Chapter 3: Know Thy Place

The sharp sound of metal grating against metal filled the air as the silhouette of two figures on a raised platform clashed with their medieval swords, coming to an equal standstill as they fought each other’s strength for dominance, teeth grinding desperately against each other, eyes narrowed, and sharp.

“Give. Up.” The taller of the two ground out, eyes sliding side to side for a moment calculatively, before sidestepping, using the momentum of the other to whirl his wrist around swiftly but gracefully.

The tides instantly turned as he dropped his weapon to his other hand ambidextrously and jabbed a sharp elbow right to the other’s thorax, winding his opponent viciously.

A muffled sound of compressed air burst forth from the other sparring partner’s lips, and the girl crumbled to the ground, gasping for breath on her knees.

“Surrender, Elysia.” The taller but more charismatic boy raised his eyebrows as he lifted the sword to menacing place against the opponent’s neck.

“They didn’t say to stop.” The meek voice of the boy’s opponent murmured from between chapped lips, bright, long-lashed blue eyes fervent and almost feverish. “They said to keep fighting.” Stubbornness lined the corners of her eyes and winded around her lips, eyes bright as they fixed on the upper stands above them, as though searching desperately for someone mingling in the masses.

“Am I not your master—” The teen’s temper instinctively flared alongside her answer, only to be stopped short by an elegantly raised hand.

“Father.” The boy bowed respectfully but grudgingly, the corners of his lips turning down into a dismal grimace.

“Continue on.” The man seated at the top corner glanced down condescendingly. Damon’s father had a rather handsome face, but the angular cuts of his cheekbones turning what would have been a flawless canvas of features into that of a harsh, seemingly cruel man. A well pressed gothic vest framed his chest, inky black, with faint silvery vines patterns arching across his wide frame, constricted by a neat row of silvery buttons, tightly concealing the formal, dark button-up shirt he wore beneath. Dark hair, falling past his shoulders was held neatly back with a ribbon, tied back into a ponytail, brushing the right side of his shoulder tenderly, and long-lashed dark eyes, more fox-like and upturned, fell onto the collapsed figure by Damon’s feet.

Elysia held wonderful memories of the man that carried her off from the orphanage into his home, gentle hands patting the silky top of her head gently, and chimes of low amused laughter following her every step as he watched her every move.

Pale, lithe fingers lifted the pipe he had from his lips, smoke curling from them in grey whirls, as the older male observed his son and adopted a daughter.

“Let’s lift the stakes, shall we?” His voice fell from the balcony coyly. “Instead of betting on my son, I bet that Elysia wins this battle.” A sly smirk raised the corners of his lips. “With a hundred million galleons on the stake of course. Alongside the pendant that’s meant to be given to the heir.”

A series of outraged cries burst forth from the elders seated beside him, and Elysia’s head flashed upwards in horrified surprise.

“A battle for the name and place of the heir! How about that? Let’s see who gets to the pendant first.” A senseless grin widened his eyes and took over his face as the man threw the precious pendant deftly across, letting it fall with exact precision on a hook—just dangling tantalizingly above Elysia and Damon’s heads.

“You were the one that impressed me with your words that an individual carves their own destiny, Elysia. That’s why I took you in.” Dark eyes bore into the depths of the young girl’s soul, stirring the depths within. “Now, prove it.” Elysia’s bright blue eyes roved over the woman beside her adopted father, and a faint smile flickered across her face as Damon’s mother clenched her fists in outrage, a forced smile painted on her face.

“Don’t you dare.” She turned to face her brother, an apologetic look on her youthful but ambitious face. “Don’t you dare!” The fifteen-year-old teen roared. “That pendant is mine!”

“Sorry.” With their father’s confidence in her, there was no way she was not going for this treat dangling before her very eyes. A burning desire lit the depths of her heart as Elysia stared into the older man’s pride-filled eyes, giving him a firm nod of understanding as the young ten-year-old dashed forward, leaping and stretching her fingers towards the jade that dangled precariously from the lamp hook, pale fingers brushing the bottom of the jewel precariously.

Almost there.

Almost!

A sharp pain violently coursed through her right foot, and her world spun as she crashed onto the wooden floor, sending splinters scattering everywhere as Damon towered over her, a crushing grip on her right ankle, and a furious look on his face. The older teen bared his teeth menacingly, applying an increasing amount of ridiculous pressure on the dainty foot he held in his grasp.

Snap.

The sound of the ankle-breaking neatly into two broken pieces caused everyone watching the sparring match to flinch visibly at the act of cruelty, face paling and stomachs churning.

The pale foot hung at an odd angle, swelling slowly like a balloon, and Elysia looked up at her brother with blank but bright blue eyes, waiting for the split moment he let his guard down.

“Did we break you so much that you no longer feel pain?” Elysia leaned back lightly on her palms as Damon leaned forward and sneered, his upper body slightly unbalanced with the rest of his body as he invaded her personal space to mock at her. “Look at you.”

Elysia’s eyes fell to her broken ankle, tilting her head lightly as she looked at it thoughtfully.

The force of propulsion from palms to the floor will generate just enough force to propel the body upwards.

Left foot pushes off the ground with the right as a rotation point.

Pivot.

Reverse Spinning Hook Kick to the face.

Body turns.

Ankle snaps further.

A probability of dislocating right leg?

Might be high.

Result?

Successful strike of kick dislocates jaw, fractured cheekbones, renders opponent disorientated. Bonus if the head hits the ground and a concussion occurs.

Ability to fight back, diminished.

Oh. And not to mention, the landing would hurt the back and be pretty ugly.

Elysia shrugged lightly at the thought as she worked through the various steps and scenarios calmly in her brain, a formless voice echoing lowly through the depths of her mind. The monster that lived in her head reared its consciousness slightly, woken by the jolt of pain that arched through her youthful body.

You should be letting me out. You do know that I’m here to protect you right?

A light smirk tugged the edges of the young girl’s lips as the disembodied voice snarked.

But I can’t do that if someone keeps being a masochist and keeps getting hurt, can’t I?

A snort escaped from Elysia’s lips.

“It’ll heal in time. Don’t worry, and I can handle myself well enough.”

Right.

Don’t worry. Oh, how very reassuring. The monster muttered in the back of her mind. Tell me that when you get beaten to slush by Damon, will you?

Taking the split moment of Damon’s confusion of her talking to herself, the young girl leapt into action, the horrendous crack of her ankle echoing loudly through the air as Damon’s tight grip made it difficult for her foot to spin while pivoting. A loud thwack resounded through the sparring hall as her left foot bludgeoned heavily into the side of Damon’s face, sending his face whipping to the right under the immense impact.

Her brother teetered, staggering as he tried to regain his bearings, and Elysia gasped in pain as she landed on both her feet, her right foot sending bolts of fiery pain racing through her nerve ends, the fracture worsened by her own actions as she landed on her badly injured foot.

A light grin swept across her face as Damon finally gave into his disorientation, his head cracking against the ground resoundingly, and his body falling with a loud triumphant thud on the wooden ground.

Right. Now for the pendant.

A huff of irritation seeped from between Elysia’s lips as she staggered to her feet, wincing through the pain as she hobbled to the beam where the medallion hung, above her head.

Now the only problem was to get the pendant, with a broken foot.

Elysia grumbled at her self, eyeing the protruding bone from her right foot with apprehension.

Do a running jump. The thought filtered through her brain like a badly thought out idea, promising intensive injuries and a broken body if something went wrong.

“What?” Elysia hissed under her breath to the reckless part of herself. “Are you insane?” She questioned the irrational part of herself, cringing as she felt a dark sense of satisfaction float up at the thought.

Well, technically, we’re almost there. The voice that belonged to her reasoned within the depths of her ringing head.  But what I meant was that you do a starter jump on your good foot. It may not get you as far as you like but its worth a try while Damon’s down.

“Fine,” Elysia muttered under her breath, gingerly standing on one of her foot, taking a small controlled jump on her good foot, wobbling slightly before leaping upwards to the hook.

Come on.

Reach!

The young girl’s eyes squeezed shut as her fingers brushed the bar, just barely.

Please.

Her nose itched, and her head ached as she focused on the bar that brushed her hands.

People said that she had magic, didn’t they?

If that was the case, please. Elysia begged if you’re there. Help me.

A light breeze brushed like an electrical tingle over her fingertips and body, and the young girl’s eyes shot open in surprise, her mouth gaping open, cheeks tinted pink from excitement as her body swung like a pendulum from the bar, fingers grasping the metal bar that held the pendant with slipping, sweaty fingers.

A wild exhilaration violently shook her veins as she pulled herself up the ledge, leg aching and body trembling from excitement, her fingers clenching the pendant tightly in her hands, the jade cool against the palm of her hands.

Against all odds, she’d done it. Pale fingers caressed the jade pendant with an almost reverent fondness, as though she couldn’t believe that it hung from her fingers, just within sight.

“Accio!” The jade pendant, cool between her fingers just a split moment ago, tore out of her grasp, flying into the claw-like hands of her brother, standing at the sparring stage below, a cruel but raging snarl on his face, his fury bleeding into his dark eyes. His wand twitched lightly as he sneered in her direction, the pendent clinking between his fingers, his hands trembling with rage as he pointed his wand in her direction.

“I wonder what would happen to you if I tried a spell I learnt on you, Elysia.” He spat derisively, veins popping on his forehead as the young girl turned her paling face towards the upper stands, where their parents sat.

A vindictive smile was smeared on Damon’s mother’s face, while a look of absolute boredom had overtaken their father’s features, his dark eyes stone cold as they bore through Elysia’s own.

“Cru—”

“Damon!” The note of finality rang clear in the order that issued from the man’s voice, eyes cold as he stared at his raging son down below. “All punishments can be carried out accordingly in privacy.” Elysia flinched visibly at his words, body trembling as the reality of the situation sank into her shivering bones.

“Aurelio! Why did you stop him? She deserved—” Damon’s mother leapt viciously to her feet, her voice shrill. “She went out of place—”

“Liliath!” An icy coldness seeped into the tone of the male beside her, fingers tapping calculatedly on the arm of the chair he sat on. “Are you questioning me?” His voice belied a dangerous tone, dark and menacing as he stared at his wife through the corner of his eyes.

“Of course not. But..”Damon’s mother faltered for a moment before her flinty eyes regained their usual malicious vigour.

“Then sit.” Aurelio delivered the order degradingly, his tone demanding no disobedience as he leant forward, directing his eyes to the shivering girl on the ledge. “Now do you understand that you must never step out of your place? That all those fleeting dreams of yours, of escaping, of fleeing, are simply..”He waved his hand dismissively, “Delusions that will never be able to be fulfilled?”

“You tricked me.” The young girl croaked, curling into herself as her leg trembled with the pain of her injuries, her face cracking as tears seeped down the corners of her eyes. “You—”

“Of course I did.” Aurelio grinned wolfishly. “Nothing is better than to give someone without hope a sliver of it, then rip it from them cruelly. Lessons are best learnt that way, don’t you think so, Damon?” Dark eyes turned to his son, who nodded his head once, sharply. “Never let me hear of you condoning such disobedient thoughts again, Elysia, or else what happened today will just be the beginning. Take this as a lesson well learnt.” Elysia gnashed her teeth at his words, tears of shame and humiliation coursing down her cheeks.

Why?

Bubbles of ugly hatred and helplessness filled her veins.

whywhywhywhywhywhywhywhywhyWHY?

Hiccoughing sobs wrenched themselves from the girl’s chest as she slammed her palms against her head repeatedly, eyes wide and unblinking as she cried, her teeth biting deeply into her bottom lip and drawing fresh blood.

“I shall hand her over to you, Damon. Do as you see fit.” The congregation gathered slowly begin to disperse, all the attendees eager to leave the place as quickly as they could.

Bloodshot eyes flickered in the midst of their agony to Damon below.

The tall teen raised his wand menacingly and opened his mouth.

Crucio.

The word slithered from between the teen’s lips, and Elysia felt a ripping pain seize her body momentarily.

Her body teetered off the edge of the ledge, and she watched herself slip of the edge, her detached limbs convulsing in apparent pain before a comforting blanket of darkness swallowed her entirely.

PurelyRed

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Source: https://elysiamaringrimm.wordpress.com/2018/07/19/exercitium-know-thy-place/

Chapter 2: The Dungeon of Affliction and Fortitude

The knot in Elysia’s belly violently clenched as the hiss of another blade sliced past her face, drawing a fresh slash of blood.

The girl struggled, but the dirty rag stuffed in her mouth was obstructing her breathing and her chest heaved. The ropes were tied tightly, binding her restrictively to a stake buried in the stinking ground.

Five days.

One hundred and one knives occasionally scraped past her face.

No food, little water.

No sight.

The light flutter of the blindfold battered itself against the side of the eight-year-old’s cheek.

Teetering on the edge of breaking, aren’t we? The young girl’s jumbled mind momentarily collapsed onto itself, splintering as she struggled to find some form of comfort in her bearings.

Elysia’s tongue probed the gag in her mouth hesitantly, stomach rumbling its protest.

She wriggled, exhaling as the ticking sound of the clock near her resounded deep inside her ears, like a time bomb before it was ready to explode.

The stench of dried blood and guts assaulted her nose, the clatter of a bucket emptied by a maid—a stinking pile of wet faeces near the steps of the putrid dungeon sending a wave of nausea rushing through her stomach and veins.

Her chest constricted violently, and her throat bobbed as she swallowed, forcing the bile that swelled up in her throat back into her stomach.

Elysia gritted her teeth, taking big calming breaths to relax herself—a difficult feat with one’s hands tied behind their back, and their eyes blindfolded.

Lithe, clenched hands wriggled back and forth lightly, the rope chafing her wrist as the eight-year-old attempted to escape, the rag stuffed in her mouth gradually getting wet with saliva as she turned her attention entirely on the rope confining her.

“Strike One.” A calm, cold voice rang lowly by her ears, and Elysia’s face violently lashed to her right as a sharp slap echoed through the dungeon, the burning remnants of the slap racing across her tender face. “I noticed your escape attempts. Try. Again.”

Elysia’s breath whooshed out in a hapless sob of diminishing hope.

Her wrists hurt from the endless chafing of the rope.

There was probably even blood oozing to the skin’s surface by now.

The young girl sniffled, striving desperately to hold back her tears as her feet curled, her hands resuming its slight motion with something akin to desperation.

A loud clatter of a scalpel echoed against the metallic table, decorated with splatters of blood and various torture instruments.

“If you cry, I’ll drive the knife I have into your stomach, Elysia.”  A beautiful lady stooped forward towards the bound girl, murmuring coldly, the slide of the cold edge of the sharpened knife sent prickling tendrils of pain raking across the slender arc of the eight-year-old’s neck. “Damon passed this test of tolerance and pain with flying colours. I expect nothing less.”

Dark, eagle-like eyes scrutinized the blonde, bleeding girl with a calculative stare, a hand lovingly stroking the coiled whip wrapped around her waist.

“I would really hate to kill you, child. Especially since my son seems so fond of you.” All breath was robbed from Elysia’s lungs as a solid fist drove itself deep into her diaphragm, twisting viciously into reddened and blistered skin, bursting the pus-filled bubbles with a single blow.

A scream muffled itself behind the gag stuffed down her mouth, wet with viscous, smelling saliva that dripped down the corners of her mouth and into a small puddle on the ground below.

Ice cold hands lifted the dark blindfold off Elysia’s eyes, and a grunt of discomfort seeped from the young child’s throat as the bright white light seared her eyes. A face, impassive but beautiful in its youthful exterior blurred into focus before her eyes.

She was an icy queen.

Regal and impassive in her active emotions, yet cruel and unforgiving in her fury and anger.

“I see tears in your eyes.” The beautiful woman stooped down close to her adopted daughter’s pretty face, her breath misting over. “If even a single tear in those blue eyes falls down your face, I’m gonna kill you.” A light, delighted and yet fleeting smile whispered across her face.

Elysia shivered lightly, her breath stirring in light pants as she clenched her fists.

“Yes, Mother.” The whisper of assent was soft but loud enough for the woman close by to hear.

A pale, callused hand lashed out, fisting itself into the collar of the young girl’s dirtied shirt.

“Mother!” Elysia’s sharp nails clawed against the woman as Damon’s mother impassively dragged Elysia across the hard, rocky floor, the sharp points of the stones digging viciously into the fleshy back of the young girl, her struggles futile against the overpowering woman before her. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Mother!”

Thin red lines, clawed from small sharp nails, slightly bloodied, arched doggedly down from the woman’s elbow to her palms.

Tears fell disobediently down the young child’s face.

The astute, angular-faced woman hurled the young girl’s battered body against the wall, eyes sharp, serpentine, and cold.

“Mother, I—”

The thorny whip violently lashed forth, brutally striking itself across Elysia’s back, drawing fresh wells of blood on the young girl’s already scarred back.

“I am not your Mother!”

Elysia swallowed the cry that bubbled in her throat, salty tears still seeping past her face.

“B-but—“

“No buts.” The second lash of the whip made itself known against the planes of Elysia’s face, splitting the skin apart. “No ifs.” The third lash coiled around the girl’s legs, ripping the top of the girl’s skin off its surface. “I am not your Mother, and never will be.”

The whip clattered onto the surface of the stone floor.

“Now, Elysia. For that mistake, count.”

A terrified cry ripped itself from the young girl’s throat as the older woman grabbed her hand, forcing her fingers back beyond its flexible point.

“Stop! Stop! Please! You’re gonna break—” The woman simply looked up at the girl impassively, and jerked the appendage back sharply.

Snap.

Fingers dug into Elysia’s cheeks as the fragile bone snapped horribly, pinching shut her cheeks as the young girl’s eyes widened in shock, the scream behind her lips swallowed back into her chest forcefully.

“Elysia,” The woman rolled her eyes slightly, tone placating. “I said count.”

She released her grip on the younger girl’s fingers, letting the broken appendage dangle grossly in a twisted fashion, neatly snapped in two parts, causing it to dangle at an odd angle, sending vicious, stabbing pains arcing through Elysia’s entire hand.

Count.” Her fingers found purchase in the young child’s other fingers and snapped them continuously without remorse.

Tears slipped past Elysia’s eyes from the fear coupled with the pain in her cheeks and fingers.

“One.” The whisper fell like the softest feather on a cool breeze, terror embalming the word’s tone fully.

“Good girl.” A cold smile flitted across Damon’s mother’s face. “Now, I’m going to release my grip on your cheeks.” A hand smoothed the matted fringe of the eight-year-old collapsed before her, brushing aside the tendrils of sweaty hair. “You’re a smart girl. You’re not going to scream when I release you, right?”

Elysia shook her head from side to side as much as she could, hot tears pouring past her cheeks and drenching her adopted mother’s fingers.

“Good.” A disgusted sneer arched itself across the woman’s face. “I would hate to knock your teeth out if you’d disobeyed.” She released Elysia’s face from her iron grip, turning her back towards the young girl without a single qualm.

The young girl’s chest heaved deeply, eyes bright with vicious malice as she stared hatefully up at the woman, nails crunching into the stony ground as she contemplated the thought of retaliating.

It’s all about the pros and cons.

What works and what does not.

Elysia’s eyes slid towards the scalpel on the metal desk, a hateful smile violently spreading across her young, delicate lips.

Hate her. The hum of the small voice in her head echoed viciously in Elysia’s head.

You and I both.

Hate you too. The slight turn in the sentient thoughts of the being in her head stunned the young girl into silence.

She pursed her lips lightly into a thin line, the uninjured, hand gripping the scalpel she’d picked from the table tightly in her hand, raising it with a crazed glint her eyes at the turned back of the older woman,  viciously stabbing the sharp object towards the unsuspecting back.

“Mother.” The low, menacing call of a familiar voice halted Elysia’s attempts even before the scalpel was plunged into the woman’s back, and a tall, pale teenager, with a slender but muscular physique strode into the stinking dungeon, turning his nose up slightly towards the dismal smell and the sticking blood on the floor. “I did tell you not to break her too much.”

He lashed out with a strong punch to Elysia’s face, the impact causing the scalpel to fall from her hand to clatter onto the floor. The young girl staggered from the punch to her chin, her vision swimming as Damon stared down at her condescendingly.

“That was for attempting to retaliate, Elysia.” His words were solid and cold, and the teen crossed his arms as he turned toward his mother, his anger palpable beneath the surface of his face. “I do not tolerate disobedience.”

The woman turned in distaste, and both watched as the young girl’s lips quivered, and her legs trembled before collapsing entirely onto the floor.

“I didn’t.” Damon eyed his mother coldly, watching as Elysia retched onto the floor, tears streaming from her eyes. “Like that is equally believable.” His eyes flickered to the scalpel on the floor, crushing the sharp object under his steel-tipped boots, missing the young girl’s fingers by mere inches.

“I was merely training her for the unforeseeable future.”

“Of?” Damon raised his eyebrows slightly, anger seeping up under the handsome features to pool viciously in the contours of his youthful face. “Training her for the continual forbearance of your torture, because her presence simply reminds you of your failure to bear another prestigious child apart from me?”

The worded barb hurt, and Elysia coughed slightly, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand as the sharp sound of the woman’s palm came into harsh contact with Damon’s face.

Damon turned his eyes to the older woman menacingly. He was a head and shoulders taller and more imposing than her, and his eyes darkened like a raging storm, a snarl taking over his lips.

“You do not speak to me like that.” The woman hissed through her teeth, dark eyes similar to her son’s narrowing in apparent malice.

“Or what, Mother?” Damon spat, curling an arm around Elysia’s weak frame and hauling her up. “You’ll smack me around like a ball? Or lash me with your whips?”

“If it’s my training of Elysia’s pain tolerance that makes you unhappy—”

“Oh it does not.” Damon sneered, leaning in to invade her personal space. “But I take it personally when you punish my toys in my stead.” He threw a glance at Elysia’s broken fingers, gripping them and skillfully pulling them until the bones popped back, not caring as her face whitened considerably under the forceful resetting of the bones in place. “I prefer to be the one dealing out the injuries so that I know what to repair when it’s needed.”

He turned, hauling Elysia by her newly set fingers out of the dungeon.

“You cannot do this! You are undermining my authority—”

Damon waved his hand dismissively at the woman he called his mother.

“Are you saying that as the heir to this house, I must bend to your every whims and fancy?” Dark eyes narrowed sharply at the insinuation, his lips pulling down into a displeased but furious smile. “And besides, you punishing what is my property seems to be undermining my authority.” The thirteen-year-old sneered, yanking open Elysia’s collar to show the crude mark of ownership on her light skin.

The woman gaped slightly, face flushed with humiliation and speechless at her son’s own admonishment.

“Good. Then I believe there is nothing more to be said.”

The doors to the dungeon closed with a loud clang, and Damon released his grip on Elysia with a sneer on his face.

“Are you so weak as to not get yourself out of your own predicaments?” He yanked at the blood jewel’s chain that dangled from Elysia’s chest. “Your distress was disturbing my peace.” Damon threw a fresh piece of cloth at her bloodied face, turning around to stalk away, but not before pausing for a moment to deliver an order to the healer awaiting around the corner.

“I want her as fresh and as new as before this incident, you hear me? After that, send her to my chambers, where I shall scrutinize her thoroughly. If I find any blemishes, not of my own hand, I will not hesitate to slaughter you.”

“And the bruises from her beating the day before the mistress took her into the dungeons?” The healer croaked, bent at the waist and shivering.

Damon smiled slyly, the corners of his lips turning up at the memory.

“Leave it.” He savoured the words in his mouth delightedly. “It’s a mark of my ownership of her.” The healer bowed hurriedly, quickly rushing to attend to the younger child as Damon stalked away briskly.

“My lady.” The healer touched Elysia’s hand softly, his quiet voice like a calming balm to her pain filled the body. “You need to sit up to let me see your injuries.” Elysia blinked at the man through blurry and swelled shut-eye, darkening with a fresh bruise on her face where the woman had forcefully hit her.

“Hey..uhm, Horace.” The lisp of a cut lip swished through her teeth and lips, falling in a whimpering small voice as she curled into a fetal position on the bench. “I hurt all over.”

“Mhm.” The healer quickly retrieved a wet cloth and a salve from his robes, concern etched over his elderly face. “I know. Drink this.”

“M’kay.” The eight-year-old mumbled, bones creaking and muscles convulsing violently as she shifted her position. Her lips clenched, holding back a pain filled cry. “S’ gonna make me better?”

“It is.” The healer smiled kindly as he tended to the open lashes on her back. “It’ll make you as good as new.” A shiver of apprehension coursed through the young girl’s body.

“B-but I don’t wanna be as good as new.” Her voice rose hysterically, registering the sad look on the healer’s face. “Damon doesn’t like it! He’ll—”

“I know, I know.” The healer shushed her quickly, cupping her face in his weathered hands. “But what Damon says, we cannot disobey.”

There was a moment of silence as the truth hit the little girl in his arms.

“So..I can’t disobey?” She echoed after him, haplessness etched all over her tiny face, the struggle of acceptance on her childish face.

“Yes.” The healer struggled as he repeated his words. “You need to always remember, Elysia. Damon’s word is law. That’s the only way you can live on.”

The little girl’s feet curled into her body as she shrank back and took a sip of the potion, her features crumbling to that of a tired and blank acceptance as sleep settled over her crippled body.

“Okay.”

PurelyRed

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Source: https://elysiamaringrimm.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/exercitium-the-dungeon-of-affliction-and-fortitude/

Chapter 1: The Dungeon of Perception

Elysia’s Training with the Grimm Family

The small tiny, seven-year-old sat as still as a statue in the middle of the inky darkness, muscles quivering with tension as she took slow, panicked gulps of breath in the stale putrid air.

Two years of the Grimm family training and the young girl was still, unfortunately, unused to the terrible environment she was about to be hurled in.

The dungeon’s doors boomed before her, admitting the previous trainee into its dark maws, the lack of sight before the young child exponentially increasing her fear, as screams of terror and choked gargles of bloodied lungs ripped through the air before her.

She smelled.

The young girl lifted her dirty arms slightly to sniff her own dirty skin, the dirty and bloody one-piece dress shifting across her marred skin.

Badly.

Probably due to the fact she hadn’t been given a chance to bath in five days.

Well, they all weren’t. Not at least until they came out of the dungeon, passing the week’s training with barely a scratch on their youthful bodies.

Tiny but slender fingers prodded the scar at her stomach, at the side, and phantom pain flared delicately along the edges of the old wound—a definite reminder of her own carelessness in the sightless Dungeon.

“Scared?” Damon’s voice floated from the opposite side of the room into her ears. Funny, how comforting his voice sounded to her own ears, when it was just them all alone, with a gaping abyss of darkness swallowing everything between them. “I’m scared too.” Elysia twitched slightly at the admission her adoptive brother gave.

Damon was never one to share any of his feelings, nor repeatedly show his own weakness. Stubborn like a mule, he was, and as temperamental as the most vicious typhoon on land. You never knew when he’d strike, lashing out like a venomous snake hidden in a child’s skin.

Her ears pricked with sound as the twelve-year-old at the opposite side of the room shifted his knees slightly, the sound of dirty, rough skin shifted against each other filling her ears.

The Sightless Dungeon, it was called, by the Grimm family elders.

All children who bore the name of the Grimms had to be subjected to this one out of twelve Dungeons.

 

Like its namesake, the Sightless Dungeon blocked all trace of light, only letting darkness envelop its confines, the inky darkness cloying and too pitch black to see vague images of anything, the air too stale and putrid with dried blood and guts spilt.

“You’re Damon. You can’t be scared.” Elysia whispered, feeling almost stupid as a huff of irritation rushed from her brother’s chest, his emotions rising temperamentally. “And you aren’t supposed to be nice.”

“Right.” The stiff answer of her brother told Elysia everything she knew. “Don’t ever expect it again.”

Silence ensued between them, as the loud sounds of snapping bones and blood-curdling cries washed like amplified waves over them.

Without sight, all their other senses naturally amplified.

That was the sole purpose of the Sightless Dungeon—training the children in the art of fighting not just with what they see, but with their animalistic instincts and other valuable senses, a proven exploit that had shown considerable results in sharpening the accuracy and predictions of the trained children’s various attacks.

Elysia sniffled, terrified to the bone as the doors creaked open yet again.

“I can smell you crying, Elysia.” The scorn in Damon’s voice was clear in the inky dark air. “The smell of salt and days of unwashed hair.”

“I..” The apology was naturally affixed to the edge of her tongue, desperate for approval and yearning for solace.

“Save it.” The heir of the Grimm family retorted grimly. “It’s my turn now.” The rustle of his ripped pants filled the air, and the sound of cracked nails groping in the dark for the well-made staff provided for every child before they challenged the Dungeon filled Elysia’s young ears.

“Good luck.” The frail strain of her good wishes followed the sure sounds of her brother’s footsteps into the abyss of violence and irreversible loss of innocence.

The air whooshed slightly as Damon gave an offhanded wave of his hand.

“Don’t need it.”

Bright blue eyes followed the direction of the sure sound of footsteps echoing further into the Dungeon before the doors clanged shut—and she was left all alone.

It had to be hours after Damon’s rampage in the Dungeon that Elysia was let into the Dungeon itself.

She could vaguely hear the sounds of bodies being dragged away, the raged, crazed screams of her adopted brother as he was dragged down the hallway amidst a ravishing rage.

Those people training them in the Dungeon had done something that caused him to snap as if the crazed sounds of vulgarities hurled by the twelve-year-old were not loud enough to prove to the young girl what she already, and clearly knew.

Elysia’s eyelids drooped.

She was tired of waiting and hungry.

As though reading her mind, the young cherubic girl’s stomach gave a loud protesting growl.

She shifted slightly in her fetal position, the cold flat surfaces of the cobblestones a soothing comfort in the darkness she was left enclosed in.

“Your turn. Go in.” The procedure for her was obviously different, as footfalls of a well-polished pair of boots fell against the cobblestones, approaching her with a staff in hand. “There were some issues that needed to be changed.” The voice was stiff, cold, and devoid of any emotion, lacking in the well-needed solace Elysia so desired in every way.

“Take it.” Hesitant fingers wrapped themselves around the thick, heavy staff that was thrust before her. “I said, take it!” Annoyance was clear this time in the male’s heavily accented tone. Elysia could only tell that much, given his heavy-weighted footfalls and gruff stiff voice.

The staff was hurled onto her chest, dealing a heavy blow to her creaking ribs as she gasped, winded, for air.

“Go!” Harsh, calloused hands gripped her by the collar, and disorientation assaulted Elysia for a mere second as her feet left the ground—and she was hurled brutally onto the Dungeon’s floor, the heavy staff clattering noisily on the floor close by her, the sound of the metal doors closing stirring the fear in her heart.

The heavy stench of blood assaulted the seven-year-old’s nostrils, and sent her heaving into a corner, bile rising from the back of her throat onto the cobbled floor with a loud retch.

Tears fell, unbidden, as she collapsed on her knees, the suffocating air around her tightening like a noose around her neck, constricting, and vicious, clawing like a wronged man desperate for a chance of survival—for fresh, new blood and flesh.

Elysia.

Concentrate!

The first blow of a heavy staff, marked with claws ripped her dirty one-piece apart and into her chest, sending a scream tearing itself from her throat.

Elysia’s fingers desperately clutched at her chest, coming away wet with filthy, hot blood, coursing and spilling over her stomach, plopping onto the floor in loud droplets in her ears.

Remember what you learnt from the last time you were here.

Or else.

The young girl stifled her screams immediately, chomping down on the flesh of her arm to stop herself from making any more noise.

Trust your instincts.

Your sense of smell, hearing.

Taste.

Elysia licked her lips lightly, tasting the smelly, blood-filled air.

Teeth nibbled the bottom of her plump lips, her breaths hollowed and low, whispery soft.

Eliminate your own presence.

Calm yourself.

Goosebumps prickled all over the seven-year-old’s skin as she inhaled a deep breath of the stale air, the dust motes swirling into her lungs, and suppressing the bubble of fear and irrationality into the depths of her conscious mind, hammered and tapered down to the minimum.

Her pounding heart slowed, and gradually stilled to a low hum in her chest, the darkness and silence wrapping around her like a second flesh.

Your footfalls.

The echo of Damon’s voice rumbled in her ears.

Graceful, but deadly. Light, nimble and quick.

Ears, sharp.

Staff, out.

Listen.

And STRIKE!

The rush of the wind filled Elysia’s ears as she raised her staff to her left and viciously swung, the sound of wood meeting flesh with an immense impact resounding through the air.

Her opponent grunted at the hit, and adrenaline coursed through the young girl’s veins as the sound of feet skidding back on the cobbled floor filled her ears.

Take your eyes off the distractions.

Focus, on what is coming.

Bright blue eyes flickered slightly before the young girl inhaled a quick breath and closed them, nose to the air and ears pricking with the slightest sound of noise, like a hunter out for its own prey.

Right, over left.

The young girl lifted her feet quickly and nimbly, her soft footfalls light but too quick to detect.

The sound of a miscalculated strike boomed against the ground, a hairbreadth away from Elysia’s original position.

The young girl had instinctively twisted her body, turning it to the right and behind, her right foot stomping back in the dirty ground to regain precious footing.

But that was not to say she had escaped unharmed.

A warm trickle of blood flowed down her neck from where the weapon had nicked her.

“Good.” The low accented voice, lisping from the lack of teeth echoed darkly in the dungeon chambers. “Now, child. Again.”

The young girl’s body tensed, and the sound of wood meeting against flesh filled the air.

PurelyRed

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Source: https://elysiamaringrimm.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/exercitium-the-dungeon-of-perception/

Prologue

Mama

The deepest and fondest memory that the young girl remembered was of a soft feathery bed, warm from the fire but reeking with the smell of rotten mould. The memory itself was hazy, for fever had burned her chubby cheeks a desperate red, sweat beading the tiny child’s forehead as a lady bends over the feverish child, pressing a icy cold cloth to her forehead. The lady tending to the child was beautiful, had she not had a burn mark running across her face, hidden partially by the soft lovely locks of blonde hair that streamed from her head—the same lush curls that decorated the young feverish girl’s head.

 

Frustration coloured her youthful face, the sides of her dress slipping off her pale shoulder as she angrily throws the wet towel into the basin, the water splashing over the sides as she paced the room, the soft sounds of the young girl’s labored breaths filling the tiny, cramped and mouldy room.

 

Where was he? He promised he’d be here since Elysia fell ill.

 

She needed the right care and medicine. Things that someone in her poverty couldn’t afford to have.

 

Elysia was his niece after all, even if he didn’t want to admit it.

 

A pang of regret filled the young woman’s heart as she stared down at her fevered daughter, patting her face lightly with cold, cracked hands. It wasn’t her daughter’s fault that she was born poor, nor was it her fault that she was purposely bred for the Grimm family’s purity and pedigree. She’d tried to escape the orphanage upon receiving the news that she was pregnant after her turn in bed with the young twin of the Master of the house, but they’d found her and beat her, before burning a warning brand onto her face, ruining her beautiful face and snapping her wand into pieces. She was never taught any spells despite her abilities as a witch, and she knew little of the practical spells that were supposed to be the basics of a witch.

 

All she had were her beautiful looks, and the abnormal talent in magic that was left untapped and unhoned, and her body primed for breeding the next talented child of the Grimms with her looks and her talent.

 

Granted, Elysia would never be recognized as a legitimate child—she’d heard rumours of how they were planning on a betrothal between her child and the young Master’s only son, and dread had filled her heart.

 

She muttered a prayer quickly as she pressed another cold hand to Elysia’s burning forehead, drinking in her daughter’s chubby cheeks that were red with heat, and the beautiful features carved on her face, an exact replica of her own before her beauty had been marred.

 

“I told you to send her to me. Not make me come here.” The chair she had seated herself in toppled over as she stood abruptly, her eyes falling onto the handsome but lithe man that stood imposingly in the doorway.

 

“She’s my daughter more than yours.” Afterall, he and his twin shared the same genes, considering that they were identical twins, easily mistaken for each other.  The lady wrung her hands nervously, watching as the lithe male pressed a hand against the feverish child’s forehead with a grunt, her cheeks flushing momentarily as his fox-like eyes turned to scrutinize her scarred face with dark eyes. The young Master was so similar to his deceased brother, and still as beautiful as she remembered the night that she had been sent to his chambers upon being caught for attempting to escape, his dark eyes ever so filled with rage and anger, burning with an icy coldness that spread to his sharp cut features, and pulling his beautiful lips down into a slight unpleased frown.

 

“Pity.” Shame burned in the lady’s youthful heart as he cupped the side of her scarred face, a twisted smile of enjoyment deep on his face as he leaned close enough for her to feel the heated breath from his lips fan onto her mottled skin. “Such a beautiful waste. You’re lucky that Elysia’s inherited your looks and not mine. Makes it easier for people to accept that she is to marry my son.” A sliver of pride seeped into his voice as his thoughts turned to the young but handsome boy born to him a few years before Elysia. His firstborn, and his only acknowledged son.

 

Aurelio’s lip curled as he looked at the once beautiful woman, whose face lay ruined from her own mistakes and folly from trying to escape. Had she not had her face destroyed, he would probably have wavered in his fidelity towards Liliath. Her half of her face that was unscarred was enchanting, and the thought of it stirred his loins as he inhaled a deep breath. Unfortunately, she was spoiled goods. A slow smile spread cruelly across his mouth as he turned his sharp gaze towards the fevered child in the mouldy bed, his eyes softening for a fraction of a second with a rare moment of tenderness, his fingers tracing the beautiful contours of her immature features.

 

Such delicateness.

 

Such beauty.

 

His fingers latched onto the small hands, lifting the sweaty palm from the mouldy bedspread to trace a pathway down her veins, following the flow of the precious blood within her body.

 

Such a precious prize.

 

He’d have to take her away from this filthy breed of a lady as soon as possible, and establish his claim over her before anyone else could.

 

“You remember our deal, don’t you?” Aurelio glanced almost gloatingly at the lady that had her head down, a curtain of lush blonde hair covering the front of her face.

 

“But you said that she could stay with me until she was of age…” Tears had filled the lady’s eyes at the reminder, her breath quickening in her chest. “Elysia’s just five—”

 

“Old enough.” Aurelio waved his hand dismissively. “She doesn’t need you to coddle her. She’s of the prestigious Grimm blood, and belongs as a property of our noble household. The earlier her training starts, the better it is for her. Damon started his training when he was four. She’s already a year later than him.” His dark eyes pierced her frightened eyes threateningly. “Or we could simply do this the brutal and messy way.”

 

His gloved hand touched the center of her chest where her heart lay. “I could simply spill your blood, right here, right now, and you’d have your wondrous life ended far ahead of time, without any ounce of compensation for relieving your daughter to us. Choose one, Aura. My patience is limited, and so is her time.” Fingers tapped calculatively against the side of his pants as he watched the young girl in the bed, lightly panting as she struggled to breathe. What Aura could never know was that this sickness Elysia was suffering from was a mild result of a poison that he had slipped to the young girl while she had gone to her regular school with the other special children from the orphanage. There was no immediate endangerment to the young girl’s life, for the poison was merely a light dose of Salmonella that he’d sprinkled in her food slowly for her to ingest, until she begun showing the clear symptoms of poisoning. He’d been very careful to keep an eye on the young girl, because any slight mishap would result in such a rare specimen of a girl to go down the drain as spoiled goods.

 

Aura bit her lip tersely, her hands wringing as she glanced worriedly at the young girl in bed, burning up deeply with high grade fever.

 

“You’ll be able to save her, won’t you?”

 

“Of course.” Aurelio nodded graciously, a shine of calculativeness shining deep in his eyes. “Considering her relation through my deceased brother to our family, she’s almost like my daughter. I have the ability to ensure her survival, no matter how high the fever, something someone of your own pedigree cannot possibly do.”

 

“Alright.” Aurelio’s teeth gleamed in the ray of light that fell into the dilapidated house as Aura nodded miserably. “So what do you want me to do?” Aurelio turned on his heel, musing carefully as he paced within the room lightly.

 

He needed to ensure that this child had a secure connection with the Grimm family. That she was entirely attached to them, without any ounce of qualms holding her back. To conquer this young impressionable youngling’s feelings, the trick would have to be—he needed to make her attachment to the Grimms genuine and intense. Fear was an option that worked the best in cementing emotions like these, especially for a kind hearted child like Elysia. With that thought in mind, Aurelio turned to Aura, a light but devilishly delighted smile crossing his angular but handsome face.

 

“I want you to abandon her. Now.”

~~

“Mama.” Elysia’s eyes burned as her mother roughly jostled her from her fevered sleep, bundling her deep in a mouldy blanket in replacement for her tattered, worn clothes.

 

“Up.” The harsh timbre of her mother’s tone fell gratingly against her young, fevered ears, unfamiliar and frightening.

 

“But Mama—” Tears filled the tiny five year old’s voice as she clutched to the mouldy blankets, her body aching with fever. “I..I thought the doctor was comin’?” She peered around through rheumy eyes. “You said he was coming.”

 

“He’s not.” Her mother gave a shaky pause as Elysia yelped, the rough material of the mouldy cloth chafing her sensitive skin. “Come on. Up. Get up now.” Confusion marred the small girl’s fevered features as she obeyed.

Why was Mama being so rough?

 

She crawled gingerly from the covers, her tiny feet shaking momentarily as she flinched from the pain that rattled through her fevered body.

 

“Mama.” Her small fingers curled around the familiar rough texture of her mother’s dress, a subtle whine of pain murmuring from her lips as she attempted to bury her face into her mother’s dress, only to be roughly shoved aside.

 

Hurt and confusion marred the tiny child’s face, her feet shifting together slightly as her insecurity rose deep in her chest, the unrest only settling slightly as her mother grabbed her hand and almost yanked her out of the door.

“Mama? Where are we going?” Elysia asked for the umpteenth time as she tripped over the sharp branches on the ground, her feet aching more by the minute as cuts gradually appeared on the pale skin of her feet.

 

“Are we going to the doctors? You said they’re gonna help.”

 

“I told you to stop asking questions!” Her mother stopped in her tracks, turning to scream at Elysia abruptly, her eyes bulging half in agony at the choice she was about to make, and the other half, in an attempt to reduce the amount of attachment her young daughter had with her. “Just shut up and walk!” Her heart shredded to pieces as Elysia fell silent, trailing behind as she gripped her hand with her tiny fingers, an occasional whimper of a sob wrenching itself from the five year old’s chest. It took everything for Aura not to stop and bundle her daughter into her arms, soothing her aching legs and crying along with her—but Aurelio promised a better life for her daughter, something she could never provide—and Aura gritted her teeth, powering forward as the dark, ominous forest came to view.

Elysia blinked in confusion as her mother sat her down against a looming tree, its trunk dwarfing her small stature, the fever still burning deeply in her cheeks.

 

“Mama’s sorry for shouting at you, Lysie.” Elysia beamed happily as her mother smoothed the bangs of her sweat matted hair slightly, her eyes peering worriedly at the young girl’s flushed face.

 

“S’okay Mama.” The five year old clapped her hands to her mother’s face soothingly, planting a wet kiss on the tip of her mother’s nose. “You were angry and sad.” Her mother smiled agonizingly, fishing out a thick rope from her tattered bag, alongside a piece of well baked bread.

 

“Bean bread!” The five year old squealed as happily as she could through a scratchy throat and rheumy eyes, concealing her pain ridden body desperately with a delighted smile as she reached for the piece of bread as eagerly as she could. “Yay!” She clapped her hands, trying to lift her mother’s spirits with a few antics of her own.

 

Her mother chuckled lightly, patting her fevered cheeks fondly as she stood slightly, bending to hook the thick rope around Elysia’s waist.

“What are you doing, Mama?” A niggle of alarm filtered through Elysia’s fevered thoughts as she clutched to the baked bean bread with tight fingers, peering curiously over her shoulder as her mother unraveled the rope quickly, coiling it tightly around the huge trunk of the tree.

 

“I’m just making sure that nobody can take my little peanut away.” Her mother stooped down to beam painfully at Elysia, cupping her cheeks gently. “See?” She yanked the tightened rope, weaving it round the little girl’s shoulders, but still leaving enough room for her to lift the bread to her lips and wriggle. “Mama needs to run some errands far away, and she can’t take you with her.”

 

“But I won’t run away! I’ll stay right here!” Elysia promised, eyes wide and fervent as she clutched to her mother’s hand with a beautiful smile. “I’ll be good and stay right here until Mama comes back!” She watched as her mother’s face creased slightly with a perplexing agony, before she smiled, her eyes creasing into painful moon shapes that instinctively sent shivers down her spine.

 

“I know you will, sweetheart, but I’m doing this in case someone tries to take you away.” She murmured.

 

“Bad people?”

 

“Mhm. Bad, bad people.” She produced a lock, well oiled for the occasion. “See? Only Mama has the key to the lock that I’m gonna attach here to you.” The rope coiled around the small five year old’s body snugly, before the lock clicked with a loud jarring click, resting heavily against the tiny girl’s stomach.

 

“Mama?” Elysia felt a little forlorn as she felt her mother straighten, turning her head to follow the woman’s every other footsteps. “When are you coming back? Are you gonna take long?” Her mother’s warm hands ruffled the top of her head gently, but fondly.

 

“I’ll be as long as this bread lasts you.” She smiled, laughing lightly as Elysia immediately chomped down a huge bite of the bread, grinning through her teeth as specks of breadcrumbs speckled the corners of her cheeks and lips. “Oh dear, don’t eat so fast. Eat slowly.” She smiled with a gentle sigh as the five year old’s head bobbed up and down tightly, leaning down to nibble only a tiny piece of the bread in her hands.

 

“Like that?” Elysia beamed at her through a thick mouthful of bread, her jaws working to chew the piece of bread slowly.

 

“Just like that. Remember, eat slowly.” Elysia nodded quickly, her eyes bright as she watched her mother turn resolutely, and disappear deep into the dark, ominous forest.

 

“Come back quickly, Mama!” She called after the fading back, before leaning down to nibble yet another bit of bread off the entire piece. “I promise I’ll eat slowly!”

….

Eight hours had passed, and the tiny five year old sniffled lightly as she stared at the now small piece of bean bread held in her palms, cradling it like the most precious thing in the entire world.

 

She couldn’t eat the bread anymore—her belly was far too full, but Mama had said that she would return the moment the bread disappeared down her stomach, and for all the past five years of her life, Mama had never told her a lie, nor let her down.

 

But Elysia was bright for her age, and the series of odd actions and conversations that her usually gentle and loving mother had shown her were more than enough to send alarm bells ringing through her head, nausea cramping her stomach as she peered into the fading horizon for just a single trace of her mother, but to no avail.

 

Her nose soured, tears gathering in her sapphire eyes and blurring her vision as she stared at the small piece of bread in her grimy, sweaty hands. She sniffled, pushing back the tears and turning her eyes to the soggy piece of bread in her hands.

 

She’d promised herself not to cry. Not at least until her mother came back, and she would fulfill that promise, no matter how frightened or scared she was of the dark forest around her.

 

She lifted the salty and soggy piece of bread to her lips, her teeth clenching against each other as she tried holding back the ugly sobs that threatened to tear itself out of her chest.

 

Her Mama had promised that she’d be back by the time the bread was finished.

 

The little girl hung to that thought fervently, sniffling tightly as she smashed the last piece of bean bread deep into the confines of her mouth, the paste smearing across her lips and cheeks.

 

There. It was done. Mama should be appearing anytime now…right?

 

The five year old lifted her eyes to the inky horizon, her throat dry as she stared fiercely at the inky darkness that her mother had disappeared to hours before, the scenery before her eyes unchanging—without an ounce of another person flickering in its inky horizon.

 

Her chest heaved, the tears that she’d been holding back swimming to the forefront of her sapphire eyes, burning their way into her tired eyes as she kept her eyes plastered to the inky darkness of the forest before her, the lock that she believed only her mother could possibly unlock heaving heavily against her chest as she stared silently, lips tightly clamped, her shoulders straining against the rope that held her in place.

 

Somehow, deep down in her chest, the five year old knew that her mother wasn’t going to come back anymore.

 

There was a beat as reality sank into the small child tied to the tree, her bottom lip trembling as she hiccoughed, and finally, Elysia opened her mouth and cried.

PurelyRed

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Source: https://elysiamaringrimm.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/mama/

Freefall

Chapter 1: The Patient

Freedom, is Death.

Karlis thought as the ring of the bells tolled monotonously through the hallways as he turned his head carefully from side to side.

Tick Tock.

Tick Tock.

The mouse ran up the clock.

“It’s time for your medication, Mr Turner.” The soft melodious voice echoed in his clotted ears like nicotine, sweet, cloying and ever so suffocating. Karlis’ eyes rolled in his head, the only physical response he was capable of as the nurse walked ominously towards his chair. Everything about her was poisonous. He could feel it, as she gently touched his arm and lifted it, wiping the scabbed skin of his inner arm with a swab and gently pushing the large needle out, swiftly changing the medication made for his rotting body.

“Relax, it’s only morphine, which will decrease your pain.” Large doe-like blue eyes stared glaring at him, stinging his wide eyes. She tapped the dangling bag gently, humming as the liquid begin to run its course. Karlis felt his mouth open slowly, the soft gargling was all but what was left of his once immaculate voice. “Don’t speak, sir.” The nurse frowned, watching as his heart monitor begun to rise in frequency. “Just relax. Your heartbeat is going out of control.” She soothed softly, brushing a lank damp fringe of brown hair back in it neat organised place on his forehead. Karlis wheezed, feeling the ice cold medication begin to enter his veins.

The clock struck one

The mouse ran down.

Oh, Hickery Dickery Dock.

Karlis felt his body go limp, the muscles within his own body relaxing to nothing as the medicine ran its course.

“Ahhhh…” Drool splattered down his front and side as his muscles sagged, and the nurse laughed softly, in a manner that seemed, to anyone normal, as perfectly endearing.

“Oh look at you.” She chided gently, jerking up the bib around Karlis’s neck and roughly wiping his coarse lips with it. “Such a mess.” Karlis wanted to chuckle at the irony of her words, but words failed him, his breath evening out in long wheezing gasping breaths that told tales of his health. He looked at the nurse through his heavy lidded drooping eyes, and a random thought popped into his head.

I wonder how she’d react if I told her to just let me die.

He couldn’t see it, but he could envision it, the gasp of horror that would take over her pink lips, the large doe blue eyes wide with horror and disbelief, and then the hysterical and crying voice of why give up when life is so precious! Karlis wanted to laugh. Or maybe cry. Either one. He didn’t know which reaction was appropriate for himself anymore.

A smile pulled against his wide drooping lips.

I want to die.

The truth was nothing but plain delight in his eyes.

I want to fly, like a bird.

Spread my wings

And leap.

The nurse left the room. And Karlis’ finger moved.

Verna

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Source: https://www.inkitt.com/stories/other/85526

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