I staggered back, staring at Mark in horror. I shook my head. “No... No, you can’t make... I won’t do that!”
He raised a brow. “I thought you had finished questioning my authority?” He said as he beckoned me closer. I shrank back further and continued to shake my head. His lips pursed in a thin line as his cold blue eyes regarded me. “Well, if you don’t do this then I will double the damage and you will be responsible for that because you would do nothing to stop it.”
I couldn’t hurt her myself but then I would never forgive myself for increasing the suffering she would endure. I didn’t know what to do for the best and so I just stood like I was rooted to the spot. “I... I...”
“Do it baby?” Charlotte urged me from the table. “I would rather you did it that let him...” Her voice trailed away and she just begged me with her eyes.
I shuddered and Mark gave me a whip as he walked me to the end of the table. Tears burnt my cheeks as I raised my arm under Mark’s guidance. He snapped my arm down and Charlotte screamed in pain. “Sorry!” I cried out, feeling physically sick as Mark forced my unwilling form to continue.
Charlotte held back her cries of agony as much as she could but each piece of inflicted pain tore me apart inside. Every now and then Mark changed the implement in my hands to deliver new pain to the girl before me. By the time Mark was guiding my hand with the knife in it I was feeling physically sick and my knees were threatening to give way. All I could do was to keep murmuring the word sorry as I watched her perfect porcelain white skin turning red as blood soaked it, the wounds showing darker marks.
Charlotte gave a shuddering cry as she finally blacked out. I almost envied her slip into the blackness where pain didn’t exist. Mark released his hold on me and moved to look down at his once best friend before pressing his fingers to her throat. “Her pulse is strong so this will heal without aid from me.” He studied the work he had made me inflict. “Not bad for a first time runt but it will improve.”
I slid to my knees and the knife fell noisily from my hand onto the stone floor of the basement. “I... I can’t do this again Mark!”
He just laughed and I realised how much he liked seeing me so tormented. “You don’t have a choice.” Mark stalked over to pick the knife up from the floor. Without warning he slashed at my chest and as I contorted in pain the blade met my cheek. He kicked me back and I curled defensively hiding my face as he rained blows on me. “Charlotte can’t protect you all the time, remember that. She is a girl anyway, what do think she can do? Typical to find you relying on somebody just as weak as you.” He turned away from me and turned back, a cruel smirk twisting his lips. “Also remember that you will do nothing but cause her pain and maybe you will be the reason she dies. Can you live with that?” The tears coursed down my cheeks and numbly I shook my head. “I thought not and yet that brother dear is what you will mean for her.” He went to undo the cuffs which held Charlotte down. “She deserves so much more than the pain you have gifted to her.” He concluded as he left the room.
I sniffed and clambered to my feet to go over to the table. I went to get a damp cloth and I gently wiped away the blood. “What have I done?” I whispered as I took her limp hand in my own. “Mark is right, you deserve so much more than this. I brought you here and now look what has happened. Charlotte, I... I am so sorry.”
I saw a tear drip from my chin, a stark pink having mixed with the blood from my cheek. I got up and moved away from the table to curl on the mattress in the corner of the room. I had never felt more alone than I did right at this moment. I was hurting the one thing that I adored; the one thing that mattered most to me at that moment. Well, admittedly I had cared for her since the day I had met her and now look at what was happening. I was hurting her and I would keep doing so. I had no reason to doubt that Mark wouldn’t keep his word on that fact. I wanted to die and curled tighter, wrapping my arms around my legs.
I couldn’t say for sure how long I had been there when I became aware of a gasping coming from the table. I looked over and saw Charlotte moving gingerly to sit up. I wanted to go over to her but at the same time I was afraid of her reaction. I had done that to her, caused it all and so I was fearful of what she might say. Eventually she turned her head and looked at me. “Si, why are you crying baby? I asked you to do this and I am not angry that you did.” She held out her hands to me and I crossed and took them. She stroked at my palms. “He can’t destroy the feelings of protection that I have developed for you no matter what he tries.” Charlotte gave me a weak smile as she grimaced slightly in pain. She looked at the mattress and then at me. “Can you help?”
I put my arms around her and lifted her small frame off of the table and over to the mattress where I sat next to her. “He won’t destroy feelings Charlotte but I worry that he will destroy you.” I whispered, rubbing her back lightly. “He might destroy you through me and I can’t let that happen.”
Charlotte looked up at me, her fingers gently stroking my cheek, stroking away the blood I realised. “Then we need to escape.” She said softly and simply. It sounded so simple when she said it but I knew that it would be anything but.