The hunger pains wrack me as I glance at my watch. I have been here for over a day but they have given me no food. I'm so low on energy that I can not even heal the cut on my palm. I am losing a lot of blood. The pain is too great, too much.
Stars explode behind my eyes but I fight off the unconsciousness, stroking the cut on my palm so that the new pain keeps me awake. It is hard but I do not have long to wait. Soon the door opens.
"Mai." It is not a greeting. Jed walks into the room. His boots are heavy and every footstep makes my headache worse. I wince.
"Get up." I don't see who is speaking - someone behind him. I do not recognise the voice, either, so they must be new. I remember Their voices, the ones I knew all those years ago, far too well.
I stand up, but my legs are too shaky to support me and I fall down. In just thirty hours I am broken - loss of blood and lack of food has always been poison to me.
Two of Jed's men haul me up by the armpits. I am totally dependant on them to stand upright; I cannot support myself at all.
There is the knife again. Jed comes closer and he pushes up my sleeve.
"Going to leave the Commander a little reminder," he said. I try to ask him what he meant but my voice does not work. He presses the tip of the knife into my upper arm. I scream - this time my voice does work.
The pain was white-hot, like a branding iron. It follows the path of the knife but spreads out from it, engulfing my arm, my upper body, my entire being.
Jed drops my arm.
"Goodbye, Mai," he says. So soon? I glance at my watch and I realise. I haven't been here for a day. I've been here for a month. I just got the day wrong.
They must have fed me, then. I would have died by now. But I've been unconscious for most of it - maybe they fed me while I was asleep. Or maybe they fed me when I was awake - and I don't remember it.
Have they been suppressing my memory all this time? How could I not have realised?
I look at my arm and I see what it is Jed did to me. He's carved out a picture - and it's a good one, too. It's a picture of me, broken, alone. Unwanted.
The way I am now - so that the Commander can see what he did to me by not coming to rescue me.