now. I scream as loud as I can, trying to fight my way out of this. Trying to get away from whoever has me pinned to them. “I’m sorry,” I scream as I kick out, attempting to break the hold. The person who is holding me has to be the Hulk, I swear it has to be. Mason steps forward, dodging the foot I had aimed at him. “Stop,” he tells the person, the vein from before popping out of his neck once more. I try to kick again, but the Hulk moves one of his legs and wraps it around mine, causing me to still. If I move, I will just fall forward and hurt myself in the process. “Dan, move her to the bed. Obviously a little free time has gotten to her head.” I whimper when I remember who Dan is—he was the guy with Alice. Oh my God, Alice! I forgot about her. I hope she is home safe and not here. “Where is Alice?” I scream again. I feel horrible that I forgot about her. This whole time I was only worried about myself. I feel the Hulk laugh when I mention Alice’s name. “She is safe … for now. You hit Mason again or cause him any more grief, I will slice her throat in front of you. You got it?” There was no humor in is a voice; nothing to say he was kidding. My head drops forward, and I let another tear fall. He has me, and they know it. Dan moves me over to the bed as Mason grabs the chains. I can’t stop the shaking that has set in. I don’t know if I am more scared for myself at this moment because I won’t do anything that will get Alice hurt, or if I am more scared for Alice. Them saying she is safe doesn’t mean she isn’t here in this hellhole. Once chained to the bed again, I don’t look at Mason or Dan. I don’t want to see them. I stay sitting up and pull my knees into me, wrapping my arms around them. Wishing they would just leave me alone.


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