I reached for the collar and tried to pull it away from the front of my neck to no avail. “Please. It makes it hard to breathe.”
“Yes.” He stood up, not caring in the slightest.
“Please, I have attacks,” I took a deep breath, feeling the walls close in again, “I panic at times. I can’t breathe. This is making me—”
“Enough,” he interrupted. Without saying another word, he entered a code to the door and exited, leaving me grasping at the metal around my neck struggling for air.
My heart beat so hard against my chest, that I was positive I could die from the hysteria overwhelming me. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe! I did everything I could to pull the collar away, but the more I struggled, the worse it seemed to get. The rough edges were rubbing my skin raw as I pushed and pulled.
I got up and walked to the mirror to see if I could find a latch to remove the restraint. The heavy chain dragging behind me, only pulled at the collar more. There was enough chain that I could maneuver around the entire room, though awkwardly. When I saw my reflection in the mirror, the contrast of the dark metal to my white skin made my awful situation even more of a reality. Staring back at me was nothing but a Pallid Slave, collared, chained, captive.
Running over to the intercom, I hit the button and screamed into it. “I can’t breathe! This collar is too tight. I can’t breathe. Do you hear me? Come back!” I banged my hands on the door as hard as I could over and over.
I hit the intercom button again. “Please! Cross! Pike! I swear to you that I will be good. I’ll be good and never give you an issue again. Just please remove the collar. I can’t stand it.” Damn these fucking panic attacks. “Please! I beg you.”
My chest constricted and I wheezed with all my might to take in some air. I would suffocate. I would die. I would fucking die right in this damn room if someone didn’t come and help me.
Crumpling down to the ground, I pulled my knees to my chest and allowed the tears to fall. With my fingers in between the metal and my neck, I slowly managed to calm myself just enough to know I wasn’t going to die like I thought only seconds before. But maybe I wanted to. Maybe I wanted to die so I didn’t have to endure over 700 hours of pure hell. Over 700 hours of being nothing but a pathetic slave being transported to her ultimate fate of the worst death imaginable. To be mutated and then killed.
I was so lost in my misery that I didn’t hear the door to my room open. It was the soft gold light of Cross that caught the corner of my eye that notified me that he had heard my plea.
Looking up at him with tears streaming down my face, I begged, “Please, Cross. I don’t do well in tight spaces, and I can’t survive with something so tight around my neck.”
“Claustrophobia?” he asked.
“Call it what you want,” I choked out. “I beg you to please remove it.” I pulled at the collar to emphasize my appeal.
He knelt down beside me and looked me straight in the eyes. “Okay, Truth. Look at me and take slow, deep breaths.” He placed his fingertip on my cheek and stroked softly. “Calm down. You are going to be just fine.”
I shook my head. “No, I can’t breathe.”
He moved his fingertip and gently ran it along the collar where it met my neck. He dipped his finger between the metal and flesh and said, “There is plenty of room. It’s all in your head. You can breathe.”
“No,” I wheezed, continuing to cry. “Please.”
He removed his hand from the collar and placed it on my head. Slowly he stroked his fingers through my hair, never taking his eyes away from mine. “Shhh…just calm down. Calm down. Once you are calm, you will see that the collar is giving you plenty of room to breathe.”
“Why can’t you take it off? Please!”
He shook his head. “Pike put it on, which means Pike is the only one who can take it off.”
Why was this man allowing Pike to dictate everything? Fucking coward! Could he not stand up to his own brother?
“I’ll do anything,” I gasped, although I did seem to be breathing better as the moments passed. His gentle touch and petting of my hair did seem to ease some of my distress.
“Deep breaths,” he cooed as he leaned in and kissed my cheek with the most tender of touches. “Breathe in, breathe out.”
I followed his command and did my best to regain control of my body.