Horror in love

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Chapter 1

Unknown world

 

I squint my eyes halfway. My body is aching, and I feel as though all of my bones are broken. I struggle with my breath and my lungs feel compressed. I force the air out with a pressure, causing horrible pain. My eyes squint at the gray sky; the sun is imprisoned behind it. The urge to rise overwhelms me. I try to roll over on my shoulder to rise, and falling back induces me to screech out in agony. The pain is unbearable. I wonder where I am. This place is foreign to me. The surrounding sycamore and willows hint at the woods. The darkened trees stare at me through the gloom. I’m on rough terrain, and I seem to be in Morgan Hill State Forest, but why is the sky so gray? I can’t recall anything.

What am I doing here? How did I end up in a forest? As I regain lucidity, I feel a tickling sensation under my back. It feels like a living creature; a chill runs down my spine. I swat my right hand under my back and retrieve a hideous black spider. I scream with fright and fling it away from me. The scare triggers the adrenaline that gets me to sit. It dawns on me that this place is filled with dangerous insects and animals. I shiver. 

My t-shirt is tattered and I feel a scorching pain on the right side of my belly. Shaking, I peel away the tattered cloth. The gash is deep and angry, with blood spilling from it freely. Extreme, burning pain forces me to examine my right elbow. The skin has been peeled away, and it is bleeding too. I try to pull myself together. My high heeled boots are glued to my feet, caked in mud and gore. I rise up crippled and decrepit, the pain is insurmountable but I have to get along with it. I tug off my shoes, stand up again, and gathering all of my strength I head to one side, desperately trying to find a help or water. The rustling of the leaves under my crippled right foot breaks the dreadful silence of the woods. After limping a few yards, I sit on a hillock to rest. Things seem hopeless. There is no sign of water or help. I decide to move on. Finally I catch a sight for sore eyes. I notice one side of the thick vegetation is brighter and that defines my direction.

In front of me are bare fields. Also in sight is a barn. I trudge towards it, hoping there would be someone to help. My bleeding become intense. I hear a faint moaning from the side of the barn. I stop. I start walking stealthily but my condition isn’t helping.

The moans grow louder and clearer. I stop, again. My heartbeat is racing. My bleeding intensifies. I want to run. There is an apple tree which seems to be the best spot for camouflage, so I change my direction towards it. Peeking out from behind the trunk of the tree, I see a group of people standing in front of the barn. One suddenly looks in my direction. I hide back and stop breathing. I shiver. When my breath comes back, I muster the courage to spy again.

The images are clearer this time. I count five ancient soldier-clad men surrounding a man, woman, and two kids. I ponder at why they would dress in armor and shields. Two soldier-clad men are dragging a girl to a caged chariot on the far-end. At first, it appears blurry as it is far but on a closer look, I make out girls sitting inside the cage.

One of the soldiers dragging the girl pounds her with a stick every time she resists to move while two soldiers stand in front of the woman and the man that are undoubtedly parents of the girl begging for mercy. The woman tries to bypass the soldiers to get the girl back. The soldiers stop her.

I retreat to my tree shield facing the opposite direction. I blink numerously to ascertain that I am alert and it is not a bad dream. The thought of the situation before my eyes temporarily takes away the pain I am going through. That is more fictional than real. I can’t believe this part of America in 2017.

The pain stings, getting me back to reality. A pool of blood collected by my feet, soaking my biggest toe. I have to go. I peek one more time and that’s when our eyes meet. His are brown and his face is a huge frame.

“There is another one behind that tree,” the soldier shouts.

I jump from my hiding point for safety but my hazardous right foot tingles to my left and I tumble with my face hitting the ground first. There should have been pain but I feel none. I crawl. Behind me are stumping feet. As I turn I see three soldiers just inches away. I size them; the scariest is a bald medium-sized man. He clutches my elbow and lift me. The rest gaze.

“Good hunt. We’ll get a good reward for her,” one says.

“What if we don’t turn her to the castle and keep her for tonight,” the bald one responds.

Fear engrosses me. Am I in clutches of bunch of rapists? I look at the third man – the silent one. He is the youngest of the three. He stares back with a frown.

“Our job is to toss in all the young girls that we locate, I don’t want to lose my head for a girl,” he says.

“So let’s go!” He shouts as he raises his eyebrow pointing them to move.

The others exchange glances and start to move. They take me to the carriage and push me inside the cage, slamming the door and the deadbolt behind them. I look at my new company; the girls I have seen from afar. They all stare at me. I feel pain all over again. Some of them are wearing long linen skirt with blouses, others long tattered dresses – which I suppose is a result of resistance; some have aprons on their torso. They are silent as rocks. I can see a wave of disappointment in their eyes.

A tear drops on my left hand. I use my t-shirt to wipe my eyes and I look at my comrades again. Most of them have their hair subtly braided while others simply tied it with a string; they are simple and immaculate. I put them between 12 to 24 or 25 years of age. They look at me as if I am different. Like I am not one of them.

They are right. I am wearing black slacks with a gray tunic t-shirt that is tattered and full of dust, also my bare feet with lots of blood. I perch at the left corner of the cage, my body feeling fragile. I feel like exploding with tears.

The carriage starts to whirl as the soldiers motivate the horses to pull, with beatings. The parents of the girl besides me are still begging for their daughter. The girl sobs uncontrollably. We all empathize. Tears roll freely on faces of the other girls. I think about my mom. Where is she? is she worried about me? I recall how busy she always is. But I am sure that Ethan is worried. I know he is looking for me. My heart stops beating when I imagine life without him. I would give up everything to see him again.

“Where are they taking us?” I ask my immediate neighbor to the left.

“How come you don’t know?” She retorts.

“I don’t know.” I answer.

“They are taking us to the Prince’s castle.”

“Why?”

“Oh, you don’t belong here, huh?”

“No.”

“You are now a slave.”

She size me over then says, “You are beautiful, they might select you as the prince’s mistress.”

The other girl who is sitting beside her slightly hits her with her arm and attempts to whisper,

“Hey! Don’t scare her.”

My mind is blowing out as I try to digest what I have been told.

“Which prince?” I ask.

“You’ve never heard about Prince Charles?” She asks. I don’t get the sarcasm immediately.

“ Yes Prince Charles, prince of Wales.” I answer.

The two girls look puzzled by my response.

“Wales?”

“Yes, Wales in Britain, he is the father of Prince Williams,” I respond emphatically.

The girls look at each other and smirk.

“No,” she raises her voice.

“He is the prince of this country. They say every girl that goes into his room at night he slaughters after midnight and in the morning the servants take out her body and burn it.” She says.

“What? This is ridiculous.” I shout.

The other girls turn in my direction. I have also attracted the attention of the soldiers too. I look down to avoid their wrath. I think she is out of her mind or hope she is.

When I occasionally watched news, I observed that there was always an incident of violence in Africa or some middle eastern countries but I never heard about a prince killing girls in America. Besides, I have only seen those type of people in movies.

“Which country are we in?” I ask.

Her eyes widen. She looks at the girl sitting next to her. Another one whispers rather loudly, “Poor girl, lost her mind, look at her clothes, maybe she escaped from a mad house.”

The girl sitting next to me comments as if I am really nuts, “Yes, I feel bad for her.”

“Don’t feel bad for her, feel bad for all of us, we are all going the same way and none of us knows what’s going to happen,” another one murmurs.

“I can hear you!” I mutter to myself.

“We are in Mysore,” I hear from my left ear.

The originator of the voice is sun-kissed with brown hair and black eyes. Her clothes are cleaner than others’. She moves closer.

“You are in Mysore now.” She says firmly.

“No, that’s not true. We can’t be. I mean, we are in America, or I was, How can I be in another country?”

She looks straight at me and says, “I don’t know what you are talking about?”

I give up disputing with her, one of us is crazy; I hope she is. She stares at me pitifully. Then she asks, “What is your name?”

“Savana,” I reply.

“Your name is alluring just like you, especially your eyes, they are amazing. I am Alice.” She adds.

“Nice to meet you Alice, I wish I could have met you in a better place.” I say.

Her eyes fall on my wound.

“Hey, you are injured.”

I try to hide the wound on my belly with my hand. The feeling of being with the other girls acted like painkiller. My elbow starts burning again. I lean backwards on the wood that formed bars for the cage. Alice catches the layer under her skirt and tries to clean my wounds. Without water, her kindness is futile. I shut my eyes and fall asleep.

 

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Author

Najiba Akhlaghi

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