Whichever way this ends, there’s going to be blood.

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(Warning: I write DARK ROMANCE. DAAAAARK. Messed-up shit happens.)

He sizes me up like I’m a piece of steak he’s about to cut into. His eyes drift from my face, down my torso, all the way to my feet and back again, and when he’s done I feel like he’s painted an oil slick from my head to my toes. 

“Please,” I say listlessly. 

Ca-ssan-dra,” he mocks, the grin on his face a mile wide. He stands, the shotgun casually slung over one shoulder as he approaches me. I put my hand on the doorknob and twist, pulling it open an inch, but he is faster. He’s in front of me, using his free hand to slam the door shut again, leaving it there so I’m caged in by his thick arm.

I swallow thickly. Fuck.

He wrinkles his nose up, the grin still cemented to his face. “You. Stink. Like. Sex.”

My stomach drops. I want to throw up.

I’m so terrified, I can’t even speak.

Smirking, he takes his hand away and pulls a cell phone from his jeans. He dials and holds it to his ear, pulling a face as he studies mine. He’s entertained by my fear. He’s… what’s the word? He’s triumphant. He thinks he’s won, but I don’t even know what game we’re playing. I hear a voice on the other end of the phone, and really, who else would it be?

“I found your girl,” he says into the phone. “I think she’s got some things she’d like to tell you about who’s been sticking their dick inside her.”

Something distracts him. I see it in the way his eyes glaze over, the way he turns away from me ever so slightly. I’m trapped against the door, but if I can just get past him, I’ll be able to run for the kitchen. 

There are sharp things in the kitchen. Knives. 

Fuck. Whichever way this ends, there’s going to be blood.

I bring my knee up as hard as I can, hitting him in the groin. He’s got an erection. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. All that excitement from trapping me in my own home. He doubles over, groaning. “You fucking cunt!” he roars, dropping the phone. He reaches out to grab me, but I twist out of his grip, elbowing him in the side as hard as I can.

I run to the kitchen, my arm throbbing, my brain screaming. Knife! Knife?

Knife. I find the sharpest blade in the block, the one I accidentally cut myself with the other day, and brandish it in front of me. He charges at me, the shotgun still in his hand, aimed at the floor. 

If I can just get the gun away from him. 

If I can just get the gun. 

If I can just.

Fuck.

“Give me that,” he says, holding out his hand like I’m a petulant child who grabbed a second helping of chocolate ice cream after dinner. I feign surrender, letting my wrist go limp as I hand the knife to him. He chuckles, his wide palm in striking distance. 

I don’t hand him the knife. I slash the knife as hard as I can across his palm. Fuck you, you psycho. As if I’d hand you the only weapon I have.

He growls, his face beet red. “Ffffuuuuck!” he rages, spittle landing on my cheek. I step back, but not fast enough. He is biggerstrongerfaster than me, and his bloodied hand closes around my knife-wielding wrist so hard, I feel like the bone might snap. I gasp in a breath, fighting his vise-like grip as my wrist screams in agony. The pain is sharp, it’s warm, it’s coated in the blood that pours from his deep laceration all down my arm.

“You fucking cut me?!” he rages. 

The knife clatters to the floor and he lets go of my twisted wrist. I turn to run as he lifts the butt of the shotgun above my head. There’s a sharp crack at the back of my skull, and a syrupy warmth that begins to ooze into my hair. It’s almost a relief, the way the world blurs and fizzes. I sink down to my hands and knees, like I’m praying to this murderous God above me. My vision tunnels as I begin to crawl, black haze eating at the edges of my sight. He kicks me in the ribs, hard enough that I land on my back. He steps over me, the leather of his boots warm through my jeans as he holds me in place, and he’s all I can see in the pinpricks of my sight. He’s not smiling anymore. What will he do to me?

“So that’s where you’ve been,” He marvels, holding a matchbox car up and spinning the wheels with his fingertip. “On a field trip. Looks like you got yourself some souvenirs.” I stare at the little car, a child’s toy, swallowed up in his big hand. The crude letters scratched into its underside are too far away for me to read, but I already know what they spell. 

* * *

When I open my eyes, the pain in my head is so sharp I vomit a little. But I’m on my back, nowhere for the bile to go. I swallow it back down. It burns.

I’m cold. My arms are stretched above me, bound together and aching, and when I try to move them nothing happens. I tug again, harder. Fuck. I’m tied to the table, but worse than that, there’s a length of rope or something equally strong running underneath the table, reaching from my wrists to each of my ankles. When I pull my wrists, the rope around my ankles tightens. If I try to kick my feet away from the table legs, it only drags the rope tighter around my wrists.

I tug at the ropes, twisting this way and that, but it’s useless. Every tug makes the rope a little tighter. I am bound, trussed up like a roast turkey ready to be carved for Thanksgiving. Above the refrigerator, the random collection of bobble-head toys and collectibles mock me with their unnaturally large eyes, their plastic grins, their ridiculous irony.

He appears at the edge of my vision. I turn my head just as he sits down on a dining chair and scoots toward me.

“You got me good,” he murmurs, staring down at his palm. “You’re a fucking bitch, you know that?” He laughs, but then his laughter turns to rage. He reaches his hand over and presses his bleeding palm to my mouth. Before I can clamp my lips together, warm blood breaches my mouth. It tastes like I just licked an ashtray full of pennies and dirt. I retch, trying to twist my head away as he digs his fingernails into my cheeks.

“You taste that?” he growls, standing as his chair falls away behind him with a crash. “You crazy bitch. That’s on you. That’s on you.

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