Peak

Layla is pretty much terrified when one of the most popular guys in school is sat next to her in English Lit. Somehow, she gets over it. But once you step into someone's world, you can't step out, no matter what.

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4. and they got scary

The first thing I noticed was how much my head ached, particularly in one spot by my temple. I attempted to bring my arm up to feel for a lump, but for some reason couldn't. "Urghh," I moaned, realising that my eyes were shut and opening them.

Then instantly regretted it.

My body was slanted, lying across a cold, metal table tilted towards the ceiling, though I was facing downwards. I had been stripped of my t-shirt and bra, and I thanked God that my chest was down, goosebumps already raising across the skin of my back. Looking to the right, my wrist was manacled to it, and I assumed my left hand was too. I clenched my teeth and pulled, but the metal didn't even scratch, though it wasn't like I was expecting it to. I couldn't move my ankles either, so it was probable that they were subject to the same treatment.

Thankfully, my head was hanging over the edge of the table, strangely heavy and difficult to support. I could see the wall at the opposite end of the room, where a few shadowy figures were clustered, though I couldn't see any faces.

"Why are we doing this to her? Tonight was just gonna be social, she's nothing to do with it!"

"We need someone, here we have an almost willing volunteer."

"How does knocking her out and tying her down count as willing?"

"We've tested it, it won't kill her. Probably."

"But-"

"Give it up, Allocen. We're already here, we've already started."

"Fine."

As I looked around the dank warehouse, bits and pieces flooded back to me, and my breathing upped. 

I screamed.

One of the figures loomed closer and closer as my shrill screeching echoed around the room, the clanking of my shackles in the background as I furiously yanked at them. "What the fuck is happening?" I shouted, attempting to reach out to the approaching figure.

Ignoring me, the person who was revealed to be Luke walked behind me, a smile on his lips and a glint in his eyes. Struggling to twist my head, I looked behind at him, seeing something metallic in his hand. But after that, my vision was obscured by a fiery haze, as pain exploded through my back.

It pierced at my shoulder blade, and though I bit down on the hand covering my mouth, I couldn't scream. Sharp and pointed, it was dragged down and down, seemingly forever, as Luke drew the knife down my back. My vision blacked out a few times, the knife or whatever it was pressing harder and harder as the pain became almost impossible to bear. 

I had to stop struggling in the end and slump onto the table, only the manacles holding my limp body up. Hot blood ran down my back, and if I looked underneath the table, I could see it slowly dripping onto the floor, crimson against the grey dust. Why was I stupid enough to come with them, and believe that anyone could possibly live here?

Vaguely, through my blurred mine, I registered that the single point of pain had been removed, and it only hurt as one equal thing. My raw flesh was whipped at by the sudden cold wind within the room, my muffled shrieks adding to the whistling sound it made.

Was it over?

But then the pain started on my other shoulder blade, pressing deep into my skin and then deeper and deeper. It was almost as if I could feel each vein, artery and piece of muscle being split by the sharp blade slowly moving down my back. The pain in my left shoulder wasn't decreasing either, instead it felt like lemon juice was being poured across the wound. I didn't even have time to contemplate why this was even happening, my mind was too concentrated on the part of my body that was slowly being mangled beyond repair.

Tears poured down my face as the knife withdrew from my flesh, the second cut almost exactly symmetrical to the other, but it was difficult to tell when the only sense I got of it was from the fire that burned across each one.

My screams slowly faded as I heard words being spoken from behind me, I clenched my teeth in an attempt to hear what was happening. I hardly registered that I had nearly bitten through my own tongue until I tasted copper in my mouth, quickly pulling it back.

Whatever they were saying however, I couldn't understand. It was some sort of guttural language being chanted, enhanced by the gale force winds blowing my limp hair into my face. 

Then something, sharp as a pin but bigger, was stabbed into the wound on my left shoulder. I screamed, ending in a choked whimper, as another was stabbed in. Still the chanting continued. My neck strained to look around, but a hand hard as stone grabbed a handful of my hair and yanked it back around to face forwards.

They continued to stab my left wound repeatedly; at each one I cried out, but they didn't even seem to register it. Even when it felt as if they couldn't physically fit any more in, the pain continued, though seemingly higher up. That didn't make sense though.

Eventually my cries transformed into small whimpers, gently sobbing into the table. My head hung loose, as it had for however long this had been going on, a small puddle of tears staining the floor below me. Then my gaze flicked underneath the slanted table, caught by a white object falling to the ground. Strangely, it was a feather, the point stained with blood. Gently, it floated to the floor, resting in the growing pool of crimson beneath my legs.

But I was distracted by yet another stab, harsher than ever, digging deep into my wounds.

Then they moved onto my other shoulder.

At that point I, thankfully, passed out for a while.

 

My eyes opened to another blinding flash of pain, as yet another object was pushed deep into my back. I screamed properly this time, loud and piercing, arching my back and pulling at the restraints, until someone smacked my head and I fell still once more.

"Is that it?"

"Think so. Looks like it, anyway."

"Good, so we let her go now, right? 

"You've forgotten the final bit, or hoped I would."

"God, Lucifer, can we not do that bit? It might be fine."

"It's what the book says, and we must follow."

"But you'll let me look after her when it's over, right?"

"If you can be trusted, then yes, our former agreement still stands."

"Good. Let's just get this over with." 

The sharp pain had faded by now, replaced only by a harsh throbbing, each wave another torture to endure. I attempted to look round again, and this time was not stopped. Behind me stood Luke and Allo, though I could only see the edges of their faces. Then there was a spark, and a small flame was held in Luke's hand, though I couldn't see a match.

Then he moved it and my whole back was aflame. 

If I had thought before was true pain, then I was wrong. That was barely a paper cut, a pulled nail, a scratch compared to this.

The pain was too much to even scream, my throat unable to even make a sound, only attempt to not breathe in the toxic smoke creeping from behind me. Raw flesh sizzled, blood vessels popped, and still the fire raged on, rampaging across my shoulders and licking at the back of my neck, blisters forming behind its red-hot caress.

"I think it's done."

All of a sudden, the bright flickering behind me stopped, though the burning continued. And as a face entered my field of vision, suddenly white light was everywhere. It seemed to explode from my chest, my back arched and head reaching for the sky. I broke through the manacles on my hands and feet as if they were butter, my arms free to push me upwards. The white-hot heat still radiated from me, and though my back still burned, the strange light seemed to sooth it somehow.

The light faded, there was a flash, and suddenly everything around me disappeared.

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