Captive in the dark, p.4
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       Captive in the Dark, p.4
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         Part #1 of The Dark Duet series by C. J. Roberts
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  My lips parted and my lungs pulled in deep, bringing in as much air as they could. It didn’t seem like much. I forced myself to answer through my panic.

  “Yes,” I stammered, “I’m hungry.”

  I knew he smiled, though I couldn’t see it. A shiver, so strong my body nearly jerked toward his, ran down my spine.

  He kissed me softly on the cheek. I think I whimpered. Then he walked out of the room leaving me paralyzed even after I heard the door shut.

  Caleb returned shortly with a wheeled cart laden with food. My stomach gnawed as I smelled the meat and bread. It was difficult to control the urge to run toward the food. Then Jair followed him into the room carrying a chair.

  Seeing Jair made me wish the floor would open up and swallow me. Earlier, when Jair had sought to rape me, I had (once again) tried to find protection in Caleb’s arms. I suppose that somewhere in my head, I’d clung to the hope that this man, this Caleb, would protect me. All I could see was that horrible, feral look in Jair’s eyes. He wanted to hurtme.

  The door shut and I looked up to find Caleb sitting next to the food. We were alone again. Fear and hunger tore at my insides.

  “Come here,” he said. His voice startled me, but I moved to walk toward him. “Stop. I want you to crawl over here.”

  My legs shook. Crawl? Are you kidding me? Just run. Run right now. He stood looking straight at me. Run where? See how quickly he slams you to the ground and drugs you again! My knees hit the floor. What choice did I have? I put my head down but I could still feel his eyes on me like a weight that promised his hand. My knees and my palms moved across the ground until I reached the tops of his shoes.

  I was trapped. I was nearly naked. Weak. Scared. I was his.

  He bent and gathered my hair in both his hands. Slowly, he lifted my head until our eyes met. He looked at me intently; brows knit together, his mouth set in a hard line. “I wish he hadn’t done this to you,” he said while stroking the corner of my left eye. “You really are a very pretty girl; it’s a shame.”

  My heart twisted. A memory, the memory ripped through my defenses and surfaced at the forefront of my mind. My stepfather had thought I was pretty too. I was a prettything, and pretty things did not fare well in this world, not in the hands of men like him. Instinctively, my hands grabbed his wrists in an effort to guide his hands from my hair, but he held me firm. Not rough, just firm. Without words, he made himself clear; he wasn’t done looking at me yet. Incapable of holding his gaze, I averted my eyes to some point just beyond him.

  The very air around me seemed to shift to accommodate him. His breath skated across my cheek, and beneath my trembling, sweaty hands, his forearms hinted at his immense strength. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath in the hopes of calming down. The smell of him mingled with the food and rushed into my lungs. The combination did strange primal things to me. I suddenly felt carnivorous. I wanted to tear the flesh from his bones with my teeth and drink his blood.

  Unable to help myself, I whispered, “It’s your fault he did it. All of this is your fault. You’re no better than he is.” It felt good to say the words. I felt I should have said them sooner.

  A bead of sweat trickled down the side of my neck, its slow crawl over my collarbone, across my chest, and into the well of my breasts served to remind me of my body. My soft, breakable body.

  He sighed deeply and let out a slow breath. I shivered, unable to discern whether the sigh meant he had calmed, or he was about to slap me senseless.

  His voice, thinly coated with civility, filled my head, “I’d watch what you say to me pet. There is a world of difference between me and him. One that I think you’ll learn to appreciate, despite yourself. But make no mistake; I am still capable of things you can’t imagine. Provoke me again and I’ll prove it.” He let me go.

  I sank without thinking, back down to all fours, once again staring at his shoes. I was sure I’d completely break down if I tried to imagine all the things I wasn’t capable of imagining, because I could imagine some pretty horrible things. In fact, I was imagining some of those horrible things when his voice interrupted my thoughts.

  “You’re entire life is going to change. You should try to accept that, because there’s no possible way to avoid it. Like it or not, fight it or don’t, your old life is over. It was over long before you woke up here.”

  There were no words, no me, no here. This was crazy. I had awoken with sweat and fear to this, this darkness. Fear, pain, hunger, this man—eating at me. I wanted to put my head to the tops of his shoes. To stop. The words hung in the air like a speech bubble still clinging to his lips. How long before? Before that day on the street?

  I thought about my mom again. She was far from perfect, but I loved her more than I loved anyone. He was telling me I’d never see her again, that I’d never see anyone I loved again. I should have expected those types of words. Every villain had a similar speech, ‘Don’t try to get away, it’s impossible’, but until then, I hadn’t realized how truly terrifying those words were.

  And he stood above me, as if he were a god who had torn the sun away, not caring for my devastation. “Address me as Master. Every time you forget, I will be forced to remind you. So you can choose to obey, or choose punishment. It’s entirely up to you.”

  My head snapped up and my shocked, horrified, pissed off eyes met his. I wasn’t going to call him Master. No. Fucking. Way. I was sure he could see the determination in my eyes. The unspoken challenge behind them that screamed, ‘Just try and make me asshole. Just try.’

  He lifted a brow, and his eyes responded, ‘With pleasure pet. Just give me a reason.’

  Rather than risk a fight I couldn’t possibly win, I returned my eyes to the ground. I was going to get out of here. I just had to be smart.

  “Do you understand?” he said smugly.

  Yes, Master. The words remained unspoken, their absence duly noted.

  “Do. You,” he leaned forward, “Under. Stand?” He drew out each word as if speaking to a child, or someone who doesn’t understand English.

  My tongue pushed against my teeth. I stared at his legs, unable to answer him, unable to fight him. A lump began to form in my throat and I swallowed hard to keep it down, but the tears eventually came. These were not the tears of pain or fear but of frustration.

  “Very well then, I guess you’re not hungry. But I am.”

  At the mention of food my mouth surged again with saliva. The smell of the food twisted my stomach into tight knots. While he tore off pieces of bread, my nails dug into the thin carpet where my tears now dripped onto the floor. What did he want from me that he couldn’t just take? I sniffled, trying not to sob. He touched me again, stroking the back of my head.

  “Look at me.”

  I wiped the tears from my face and looked up at him. He sat back in his chair, head cocked to one side. He appeared to be considering something. I hoped whatever it was wouldn’t cause me more humiliation, but I doubted it. He picked up a piece of cut meat from his plate and slowly stuck it in his mouth, all the while looking at my face. Every tear that sprang from my eye I quickly wiped away with the back of my hand. Next, he picked up a piece of cubed beef. I swallowed hard. He leaned forward and held the delicious smelling morsel to my lips. With an almost unabashed relief I opened my mouth, but he snatched it away.

  He offered again. And again. Each time I crawled closer and closer, until I was pressed between his legs, my hands on either side of his body. Suddenly I threw my arms up around his hand and wrapped my mouth around his fingers to get the food away from him. Oh my god, so good.

  His fingers were thick and salty against my tongue but I managed to wrest the meat from between them. He moved quickly, his fingers found my tongue and pinched viciously while his other hand dug into the sides of my neck. He squeezed, making me open my mouth in shock as pain cascaded down my throat. The food fell from between my lips to the floor and I howled around his fingers at the loss. He let go of my tongue, and his ha
nds found control along the sides of my head as he tilted it up toward his. “I’ve been entirely too kind and you’re going to learn just how civil I’ve been. You’re very proud and very spoiled and I’m going to beat it out of you twice.”

  Then he stood up with enough force to push me backward onto the floor. He walked out of the room and shut the door. This time I heard the lock.

  Beside me the food beckoned.

  FOUR :

  My hunger was an angry living thing, clawing and howling along the insides of my skin. I fell on the feast like a starving animal—forcing food and drink down my throat as fast as I could. I didn’t even register what I shoved in my mouth as chicken or refried beans. It was food to fill the emptiness in my belly and I ate until I couldn’t. Until I was full.

  Oil and salt and food chunks smeared my hands and my face as my throat constricted around the last of the buffet. My hunger no longer gripping me, I finally saw the single plastic fork amidst the empty paper plates. Frantically I clutched at it and ran to the boarded up window, stabbing uselessly at the boards. As my meal continued to make its way to my belly, the plastic fork shattered under my hands as I pried at the window. Breathing quickly and shallowly around the food, I finally threw the broken pieces across the roomtowards the closed door.

  Tears once again blurred my vision as an overwhelming tide of fear and sadness dragged me under. You’re not going to get out of here. You’re fucked. He’s going to come back and he’s going to do something awful. Really, really, fucking bad and there’s nothing you can do to stop him. Please, please, please God, please get me out of this.

  I rushed toward the darkly lit bathroom, lifted the toilet lid and vomited everything I’d eaten. I screamed into the bowl between surges of spicy bile. My voice echoed against the porcelain, a strangled gurgling sound that finally gave way to weepy moans and heavy breathing. I flushed before the sight of my puke could make me sick all over again. I actually felt a little better after that. Hungry again, but calmer.

  I tried to flip on the light, but apparently that too had been removed. In its place there was another nightlight. The bathroom was a work in progress, the new mixed in with the old. I carefully ignored the Jacuzzi tub where I’d been stripped down and man-handled. Just one glance and his hands were on me again. I looked away sharply, focusing instead onwashing my face and rinsing my mouth in the pedestal sink. I had to get the taste and smell of puke out of my head.

  Above the sink, there was a circular metal plate. Inspired, I dug my fingers around the shallow lip, trying to pry it off but it was embedded into the wall. Dully, I stared at it. It was so shiny and flawless it was almost like glass. In it, I saw my face for the first time since I’d been taken. The skin around my eye had taken on a light purplish-green color; it felt puffy to the touch. I could now open it enough to see out of, but it looked disfigured when compared to my right eye. I touched it with my fingers, surprised that it hurt less than it did earlier. I looked terrible. Aside from my swollen and bruised eye, my hair was a tangled mess. Strangely, I found myself trying to arrange my hair. I felt like an idiot the moment the absurdity of it hit me. Yeah Livvie, don’t forget to look cute for the handsome kidnapper. Stupid!

  I didn’t know what was happening to me, but Caleb was at the center of it. He was the source of all this pain and confusion. Whatever had befallen me or would befall me, it would be on account of his distorted and perverted appetite. Defeated, I turned around and began walking out.

  The bedroom door swung open, making me jump. Frantically, I searched around the bathroom for a way to escape or somewhere to hide. It was irrational, as I’d already established there was no escape. Nevertheless, instinct is instinct. My instincts said to hide, even for the few seconds it would take for him to find me.

  Caleb walked directly to the bathroom humming. As he reached the doorway, I hid under the sink. In plain sight.

  He approached me calmly, without the malice he exhibited before and called for me in a calm voice. “I want you to get up.”

  He stretched out his hand toward me. Weary, I stared at it for what seemed a long time, thinking of the damage waiting to be done by that hand. His calm and my fear hung between us in a thick and heavy coil. He was going to hurt me, something in me knew it. That certainty nearly numbed me. Searching to work my way into his good graces, I reached out tentatively, waiting for the snake to strike. I touched his out-stretched hand, wanting to recoil and shrink back. But I didn’t. He smiled. It was a smile that struck me instantly as both beautiful and evil.

  He wrapped his fingers around my wrist, and from his touch, an electrical energy trickled into me. I was utterly petrified. He pulled me up slowly, and soon, I stood staring at him with wide eyes and anxious breath. He held the palm of my hand up to his face so that I felt his skin for the first time. The intimacy of this single act forced my eyes to the floor and I abruptly feared his kindness more than his cruelty.

  He ran my fingers across his face, holding my hand firmly when I tried to shrink away. He was clean-shaven, soft, but undeniably masculine. His touch was simple, but specific, meant to show me he could be like a lover, gentle, intimate, but also that he was a man unaccustomed to hearing the word no. Yes. I understood. He was a man, and I? I was nothing but a girl, not even a woman. I was meant to fall at his feet and worship at the altar of his masculinity, grateful that he’d deigned to acknowledge me. All this, from a simple touch.

  He raised his right hand, pushing my hair off my shoulder, and then caressing the back of my arm. A violent shiver ran down my spine causing me to move back. The cold porcelain of the sink grazed my skin. As if it were a dance, he stepped forward. His fingers speared into my hair, possessive, cradling my head as I continued to stare at the floor. He kissed my fingers; nibbling at them with his teeth. The slightly sharpened canine, once part of his boyish charm, now imbued him with a sinister obscurity.

  My heartbeat pulsated in my ears, my breathing became labored. Anxiety coursed through my body only to settle in my stomach, making me feel nauseous. I thought: Do I fight him? Do I risk his temper? My instincts didn’t say run, or hide, they said, stay still. They said…obey? Please stop.

  He dropped my hand, setting off alarms; not knowing what to do with my hands, I put my arms around myself. I felt as though he were burning a hole through me with his eyes. The intensity with which he stared at me bordered on obscene. What was he doing to me in his mind?

  A very strange thing was happening inside me, an awareness that was as basic and simplistic as male and female, masculine and feminine, hard and soft, predator and prey. Yes, I was terrified. But there was also this undercurrent of something very vaguely familiar. Lust? Maybe. My eyes darted off his face. I had fantasized about this guy, dreamed about him touching me. I had hungered for his eyes on my naked skin. Imagined his soft mouth on my breasts. And now here he was, touching me. It was nothing like I had imagined.

  This was unlike any fantasy I’d ever had, even the really morbid ones. I admit, I’d dreamt of being ravaged by Anne Rice’s vampires. I’d seen it on the big screen in my head. It’s the eighteenth century, and I’m standing in an alley, the handsome, questionably evil Lestat is between my thighs. I’m a whore and he’s just another patron. I sense how dangerous he is, how predatory, but one kiss and I don’t give a damn. I know he’ll sink his fangs into me, but I throw myself at his mercy in the hopes that death won’t be the end of me.

  This was nothing like my dreams. In a dream you can’t really feel. Every touch is subject to your imagination, what you think a kiss feels like, what you think being fucked feels like, what you think real fear feels like. If you’ve never truly felt it, then your mind can’t truly recreate it. I knew about kissing, had an inkling about petting, but I lacked all knowledge of intent. When my boyfriend touched me, I knew he’d stop the second I asked, conversely, I knew this man wouldn’t. Intent made all the difference. This was real. Real touching, real intimidation, real man, real fear.

 
He caressed my face, running his fingers over my earlobe, down the column of my throat, the back of his fingers brushing across my collarbone. My breathing became broken, heavy. This was wrong, and yet, it didn’t feel so bad. My fear sat heavy and low in my belly, but farther down a different kind of weight was taking shape. I made a sound of protest, begging him in my wordless way to stop. He paused long enough to breathe me in before he continued. I shook my head slowly, trying to pull back but he held my head firmly in his other hand.

  “Look at me,” he said, his voice controlled, but wavering. I shut my eyes tight, slowly shaking my head again. He sighed. “I want you to look at me.”

  I didn’t obey, frozen with trepidation. This can’t be happening. Not to me. But it was happening, and I was unable to stop it. I whined, pulling my head back against his hand. He grew further agitated when I drew my hands up, touching his wrists.

  “No-o-o,” he said softly, as if reproving a child. My hands shook badly and my knees felt as though they might buckle. He tightened his grip in my hair, forcing my head up. I closed my eyes even tighter as soft, tearless sobs broke past my lips. I was treading the thin line of his patience while falling off the thin line of my sanity. He leaned in, kissed my cheek, then the nape of my neck. I sighed fretfully, pulled away, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. He touched my lips with his thumb, trying to hush my sobs and whimpers.

  “Where is all your bravery now pet? No clawing, no hissing? Where’s my tough girl?”

  My heart sank into my stomach. I had no idea where my bravery had gone. Had I ever really been brave? I don’t think so. I never had to be brave. I settled for being invisible, the person behind the camera. How I wished I could be invisible now.

  My voice was gone, strangled by the magnitude of the moment. I was in the grips of a panic attack when he let me go. I slid to the floor, covering my face with my hands as I told myself repeatedly, I am not here. This is a dream, a horribly fantastic dream. Any moment now, I’m going to wake up. I brought my knees to my chest and rocked back and forth. The mantra just made it seem more real.

  I didn’t cry when he picked me up. I knew it was coming. I felt hollow, as if my body were merely a shell holding my broken soul inside it. He carried me toward the bed, effortlessly standing me in front of it. Slowly, my eyes lost focus, as if my brain had begun shut down procedures. I simply stood, waiting. He swept my hair over my left shoulder, standing close behind me. I could feel his cock against me, hard, foreboding. He kissed my neck again.

  “No,” I pleaded, voice cracking. So this was what I sounded like, completely desolate. “Please…no.”

  His soft laugh fluttered against my neck. “That’s the first polite thing you’ve said.” He wrapped his arms around me as he spoke in my ear, “It’s only a pity you haven’t learned to speak properly. Feel free to try again, this time say, ‘Please no, Master’. Can you do that?”

  I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, I wanted to do anything but what he asked. I stayed silent.

  “Or maybe,” he licked my ear, “you need a push.”

  He stepped away from me abruptly, leaving my back open to the chilled air. I sunk to the floor, balling the comforter into knots as I pressed my forehead against it. He crouched behind me, rubbing my back. The will to fight him swelled inside me and, although I knew what I was getting into, I couldn’t stop myself. I threw my elbow back, hitting him in the shins. Pain shot through my elbow, and I couldn’t move for a few seconds. Shins of steel.

  “There’s my tough girl,” he said coldly. Grabbing a handful of my hair, he dragged me from the bed. I screamed wildly, digging my nails into his hand trying to get loose, but all my struggling was for naught. It was over before it began as he rolled me over onto my face and dug his knee between my shoulder blades. I was pinned. Defeated.

  “I hate you!” I roared. “I hate you, you horrible son of a bitch!”

  “I suppose it’s lucky for me that I don't care,” he said, pitilessly, “I’ll tell you what does bother me; you still haven’t learned any manners. You could’ve gone easy, pet, but I must confess…” I felt his breath on the side of my face, “I like it better this way.” He reached for something on the bed above us. I strained to see what it was, but his knee dug into me savagely.

  He labored to grab hold of my wrists, but quickly caught them both firmly in his left hand as he tied them together with soft cord, almost like silk. I cried as I struggled under him, still trying vainly to get away.

  I shut out any idea of the pain, of him tearing through my innocence, decimating my body. The eventual degradation, the afterglow of shame. This was better I supposed. I preferred him sick, twisted, and sadistic. It made it easier to define how I felt toward him. Gone were the images of the gorgeous angel sent down to save me. I had no business dreaming of his blue-green eyes, or the way his golden hair would feel in my hands. Even the smell of him would make me sick now. At least this way we would both recognize this for what it was, rape, not seduction, not the fantasy. There was no confusion. He was only the monster now. Just another monster.

  He pulled me off the floor by my wrists and in one quick movement hoisted my wrists over one of the bedposts until I stood precariously on tiptoe. I hung there on display; my body stretched tightly—everything exposed, my breath short. He grabbed my face roughly, “You know what your problem is pet? You haven’t learned to choose wisely. Dinner could have gone differently, but you chose this.”

  I had some smart-ass comment on the tip of my tongue. Words that would make him as angry as I was terrified, but then he kissed me. The kiss was violent, possessive, meant to lay waste to that comment right where it lay. There was no tongue; he was too smart for that, just the hard press of his full lips against mine. It was over before I had a chance to react.

  He went to the cart where the food had been and riffled through a black bag. My eyes widened. Where the hell did that come from? Nothing in life is as ominous as a black bag, a black bag means business. A black bag means planning, preparation, thoughtful packing. I suddenly felt very light headed.

  He returned with several items, smiling at me as though all this were normal. He set the items on the bed with care and due diligence. A leather collar was lifted for me to see; a wide leather band with a small metal loop on each end, one of which had a small lock attached to it and a key. The collar also featured a small loop in the front. He put the collar around my neck quickly. Once secured, it put pressure on my throat. He dangled the key in front of my eyes before placing it on the nightstand. There was a long chain, similar to one used to walk a dog, but with a clasp on each end. He placed the chain over the bedpost making a loud clanking sound that startled me into screaming, and then fixed both clasps to the loop at the front of the collar. I had to look up at the ceiling to keep from feeling strangled. It became difficult to breathe the harder I cried, so I stopped, but the tears continued to fall down my face, making puddles in the crevasse of my ear.

  Please. Don’t. Don’t do this. I wanted to say the words out loud. To beg him. But I couldn’t form words anymore. I was too scared, and too angry, and too…prideful. All the things I should have done came all at once. More sobs.

  He ran his hands down my arms and massaged my breasts in his hands; my body trembled, my nipples peaked. Two thick leather wrist straps replaced the ribbon, fashioned very similarly to the collar around my neck, small chain links dangling on each end that could be locked together. He unhooked the chain from my collar to turn me around. I was relieved to be able to breathe. I didn’t much care that it was now being attached to the links of the wristbands. I had more freedom to move now, the chain had more slack and I could put my feet squarely on the ground. My forearms were pushed together, and then tied to the bedpost in front of me. This position made it completely impossible for me to move away from him, my arm muscles tensed under the strain. I was really scared now; I couldn’t hide it. He had me and only he knew what that meant.

  He stood back, presumably to assess
me, or perhaps he was just admiring his work. Either way, his actions filled me with a sense of impending finality. I had challenged him and he had accepted. I stood facing the bed, my arms laced to the bedpost from wrist to elbow. I wore nothing but the mockingly sexy under things he had picked out.

  “Spread your legs,” he said evenly. When I didn’t, he came up close behind me insinuating himself between my legs. I let out a stunned yelp when his left hand cupped me between my legs. I tried to pull away. Useless.

 
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