You know that falling sensation you get when you’re fast asleep? The one that makes you jerk away just before you hit the ground?
Well that’s what causes me to wake all at once in this small room, just managing to not hit my head on the wall.
Even though I pray to this God of Amelia’s that it’s not, I no immediately where I am. Maybe it’s the stark white paint on the wall or the steel door or maybe even the cuffs my ankles are locked in. Whether I like it or not, it looks like I was caught by the Chocolate Society’s government.
I do an amazingly good job at not panicking as I stare at the ankle cuffs. They left my hands free, possibly to tease me with the idea of freedom, so I immediately try to pull the cuffs off, taking deep breaths as I do so I don’t scream or something to send the guards running.
I’m not stupid. I know what’ll happen to me. There’s no hope, no chance of a rescue. I bet they don’t even know I’m gone yet. If they couldn’t rescue Shane, who held every secret about the rebel camp, they most certainly can’t rescue me.
“You can do this,” I murmur to myself, shoving my hair out of my face so I can attack the cuffs with more force. “You’ll stand strong.”
Unfortunately for me, the ankle cuffs are pure steel and act like I sort of magnet to the steel table I’m currently sitting on. The only way for me to get out of them would be for someone to let me go.
As if hearing my thoughts, the sound of movement outside the steel door starts up, coming towards me. There’s no window in the door so I have no idea what to expect. What I do though is take a deep breath, mutter a prayer to Amelia’s God and prepare myself for the worst.
The door flies open, slamming against the white bricked wall. Two soldiers stand in the doorway; complete with guns while a man dressed in a sort casually strolls in.
He’s old, quite old actually. His white face is all wrinkly and his hair is nearly as white as the walls. He sets his lips in what I guess to be a reassuring smile though his eyes say otherwise. As he reaches out to me, it’s all I can do to stand my ground. His hard cold eyes promise a death that’s sure to be painful.
“Hello, dear,” his voice is surprisingly soft. “Woken up I see. Tell me, what do you remember?”
I consider not saying anything at all, but this’ll be no danger to the camp.
“Let me see,” I put on my best sassiest voice. “I remember seeing my parents shot dead before one of your people came from behind and threw me to the ground. I remember being hit on the head with the butt of a gun, too.”
My head throbs at the memory and I lift a hand to prod the bump near my left temple. Prodding only makes the throbbing worse and now it begins to pulse out pain. Way to go, Eliza.
“My people?” the man asks politely, leaning towards me. “These men aren’t my people, Eliza Freeway.”
I narrow my eyes, wondering if he’s lying. We stare at each other for a good few moments before he straightens and snaps his fingers. The soldiers move closer.
“Release her and escort her to the main room. I’m sure she’ll want to speak to her.”
He draw’s out the “she’ll” and now I really do start to feel sick. It looks like I’ll be meeting the queen bee.
After walking through mazes and mazes of white walls and climb what seems to be a hundred staircases, the soldiers eventually open an unmarked door and shove me inside where I stop dead in my tracts.
Something you need to know about The Chocolate Society is nothing is extravagant, ever. Not the food, the clothes, the houses. Nothing. So you can imagine my surprise when I find myself in a massive room filled with portraits, silky carpet, wide windows with billowy curtains, long sofas that look heaven, mahogany tables which glisten and of course, the overly dressed people.
Three men and two women sit on the couch, talking to a lady whose face I can’t see since she’s than facing them. The men are all in suits; hairs gelled back professionally and hold their chins high. The women, one with black hair and the other with brown, are covered in jewellery such as necklaces and bracelets along with dresses that blunge downwards, showing off their breasts but in an elegant fashion. They too sit with their heads held high and I get the unmistakable urge to punch them, show them what real pain feels like.
All five of them glance around the talking woman with blonde hair to stare at me, brows creased and their mouths in a hard line. They’re probably thinking how horribly dressed I am. I glance down quickly to remember and feel like grinning. A holy t-shirt that shows off my stomach in spots and a pair of jeans that have long since faded. I can’t help but think I’m the best dressed in the room.
“Ma’am,” a soldier behind me speaks up and I jump without meaning to as he slaps his hand into my back, sending me stumbling forward.
So much for being intimidating.
The woman with the blonde hair turns around slowly, a small, fake smile on her face.
The first thought that goes through my head is fake because nobody could look like she does naturally.
For science once, we had to investigate the story of the famous children’s toy, Barbie; a blonde figurine that always looked perfect no matter what. This woman standing in front of me is her in real life.
Her hair’s sleeked back in a bun on top of her head, making her look proper. Chest perfectly plumped and sexy in the silver dress she’s wearing, she only seems to have three ribs before her waist dips inwards a little before going out again at the hips, like an hour glass. Thanks to her black heels, she can even stand like her.
“Eliza Freeway,” she practically coos as she walks towards me, back perfectly straight and chest out. “How lovely to meet you.”
“Lovely my butt,” I say under my breath. Before I can stop her, she throws her arms around my neck, giving me a tight squeeze. I practically stumble backwards out of disgust.
Plus, I though perfume was meant to make you smell pretty, not like a decomposing corpse that’s been lying in flowers the whole day.
“Do you know who I am?” she doesn’t look swayed, tight lipped cheesy smile still in place.
“The source of everyone’s sorrows I’m guessing,” I imitate her breezy tone.
Her liquid blue eyes seem to harden.
Turning around, she walks back to the five people who are watching us suspiciously almost. Another shove from my two soldiers tell me to follow behind.
Hating the feeling of being a sheep, I do just that, trying to come up with a plan. If I was to kill one of them, maybe they’d kill me quicker. Searching around for a weapon, I realise the only thing I could probably use would be the wine glasses. If I was to shatter them, just the top bits and use the stems as a knife...
The thought actually revolts me and I shake it from my head. Maybe I’ll do it, maybe I don’t. I only just remember now that I’ve never killed someone.
Except my parents.
“Take a seat,” the woman’s voice cuts through the layers of my brain and I do as I’m told. “Now, we need to talk.”
You don’t say.
“You see,” she leans forward, ignoring my steely look as best as she can. “You hold very needed information in your hands, information that could make the Chocolate Society so much better.”
“I thought it already was,” I smile sarcastically. “Wasn’t it the perfect plan?”
“Sure it is,” she waves her hand. “I mean, everyone was happy to follow the idea.”
“Except you, of course,” I point out before jabbing a thumb at the people who still sit on the couch. “Oh and them and every other person working in this building. I must congratulate you, by the way, for living like the rest of us. We totally have the same carpet and seats back at home, did you know? It’s very lovely.”
I want to go on, I do, but the pursing of her lips tell me to keep it shut.
“Someone has to rule this joint.”
“Of course they do, but how can they run a world that’s supposedly equal and yet live like a queen bee?”
I’m really loving that name. If I ever see Jackson again, I’ll have to thank him for it.
The woman ignores my question with a slow shake of the head.
“You are very smart, aren’t you? Still, I can’t help but think you got this information from somewhere else and that’s why we’re here.”
“To torture and rape me?” the words come out evenly, thank God. I don’t sound scared, just matter of factly.
She actually flinches at my words just like the others on the couch, a small and delicate flinch. A burst of laughter ripples up my throat.
“Oh would you look at that. This day keeps getting better and better.”
“We don’t enjoy torturing people, but it’s something we have to do.”
“Why can’t you just let people live in peace? Why do we have to be your little workers while you sit up here in this palace of yours being a pompous bitch?”
Ooh. New nickname. I’m on a role.
She glares at me, voice sharp.
“You’ll call me Margaret from now on, got it?”
“No worries, bitch.”
For a wispy plastic woman, she can move surprisingly fast. The string of her slap is perfect and execute, jerking my head to the side. The sound of it rings around the room and the five on the couch seem to inhale sharply at the same time.
I’m guessing slapping people is abnormal here.
“Oh my,” Margaret holds a finger to her mouth with a face of fake shock.
“Thanks,” I grin back politely. “I was starting to fall asleep a little. I’m wide awake now!”
She looks like she wants to murder me when the same door the soldiers led me through opens again.
I know who it is immediately, not by the barcode on his cheek or the way the soldiers immediately call to attention, but by the feeling that washes over me, even though he doesn’t meet my eyes.
“There he is!” Margaret visibly brightens and stands quickly. “How is my favourite man? I trust you had a good rest?”
“Of course,” Jackson responds gruffly, surveying the room. His eyes catch mine for a second before flickering back to Margaret who’s now flitting to his side.
How he doesn’t slap the cow as she drapes herself over him is a wonder to me. His eyes go steely though and his muscles seem to tighten. Something tells me that if he ever got the chance, he’d rip her hair out.
I’d tie her down for him.
“What’s this?” he turns his gaze to the soldiers. “I thought we were keep her sedated.”
They practically fall over themselves to explain.
“Lady Margaret requested her company, sir. Since you weren’t around we really had...”
“Enough,” he waves a dismissive hand and they immediately shut up.
“I did call on her,” Margaret tells him; wrapping an arm around his waist so she can push him towards the couch where she was interrogating me from. “We really need to hurry these things along, Michael.”
For a minute, I’m shocked into a special sort of silence. Michael? Maybe I do have the wrong man, but no, it can’t be. Jackson, I mean Michael, is staring right back at me, seeming to plead something. Stay quiet? I’m sorry? Stay brave?
I don’t know.
“How has she been so far?” he asks gruffly.
“Ugh,” Margaret wrinkles her nose and the others titter in the background. “Nothing. You know what this means, don’t you?”
I think we all do. It doesn’t take a genius. I’m about to say as much when Jackson cuts me off.
“Do what you must, but I’m not feeling well enough yet. You know how well I am with blood. I will, however, have a private chat with her if that is fine with you, Lady Margaret.”
“Oh you,” she playfully slaps him. “Like you have to ask.” She turns her eyes from him to me, narrowing them slightly. “If you had just played along, you wouldn’t have to go through all of this.”
Oh I’m very sure.
“I’m not a sheep anymore,” I say coolly. “I’m my own shepherd.”
Her eyes narrow into little slits and her face seems to go red.
“Enough,” Jackson glares at me coldly before flickering his attention to the soldiers. “You’re dismissed. It seems Miss Freeway and I need to have a chat.”
As Jackson leads me back towards my room, arm holding my elbow, it’s only now I really start to freak out. Tears even begin to pool behind my eyes.
“What will they do to me?” my voice cracks as I ask Jackson quietly.
“Don’t make me say it,” his voice is equally as pained. “Eliza, I am so sorry.”
“Don’t be. I can do this.”
We both no I can’t.
We reach my cell only moments later and Jackson leads me in, directing me to lay on the silver table thing. Since I’ve left, there’s been a few adjustments. Tables take up most of the small room, covered in all sort of instruments and tools that promise pain and despair. There’s a massive light, hanging over the table that will surely blind me, too. Somehow, I doubt my sight will be my biggest issue.
Jackson gently ties me into place as I stare up at the ceiling, trying to prepare myself for what awaits. If I can just zone out... If I could just die now...
Jackson seems to hear my thoughts.
“I can’t kill you, they’ll know it’s me,” he whispers in my ear as he ties my wrists. He’s trying to look like a sexual predator for the camera in the corner. For all they know, he’s whispering some sexual desire.
Somehow, the rap is more terrifying for me than the torture. I’m a virgin so it’s going to be extra painful. I wonder how many soldiers will do it.
Jackson continues to whisper in my ear and I pay every attention.
“I have a needle in my jacket, one I had Collin mix up a few years ago in case Amelia was ever caught. It dulls the senses, making you sort of paralysed. You won’t feel the pain and you won’t be able to speak. You’ll be like an empty.”
“No,” I shake my head, trying to make it look like I’m trying to fight him off. “Save it for Amelia. They’ll catch her one day.”
“Over my dead body. She’d never forgive me anyway if I didn’t do this.”
Tears do start to fall down my cheeks.
“Say if they are to violent on me, not just with the rape but torture as well… will I die?”
“Yes,” he says glumly, “but it’ll be a painless death.”
I want to say something, but only a choking sound comes up my throat.
I jerk away when his fingers slip up under my shirt, but he holds me down.
“I have the needle in my hand,” he whispers. “It’s only small. It will hurt a lot for starters, but than it’ll be all over. Ready?”
“Okay,” I relax a little. “And Jackson?”
“I’m sorry I never asked your wife’s name.”
His eyes sadden and than I feel the stabbing pain, just above my navel.
At the same time, he punches me in the arm, making it look harder than it is.
He’s right, the pain is excruciating.
Clenching my eyes tightly closed, I open my mouth and scream.