4fe 04 – Chamber
-What are you doing, Rosa?
Rosa’s tail fluffed up from surprise and she shuddered. She turned slowly to see who had talked. She was in front of Life’s room and had been caught by his brother. She tried to think up of an excuse, but no words crossed her lips. He just stared at her harshly from behind his glasses. He was definitely thinking up of how to punish her. Her legs started shaking.
-…I think someone needs to remind you who’s in charge here.
He turned and gave her a hard stare, inviting her to follow. She tried to swallow, but she felt like her drool had become a ball of iron. She followed him shamefully.
Sure enough, he brought her to the same room he had a few nights before. She held back her tears and tried to look as imperturbable as she could. She wondered if she should plead for him to let her go, but she decided that would only make him happy.
The room smelled humid and was filled with the stench of blood when they entered. He locked the door multiple times, before turning back to her, grinning ominously, cracking a whip.
-Let’s teach you some discipline.
Torture was a casual thing to do if you had slaves. Of course, nobody would think that he was being cruel if they learned about it. They actually probably knew it was going on, but no one said anything in fear that they might be next. In cases like this, it’s everyone for themselves.
Before she knew it, she was laying on the ground in pain. She could see her own blood, next to her head and stared at it blankly. She was at the point where it hurts so much that you just don’t feel anything anymore. She felt cold and heavy, and simply waited until it was over.
She heard his footsteps echo towards her. She didn’t even bother to brace herself for more. She felt like moving a single muscle would be too much of a chore. His foot came in her vision, and save from the blood, it was impeccable. Light reflected on it like a mirror.
He bent over and grabbed her blood-stained hand. Rosa’s eyes grew wide in horror. She knew all too well what he wanted to look at. On her right hand was a mark. Something burnt into her flesh.
To anyone outside of the country, it didn’t mean anything. It was an outlined circle, with a single straight line going through it, about a third from the side. It looked like nothing. But it proved she was a slave. The family’s mark, proving she was nothing but a tool until she died.
He knelt down beside her and licked it. She closed her eyes shut and shuddered. He pat it a little afterwards, obviously enjoying himself. This was the proof that she was his, after all.
After a moment, he let her go and stood up. He poked her with his foot and when she didn’t react, he let out an annoyed tch. He sighed and walked to the door, unlocking it. He lingered there a moment before going out. He mumbled something Rosa didn’t understand, not because he spoke quietly, but more because she was so out of it.
The door closed in a loud bang. That was the last thing she heard before blackness and silence filled her eyes and ears.
She had no idea how long she stood there. When she woke up from a dreamless sleep, her body was numb and hurting all over. She had to stop herself from trying to get up and start by moving her fingers first. She was cold and hungry, but she knew she’d have nothing to eat for as long as she’d be in here.
After a moment, she braced herself and tried to lift her heavy body. She managed to crawl until she found a wall and there she pulled herself up and sat, her aching back pressing on it. She had a hard time breathing. She wasn’t sure if the cold on her back was soothing or not. Her wounds were burning. She looked at the floor where she had been laying and saw a great quantity of the red liquid. She smiled bitterly. He had been rougher than usual, this time. So this is what you do if I get closer to him than you are, huh. Is this jealousy…?
She wasn’t sure, but as another spasm of pain filled her, she felt her eyes very, very heavy, and welcomed back the nothingness.
There was no light in the torture chamber, of course. The only reason you weren’t completely blinded is because there was a slit that was left uncovered under the big heavy door. Normally this would be fixed, because it meant sounds weren’t filtered correctly. But Life’s brother liked it that way. The room just next to it was his, or at least one of the many that belonged to him. This one had no bed, but he would sometimes sleep on one of the couches only to hear Rosa’s cries of agony. She had long since learned to keep quiet.
That was all guesswork from the girl’s part. It wasn’t very difficult to understand; the winter mansion had a very similar construction, only it was more spacious. Life’s brother had downright made the room next to the torture chamber the one he slept in. There was a bed and everything. And the gap under the door would be bigger; big enough that Rosa had once managed to fit her whole arm through it. She had been welcomed by a foot crushing her bones, so she had only tried it once.
All in all, she never had any idea how long she spent in here. Depending on his mood, she could stay from a few hours to days. Judging from her hunger, she felt like it had been closer to the second option. He must have been in a really bad mood.
She was just starting to get used to it when she heard noise. She didn’t bother to lift her head, but she did raise her ears. Footsteps. But something was off. She frowned. This person was light. Definitely not him. She shrugged it off, thinking this was just some maid fetching something in the room close by. But the steps came close to the door. Before the knew it, the person was messing on the door, unlocking it. She lifted her head, unsure if she should be thankful or afraid.
Light came in, blinding and she had to close her eyes shut for a long time.
-Hurry! Get out!
She finally managed to adjust to the light and realized the person standing there was Life. She tried talking, but her voice came as unstable and hoarse. It startled her and she had to try again before being able to say something.
-Get out of here. If you get caught, you’ll be the one in trouble.
-I don’t care! Hurry, before he comes back!
-Life, I can’t even walk. Forget it, leave me here.
She sighed and closed her eyes, expecting him to reluctantly close the door. But instead he stepped in, determined to get her out of there, until he stepped in the pool of blood. He froze in place, and she opened an eye just in time to see him fixing the ground, shocked. He looked back at her and she thought he was going to start crying. She frowned. Life had never tried to save her before. Why was he so surprised about finding blood on the floor?
-You’re hurt, aren’t you?
Rosa stared at him in disbelief. Wait, what? He talked as if he didn’t even know why she was there! Did he think she had been sleeping for three days straight, or what? Maybe he thought she was too busy for him to find her. It suddenly dawned on her that Life might not know she was his brother’s slave at all.
-I’m fine, I’m fine. Calm down.
She sighed again. He probably heard from one of the servants about her being down here. He was going to get in big trouble if his brother found out. She didn’t want that. Besides, she probably would get in more trouble as well if her Master wasn’t the one to free her from here.
-Listen to me. You have to get out of here.
-Then come with me!
-No! I’ll see you in a few days, so please, get out of here and forget all about it.
He looked down and stayed silent. She started to lose her patience. He had to get out, and fast. Why was it so complicated? His brother could be here any instant! He looked back at her. What now?
-Then… will you come and play with me again when you’re out…?
-Fine, but now get out!
-It’s a promise!
He looked at her with such intensity that she couldn’t help but feel touched. She insisted she would, but it was really just a lie to get him to run away. She probably wouldn’t have that liberty. But the simple thought of it made her eyes swell up with tears when he had closed the door. She couldn’t help but smile.