(Mr. Darkness had stabbed him five times.)
(Mr. Darkness wanted to stab him 661 more times.)
(My father shouting at me, “Wake up, baby! Run!”)
(But I hadn’t woken up, and now Mr. Darkness had me.)
“You killed them!” I struggled against my bindings. I wanted to kill Mr. Darkness before he killed me. I didn’t care what happened to me after that. He killed my parents. Oh God, he killed them.
Dad, my strong, loving dad—-
Mom, my beautiful sweet mom—-
I screamed and screamed and screamed.
Mr. Darkness laughed and laughed and laughed.
It was a childish sound, like laughter belonging to a baby born wrong.
I sensed him turning his back on me, a little bit of white light peeking into my world against his infinite blackness. He was talking to the other four, bragging to them about my “beautiful eyes”.
God, oh God, I had played right into his hands.
He had heard about me, but wasn’t really sure that I could see things. Now, he knew and he would never let me go.
Darkness surrounded me again, just a second before he kicked me in the ribs. It was Mr. Darkness’ way of playing. As the pain struck me, I saw—-
(A teenage girl, naked, chained in the basement.)
(Her body was like a tiger, only this time the stripes were red and violet, kisses made by a whip.)
She was his toy.
And I was next.
Mr. Darkness was looking at me again.
God, please God, please save me.
Mr. Darkness had crouched down on one knee. “I’m going to need you to show me things. And you will do it if you don’t want to end up like your parents.” Mr. Darkness was smiling as he spoke, as if he relished the thought. The smile was a tangible sensation, making me feel like buzzing bees had started to gather around my body, covering every inch of flesh.
“You don’t want to end up like them, don’t you?”
I whispered, “No.” It was a lie, but my instincts told me I needed to keep Mr. Darkness thinking that I was going to be a very good toy.
Mr. Darkness turned his back on me again. Slowly, light started to filter into my world as Mr. Darkness walked away and talked to the others.
“If you ask her the right question, she can tell us when we can kill him——”
“How do we know she’ll tell us the right thing?”
Mr. Darkness cursed. The word became a heavy black cloud that threatened to smash me against the wooden planks.
“Prince Julian.” Mr. Darkness had answered the call, his voice deviously light and carefree.
Just saying the name was enough to make the darkness go away.
Tall. Longish dark hair. A beautiful face, hard and perfect, proud and strong.
I wanted to weep. Just looking at him made me want to hope.
Was looking at me.
My body became rigid with shock. This had never happened to me before. When I saw, the people I saw didn’t see me back. But somehow, this Prince Julian was different.
Prince Julian saw me, his dark eyes fierce and possessive as they rested on my face.
“You must escape them.”
And now he was talking to me, his voice commanding and fearless.
I almost shook my head but didn’t, afraid that if I did, Mr. Darkness would see it.
“Don’t be afraid. I will protect you.”
I wanted to laugh and cry. Those words were so easy for him to say. He was not the one bound and blind, alone in the world—-
“You are not alone. I’m here. I’m yours. And I will protect you – if you let me. If you trust me.” Prince Julian looked at me in the eyes. “Do you trust me?”
Crazily enough, I did.
I whispered, as softly as I could, “Yes.”
Triumph, tender and powerful at the same time, glittered in his eyes. Prince Julian cared very much to know that I trusted him.
“Very good, sweetheart.” His voice was softer now. “I need you to trust me because what I’m about to ask you to do will take a lot of courage.”
I didn’t speak, waiting tensely for his next words. Behind me, Mr. Darkness was still talking on the phone, distracted by the Prince Julian of the real world.
“You’ll need to roll towards the end.”
The end? The end of what?
“They will shoot you. One of the bullets will hit you—-”
As Prince Julian spoke the words, it was almost as if I could already feel the impact of the bullet bursting through my body, destroying flesh and bone. I wanted to scream at the pain of it.
“—-but you mustn’t stop rolling. You need to roll yourself to the end as fast as you can.”
I didn’t think I could do it. If this didn’t work and Mr. Darkness realized I was trying to escape him, he would be mad. So mad. What he did to the other girl, to his previous toy, would be nothing compared to what he’d do to me—-