I had formed a pitiful curled up ball on the corner of the bed. My body ached and my head throbbed and I felt like crying. But he was there.
He, the Vampire Baldur, who had taken so much from me, including my cries for freedom. My whole body felt vulnerable, like it would break if he so much as touched me. A cold, lonely feeling crept up my spine. I was trapped.
Baldur was near and he placed the back of his hand on my cheek with such a tenderness he almost seemed human. I shrank back, losing all resolve for resistance, fearing him as my tormentor. He couldn't do anything but love it.
"Go wash yourself and I'll have clothes and food sent up for you." Baldur whispered to me gently. "Did you think this suite was for my own use? Don't waste it."
I felt his weight lift from beside me on the bed and I realized that I had my eyes shut tight the whole time he was speaking to me. It was as if I was some frightened puppy who cowered at the first crack of the whip. But that's what I had been reduced to. And I knew he was leaving when I heard his footsteps trail off to the other side of the room.
"Tell me. Please, tell me: Is Antonio safe?" I rasped, frightened to even speak with that monster. "At least let me know!"
I heard the footsteps pause, as if Baldur was thinking about my question, but when I heard the door open and slam shut, I knew I wouldn't get an answer from him.
- - -
By sunrise I had dragged myself to the bathroom and taken off the pair of jeans that had been half trashed by the rape. I had taken one look at myself, with only a pair of boxers clinging to my frame, and was in utter despair. Blue and purple bruises, just like the ones Antonio had on his arms, were all over my bare skin. Where Baldur had touched me there were red, irritated patches of skin, where he nipped and sucked my flesh, there were blotches so dark they were almost black. I was disgusted. I had no strength in my legs and fell to the black tiles, holding my face in my hands.
I cried. I hadn't since I came to that place where Baldur reigned, but I cried for a long time. For my classmates, for Antonio, and finally, for myself. I was hurt and alone and in half despair. I didn't know what to do, or how to get away. I hated and feared the man who was so enamored with me, and I was so terrified I of what he would do to me next that I could hardly stand. For minutes, I just sat there, letting that little puddle of tears on the tile grow larger each passing second. It was so long that my face dried up, having no more tears to shed. Though my eyes were blurry, I walked over to the large bath and got the water running.
I shed the boxers and stepped into the overly large tub. There were about twenty tiny glass bottles with lotions and soaps that I could have used, but for a while, I simply lay there in the water until it turned lukewarm. I couldn't enjoy it even if I wanted to. My mind wouldn't focus; every time I tried to move, I thought of that man's hands on my body, and I nearly broke down again. However, I fought it, scrubbing my already reddened skin with the flowery soaps meant for a woman and used shampoos that must have been over one hundred dollars a bottle. They didn't make me feel any less filthy. It didn't make me feel any less vulnerable. But I knew it couldn't help. I lifted myself from the water.
There were towels in a cabinet not far from the mirror and sink. I dried my shoulder length waves, and let my body cool from the tub. Wrapping the towel around my waist, I went into the bedroom, hearing the suite's doors just close. My eyes followed the movement, already alert, but by then whoever it was had left. I looked back to the bed and found clothes to change into. I thought it was strange that the person's timing had been near perfection, and that I had not seen or heard any other being on the floor until that moment, but I attached it all to the supernatural influence of Baldur. Even thinking of his name made a sweat break out on my forehead.
On the bed lay a pair of jeans. There was no shirt to be found. It was frustrating to see that I had to remain bare for this lustful vampire. With that thought, I saw that any signs of the scuffle, the torn remains of my shirt, the rumpled, soiled bed sheets, had all been removed and, in the case of the bed, cleaned. After dressing, I threw the towel into the bathroom and closed the door, forgetting the break down I had had just a short time ago.
Before I could lay on the bed, I saw a tray near the coffee table and chairs that Antonio and I had used a few days ago when we talked. We had held each other close not far from that spot, and even with my cleaned skin, it was as if I could still feel him, still smell his hair. Loneliness again crept through me. I shook it off and walked to the tray. It had a sandwich and a glass of juice on a plate.
My body had the capacity to eat huge amounts of food. I was not large or stocky, but my metabolism was quick and my frame strong enough to support muscle. However, when nervous or upset, I often refused to eat much of anything. Antonio's mother hated it when I did that, and frequently scolded me when she forced me to eat over and I couldn't have much more than a mouthful of rice and beans. Baldur, though, seemed to have predicted my sour appetite and made sure that the proportions were just large enough so I wouldn't throw it back up.
How many men had he brought here, just to toy with them? To kill them? How long would he keep me alive?
I decided not to think about that, knowing it would do more harm then I needed. There was a newspaper there, too, to the left of the plate. I sat down, took a small bite of the sandwich and picked it up. It was a local newspaper, one from my hometown. On the bottom of the front page was an article about the attack and how I had gone missing just as Antonio had returned home. They even had a quote from Antonio's mother, saying it was a miracle I was able to find her boy. She went on to say that she would pray for my safe return. I looked down the column. There was a quote from Antonio, too.
"I'll find him; I don't care what it takes. Justin saved my life. I'll get that kidnapper and I'll kill him!"
I had a feeling they had changed the quote for the sake of their article. He knew what Baldur was, and he wasn't a common kidnapper. And he would never be able to kill the creature that had me now.
Throwing down the paper, sick to see it anymore, I finished the last corner of the bread, downed the juice and timidly walked back to the bed. I saw the covers, smoothed out and showing no signs of what horrors I had been subjected to the night before. I couldn't bear the idea of what the night was to bring, but I knew I hadn't slept in days. Despite my better sense, despite what had happened, I fell on the bed, utterly exhausted.
It was a long, deep sleep. A train could have come by and I wouldn't have woke up. And the bed was soft, much better quality than my family could ever afford. It struck me while I was reading the newspaper that my parents had not offered a statement. Then I remembered at the hospital, how they wouldn't listen to my story about the crazed man. I couldn't really accept that they didn't care about me; they were my family. How had my disappearance changed them?
It was a local newspaper. Did that mean I wasn't far from home? Or did Baldur bring that for me, to weaken my resolve? The police could never find me. And Antonio couldn't-
Well, when I read Antonio had been found, a wave of relief hit me. It seems whether Baldur wanted to or not, my question had been answered. From that information alone, I felt worlds better. As for the others, the article also included Jacob and Jordan's improving health. For those miracles, I was able to sleep peacefully.
But that still left me. Baldur got what he wanted, yet his motives didn't seem to be connecting. In vain, I desperately attempted to figure him out. Maybe an immortal mind is just too much for humans to comprehend.
I woke up, at least ten hours later, and hardly able to lift myself from the grogginess. For a few seconds, my eyes were blurry, too comfortable with the now-fading darkness. I had slept on my stomach. In one motion, I had flipped over and stretched my limbs, the joints creaking in protest. The room was dark and I saw no slits of light through the heavy drapes that had been placed in front of the many windows in the room. Panic snaked through me. I shot up.
There was no one there but it didn't quell my fears. I slipped off the bed with as much speed as I could without making much noise. If he wasn't here, he would be soon, and my body ached to think of what he would do if he found me there. Seconds went by, and I just stood there, letting my eyes adjust and standing these like a shy alter boy who had never helped a priest. As my head turned, I saw that the only light was coming in dimly from the terrace that had been opened, allowing a calm wind to ruffle the curtains that had been pulled back. Something drew me to it, even though I knew I shouldn't leave that spot. I went anyway.
He was there. Looking out over the landscape, the wind pushing the waves on his shoulder back, allowing me to see his face. It didn't change in its serenity as I neared. I saw him and my stomach dropped, while my heart jumped to my throat. The same panic I had felt when I woke up returned. I nearly ran back into the room. Another urge told me to stay there, even if I was in full view of that beast. The wind chilled my bare upper body.
"Either you come me join me on the balcony or I'll come in there for you." Baldur said, not looking away from the view. I physically jumped when I heard him speak. His voice was as calm as the wind, but I didn't let that cover fool me. The threat behind the tone made me follow him out.
My hands rubbed the backs of my arms, not from cold, but from uneasiness. The bottoms of my feet were icy against the stone of the ground. I felt completely open, completely vulnerable. The rising terror only let me come a few feet from him.
He turned and I inwardly flinched. Automatically I put on a brave face, even knowing Baldur could see through it as if it was never there.
"Where is your resolve, my warrior? Where is your strength?" His hand reached me and touched my chest.
I stepped back. "Don't come near me." I commanded, dropping my arms and putting my hands into fists. "You can't do this anymore. "
A flash went through the vampire's eye that disappeared as quickly as it had come. Was it anger? Frustration?
One move had my face in his palm. We were close. "I don't take orders from anyone, dear Justin." He bared his fangs. "You should know it. Does your sweet lover need another lesson for you to understand?"
"Why do you resort to blackmail? Are you not enough of a man to fight face to face?" I glared him down, showing none of the fear I once had. If he wanted to fight, I was more than confidant.
He didn't back down in the least. For once, he shed the theatrical gestures and expressions, leaving only his rising irritation.
Suddenly he broke the stare and walked to a wide chair on the right side of the balcony just a few steps away. As he sat, he kept the vampiric grace that had never left him yet.
"Fine. I don't need it. Allow me to put this into terms you might understand." Without moving a muscle, he used that invisible force to knock me forward into his lap. "Move, and I'll kill you."
My hands had landed on his shoulders and my knees to the outside of his thighs. If I wanted to resist, he was too quick for me to think about it. He bit my nipple, hard, making my whole body tense in pain. I screamed out and had a handful of his jacket in my fingers. Not only did he do that for his own enjoyment, I knew, but also to take from me the ability to fight back. I felt the side of his tongue caress the soft skin, while my chest leaned up and down with shallow, fearful breaths.
He let go of me and I nearly fell on him. With one move, he had me once again at his mercy. The paralytic strength of his attack had left me shaken.
Baldur touched my stomach, where some of the bruises had begun to turn purple. He traced every one of my many wounds that the vampire had left on me. Around my hips, on my sides. Every motion made me whimper, my mind inwardly pleading for him to halt but my mouth not able to do anything but pant and gasp for breath.
"You can't get enough of it." Baldur whispered, grasping the back o my head and bringing it down so I could see his eyes. His breath was against my face. "You get hard before I even do anything. You scream before I touch you." He kissed my neck so many times, each lighting fires of pleasure that I could feel to my fingertips. Against my skin, he asked, "How many times will you come tonight?"
"No…" I breathed. My hands were tangled in his hair. I could feel my whole body shaking with weakness. "I can't take this."
He shoved me off him, the movement so sudden I crashed to the stone of the floor, my back smacking painfully into the unrelenting ground.
Baldur stepped away from the chair and kneeled over me. "That's it, Justin. Fight me. Resist me with all your strength. Let me hear you scream."
Before he could jump on me, I scrambled out from underneath him and ran. Straight into the room is where my feet took me, but if they had led me off the railing of the balcony I really wouldn't have cared. I wanted so much to be away from him that I hardly noticed the pain when I clipped the sliding glass door in fleeing. I went to a corner and collapsed there, covering my head with my hands. It wasn't even a hiding place. Just a sad, unvoiced plea for pity.
His footsteps followed mine only seconds later. They were slow, deliberate, and loud. Each one resonated in my ears making me feel him coming closer even though my eyes were shut tight.
"Come out, Justin." Baldur called from the door. "Face me man to man."
His taunt was clear, and yet, I couldn't find the strength to get up. Instead, I crunched myself further into the corner as if the shadows would somehow protect me. As he neared, I braced myself from the worst, even though I had no idea what he would do next.
Baldur came closer. "There are so many options. Where would you liked to be raped? There's the bed, the floor, your pretty little corner…" His step suddenly dashed forward and I flinched back into my hole. There was a pause and he said finally, "The table. I think you'll like it as much as I will."
He had me before I could even react. One of his hands snatched my wrist and hauled me into the air with such ease that it would have been impossible for a human of his build. I crashed against his chest, my face plunging into his jacket and then his cold, marble skin. Baldur laced his fingers with mine in my right hand and clasped the small of my back with the other. We looked like two lovers in the middle of a waltz, except I had no desire to be there. As I looked up, he laughed, taunting me again with complete dominance. He saw the terror in my eyes. He made sure that it stayed, regardless of what he could make me feel.
The vampire glided us over to the glass coffee table, and I was afraid. But instead of dropping me where he wanted me, we went around it skirting the edges with such skill that even in my dire situation I was impressed we hadn't crashed into anything surrounding us.
We went together into the chair beside the table. I felt as if I'd fall if I trusted his grip, so I hooked my arms around Baldur's neck, hoping he wouldn't take advantage of it. I was a fool. I was a bride in his arms while he buried his face into my neck, inhaling my scent. In a vain attempt to get away from him, I tilted my head up, but it only gave him more of a hold on me.
"Tell me you don't enjoy my company." Baldur dared, licking my neck with the side of his tongue, tasting the sweat that had began to form in a thin layer all over my body. His hands felt the bruised skin of my chest and stomach.
I gritted my teeth to suppress a moan. My body caved into his caresses easily.
"What was that, my love?" He tore at the skin of my neck, raking across the flesh, causing blood to flow. I couldn't keep from yelling in agony. "I don't think I heard you. I will not be ignored." He cleaned the area with his mouth.
"B-bastard…" I rasped, unhooking my arms from his neck and stopping his hands from touching me any longer. "You can't do this!"
"On the contrary." His strength pushed through my grip, holding the groin of my jeans in his palm. Such a touch made me arch in pleasure, tilting my head back so he could whisper in my ear, "I can do whatever I want to you; you're mine."
Baldur forced two of his fingers into my mouth so I could no longer hold back my passionate cries. If I had the strength, I would bite down on his hand, but I could hardly breathe. The vampire stroked and caressed me, causing a bulge to appear in the fabric. I couldn't see it. My head was so far up I could see behind me, and my eyes were half-closed in exhausted ecstasy. My whole body was shaking from it.
"You're so sensitive." Baldur said. He used his now moist fingers to attack my nipple, pinching and fondling it. "And so loud."
"Stop…" It was such a pitiful protest that I doubt he even heard it. Yet he did.
"Yes, beg." He snatched my hardening length beneath the denim of the jeans. I screamed. "I'll show you why you should fear me."
Suddenly, I was dumped onto the glass of the coffee table with so much force that I thought it would shatter beneath me. In that one moment of reprieve, I managed to roll off the table, finally able to use the martial arts reflexes that had been absent in the past when I had needed them most. It was only a second before he was on top of me. However, just as my resistance had disappeared and reappeared throughout my encounters with Baldur, it came back again when he grabbed my arms.
Yes, I did fear him, and that gave me enough conviction to fight back.
My legs reared up and slammed him in the stomach, shoving him off my form for a split second. I think the only reason it worked was because he hadn't expected me to fight. I didn't know I had either until I had gotten up and ran halfway across the room. I didn't know where I was going. There was nowhere to go. Nowhere to hide.
"Run from me, fight me, hide while you can." His slow deliberate footsteps started toward me like they had only minutes before. I refused to turn to him. I had stopped in the dead center of the room, making his voice echo off the walls at all angles to reach me there. "Your anger is beautiful, your fear feeds me." Baldur's last step stopped right behind me, allowing him to speak in a low, ominous voice. "And your body, your blood, will be mine."