It had been a week since Cassius had imprisoned me in this room. Most days I am left in solitude, locked in my room with only the occasional interruption by the ashen men when they brought me food.
Cassius had spent only a few hours with me during the past few days. During the time we were together he had dragged me back to the platform and then to the examination room where he extracted several more vials of blood.
The small amount of time he spent with me outside of the examination room, I had not been able to learn much. I knew there was a reason for him to want so much blood from me. He hadn’t drunk from me directly, so I didn’t assume he had lied when he said he sent it for testing.
But testing for what? Revenant blood? He already declared that I had revenant blood flowing within my veins, so what could he be testing my blood for?
A knock at the door pulled me from my thoughts as the ashen men pushed a cart full of food through the room door. They placed a chair beside the cart and added another log to the fire before turning to leave the room. The food no longer looked appealing. At first (before Cassius had taken the first vials of blood) the food was juicy fatty meats, unlike anything I had ever tasted before. There was an assortment of puddings and pastries for dessert that would melt in my mouth as soon as they touched my tongue.
After I had given the first vials of blood, the foods changed. Every meal has had either kidney or liver served with an assortment of leafy greens and a side of legumes. At first, I thought Cassius had told them to bring me this because I had given (more like he had taken) so much blood from me. Organ meats, dark greens, and legumes are blood enriching foods. For a second (no, maybe a half of a second) I thought Cassius actually showed a small bit of concern. But after two days of the same foods, I realized his purpose for keeping me here.
He wanted more of my blood for his tests or experiments or whatever he was using it for. I had already given him eight vials of blood. My body had already begun to grow weaker than normal. If he continued to take blood from me, I don’t know what would happen.
Staring at the cart of food, my stomach began to churn. Anger welled within me and before I realized what I was doing, I had turned the cart on its wheels. The food fell to the floor.
“That wasn’t necessary, was it?” I turned to see Hadyn standing in the doorway. “Didn’t your parents ever teach you not to play with your food?”
Turning my back to him, I stared into the fire. My hand rested on the mantle in a leisurely manner (more for support than for show as it was a struggle to stand for too long). “Did you come here to mock me, or do you have another purpose?”
“Tsk. Tsk.” Hadyn replied. “As a human, you should mind your temper.” Hadyn leaned against the door frame and pulled a knife from his pocket. Flipping it open, he picked at a piece of dirt beneath his fingernail. Even as relaxed as he seemed, I could tell he was ready to pounce at the first sign of danger. His eyes darted from his fingers until they rested on me.
He slowly drank me in, so I repaid him the favor and did the same of him. He looked close to my age, maybe a little older. Where Cassius’s eyes were amber, Hadyn’s were an icy blue interlaced with green hues. His hair was a bit long and bleached with dark roots. It was brushed over onto one side of his face where it fell just below his ear.
“Like what you see?” His mouth turned up in a smirk at his question.
“Not what I expected of a revenant,” I replied. “But then again, nothing has turned out the way I had expected it would.” His brows perked up.
“Sounds like the married life of my new sister isn’t going so well,” Hadyn replied.
“I’m not your sister,” I replied with grit in my voice. I was tired of Cassius calling me his wife and I would not tolerate any more of these revenants claiming to have some type of relations with me. “Unless you are going to help me escape, you might as well leave.”
“Leave? You asked for my help first, sister. Now you want me to leave? And here I was trying to be a good Samaritan.” Hadyn turned to exit the room. I realized that once he left I may never find another chance or possible ally to help me escape again.
“Wait,” I called to him before he could completely leave the room. “Did you find the box?”
“I found it,” he replied in hushed tones. “I am assuming it was your blood Cassius was testing.” I nod in affirmation. Hadyn’s face fell and his mouth thinned. “That damn fool. Always thinking he can break this curse.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
Hadyn ran his finger over his brow as he closed his eyes. “Cassius hates humans more than any of us. He planned the initial attack that started the war and landed the biggest blow to the humans. His hands are stained with more human blood than mine and my brothers combined.”
Hadyn walked closer to me, his blue eyes becoming deeper the closer he moved. I stepped away from him until my back hit the mantle of the fireplace and there was nowhere left to retreat.
“I was surprised when I found out he took a wife,” Hadyn said as he ran a finger down the side of my face. His touch was ice where Cassius’s had been fire.
“I am not his wife,” I argued. “I wish everyone would stop calling me that.”
“Wife or not,” Hadyn replied. “You belong to him.”
“I belong to no one. I am a person, not an object. One being cannot own another,” I argued. He stood so close that I could feel his breath on my neck as he inhaled my scent. “If you aren’t going to help me leave here, I would like for you to go.”
Grabbing the fabric of his shoulders, I pushed him away from me. His closeness was suffocating. Just as I had seen before, power and confidence exuded from him filling the room with an awareness of his authority. He reached up and placed a hand atop my head, patting down my hair.
“I will go for now, but I will return. You are very special, Ms. Black. I have never met a human that would speak to me in the way that you have. For your sake, pray my brother doesn’t find out just how special you are. If he does, you will never free from his grasp.”
Hadyn turned and left the room leaving me in a state of shock. Are all the revenants as intense as Cassius and Hadyn? And what did Hadyn mean? Pray my brother doesn’t find out just how special you are. I’m not special. I was a mere speck of dirt in a field of wheat.
These revenant brothers were not making any sense, and I was still trapped in this room under the guard of the ashen men.
All thoughts of escaping this place seemed to have been in vain. Telling Hadyn about the box and hoping he could be my ally was for naught. I had failed to leave here, but if I were to stay I feared for my life.
If I was to take Hadyn’s warning seriously, Cassius was a bigger threat to me than him. I would need to play the hand I had been dealt with the best of my ability if I was going to survive. Thoughts of pappy ran through my mind and the times when we had face challenges of our own.
We had gone without food for a few days, but he had managed to scrape up some rotted cabbages by trading some of his books to one of our neighbors. The cabbages weren’t really edible, but pappy always figured out a way to use the scraps and make it so that we could eat them. ‘God doesn’t always give you what you want, but he does give you what you need, sweet pea. Even in times as bleak as these, we are still fortunate. As long as there is a roof over our heads and food in our bellies we will survive.’
Pappy’s words were true. Although it was a struggle to get by, we managed to survive. God had always provided for our needs. And the same went for now. When it was time for me to escape, God would show me the way. I needed to be patient and conserve what energy I could.
I would have to consider this the calm before the rising storm. Once I finally do escape, who knows where I would go or what would happen. For now, I needed to bide my time. I needed to form a plan.
Hadyn said he would be back. For now, he was still the closest thing I had to an ally. Cassius had warned me not to let his brothers know that I wasn’t his wife for fear that they would take me away from him. I had freely told Hadyn that Cassius and I were not bound. Maybe Hadyn would get me out of here. He was the best chance I had. I would have to place my bets on him.
To read more visit my website http://cynthiabrandel.com
Check out my bookshelf and/or drop me a line and let me know what you think about the story so far.