He sighed.
  Really -  now a knife?
  He couldn't remember the last thing he'd eaten. He knew he should have been concentrating on the menacing glimmer rippling down the silver metal, or the rough and rugged edge to the blade, or the dirty hand, wrapped in muscle, gripping the hilt. But no; all he could think about was a big slab of beef just like Aunt made, with a tiny sliver of pink just visible in the middle, accompanied by a doughy and crispy yorkshire pudding, heaps of fresh-picked vegetables and slatherings of rich gravy...he licked his lips in half-hearted hope, glancing around, as though magically he could think food into existence.
  No such luck. Not only was that impossible - food could not be magicked out of thin air - but licking his lips had aggravated his part-time saviour, part-time kidnapper.
"What do you think you're smiling at?" the words came in a growl - the blade pressed against his throat.
  Lorden hissed. That sharp, stinging feeling of drawn blood lit  up his throat.
  "Don't kill the boy," a sharp, high female voice rang throughout the atmosphere with the unmistakable air of authority. "We need him"
  Need him?
  "Oh I don't know..." the knifer's voice rasped. Because of the way he was being held, he could not see his face - he was pressed against a wall, the knifer's body against his, staring over his shoulder. He could feel the sweaty, matted mane of hair against his face, and smell the dirt and canker. He felt slightly ill.
  "You think it's going to work without one of them?" The female snapped sharply. Lorden opened his eyes - he'd shut them to concentrate on not vomiting - to see a figure stirring in the corner of his eye. He could just see a figure rising from a seat...
  Then he realised something.
  The lev had been magically enlargened. From the outside, it had not looked half this big.
  And then she confirmed his suspicions.

What Lorden could only describe as pure electricity shot through the air. He felt the body pressed against his vibrate violently, smelt the stench of burning flesh - and, as Lorden noticed with alarm, felt the knife against his throat shake and thrash about sharply. Terrified and sensing an opportunity, he ducked out from under the knifer's slackened arm, and, without thinking, shot a stream of unadultered, pure fire at the wall.

  He was flung away, nothing more than a rag doll. Pain like nothing he'd felt before took ahold of him. He wanted to die. That was his only thought - that someone would spare him.

  He blacked out, and sighed with relief.


  He awoke in a comfortable enough bed - something that felt like you'd get at a cheap hotel. At least it wasn't metal bars and handcuffs - he'd experienced both.
  The walls were the sickening colour of pale leeks, and the sound of a monitor sung to life. He swore - he hated the things.
"Good evening!" the voice sang from the black box fixed on the opposite wall. He eyed it with speculative loathing. "I'm afraid you've had a bit of a mishap! Your heart's under quite a bit of strain! You have experienced..." - the prerecorded words took over - "Severe burns. Cuts to the throat. Mild malnutrition. Severe dehydration. Two fractured bones in the arm. One cracked rib. Three broken fingers. Bruising to the legs and back of the head."

  Lorden concentrated. The words became slurred, a black-tar lke substance leaked from it, and then with a fizzing noise, it expired. 

There was a sheaf of pressed paper on the side table. He glanced over at the metallic coat-stand in the corner, and knew he was being watched by hidden cameras.

It was adressed to a man named Adrian. He opened it anyway.

He felt his heart accelerate, felt shock attack his system, as his roving eyes persued line after line of terrible writing. Tears leaked from his eyes, but he did not wipe them away. Now was not the time for pride.

  This was it. Now, there was no going back.

The End

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