I apologize for not posting last week. For the month of November I'm writing a 50,000 word novel for NaNoWriMo and that has taken up most (or all) of my free time. So if I miss a week's upload on this story, that is why :) things will be back to normal starting in December!
Darcy followed me back out into the hall and I cringed as Dylan's door swung shut behind us. I stood facing the opposite wall, trying to control my breathing. I had to keep my emotions under control or I was bound to do something stupid.
Darcy started to say something behind me. The sound of his arrogant voice was like nails on a chalkboard. I wasn't even sure what he was saying. All I could focus on was how annoying his voice sounded in that moment. It wasn't long before I lost it.
Spinning around, I threw Darcy against the wall and pressed my arm against his throat. Both he and his banshees were so shocked by the sudden movement that none of them responded right away. Even I was a bit shocked by the sudden outburst. I had never been a violent person before.
"No one does that, to the people I care about and gets away with it." I ground out, my arm pressing further into his throat. "What did you do to him?"
Darcy was struggling to breathe, but he remained infuriatingly calm. With one flick of his wrist, two of the banshees with him, flew forward, grabbed my by the arms and pulled me back. I struggled against their hold, but they were much stronger than I was.
Darcy smiled smugly. "That is what happens to people who don't give me the information I desire. If he had only answered a few simple questions," he shrugged, "but he refused to talk."
"So you beat the information out of him."
"That would be the desirable affect, yes. However, your fellow team member has refused to talk, no matter how much my men work on him. His bravery is quite commendable."
I couldn't help the faint smile that formed on my lips. "Dylan's one of the bravest men I've ever known. You'll never get any information out of him. Whatever it is that you're trying to find out, he would rather die than give it up to you."
"I intend to test that theory. As for you," he stepped toward me then wearing that arrogant smile I'd grown to hate so much, "I have far different plans for you. For now though, return to your room. I wouldn't want you wandering around and getting lost, now would I?"
With a wave of his hand, the banshees departed him, dragging me along, back to the cold refines of my cell.
The blackness was overwhelming. I had only experienced a darkness like this once before. Last time, I had panicked, not knowing what was going on, especially when the weird guy showed up. This time, I was prepared for what was to come. A blinding white light flashed and I quickly covered my eyes, though the light still burned. When I was able to open them again, I saw that the weird guy had returned and this time, I was prepared for when he opened his eyes. Because where his eyes should have been, bright burning flames rose to life instead. They were difficult to look at directly, so I focused on watching his mouth instead.
"Well, get on with it." I said impatiently.
Once again, his voice ricocheted off the walls around us, making concentration difficult.
" Baile Is áit a luíonn sé,
An eochair chun saolta a shábháil.
Beidh namhaid coiteann a fhios
An bealach isteach go dtí ar domhan gan sneachta.
Rúin saol amháin le fios,
An Treasure fíor i bhfolach "
I paused a moment to process the words. Translation had never been easy for me and it took several tries, each with an annoyed head shake from him confirming my failure, before I was able to get it right.
"Home is where it lies,
The key to saving lives.
A common enemy will know
The entrance to a world without snow.
One's life secrets revealed
The true treasure concealed."
Just as before, he nodded once to let me know I had finally gotten it correct and then disappeared.
"None of that made any sense!" I called out into the darkness. "Next time, try to think of a better way to say would ya?"
I opened my eyes to find my face plastered to the floor. I must have fallen off the bed while in the vision. Groaning, I pushed myself up off the floor. For a brief moment, I thought I was back in my own room at the caislean, safe. I could have sworn I could hear Dylan and Kari arguing out side my door and I could smell the sweet aroma of breakfast.
The bitter, harsh reality of my situation quickly came crashing down on top of that dream. I was still stuck in that same stupid cell. Surprisingly though, I could still smell breakfast.
The door opened behind me and a large, burly man stepped in with a tray of food. He sat it on the ground and then left again without a saying a word. I ran over and began scarfing down the food greedily. It wasn't much, no more than a slice of bread and some slices of cheese, but to my aching stomach, it tasted wonderful.
After I'd finished, I returned to the bed and sank down onto the uncomfortable mattress. Another prophecy. But the first prophecy I'd heard hadn't yet been fulfilled. Was it possible to receive more than one prophecy at a time? Or had I just interpreted the last one wrong and somehow it had already been finished? Only time would tell.
The first week inside Darcy's basement was maddening. Most of my time was spent in solitude. Once a day, the same guard would come into my room and give me a small tray of food. He was the only source of human interaction I had, even if we never spoke a word to each other. I decided to call him Lewis. He looked like a Lewis to me.
The beginning of the second week was a different story. Lewis would bring me my tray of food in the morning and then appear several hours later only to escort me out of my cell and up a narrow flight of stairs. At the top and through the small door was what I had to come to call, the room of pain.
Darcy had taken to questioning me now, perhaps giving up completely on Dylan. The attacks on Dylan had appeared to have been purely physical, given how beat up he had been, however my sessions with Darcy were a bit different.
There were two separate machines, each with very different means and abilities. The first was used as a form of punishment when I refused to give up any information regarding the Caislean and everyone inside. After only a few minutes of questioning, Darcy would strap me to the small table and switch it on. It was pain like I had never experienced before.
I wasn't entirely sure how the machine worked, but it worked well. The pain was entirely inside my head, but that didn't make it any less real. It was difficult to describe. Each time the machine was switched on, every muscle in my body would become so rigid, I feared they would snap as easily as a twig. I'd cry out and beg for the pain that consumed my entire body tto stop, but I never once gave Darcy the satisfaction of answers. Though there were several times I almost gave in, something always stopped me. A nagging voice in the back of my mind, telling me to keep my darn mouth shut. It wasn't the most pleasant voice, but it kept me grounded and my mind focused.
I quickly learned to dread our sessions together. In the beginning, I was able to keep my nerve, but by the end of our first week, I couldn't keep my hands from shaking as I was led into the torture room.
Then there was the second machine. Darcy was far too enthusiastic when he first showed it to me. It was created by him for me. Darcy's job was to find out as much about my powers and abilities as he could, and that was just what he was going to do.
After a couple rounds on the first one, I would find myself being strapped to the second. Although the pain was far less, it was still terrifying. I had about as much information on how it worked as I did the first machine. All I knew, was by the end of the session, my head was bleeding from the hundreds of little needles that were dug into my scalp. I was barely able to stand by the time that I was allowed to return to my room.
It was after two weeks of this daily routine that Darcy finally seemed to give up. I no longer saw anyone. I was left alone, in the dark, and I hadn't seen the light of day since.
Crouching low, I inched my way silently down the hall. I knew it wouldn't work, just like all the other countless times I'd done this, but I still had to try. Keeping track of days down here was pointless. I had no idea when each day ended and a new one began. Any sense of time was lost. It felt like months since I had seen or heard from anybody. I craved the warmth of the sun on my skin and the soft, cool breeze.
It didn't take me long to notice that they had left my door unlocked, though I quickly understood why. The halls were all identical and so confusing it was impossible to go anywhere without getting lost, but the basement had become home and I was slowly learning how to navigate all of its identical halls. I still found myself lost more times than I care to count, but it was getting easier.
As usual, there was no one around. I wasn't even sure why I was sneaking. There was no point. It all was too easy. I knew that, but I couldn't bring myself to stop. He knew I couldn't set food outside this building without dying, he'd made sure of it. I knew it just as well as he did. Each time I tried, I could feel my life slipping farther and farther away. Darcy obviously felt overly confident in his ability to keep me in because he never stationed guards down here. But I would never give up. One way or another, I would escape this place.
Taking a slow, calming breath, I braced myself for what was coming as I grasped the handle to the door that led outside. The outside world was so close, and yet so infuriately far out of reach. Stepping foot into the narrow hall meant enduring unimaginable pain. A growing fire that started in the pit of my stomach and spread like a wildfire throughout my entire body, engulfing me in red hot flames.
This time, I was determined to make it all the way to the other door at the end of the hall. Before, I had only been able to reach the middle before the pain became unbearable. Even touching the door sent waves of pain pulsing through my body. A subtle reminder of what was to come. I would have precisely three seconds before the pain would hit, which wasn't enough time. I figured it would take me at least four seconds to reach the end, which meant fighting through the few steps. After that, I had no guarantee that the pain was cease after I got outside, but it was worth the risk. I would rather face the pain for the rest of my life and be free, than be trapped in these halls.
Before I could talk myself out of it, I threw open the door and barreled inside.
It hit with even more force than the last time. I fell to my knees with a cry, clutching my stomach. Sweat dripped from my forehead as I stared at the door in front of me. It was so close. Freedom was literally only a few steps away, and I couldn't make it. The further through I pushed myself, the worse the pain got. It was taunting me. I could almost hear the jeering voices of Darcy and the banshees.
Footsteps were fast approaching from behind me. Right on cue. I cried out again as my stomach twisted around itself again. My insides were being torn apart and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
Strong arms lifted me off the ground, and as soon as we exited the hall, the pain disappeared, leaving me with a renewed energy.
"You can put me down now." I said, irritated with my rotten luck.
He hesitated a moment before complying. It wasn't like I was a heavy burden. After the weeks of torture and randomly distributed meals, I had lost a lot of weight. Every time I saw myself in the mirror, I couldn't quite believe it was me. I was pale, gaunt and just plain sickly.
"Thank you." I said with as much dignity as I could muster. I stood up straight and fixed my clothes, smoothing them out a bit.
"Why do you even try?" The guard spoke softly, as if afraid someone would overhear him asking.
I looked up and met his deep green eyes. I didn't know his name and I had never seen his full face as he wore the customary helmet of Darcy's squad. The only thing that distinguinshed him from the rest of them was the faint scar under his eye that ran halfway down the side of his face, and he appeared to be younger than the rest, around my age.
"I haven't seen the light of day in gods know how long," I said slowly, "I have friends counting on me to come back home. What would you do?"
He nodded. "I assume you can find your way back to your room?"
Without another word, he turned and walked back over to the one door that was always locked. The door that led upstairs. Before he went through, he turned back to me. "Just be careful, alright? Don't die before you get the chance to go back home."
Before I could react, he disappeared through the door and I was left alone again.