Slow And Painful

Soft, weightless tears venture over the archs of her cheeks and down the bridge of her nose. She makes no attempt to dry them, instead choosing to wear them proudly. It's a statement of sorts. She isn't afraid to show her feelings to anyone. She isn't afraid to show that she's scared. She lets the tears roll and stares defiantly forwards.

"You there!"

She doesn't move; doesn't flinch. Doesn't let her eyes wander to meet those of the heavy-set man standing outside her cell whom she'd just seen beat up Simon until he could take no more.

"Hey!" the guy yells. "I said, 'you there'!" He takes a step towards her and she can suddenly feel the weight of his breath down her neck, hot and scratchy; a stark contrast to the smooth, icy confines of the cell she's been incarcerated in.

His odour fills her nostrils and she cringes slightly. Inwardly. He smells dirty: a combination of sweat and dirt and cigarettes and death. That, more so than his huge size, makes her want to fall back and curl up in the corner of the cell as far away from him as possible. That makes her realise how much danger she is in. That makes everything all the more vivid in her mind.

For a moment, she wavers on the edge of breaking, knowing the guy could kill her with a single punch. She holds her breath; forces herself to hold on. A tear runs over her cheek and drops noisily to the dirt ground beneath her to mingle with the dust. Her senses are magnified.

"Your turn."

The words she'd been dreading rustle like a strong gust of wind into her ear. She shivers, but otherwise remains still. Silent. She grasps what little control she has left and stands tall.

The man can take advantage of her and dirty her body with his own. He can beat her up. He can hurt her until her spirit is broken. Never though will he be able to erase the love she has for her friends, for her family, for Serenity. It's not much for her to take comfort in, but it's enough to make her determined not to give in. She has to fight.

She takes a single step backwards when her captor moves towards her, a menacing grin on his face. Another step brings her to the wall and she braces herself against it, hoping, hoping, that something will happen to prolong this - that her 'turn' can be stopped if not permanently than just for another day so she can build up her courage. Then again, it could be best to get it all over with.

She swallows, ignoring the dirty taste coating her mouth and throat.

"You scared?" the guy leers at her.

She doesn't answer and an abrupt laugh escapes her companion, followed by a thinly veiled threat. "You should be."

She shakes her head, hard, and when a slight look of confusion crosses his face at her apparent lack of fear (though really, inside, she has never been so frightened), aims a punch at the guys' head. Pain stabs through her fist and she recalls passingly that it's best not to punch with a closed fist. Damn. Too late to worry about that now. Apparently she's learnt something from the fighters' among the crew, however, as when she finally glimpses the man's face, it's contorted with pain and a thin bead of blood is trickling from his nose.

Before he can so much as grab her by the wrist, she's kneeing him in a place she's certain he'd kill her for and then everything is a blur as she pushes past his doubled over form to bang on the door. It stays firmly shut.

Keys. She forgot to grab his keys.

She turns back and her eyes settle on his. The coldness and utter hatred in his eyes makes her shiver and she knows instinctively that this is it. This is the end. He's going to kill her for her attempt to escape him and he's going to do it now.

Her eyes remain glued to his as he pulls himself to his feet, grimacing slightly at the pain he must still be enduring.

Her eyes remain glued to his as he approaches her, retrieving the keys from his pocket and dangling them tantalisingly in front of her.

Her eyes remain glued to his as he steps close enough to her to reach out and grab her.

Only when he smirks softly at her and nods towards the corner - a silent order for her to move away from the door - does she tear her gaze away.

Her gut was wrong.

It's not the end.

He lets himself out and moves into the hallway outside.

The light let in by the crack in the door lessens, but before the door shuts completely, he pokes his head in for a moment.

"I'm going to break you," he says. "Slowly and painfully."

The door closes the rest of the way with a loud 'click' and her resolve crashes down around her.

She chokes on her tears, flowing more freely now, as her knees buckle out from beneath her.