But she didn’t feel complacent after Harrington’s demonstration today. She knew now what he would do to her if she acted out. He would shatter her mind. He would turn her into a raving lunatic like B.

It hit her with a two-by-four. If worse came to worst, she would rather be dead than mindless or insane. She could take pain if she had to. She could survive whatever he threw at her. But she would not fall.


She would not become like B.

She would not be broken.

She’d rather die than succumb to Harrington.

* * *


Reyna woke up the next day with a clear head.

She hadn’t even realized how depressed she had been until the fog had lifted. Trapped in a world with no answers and no hope, she’d been lost. Floating along a river of self-doubt and not even looking for a way to dock. Then it all came back to her. She needed to get out of here. She needed to find a way back to her life.

And it started today.

With renewed zeal, Reyna spent the next couple days plotting. She wouldn’t be let out of the room again until Monday. The nurse would come and get her. She usually had all of breakfast time, and then some, for uninterrupted conversation with the nurse. She knew there were cameras all around, but maybe she could get some information out of her or at least try to appeal to her sympathies. The woman had looked afraid when Reyna had been dragged off after having her IVs ripped out. There was no time like the present to use that to her advantage.

She had a mental map of the corridors she’d traversed in the building, but she didn’t know what to do about the little device embedded in her arm. It was about a centimeter long and roughly the width of a grain of rice. She could feel it right under the skin when she ran her hand over her left forearm.

If she had something sharp, then she probably could have cut it out. Maybe. She shuddered at the thought of all the blood. But she didn’t have anything sharp anyway. They weren’t that stupid.

“Ugh!” Reyna grumbled, snapping her notebook back onto the bed. She didn’t know how long this thing would take. Collecting enough information to find an exit was already a big enough challenge. Removing a device with a blunt object was another thing all together. But she was done being complacent. She would get out of here.

With a huff, she threw on the provided white workout clothes, walked into the adjoining workout room, and turned on the treadmill. She had never been someone who worked out before this, but boredom and desperation did something to a person. The cardio would come in handy later. Not that she could outrun a vampire, but any edge would do.

She was sweating and panting by the time she finished her workout. She leaned over with her hands on her knees, trying not to fall flat on her face, when she heard the distinctive sound of the door clicking.

“Who’s there?” she asked,.

But no one answered. When she walked back into the room, no one was there. She breathed a sigh of relief until she saw the black garment bag lying against the bed, along with a handwritten note.

Be ready in an hour.

“Be ready,” she whispered. “Be ready for what?”

In eight weeks she’d worn nothing other than the standard issue white uniform. She hadn’t left. She hadn’t done anything. What game was Harrington playing?

Eventually curiosity won out. She slipped the zipper down the black bag to reveal a long-sleeve black ball gown. She checked the tag and found it was her size.

She shoved the bag away. A ball? Why would Harrington want her to go to a ball? After his warnings and introducing her to B, why would he feel the need to extend an olive branch?

With a frustrated sigh, she relented and headed into the washroom to get ready. She didn’t know what she was doing or where she was going. She didn’t want to wear that stupid dress. She didn’t want to play into his hands, and she knew that she needed be on guard. But she was too curious not to go.

With only five minutes left before she was supposed to be picked up, she slid into the dress and zipped it up the back. It had lace sleeves that hooked around each of her middle fingers and the black satin material made a V in the back. The front fell off of her shoulders with a surprisingly prudish neckline. There was a box of black heels with red soles in the bottom of the bag. Everything fit her like a dream.

If only she weren’t living a nightmare.

Promptly an hour after the dress had been left on her bed, the vampire that had been there when she’d tried to escape stood in the doorway looking imposing. He handed her a blindfold without a word.

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