I woke in an unfamiliar place. I was lying on a bed with the covers pulled up to my chin. Beside me was a small wooden table with a book on top of it. I moved slowly, because if I did more than that I felt nauseous, and stared at its cover.
The splash of red formed into something that I couldn’t figure out right away. Next came the yellow lettering of the title, and what I was staring at startled me beyond anything I’ve ever felt before, and I didn’t understand why.
The horse on the carousel watched me; its mouth seemed to form a flat, haunting smile as if it had known all along.
I squeezed my eyes shut as I heard footsteps approaching. I heard the door open as I turned away from the person. They spoke softly and I froze.
“You can rest here all night if you want, I don’t mind. I brought you home from the nurse’s office when your friends brought you there.”
I shoved part of the sheet into my mouth to keep from making any noise. He saw the movement and came over, seizing my one arm. I flinched and rolled onto my back, my eyes snapping open.
His green eyes were no longer smoldering, but different, unkind.
“Let me go,” I said. “Get the fuck off of me.”
“No,” Elias whispered roughly. He leaned in and I could smell the alcohol on his breath. “I think we need to have a discussion.”
The gears in my brain had been rusted for a long time, and it caused me to not be able to think straight, until now. Everything came together slowly and I knew one very important piece of this.
“So much for our dinner,” he said, sighing. “You just had to go and run your fucking mouth to your friends, didn’t you?” He wrapped his fingers in my hair and yanked my body up. I cried out but it didn’t seem to bother him.
“Please,” I whimpered, “just let me go. I never told anyone.”
Elias laughed, and it was hollow, careless.
“You children are all the same. You all lie and cheat and fuck anything you can. It’s sickening really. I thought you trusted me, Tate.” He tugged my hair until I had no choice but to stand up and walk with him.
“S-stop,” I stammered, trying in vain to get out of his grip. “Elias, please. I trust you!”
He led me down a hallway and into a living room. Then, before I had any time to react, he slammed me against a nearby wall and slipped one hand around my neck, the other still buried in my hair. He stood beside me, holding me awkwardly at arm’s length.
“I brought you here,” he said quietly. His hand slid from my neck to my jaw, cradling it. “I need to make sure no one else ever finds out what we’ve done. I could lose my job. You don’t want that, do you?”
“I told you I didn’t say a word to anyone. If you let me go I’ll never think about you again.”
The panic, stronger than I’ve ever encountered before, was settling around me, coiling like a snake. It was constricting my breathing, and as I wheezed, Elias smirked. I sagged in his arms and he dropped me, letting me crumble to the carpet.
“See,” he explained, his voice cool, “I was excited at the aspect of making sure you would never reveal what happened. Your little boyfriend did a lot of snooping around and look what happened to him.”
“You killed him.” I needed to calm down. “He wasn’t going to do anything with the information!” I hissed. “He was protecting me from you after what you did to his sister.”
Elias frowned, lifted his foot, and smashed it into my side. I screamed, pain searing through my body. I moaned, gasped, and tried to move out of his way. I got as far as dragging myself a few feet before he stood over me. He forced himself between my legs and gripped my wrists above my head with one hand.
“You think I’m going to waste my time raping you?” He sounded disgusted. “That isn’t my style, darling.” He held my chin in his free hand so that I had no choice but to look at him. “Killing you would give me more pleasure.”
I took a breath as his hands locked around my throat, squeezing tightly. I gasped, coughed, and tried to pry his hands from my neck. I kept slipping in and out of consciousness so I couldn’t defend myself. When I was able to focus, though things were hazy, I could feel his lips. His lips were on mine and he was slowly choking me to death.
I was getting so tired. I just wanted to sleep. I felt like I hadn’t done that in a very long time and now I could. Before I slid into that state of peace, I remember reaching up and weakly dragging a nail down Elias' cheek.
My mother used to warn me about beasts like you, roaming and praying on the fragile ones. If you don't believe in ugly things, look closely at yourself. You may find something repulsive and sickening that you didn't see before. I know I did.