Chapter 3

The scraping of a key going into a lock jolted Kaye out of her misery. She rolled until she could sit upright with her knees tucked under her body. She cursed tohe fact that she had nothing as a weapon. She felt so tired and worn from her containment that she wasn't even sure that she could stand without help. The wooden door inched open with a mournful creak, letting a sliver of flickering light to splash across her face.

"Get up, now." The gruff voice followed with a harsh tug on her arm pulling her into a haphazard pile on the stone paved floor outside her cell.

She turned to face her attacker, fumbling to gain her footing on the ground. She raised her fists before being pushed fiercely back to the ground with a squeal. There was a chorus of sniggers and malicious guffaws surrounding her. She glared at the ogre leering down at her.

"What do you want from me?" She screamed, all her self-reserve shattered. The ogre's enlarged teeth quivered in glee as he bent down and pulled Kaye in close. His stagnant breath invaded Kaye's senses making her want to retch.

"'Cause me masters takin a fancy to yer plight miss. Real fancy."

This triggered off more sniggers throughout the room. The ogre swung her around and dragged her through a crowded hall. Creatures lined the wall, pushing and vying for a chance at her. They tugged at her hair, one skeletal beast gripping a whole chunk whipping her head back in agony before letting go and cackling in glee. Sharp claws swiped at her, slicing her worn jeans. She struggled away, resorting to sidle close to the ogre. The passed through the hall and descended down flight after flight of stairs.

Kaye shivered at the chill clinging to the air. It seeped all her warmth, threatening to chill her to bone. After what seemed like an age, they came to arching entrance to an eerily lit cavern. The ogre stooped through the entrance way before thrusting her into the unknown.

She stumbled at the unexpected freedom, tripping on a loose chunk of rock and sprawling across the hard ground. She rolled uncontrollably until she splashed into a pool of murky water. Quickly as her tired bones let her, she scrambled backwards away from the water. The sniggering of the ogre echoed around the high walls as her tramped back the way they had come. Kaye looked around her. The cavern walls rose maybe 20 metres around her; the dripping stalactites cause a wet percussion on the surface of the pool. The eerie light reflecting off the slick walls came from the pool itself, radiating through the rippling surface. The bizarre undulating effect, Kaye mused, could only ever be truly understood sitting in a dark, wet cavern like this one. A splash brought her attention back to the deep expanse of water before her. A dark object moved towards her under the surface of the water, causing Kaye to scramble backwards. Before she could reach the archway, a chilled creeping voice commanded her attention.

"So, I finally meet you at last Kaye, underling of the Unseelie court. My subjects have reported so much chaos with every thread leading back to your little, beating heart. You have earned my intrigue, small thing."

Kaye turned, seemingly without her own volition. Standing before her, dripping phosphorescent water, was a creature she could not have imagined. Kaye knew of the water fae in her books and knew that she was not amongst friends. Capricious, conniving, malicious- these words came to mind. Yet what stood before her, chilled her even deeper. Tangled, long dark hair dripped around his scaled body. It fell over a face caught horrendously between that of a piranha and a man. Large piercing eyes gazed unnervingly at her, his nose no more than a slight protuberance with flaring holes above a mouth overgrown with sharp needle-thin teeth. His skin was a pallid green blue, reminding Kaye of lifeless bodies of the jellyfish washed ashore.

"Please, what do you want from me? What have I done to earn this?" She brandished her arms around in an all-encompassing gesture. The fae's mouth moved slightly upwards, grinding his teeth.

"What do I want from you? Oh yes, you intrigue me but you are so petty of a treat. Hm, no, I think I want from you is a pretty bit of bait. Yes, a pretty bit of bait on a hook, ready to reel in the big fish. Hm yes, now tell me pretty bait, do you know who I'm going to reel in? Hm?"

The horror dawned on Kaye.

"You can't, not Roiben. I won't let you get anywhere near him!"

"Ah, such tenacity," a racking laughter shudder deep within his chest, "will make this so much more fun. Little heart, do you think you have a say in this?"

He laughed more, stepping out of the water, slapping wet, webbed feet on the rocky floor. He stood in front of Kaye, leering down at her and dribbling reeking water onto her face. He took her face, flicking it left and right in perusal before tapping her on the cheek as though he was chiding a small child. His nasal slits fluttered unnervingly.

At his touch, Kaye felt as if she had become frozen. Her body became stiff and so chilled. She felt as if she would never be warm again. The fae's hand was disconcertingly slimy, leaving the unclean feeling on her skin as he let her go and stalked around her. He flicked one of her wings which twitched in protest. Kaye stood still as he finished his viewing and came to stand before her again. She felt her emotions flicker between defiance and fear, definitely a product of a tired and overwhelmed body.

She tried to work her body. She wasn't going to let herself be bullied like this. Since moving and limb was working, she focused on her little finger. Willing it to curl and flex. As she fought for control, the fey flicked and swirled his long fingers around as if attempting to harness smoke. Between his hands, a crackling ball of glamour twisted and curled, slowly stretching into a long thin thread. Kaye moved onto her next fingers, slowing forming a fist. The fae glanced up at her in irritation.

"Strong hm? Ah, you're wasting your strength little heart. So little you should be careful that it doesn't shatter." Again, the racking laughter shook the creature's frame. Kaye tried to ignore him, but felt her fingers stiffening again. The long thread now hung looped over the man's arms, as he worked on a wickedly sharp, glittering hook. He slipped the hook through the thread. Running the length of it across his teeth, he left it slick with slime.

It was obvious that he had reached the ends of his preparation. Kaye twisted her hand up in a tightly clenched fist but still was unable to move herself away from the fae. She watched as he swung the weighted line back and forth like a pendulum. Without warning he flicked the hook forward. Before Kaye could make a noise, it touched her chest before slipping through her like a ghost and tugging on what Kaye could only imagine was her heart. She twisted her head painfully back to fae in time to see him tying his end of the thread around his waist. He gave the thread and experimental tugged, sending Kaye reeling forward. It was as though an invisible force had yanked her entire body. Free of the control that froze her body, Kaye raised her hand to tug at the line sticking out from just below her collarbone. It stuck solidly as her hands slipped down the slimy surface.

"What is this? What have you done to me?"

"Oh, I have you caught; hook, line and sinker."

The fae waved his hand over the thread which disappeared. Kaye turned her head and glanced at it sideways. The thread causing a slight distortion of her view.

"Torh! Come take her away." The ogre shuffled through the archway and tugged her arm once more.

"Oh, and Torh, make the preparations to send her back. I have a shark to catch and I'm weary to wait any long."

Before Kaye could protest, the ogre raised he clobber-like fist and brought it down. She hung limp from her arm, knocked out cold.