Prologue/Chapter One (?)

[My book is Titleless right now and still needs a loving hand on its way to completion, but I figured I would share my prologue or chapter one. I’m not sure which it will be at the end of the day, but if you enjoy it, please comment or like! Also, if you have suggestions for it, share those too! Anyways, here it is!]

[P.S. A bit of a trigger warning, because it does contain some physical abuse.]

 

She felt the burning touch of his fingers on her wrist seconds before he yanked her from the chair with startling force, and threw her to the ground. You think I would have learned by now, she thought bitterly, and tried to still the fear growing within her. Knowing the man had vanished from the room, she rose to her feet, avoiding the tired eyes of the woman who always watched from a distance.

The man’s steps shook the floor beneath her bare feet, and she surged into action before he returned. She left the dining room through the living room, and sought safety in the quiet walls of her bedroom. Slamming the door shut behind her, she braced her body against it, and she listened to the raised voices, shattering the reflective silence.

“Please, Knotley,” the woman’s voiced begged between shaky breaths, “The doctor will punish us if he finds out!”

Tears slid down her pale cheeks at the sound of the woman pleading on her behalf, and fought the urge to reveal herself, to defend this other female who had tried.

“The girl was useless to him, and now I am stuck with her,” Knotley yelled, every word a testament to his rage, “Get out of the way, Lynx!”

“But–”

Before she could think, she whipped the door open to a loud slap ringing through the air, and rushed forward, throwing her body in between Knotley and Lynx. His strong fist dropped her to her knees, and she let her long, red hair cover her face, hiding her terror. Why? She wondered again, and Knotley’s booted foot knocked her flat on her stomach.

“I’m sorry–”

Her apology was halted by searing pain racing across her back. Rolling to her side, she stared at Knotley in disbelief, his right hand holding an iron poker from the fireplace. Scrambling onto her hands and knees she tried to run, but the cool metal bit into her flesh, pinning her to the spot.

Over and over, the tool landed on her back, and sent wave after wave of new agony through her. The scream gathering in the back of her throat threatened to tear its way out, but she refused to give in. Sinking her teeth into her bottom lip, the metallic taste of her blood kept her focused, and determined during Knotley’s brutal attack.

Darkness worked to claim her, but she was pulled roughly to her feet, and Knotley’s raging eyes filled her gaze. He smells awful, she thought, watching beads of sweat drip down from his brow. The fright consuming her suddenly fell away, and a small smile graced her lips before he smacked her.

Knotley’s left hand quickly grabbed a fistful of her hair, and jerked her head back sharply. Her angst swallowed her whole, leaving her paralyzed in his grip. Chancing a glance at him, she saw his teeth gleam wickedly through his self-satisfied smile.

“There are those violet eyes, full of fear,” Knotley’s voice was sinister, sending shivers down her spine, “The only thing I like about you, Vivian.”

Vivian remained silent, shutting her eyes tightly in rebellion.

“LOOK AT ME!”

The shout shocked Vivian into alertness, and she unwillingly stared at the horrifying visage of Knotley. I wish I was stronger, she brooded in misery, I wish I was faster. Then I wouldn’t be a glorified punching bag. Finding a small ember of anger inside, Vivian tried to fan it into flame, hoping it could free her.

“Don’t even think it,” Knotley spoke with venom, and shook Vivian violently by her hair, “You can’t hide what you feel with eyes like yours! Now, get out of my sight before I really begin to hurt you!”

Vivian flew out of Knotley’s grasp once his hand released its painful grip, and sent her towards her room. Ignoring Lynx who had stood quietly by once again, Vivian stumbled into her bedroom, and shut the door behind her. The adrenaline faded from her to reawaken the dull throb in her back, and it began to torment her with a vengeance.

Staggered steps brought Vivian forward to the simply made bed, and she gingerly crawled on to it. She failed to stifle the sobs shaking her, and endured the suffering with a depleted sense of dignity. Praying she would not roll on to her back, she welcomed the sanity sleep brought, and embraced the numb relief it gave her.

 

In the middle of the night, the faint creak of her door roused Vivian, and her eyes found Lynx in the soft lighting, carrying a familiar toolkit. Still, she gasped in shock when the woman began rolling the back of her shirt up to expose the tender flesh. Just leave it, she wished quietly, but Lynx’s hands started roaming, wiping in certain spots.

There was a small reprieve before a sudden stinging caused Vivian to tense, and she bit into her clenched fist to avoid crying out. She could not see exactly what Lynx was doing yet trusted her after the many times she had tended to her. Is that… blood? She mused when she caught sight of the cloth.

I know I don’t have to say this anymore, Lynx’s thoughts penetrated her mind, but I hope you avoid his wrath these next few days with the new injuries.

It was not the first time she had heard such things from Lynx, but still, Vivian scoffed at them. Like it matters what I do, she brooded hopelessly. Knotley will always find a reason to hurt me… Like my fear.

Ignoring the lecture though it silently continued, Vivian’s mind wandered from the constant touch of Lynx’s hands applying bandages to the series of long wounds across her back. At least they are not deep, she admitted, knowing she would have felt the stitches if they had been needed. Once Lynx was done with her, Vivian gave a curt nod in appreciation, and dismissed the woman from her mind.

You could tell the doctor, you know, Vivian raged with a sudden intensity, but that would mean you actually cared, wouldn’t it?

Letting the anger fade away, Vivian tried to will herself back to sleep, but her eyes flew open at the man’s thoughts from the other room. No… They can’t… Embridge wouldn’t… she stumbled to find the words. Continuing to listen in, she crawled out of bed, and stumbled to her dresser. Rummaging through the small assortment of clothes, Vivian removed her current attire in pained carefulness, and pulled on the sturdier outfit.

That settles it, Vivian determined and a heavy calm filled her. It’s time for me to leave.

Facing the window, Vivian shook her head at the bars covering it, but began to open the glass barrier. She lifted herself gracefully onto the window sill, and dangled her legs between the thick yet widely spaced bars. Twisting, she used her hands to support her weight, lowering her body carefully through the obstacle.

As the cool metal grazed Vivian’s back, she gasped at its suddenness, dropping the few feet to the ground in a harsh thud. Remaining still on the ground, she saw the lights flicker on in Knotley’s room, and his face appeared in the window. Despite the pain, she rose to her feet, making her way away from the house, and his battle cry filled the silence behind her.

Urged on by the fact Knotley was coming for her, Vivian forced her aching body into a run, and darted through the sparse woods on the one side of the house. I have to get away, she chanted repeatedly to herself. Daring a quick glance over her shoulder, she saw Knotley’s form sprinting towards her, his one hand holding a long barrelled gun.

Slowed by her wounds, Knotley caught up quickly, tackling her to the ground, and Vivian screamed at the agony it renewed in her back. Before she could react, his hands were tight on her throat, taking away her ability to breath.

Clawing at Knotley’s arms, Vivian struggled against his cruel grip with futile effort. No, no, no, she whispered to herself. He can’t kill me! Darkness had started to cloud her vision, and in a fit of swift anger, she lashed out with a closed fist, aiming for his face.

Vivian was freed from Knotley’s grip, and gasped for air before she pushed herself to her feet. Unable to look at him, she took off in a random direction, wishing for speed. The fight-or-flight instinct had numbed her, and she took advantage of it to put distance between her and her abusers.

I have to be fast, Vivian thought, and twisted through the various trees with graceful ease. Even when the energy started to fade from her limbs, she continued forward despite her blurred vision. The branches seemed to reach for her, and cut through her clothing to scratch at her skin.

Afraid to stop, Vivian ran on, ignoring the moon’s call for her to sleep. I can’t… Not yet… she mumbled in her mind, focused on the escape.

On the third day, the distance Vivian had built allowed her to slow her pace, and she tried to enjoy the new forest she had come upon though guilt found its way to her heart. I am sorry, Ravenna, she thought, tears gathered in her eyes, but I will come back for you. I promise. With the fatigue resurfacing, she came to a stop, and glanced through the forest’s canopy, a raindrop running down her cheek.

A sudden grumble tore through Vivian’s abdomen, her stomach calling for food. Shelter and food, she planned, and the rain turned into a heavy down pour in response. Drenched within seconds, she took in her surroundings, hoping to spot edible plants and some sort of cover.

“Hey! What are you doing on my property?!”

With wild eyes, Vivian sought out the voice calling to her, and found an imposing form not far from her. How did Knotley catch up to me?! She yelled inside, and how did I become so distracted I didn’t hear him? The need to flee drove her into a run, and she raced away from the man only to trip in the mud a moment later.

Unable to catch her balance, Vivian braced herself for impact, throwing her arms in front of her face, and collided with a thick tree. What the… she barely managed to think at the sound of the loud snap, and continued to fall forward. The tree came to a harsh stop, and she landed on its rough bark before rolling off to hit her head on a dull rock.

Vivian felt light and weightless all of a sudden, and the brief moment of comfort vanished, the throbbing from her back bringing her fully awake. Her eyes opened with sharp intent, focusing quickly on the soft brown eyes of the man who now carried her in jarring steps.

“Are you alright?” the man questioned, his voice tinged in honest concern.

It’s not Knotley, Vivian thought with relief, and abruptly passed out.

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