After the third time I had been forced to give blood, I had had enough. If Cassius followed the same schedule as he had prior, he would come to collect me in a few hours to take me back to the examination room. But not today. I wouldn’t give him any more of my blood. He had taken enough from me.
Just as I had predicted, Cassius came to collect me within a few hours after breakfast. It had been four days since the last time he had taken blood from me. I didn’t get out of bed when he came into the room. Facing away from the door, I kept my eyes closed hoping he would think I was asleep.
“Time to get up, dear wife. We need to leave soon if we are to catch our ride,” Cassius said. Trying to keep my breathing steady (as if I were asleep), I didn’t answer. Cassius walked over to the bed. I could feel the cover shift as he sat on the edge next to me. The smell of lavender and pine hit me as he drew near. “Persephone, I will not tell you again. Be obedient. Get up so we can go.”
My inner voice laughed at the word. Somehow, I remained calm as he placed his hand on my shoulder. “Persephone, I know you are awake. I can hear the beat of your heart. Its rapid pace gives you away.” He tugged on my shoulder and pulled me onto my back.
I glared at him as I scooted away from his touch. “I don’t want to go today.”
“Whether you want to or not, that is not your decision to make.”
“My blood. My decision,” I barked. He reached for me, but I scooted back just before his hand could grab the fabric of my sleeve. “I will not give you any more of my blood.”
He reached for me again, but this time I wasn’t fast enough. He gripped my wrist tightly as he pulled me from the bed.
“I don’t have time for this,” he grumbled. “You will be obedient, wife. Or you will suffer the consequences.”
I grabbed hold of the bedpost and held it tightly as he tried to pull me from the room. “Kill me,” I yelled. “Kill me like you killed all the others. I am no different from any other human you have killed.” He released his grip on my wrist and I quickly ran over the top of the mattress to place the width of the bed between us.
“You are special. I have already explained that to you, dear wife.”
“Stop calling me that. I am not your wife,” I yelled.
“Enough,” Cassius barked. “You will obey me.” He walked around the bed to get to me, but I jumped over the mattress and rushed towards the only weapon I had been able to hide. I had broken a glass the other day and the ashen men had cleaned it up. But before they could take all the shards, I had slipped one near the edge of the mantle of the fireplace.
Grabbing the shard, I placed its sharp edge next to the vein at my throat. “Come any closer and I will spill all of my blood onto the floor.”
Cassius’s brows raised in alarm and he held his hands up in front of him. He took a step closer. “Don’t do anything foolish,” he said as he took another step closer.
I pushed the edged of the shard into my neck and could feel the glass cut through my skin. “I won’t give you another drop of my blood. Not for your experiments or tests or anything else.”
Cassius stopped his advance. To my irritation, tears welled in my eyes. Now was not the time to show weakness. I had to be strong. To show Cassius that my life is my choice and not his. I was done being his puppet. He would no longer control me even if I had to take my own life.
“Am I interrupting something,” said a familiar voice in the doorway of the room. Hadyn leaned against the door frame with a relaxed stance. His lips turned up slightly at the corners into a slight smirk.
“My wife and I are having a disagreement,” Cassius replied with a firm tone. I could tell he wasn’t happy about Hadyn’s sudden appearance.
“I am not your wife,” I yelled. “I would rather die than stay here and listen to you call me wife one more day.” I moved to push the shard hard into my neck. Death would be a sweet reprieve from my current circumstances. I would see pappy again. I could walk up to the pearly gates of heaven with a clean soul. The revenants, Cassius, won’t have a chance to use me further.
Before the shard could cut deeper, two arms wrapped around me and bound my hands tightly to my chest. “Let me go,” I yelled.
“Spilling blood here would be not good for the servants now would it?” Hadyn’s voice was calm yet demanding. He had stopped me from taking my own life, but what cost would have to pay for what I had done?
Cassius moved to grab me away from Hadyn, but Hadyn didn’t relinquish his grasp. “You said she was your wife, brother. It’s funny. Your scent on her is faint.”
“Release her,” Cassius warned.
“No,” Hadyn replied. “I have given you enough time to claim her as your own. It is time for her to leave this room and meet the rest of her family.”
Meet my family? What is Hadyn talking about? I was tempted to struggle against his hold on me, but the power coming from him was enough to make my courage falter. Even Cassius had seemed to cower away from him.
I didn’t know what it was about Hadyn that made Cassius act the way he did, but I was grateful that Hadyn had that type of influence over him.
“She is my wife,” Cassius replied. “I will take her to meet the high priest and our brothers when it is time. She is still not recovered from the sickness she endured when she first came here.”
“Sickness,” Hadyn replied. “More like she is too weak from the amount of blood you continue to take from her.” Cassius’s jaw dropped at Hadyn’s words. “She will meet the high priest, now. I will personally take her there.”
“You can’t,” Cassius protested. He moved to grab me away but abruptly stopped.
“I can’t? And do you think you can stop me?” Hadyn asked. He released his grip on my arms and pulled me behind him. “Be a good human and drop that piece of glass in your hand.”
I released the shard almost as if he had willed my hand to do so. It wasn’t my intention. It just happened. Cassius’s mouth dropped for the second time. His eyes were livid when they locked onto mine. He was angry…very angry. If I didn’t go with Hadyn, Cassius was sure to make me suffer the consequences he had threatened me with earlier.
“We will be leaving now, Cassius. It would be in your best interest to rethink your claim on this human,” Hadyn threatened. Instead of grabbing me by my wrist as Cassius had done many times since I had come here, Hadyn grabbed my hand (interlacing our fingers) and pulled me from the room. We left Cassius behind as we descended the stairs to the platform below.
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