anne's breath came in shallow little gasping sounds. her once fresh and trendy haircut hung damp and lifeless around her bowed head. her face was white, her eyes burning with steady life. she hadn't given up yet.
such courage. I almost admired her for a minute there. there was a step. she lifted her head, and spat.
"I know it's you. stop skulking, Tyrone." her voice was hoarse and full of venom. she peered into the opaque gloom, as if trying to pierce it with her lazer-like eyes. I cleared my throat, and was gratified to see her jump jerkily, tied to a stool and all. her face became closed, her eyes dull and solid as marbles. she licked her lips and waited. "Anne... oh Anne. it was not a wise move, defying me." a muscle in her eye twitched. "I don't fear you! I don't--" "you're an idiot Anne, and you know it." I chuckled. "what will your parents say? what do they think now?" even she, with her carefully masked emotions and lifeless features blanched at this. "I don't know what you mean. you're not fooling anyone, I know why you're here, why you've done this to me! I'm not going to, I'm not! I'd never--" I sighed. her speech, though heartfelt and noble. had to be short lived. "oh shut it. and we don't need you to do anything. we have him." it worked like a magic trick. she turned ghostly pale, then a bit redder, then positively green. remarkable, to be sure. like watching a cartoon. she fought hard to keep her face expressionless, and won. "y...you're bluffing. don't lie to me again, Tyrone! prove it to me!" she wanted proof. I grinned in the darkness. with a contemptuous flick of the wrist, I threw it in her lap. she stared. the locket. "found this little treasure clenched in his fist when we brought him in. how's that for evidence?" she swallowed. "Is.... is he..." "alive? oh, quite. though for how much longer.... well. that's up to you." I could see the cogs in her head turning wildly, clicking into position, straightening. I allowed myself another catlike grin of triumph. people in love are so easy to manipulate. her head drooped. she panted loudly. panic was being fought down as well as tears. "if... if you let him... if you let him go and never bother him again..... I'll tell you." "everything?" she made a alien gurgling noise. "yes. all of it." excellent. "very well then. you have my word. go on. and--" I paused for emphasis. "no lies please. he'll be gone within thirty minutes of the first one. but please, the time is yours. take as long as you need to to organize your thoughts." she did. a full ten minutes she drooped, breathing. when she raised her head, it was with the same old regal sobriety that I remember. she was quite beautiful in her own way. her eyes were straight ahead and unseeing, burning twin holes into the darkness. "it... it all began a few months ago.
when I found him for the first time."