“I had an accident.” He nodded his head. “You what? Threw yourself on that boulder and when you didn’t kill yourself you crawled off?” She shut down on him. Her shoulders came up in her defense, and her hands began to push her body back painfully.
River banged on the walls looking for a way out. She had been held captive for so long that she lost track of time. All she could do was try to track the movement of the sun although she barely saw it in the room where they held her. She woke up in here no memory of her past or where she had come from. In the back of her mind was a little tingle that told her she’d been here longer than she wanted to remember and that abuse was becoming an old friend.
She edged around the side of the room. Calling this a room was misleading but the only other term would be a tank, and she wasn’t sure that fit either. It looked like a room because the shape was square but that’s where all semblance ended. Around the edges of the room was a walkway where if she took small, precise steps she would be able to move around the perimeter. In the middle of the room was water. No, the floors weren’t wet, there was a tank of water that went further down than her eyes could see. In that water lived fish she only wanted to watch on vids. Fish, ha, sharks should have their own category, bad ass killers of the ocean or something like that, calling them fish seemed to be misleading.
She raised her hand up to her head and gave it a good shake before she pounded on the wall again. She needed to get away, the longer she was here, the more she began to believe her life was about to be forfeited to make a madman feel better. Getting tired she took the small bridge that extended over the water to a large flat rock that sat in the middle of it.
Sloan tossed her into this room and told her that she would be living on that large rock. He had spouted some nonsense about her needing the water to stay alive. Then he pointed out the three sharks that circled that rock every day. As long as, she kept her hands and feet out of the water she’d stay alive, but if she dared to slip a portion of her body in, they would tear her apart.
She lowered herself to the rock to stretch out; her body was used to the aches and pain that came from sleeping on it. It was a form of torture that kept him from touching her but kept her mentally and physically hurt and tired. Closing her eyes, she waited. Sloan never came into the room unless she was on the rock. He would throw her raw fish like she was one of his sharks. In the beginning, she defied him and threw it back. The consequences when she did that was severe pain. Then she got desperate and ate the raw fish although she had to choke it down and most times it came back up. Now it didn’t matter; there was no way of escape, and she refused to eat another piece of raw anything. A sad laugh emerged from her lips she wasn’t sure she even wanted a raw vegetable. Cook it then she’d be interested.
Her hand went to her plentiful curves; it didn’t seem to matter how little she ate she never got any thinner. Then her shoulders straightened, and she started to devise another plan of escape. So what, her others plans had failed there was still a chance. Maybe.
The door groaned as it opened and she closed her eyes not wanting to see Sloan.
His voice was deep with the power to cause pain. She had learned that in the early days. If he wanted to, he could flay her skin with his voice. She shivered with remembered pain.
“Sloan.” It was all she could say and still stay civil.
Come on River you can do this. Sit up and smile and try for the thousandth time to talk rationally to him, if you tell him enough times that he has the wrong person he’ll finally understand.
She had no idea what he wanted with her, all she knew was that he had her mistaken for a daughter of the Earth. Weren’t all human females daughters of the Earth?
She sat and focused on him. He was a nice looking older gentleman, a hint of silver at the temples, a large muscular body and eyes that crinkled with lips that said kissing him would lead to pure sin. He had to attract women. She always felt sorry for those females because Sloan wasn’t human and it had become apparent that he liked pain. Other people’s pain, River’s pain.
“It’s time for you to leave.”
Her eyes lit up, and joy entered her heart. He finally understood he had the wrong person.
“Thank you, thank you! I won’t tell anyone about you.” That struck her as funny, who would she tell? The authorities were on the take as far as she could see. He probably had them all in his back pocket. Still what if he did this to another unsuspecting woman?
She stood deciding that once she was free, she could morally debate what she should do. Nothing mattered if she didn’t get away from this madman. Knowing that she still needed to pretend she plastered an ‘aren’t you the best’ smile on her face before she crossed the bridge. Sloan moved to the door and let her out. Reluctantly she looked back and waved goodbye to the sharks. Yes, their job was to kill her, but they were also the only friends she had since she’d been locked up in the room.
You need a shrink River. Her hands came up to cover her eyes; they emerged from the room to stand in the bright sun. Her eyes weren’t happy at all and neither was her body. After all the darkness the sun’s welcoming kiss was painful.
“You can just give me a hover and point me in the direction of home, and you’ll never see me again.”
Lowering her hand, she took in her surroundings. The land beneath her feet was sand as far as she could see there were no trees, way in the distance, she had to squint to see them was an outline that suggested mountains. Where was she? This wasn’t the inside of the dome at least not the dome where she thought she lived. Her stomach dropped for a minute. It was illegal to leave the dome and then reenter per the authorities. Leaving the dome was a death sentence. Her eyes cut to Sloan; the authorities obviously knew more than she did. It didn’t matter, if there was a way to get out, then there must be a way to get in.
“Maybe you should program the coordinates of my home into the hover. It would make things easier on me.” Since she only had vague memories of a life lived away from Sloan, a preprogrammed hover would work for her.
“Get in the hover, River.” Sloan climbed into the driver side leaving her the passenger side.”
“I thought you said I was free?” She was beginning to back up. The last thing she wanted was to be in a small space with Sloan. He may look friendly and approachable, but he was dangerous, and as far as she was concerned, he was a killer.
“No, I said it was time for you to leave. I’ve decided to change the rules of engagement.”
“The rules of engagement?” She was screaming. Calm down River you need to get out of this alive.
“There are no rules of engagement. I’m not at war with you or anyone else. Let me go, Sloan. I swear I’ll disappear.” She brought her voice down to what she hoped was a reasonable level. Trying to negotiate with someone who was clearly insane was something she didn’t have any experience in.
“Get in the hover River.” His voice tore a strip away from her midsection.
She huddled over trying not to give in to the pain. Her hand raised showing her the blood that was seeping from the wound. Sloan could do so much worse, and she knew he would if she defied him. Slowly feeling like she was walking to her death, she went to the hover and got in.
He closed the glass top and took off. She watched everything hoping that something would help her, or give her an idea for escape.
“Why do you think we are at war?” Keep the crazy man talking isn’t that what they did in the vids. Soon rescue would come, but not for her.
“That’s the problem with the daughters of the Earth. You’re being hunted and you don’t know it.”
“Daughters? So I’m not the only one?” Silence. “Why are we being hunted I know I haven’t done anything?”
“As long as you live the tide follows the moon and the water lives.”
Could he be any more cryptic?
“Are you saying that I am somehow affecting the water on Earth?”
“It’s a shame that you’ve been kept ignorant of who you are. What you are. Soon it won’t matter anymore.”
They were over the mountains she had seen earlier. They were covered with tall trees making it hard to see the ground underneath them. If she could manage to get out of the hover, she might have a chance to disappear, sliding closer to the door; she licked her lips. This was an older model in which the entire dome opened, but she knew hovers, and there was an escape panel on each side so that the dome didn’t have to open, all she had to do was engage it.
“Careful River you don’t want to fall.”
She screamed as the soles of her feet were shredded by his voice.
“There’s something you should know.” She was hunched over each word out of his mouth ripping her apart. “I can’t kill you. I’ll be sidelined if I do, but you can kill yourself. I suggest you do.”
The emergency hatch she was sitting by opened and invisible hands reached for her, pulling her out of the hover. There was no sound. Was the wind stealing her screams? She wasn’t sure all she knew was that silence surrounded her. She couldn’t hear the roar of an animal or the sound of an insect.
She hit the ground and sound exploded around her. The sound of her screams kept her company as well as the sound of her blood leaving her body. A large boulder was underneath her she could see it with her eyes, but she couldn’t feel it with her body. Was her back broken? There was no movement. Her fingers twitched in her mind but not in reality. The one thing that moved were her eyes, so she closed them. Were there wild beasts around? Would they kill her, tear her apart like she was the main meal in a good restaurant? Did it even matter?
Her ears perked up when she heard a roar off in the distance. For a moment her life flashed before her eyes. She could see her mother standing before her with her dark skin and hazel eyes so like hers.
“One-day River,” her mother’s hand reached down to take hers. “Everything you have forgotten you will remember.”
What have I forgotten she asked the ghost of her mother before she drifted away.
Her hand twitched, then it twitched again. It wasn’t her imagination, pressing it against the boulder her body barely moved, but it moved. It took time and precision she didn’t have but eventually she rolled her way down, and now she was laid open on the grass like a sacrifice waiting to be eaten by the first wild animal to come her way.
She marveled that she could move as she turned over to lay on her belly. Painfully she managed to push herself up to her hands and knees. Her teeth were clamped together to keep from making a noise that would draw attention to her. With a small grunt and shaking body she realized standing and walking was out of the question her head wouldn’t allow her to raise it any higher even if she thought she could stand. She didn’t need to stand when she could crawl. Slowly she made her way towards the shelter of densely packed trees with the hope that they would keep her safe.
Unseen eyes watched her cataloging every move and every action. A small twist of his wrist opened the trees enough for her to crawl into them. Once he was sure that she would be safe for a while, he disappeared.