Page 9 of Corrupt Kingdom

Unless . . .

My limbs begin to quiver as fear twists inside me. Cold as ice, the thought chills me to the bone.

I was drugged. Taken.

My head moves back and forth frantically as blinding terror drips into my veins. It pours like a rambling river with no end. The farther I walk into the room, moving toward the door, the faster the current moves inside me.

By the time my hand touches the metal handle, I fear I might pass out from the way my blood pumps.

Swishing.

Pounding.

Begging me to turn back, but go where? The only way out of this unknown room is through that door. The metal is cold to the touch, making me shiver. Slowly, as if to creep out of the room, I turn it, but what I’m met with forces my ears to ring with terror.

I’m locked in. I shake the door handle now, desperate to escape.

When that doesn’t work, I kick. I scream.

I pound on the door with my fist. Flailing as pain radiates through my arms. The scene is straight out of a bad Lifetime movie. The harder I try, the more frail I feel. It’s as if the door is made of steel. In the movies, it looks so easy. The heroine bangs on the door with all her might, and lo and behold, it cracks, except in my case, there isn’t any indication that my efforts are fruitful. The wood looks just as intact as when I first started this endeavor.

All the oxygen in my lungs feels depleted as I try desperately to break through.

Nothing.

There has to be another way out. Peering around the room, I look at the window. There. That. I can climb out.

Maybe.

I have to try.

I run toward it, and then pull back the curtain. There is a metal handle that I grasp to unlock it, and then I swing it toward me.

As soon as it flies open, the cold air hits me in the face.

Could it be this easy?

Could I escape?

The muscles in my stomach tense as I lean up onto my tiptoes to peer out the window.

I look down.

That’s when I realize this is worse than I thought. From my window, the ground drops beneath into a bluff. Open water crashes against the beach.

I choke back a sob that threatens to escape. There’s no time for tears. Even though my chest feels like it will burst, I need to stay calm and figure out a way out of this room.

I have nowhere to go, but I have to try. I can’t just lie in wait for my fate. I can’t stay in this bed, waiting for whoever took me to come back and hurt me.

With my hands on the edge of the windowsill, I move to climb out. Maybe once I’m farther outside, I’ll notice another way to get away.

My head and chest are almost through the window. There must be a rail somewhere? Maybe a window beneath that I can shimmy down. I push forward until I lock my arms. But I’m still not seeing any easy solution for my salvation. Lifting a leg, I move to crawl out.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” I hear from behind me and I freeze in fear. I’m not alone. I thought I was, and in my rush to leave, he had slipped into the room. How had I not heard him come in?

“Get down from there.” The voice is cold, making me shiver as if an arctic blast has blown through.

Slowly, I step down, the drapes moving back into place as I turn to see who is here.

It’s almost pitch black again. Hard to see. I squint my eyes, trying to adjust to the darkness that surrounds me.

Only small slivers of light shine in a tiny beam, but it’s not enough.

He’s in the shadows.

Tall and dominating.

Like the angel of death come forth to pull me to the other side. To Hell.

A chill runs up my spine.

I haven’t seen his face, and I’m already afraid. His presence alone is enough to have me cower in the corner.

I can’t, though.

He is the only thing blocking the door to my escape.

So, I need to be smart about this.

I step forward, resting my hands at my hips. I might be petrified, but I won’t show him my fear.

“Who are you?” I ask.

He doesn’t speak.

“Why am I here?” My voice is louder this time than before. When he doesn’t answer again, I wonder if I had even heard him before. I take another step.

“I said, why am I here?”

This time, he steps out of the shadow, and his face comes into focus.

Handsome. Devastatingly handsome.

A god among mortals.

Sharp lines. Strong and powerful. Dark hair. Pressed suit. Not just any suit, though. This one screams money.

Power.

He screams power with dark eyes that have no soul.

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