Tough Roads

I felt as if the world was closing in on me. High school was drawing to a close and I could not pull myself together for my English exam let alone for the Autism Speaks project. I felt so helpless, useless, those kids were depending on money that we would raise to help them and I was too overwhelmed to do my job. I had committed and now I was going to fail them. My schedule was just to full to consider not studying whenever possible. I was behind, my grades were slipping, and I knew my mother would die if I brought home a B and would see to a premature death if I brought home a C. So I headed off on Monday to school hiding my stress behind a smile and my morning life source, tea. Photo was my first and most exciting class. I had taken it for all four years along with drawing, I was used to the class structure and kept my grade effortlessly at an A. I won several prizes for my photography but my hand art was good but not great. English was an alright class, I could never get pass the terrible selection of books. I would much rather have been reading the Hobbit over A Raisin in the Sun and spelling was never my strong point and yet I listened to the constant bickering among my classmates about how they could not pass the class or while they begged Mr. Jefferson to let them redo their plagiarized research papers. Math was my least favorite followed by Science. Calculus was a drawn out subject that I hate and Physics uses to much math for my liking but alas I had a B in both and they needed to be brought up for my own well being. I had been studying had hard at lunch until I decided an hour break would be wise and the food was welcomed. I would grab my gaggle of friends and we would head out to our little hang out Extreme Bean, the best coffee shop in the world. We would shovel down overpriced sandwiches or bagels while delighting in their overpriced coffees, teas, and frozen beverages and enjoy whatever artist was playing that day. "Alessa?" I looked down in to my chai as if I had not heard Jordan's voice. "Alessa?"

A rolled up newspaper nailed me in the head and my hand slipped spilling the hot beverage all down my shirt. "OW!." My chair shoved back into the wall and I hopped up. "What was that for?" Kelly looked at me sympathetically and dropped the news paper, Andrew ran and grabbed some ice and a towel as Jordan was on me, inspecting me for wounds. "Guys." I sighed as Jordan examined my wet breasts and ignored the fact that my nipples were erect through the fabric and my bra was plainly outlined though my shirt. Everybody searched through their stuff for an extra shirt and Jordan took the opportunity to caress my breast and kiss me hard. I delivered a much deserved smack and walked out the side door where Kelly handed me a shirt and the bathroom key. "It's alright Kelly." She said nothing and opened the door to the bathroom for me. My mute friend Kelly had been my best friend since we were in diapers, her mother and father died in a freak accident involving three men and a fire hose. Kelly had not spoken since. The shirt she handed me was a dress. A little red one, the object would barely pass our schools lenient dress code. I stripped down and toweled myself off with wet paper towels before slipping into the dress. It came down to my knees and hugged my curves, the way I hated clothing to do. I was more of a jeans and loose shirt kinda girl as it was almost call among the desert to wear as little clothing as you could safely wear but the dress would have to do for now. Kelly knocked on the door and I let her in, she handed me a pair of bright red shoes and helped me with my hair. She used her fingers to curl the ends so my long dark brown hair swung down, caressing my shoulders. When my hair swung in the mirror I noticed the thick and elaborate straps complimented my overall color and complexion. "Thank you Kelly." I had always been told I was stunning and I simply hated it, I wore whatever clothing I could to hide my body. My jeans were always loose enough that they fell off my hips and my shirts were always the same way. I wore my hair back in a long pony tale to keep it out of my face and to keep people from noticing me but Jordan was a stubborn boy and saw right through my clothing. Far to often for my taste.

I walked out of the bathroom crossing my arms over my exposed breasts. "Don't." Jordan was silenced by my words, I did not want his compliment, it was not welcome and he understood that. "We have to get back. We have to get to Latin." Ironically the eight of us all had the same class after lunch every year and just as Ironically I had shared almost every class with Jordan as he could get in with his terrible grades. I had Senior Dance as my last class and fencing was my sport. I saw a privet tutor every day six days a week and on the seventh I had Harp lessons and community service projects. I was going to be in my second tournament for fencing this weekend and would have to bale out on my harp lessons and practice while I was in Indianapolis. I was not looking forward to the endless hours of drilling my instructor would bring forth but I knew it would come and headed towards the cab bravely.

***

I could taste the perspiration thick on the air. My competition practiced, their foils clanged endlessly, echoing back to the locker rooms. I searched through my gym bag, pulled out my gear, slipped it on and glanced into the mirror. The traditional outfit hungover me but was still tight enough to give some emphasis to my curves. All the other female fighters lost their shapes but some how I managed to show mine off. Angry I tossed my towel at the mirror and put my hair securely in a tight bun. It was the coldest weather I had ever endured I was used to the Arizona winter of sixty degrees not Indiana's twenty. I wanted badly to step outside and let my anger drain from me before my first fight. I was not allowed to screw up, this was going to determine if I would catch the scouts attention and get a full-ride scholarship to NAU. I could not let myself go in there upset, I needed to calm myself down.

"You alright?" An older man, probably in his late forties looked up at me. "You look upset." He seemed genuinely worried so I saw no harm in speaking with another coach. He waited my answer patiently as my own coach did.

"It would seem odd to you." I looked down at my feet and then to the wall behind him. He waited and without needing speaking, told me to continue. "Its just I am mad with myself. Do you see any other girls here that have this kind of body?" She motioned down at herself. "The fact that I have seen some of these girls in everyday clothing and can say they are beautiful is annoying. When they put this on they loose some of their shape. I don't. Mine is still here." I kept my voice low and my tone respectful. "I can't stand that when I walk down the halls I get so much attention. No matter what I wear." Alessa shrugged and sighed. "It's not fair."

The old man stroked his beard in thought but was not quiet long enough to let her walk away or speak again. "It seems to me you are looking at it wrong." I was curious by this so I listened. "Perhaps, you should think of the advantage you could gain from being beautiful. If you were to wink at your male opponent or even smile at him, he may be distracted long enough for you to take advantage of it." The old man put his hand on my shoulder. "Go get a drink of water and lay on your stomach." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "I also find that a smile bit of chocolate can help with the nerves. Not to much as you will get ill from the adrenaline." He handed me a dollar and pointed to the vending machine. "Good luck dear child."

"Thank you." I looked at him as he vanished around the corner, bought a small Hershey's bar and headed back to the Locker room. When I got there I went to lay face down on a bench and digested what the man had said along with a row of chocolate. He was right, I could use my appearance to my advantage and the chocolate and rest did a world of good.

The speakers came on. "Alessa Grey and Adam Johnson please report to your coaches." I pulled myself off the bench and grabbed my mouth piece and fencing mask. The door seemed so far away but I managed to get there. When the doors opened to the combat hall, Adam Johnson stared into my eyes. He was not intimidated or nervous he seemed to think I would be an easy win. "Alessa Grey?" Nice to meet you." His hand was out for her to shake and Alessa respectfully or tactfully took it into hers. "I hear you are quite good. Perhaps we could have lunch after we clean up for the evening. I could take you to get something of your choosing." He smiled, showing his beautiful teeth. "Ah looking now?" My eyes snapped up from where I was imagining his rock solid abs. "I have been told great things about myself." A more cocky grin spread over his face. "How about it?"

I sighed and moved myself a step to the right. "Keep your mind off of me and on the fight Adam. I would hate to actually win." I smiled and pushed though. "Ask me again later." He let out a deep laugh and we took their positions on the circle. The fight began with the sound of a bell. We moved around each other, circling, waiting for an opening or an attack. He saw one first as my form faltered. He rushed to my left and I took a step to the left. I swept my arm down over his left shoulder and he parried just as easily. "Adam? Lunch? Where would you take me?"

Adam lost focus and smiled. "Where ever you want. Even I am on the menu." I have to keep myself from making a mock gagging noise. "What would you like."

"To win." I took his arm and received my first score. "For you to actually put up a fight." She lunged for his ribs and he moved so that it missed him and looped her arm under his.

He knocked off my mask and brought his foil to where my head was a moment ago. I looked up at him from the ground and he seemed to like the possession. "Sweetie we have not been on our first date yet." I let go of my foil and pulled it into my left hand, moved under him and gabbed him in the butt. "I knew holding back on you would be a bad idea." He picked up her mask and tossed it to me. "No more games for now sweetie."

"We'll see." I fastened her mask and we continued our bout. He moved faster than he should have been capable and I admired his speed as he went from my front to my back and again to the front all before knocking me off my feet and placing his foil to my throat. He had won and I was annoyed by that fact, I was illuminated and I had lost my scholarship for sure. He offered me his hand. I took it not wanting to look bad in front of our spectators. "Thank you for the match Adam."

We saluted and left each other but not before he asked about lunch. "How about Apple Bee's?" I nodded my head and smiled. "Good. I will find you at one." He left to his locker room and I left to mine.

***

Lunch was amazing. I had the Penne and he had the same. I ordered water and he ordered water, than he ordered brownies for the two of us. "Thank you Adam." He never once brought up my defeat or his superior talent but I could see that he felt bad for beating a woman and so I called him on it. "Why are you upset about having fought me?"

Adam looked up at me surprised. "Alessa. Fighting you was not the problem." His tone said to drop the subject but I pushed on.

"Adam. If you are upset because I am a girl you can drop that right now." My tone echoed his.

"Alessa," He sighed and shook his head. "Let's go for a walk." Adam stood and left me to follow. Curiosity took me and I followed him. "I want to show you something." He pulled me into his arms and I felt secure there. "This way." He led me down a long vacant road. When we were alone enough he quickly wrapped an arm around my waist and put his hand over my mouth. I kicked and tried to use every hand-to-hand move I had been taught, but to no avail. He pulled me down an alley and shoved he through a gate. "Welcome to the Shade Alessa. I am sorry I am doing this to you." I turned back to look at him to scold him and screamed. Adam was gone and replaced by a large blue man with horns holding a thick black whip. His voice became rasping as he pushed me forward further into the darkness. "See that car. Get in."

I could not stand to let myself be kidnapped and made a run for it. As I turned the corner I saw my reflection. I had wings, my hair was a silvery blue, and my eyes were like ice, a hard white color with a tinge of blue. I examined myself closer and screamed as Adam put a hand on my shoulder. "What have you done to me!" I turned and punched him shattering my fist causing another scream to escape my lungs. "Adam what is this place and what do you want?"

Adam looked at me. "That was dumb, Alessa." He pulled my hand up and examined my hand. "You broke your hand." I slapped him across the face but my action only seemed to anger him. "You want to know why? This." He pushed me against the window and yanked my clothing savagely from my body. His hands tugged at my shirt, snapping the buttons and cutting my skin with his long nails. He pulled my skirt over my ankles and kissed me hard. Pleadingly, I struggled against him but no one on the street seemed to care. After my lips had satisfied him he used a knife at his waist to cut my bra and panties off. He stepped back enough to look, but kept my arms securely out of his view. "I knew I chose you for a good reason. You have spirit, a fire that will have to be broken but you will give the overlord a much desired son." He smiled and shoved me back towards the car. "If you try and run again Alessa I Promise you shall suffer." Adam gave one more hard shove before climbing in after me. "Nice ass. It will be to bad if he chooses you. I very much would like to keep you for myself." He pulled me towards him and snapped a collar to my neck. "This will be your worse nightmare for the next few weeks."

I cried in his arms, I shook and nearly screamed as his hands caressed my body, searching for what it wanted and his coarse fingers found its mark. "Please don't" I begged him not to do what he intended but he continued without pause. His long fingers plunged into my wet core and his nails cut me. "Please! Your hurting me!" He looked down, smiled and his nails retracted; his fingers continued their game. His other hand found my breast and squeezed the tissue mercilessly until I was sore from the rapid movement. He let his lips trail up my neck and his tongue find my ears. I cried as he played with my nipples and hated my body more for its betrayal as it released for him. "Oh, god." Never once had I allowed a man to touch me sexually but here I was letting his hands roam freely over and into my body. His fingers picked up speed, heightening the experience and making me cry out. He laughed and continued his journey until my body repeated its betrayal. "Adam please stop." Tears ran down my face in rivers as he pulled my hair and took my bottom lip into his mouth. He suckled on my lip until the tender skin split and blood flowed freely into his mouth. I screamed again which only seemed to make him want more and when I squirmed he pulled harder.

Abruptly, he stopped. "We are here. Get out of the car." I listened, happy to oblige, to get away from his fastidious hands. "This Alessa is the Slave Trade headquarters. Here is where you will be trained and sold to the highest bidder." He shoved me forward and led me into the massive white stone building. The building appeared to be some kind of church, demons were carved where angels should have been but it still looked to be a church. The halls were dark, lit only by soft torch light. There were no windows anywhere and the double doors were made of thick wood, reinforced with metal and covered in demonic scenes. Each door had a blue tinge over it and when I brushed against the rough surface I was covered in light and pulled against the wall. Adam simply put his hand on my arm and pulled me free from my blue prison. "Stay away from the walls Alessa, they are dangerous and help us to find intruders or slaves that are trying to escape, do well to remember that. The doors and walls are not the only security measure in place to keep people that are supposed to be here in and intruders out. If we wanted intruders we would stay at the White House for a few days, that is poor security, you would have better luck getting in and out of a human structure than you would ours. We have all the same precautions, as far as top of the line electronic security goes, we have better man power, fire power and everything is reinforced by every kind of magick you could think of." Adam opened a door and motioned for me to go in first.

The door led to another hall, as dark as the last and half the width. All the doors were still tinged with the deep blue glow and all of the floors slanted to the sides where drains sat covered in a thick green glitter, it reminded me of the road gutters from TMNT, I stayed clear of the drains. After several minutes of walking down the long maze we came to a beautiful courtyard and in the middle was another enormous white building. People bowed as Adam passed, they called him Lord and Master, none of them ever met his gaze and they made sure to open the massive doors that led into the white castle before us. The halls in here were almost the opposite of the black halls before, they were white with wooden floors, wide and well lit. The scenes on the doors were the same, disturbing and demonic. In a way I was more frightened of this place than I was of the black halls in the surrounding building. As we got deeper into this building it too got smaller and smaller until I was nearly pressed against the blue glow. I was relieved when he brought me into the largest room I had ever seen. "This is where you will live for the next few weeks, maybe longer." He shoved a door open and pointed into a room half the size of his. "In!" I went in as a light popped on, blinding me. Everything was polished from the manacles that hung from the ceiling to the doorknob Adam held. As if to contrast the shinny metals any cloth was white and the floor was a rust red color with drains all about. There was no bed.

It was a torturer chamber unlike I could have imagined or any Hollywood video could have captured. "Stand there." He pointed to a metal pad in the center of the room as the doors swung closed behind him. I reluctantly did as he told me.

The metal was cold beneath my feet, painfully so. I let her eyes wander to Adam as he removed his current vestments of grey robes and put on one of a cranberry wine color. He walked towards me with a whip at his side. "What is your name?"

"Alessa." The whip wrapped around my neck before I could blink and pulled me down to my knees. My hands, knees and legs burned with the icy cold sensation that began to vibrate from the metal through my whole body. "I answered why did you do that?"

"You did not address me properly? Care to try again? What is your name?" Daven ignored her squeal as he yanked the whip making her fall face forward on the cold metal.

"My name is Alessa, Lord Adam." The whip snapped again welting my skin, just below the elbow. "Master Adam." I corrected. "My name is Alessa, Master Adam." I let out a cry as his hands pulled me up by my hair and set me on my feet.

"Very good Alessa." He took a sip of water, leaning his head back, showing the sharpness of his horns. "This is going to be a long few weeks for you Alessa, but I promise at the end of it you will do exactly as I say without question. You will want to make me happy, you will live for it." Chains dropped from the ceiling. "Cuff yourself like a good girl Alessa." Adam waited while I hesitated. He brought the whip down on my bare breast. "Don't ever hesitate! Do what I say when I tell you without pause. I can make the pain far worse Alessa, would you like to test that?" I was horrified as I clasped one cuff over each wrist. "Good. I have a meeting to attend. Political business. You will wait here till I am back. Understand." I shook my head as he walked to the door. When the doors swung open he snapped his fingers and the pain began to stem through my entire body. It was the worse sting I had ever felt in my life. Like electricity coursing through my bones causing my muscles to contract and convulse as they desired. I no longer had control of my body. "That would be yes, Master Adam. You will hang there in pain as a punishment for that one Alessa. Good bye." He left me in darkness behind thick bolted doors that were cast in the subtle blue glow. I noticed nothing around me, I only felt the pain. I tried to pass out but the pain was to just enough that I could neither die nor pass out and I would have killed to have ended my suffering then had I known how little this hurt.