It feels like I've been sitting here for hours, but I know it's only a matter of minutes really. The door clicks and opens, at last - but the sound brings no relief. I know it's only going to get worse from here. I've seen these people in action before.

Jed comes towards me.

"Mai!" he barks. "Stand up, now. Do not think about calling for help. If you do, it will be the worse for you." There is no mercy in his black-silver eyes. No compassion.

Slowly, I get to my feet.

He strides over, taking my limp hand from where it hangs at my side. I flinch back but he holds on. It is my right hand, the hand I write with.

From his pocket he pulls a knife. The blade is bright and silver, almost white in the glow from the overhead lighting, and I recognise it. It is the knife I used to kill my mother. It is the knife they used to kill my father, the man who had always seemed so distant, and not like me at all. I'd often wondered, was he really my father? He assured me he was. I did not believe him.

The blade is sharp across my palm. I resist the urge to cry out and grit my teeth. The pain is intense, like a fire being lit inside me. Sweat beads on my forehead in the effort not to scream.

He dribbles the blood onto a sheet of paper, covering all patches of white. Now I see that it is a letter, a letter to the Commander.

"Now let's see whether you're really worth so much to him," sneers Jed, stuffing the blood-stained letter into an envelope. It will stain but I daresay he does not care.

Laughing, they leave the room, locking the door.

The End

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