Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and no copyright infringement is intended.
Eventually they came for me and I was compliant; there was no point fighting them. They gave me a shot of something to make me drowsy before we left. I struggled to stay awake, but to no avail, I did my best. The journey was long, although, I had no idea of the time or where we were going thanks to the sedative in my system. Once back at Volterra, I was dragged back to the familiar cell that had become my home. I was dumped on the hard bed and my eyes were struggling to focus on anything when Felix stepped into my line of vision.
"Cullen, nice to see you back where you belong. Now, come with me."
He motioned for me to follow him, and I struggled to my feet, still feeling drowsy. The response was for him to laugh before he grabbed me, leading me away. We walked into the room where I had written my letters. I was forced into a chair, my hands bound to the arms. I was left alone with only my thoughts as I wondered what they would do to me. Hoping I wouldn't have to wait long. I thought the fear would cause me to pass out, it was the waiting that was the worst part, or so I thought.
Felix swept back into the room, glancing at a camera in the corner of the room before he turned to me, a smile playing at his lips. My heart started to pound heavily in my chest as he stepped in front of me, blocking my view. I heard the door open and close, but wasn't sure who it was that had come into the room. He chuckled and stepped aside, revealing James standing behind him. To my horror he then turned and left the room, leaving the two of use alone.
The sneer that played on his lips sent a chill through me. I knew what a sadistic fucker he could be, and I wondered why he was here. He walked toward me, and I could see he had bruises that were still to fade and cuts that were healing. There was a slight limp to his walk, telling me that though he gave all the bravado of being okay, he was far from it. I could only imagine the injuries that Felix inflicted on him. I saw him when he was being dragged away, and I was shocked to see him here in front of me now. As he stood in front of me he leaned over me, his breath hot on my face as I tried my hardest not to flinch.
"Cullen, finally, I get to see you one on one. I've dreamed I'd get this chance to repay you for the beating that I took," he said, sneering right in my face.
Panic ripped through me and I tried to remain calm on the surface. "You deserved it," I said in a calm voice that didn't relay how I really felt.
"Fucker!" The scream from him was so loud before his voice dropped to the low and menacing tone that I associated with him. "Now you're here, waiting for your punishment. How fitting that it's me that gets to inflict it on you."
I struggled to get free from my bindings, although what good it would do me, I didn't know, as I was locked in a room with a madman who clearly wanted revenge.
"Tut-Tut. You know better than to think that you wouldn't be properly restrained here." He paused before slowly circling the chair, staring at me intently. "Hmm... now what to do with you?" He paused behind me, so I turned to try and see him, but I couldn't. Then I felt something cold against my throat. It took a second for me to work out what it was, and instantly froze. It was a blade. I doubted very much that he would slit my throat, but did wonder what he could get away with now that we were alone. He laughed as he danced the blade over my throat. Then he was standing in front me, moving the blade away from my throat, teasing me with it; ensuring I would see it. It was a double blade, and it glinted in the overhead lights.
The cold steel pressed against my cheek; the tip resting next to my right eye. James found the whole thing amusing, which didn't surprise me. The blade sat flat against my skin until he suddenly turned it onto its edge and began to draw it down my cheek. At first I hadn't realized he had broken the skin until I felt the tickle of blood as it ran down my cheek. Then, he pulled the blade away and clearly into my line of sight. He was, quite obviously, enjoying having some power over me. He turned the knife over, marvelling at the blade and the blood that was on it. I tried to pull away from him, continuing to struggle against my restraints. It was hopeless though, and it only served to amuse James further as he laughed darkly as my reaction.
"I have all of forever to do this to you, Cullen, and I've been so looking forward to seeing you again."
Letting out a deep sigh, I closed my eyes, but not for long as he grasped my chin and sneered in my face. "Don't you fucking dare look away from me!" He released his hold sharply, causing my head to snap to the side. I stared at him, defiance now filling my entire being. He was only doing this because I wasn't able to fight back.
"What's up James? You like that I'm defenceless, do you? Afraid to take me on if I were able to fight back?" I sounded far braver than I felt, as he stared at me. I knew he was trying to work out what to do next, and then he came toward me with the knife, pressing the tip to my throat. I could feel the point as it almost broke the skin.
"I could, so easily, just slit your throat. No one would know, or even care that you were gone permanently. I'm sure your whore wouldn't miss you. She isn't so far, that's for sure."
Staring at him, I wondered who he meant. Heidi was nothing to me other than a mistake; one I was paying for dearly now. "She means nothing to me, she never did." I spat the words as if they were pure poison.
James simply laughed. "Oh, how little you think of her. Here I was thinking you actually loved her... my mistake."
Staring at him, my brow furrowed in confusion, I answered him. "Heidi? She was the biggest fucking mistake of my life."
I watched as he laughed, throwing his head back before he regained eye contact with me. I saw them darken slightly as they bored into me. "Did I say her? No, we all know that she's a whore. Maybe I need to clarify considering there are so obviously so many whores in your pathetic, miserable excuse for a life." He paused, a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth just before he spoke again. His eyes sparked with excitement as he spoke words that sent a chill running through me. "I was referring to Bella."
At the mention of Bella, I lost it. "You motherfucker! You are not fit to think her name, let alone breathe it!"
I braced myself, knowing that he would retaliate. I didn't have to wait long. He leaned over me, grabbing hold of my wrists, applying pressure knowing that I could do nothing to stop him. I was shocked when he released my wrists, but the relief was short lived when he grabbed hold of my little finger on my left hand and without taking his eyes from mine, he snapped it backwards. The pain was intense as it shot through me. I screamed out loud, causing him to chuckle again.
"Oh, does that hurt?" He mocked in a teasing tone before his voice dropped, saying, "Good." With that he snapped back the ring and middle finger on the same hand. I screamed again, my head falling backwards as tears rolled down my face, choking through the pain. It was searing, and there was nothing that I could do. I brought my head forward, dropping my chin to my chest as I fought to control my breathing and work through the pain.
He turned away from me, leaning against the wall, running the knife under his fingernails as if he was cleaning them. Eventually he looked over at me, a smile playing at his lips as he spoke, "That was just for starters, Cullen. I can only say how disappointed I am in you." With that, he opened the door to step outside. Pausing, he cocked his head to one side as he sneered. "I thought you would be less of a screamer than your sister…shame really."
He watched as my face fell in recognition of what he had just said, before he threw his head back and laughed as he slammed the door behind him. My mind raced at a million miles an hour. How did he know about Alice? What did he mean about her screaming? Was she hurt? I needed to know.
The pain in my fingers was the least of my concerns. I needed to know if Alice was okay. If he had laid one solitary finger on her, I would snap every one of his putrid appendages, as he had just snapped mine. My thoughts were interrupted when the door swung open and a couple of men, that I didn't know by name, but recognized as being henchmen, came into the room. They walked over to me, cutting the bindings loose, but held onto an arm each, before they bound my hands in front of me. They dragged me to my feet and from the room.
We made our way through the maze of corridors before I was led outside. There was a chill in the air and I shivered. They took me to the rear of the property and through a line of trees where they led me into an out building that looked like a barn. I saw a rope suspended from one of the beams in the center. I feared that this would be the last thing I would ever see. I began to struggle frantically against them, but they were stronger than me.
Mentally, I prepared myself, as they stood on either side of me, holding me. Then I saw Felix step into view. "Ah…Mr. Cullen, I see James left you relatively unharmed. Nice to see he can obey some orders." He snickered to himself before stepping closer to me. Once he was standing in front of me, he grabbed my face, turning it to see the marks inflicted by James. He grasped my bound hands, causing me to scream out in pain. This made Felix laugh. "Old habits die hard with James. He always was slightly… heavy handed."
I managed to swallow down the remainder of the scream, not wanting to give them one more second of entertainment. I watched as he walked away and toward the rope. He tugged on it, testing, I believed, its suitability for whatever he had planned. Felix motioned for me to be brought forward. Instinctively, I struggled, but was soon standing in from of the rope that hung in front of me.
Felix grabbed my bound wrists, staring deep into my eyes. "You fear death, Cullen?" He asked in a menacing tone. I returned his stare; unable to speak, I slowly shook my head. Felix smiled, nodding before he responded. "You should. Death is no escape." He reached up and grabbed the rope, winding it through the bindings on my wrists. Once he was happy, he motioned to someone that I couldn't see and the rope was pulled upwards, and my hands with it.
My arms stretched above my head, my feet only just remaining on the floor. I was, for all intents and purposes, hanging like a punching bag. I expected blows to be rained down on me, instead I was left alone. This scared me more than anything, to be alone like this, not knowing what would happen to me. I listened to nothing but the sound of the night around me for people that never came.
Eventually, I grew tired. My eyes felt heavy and they started to close. Getting rest would be difficult. Could I sleep in a standing position? I didn't get to test that theory because just as my eyes closed and my head started to drop, a jolt ran through me, causing me to scream out loud. That fucking belt! It wasn't on the highest setting; just enough to bring me back into the world. I looked around and could see no one, so how did they know what was happening here?
I tried to get settled, resigning myself to the fact that I would be here a while. Tiredness would wash over me and just when I would give into it, I found electricity surging through me. My body ached and begged to be allowed to rest, but none was permitted. This was a strange form of punishment, but I knew Aro was certainly never predictable. My fingers throbbed from the pain and I doubted, highly, that medical attention would be allowed to me. Hell, when Emmett busted his fingers growing up, he ended up with his fingers in a splint and then had to have a cast on them because they were busted too badly. Mine? They hurt like a bitch and I knew James enjoyed inflicting that pain on me.
The night was long and dark. I heard the door to the barn open, and my eyes frantically searched into the darkness to see who was there. Calling out brought no response, but I knew deep inside me that someone was there; I just didn't know who.
The sound of footsteps moving around in the darkness, alerted me to their whereabouts, and as much as was possible, I would turn to face in the direction of the noise. But it was pointless because as soon as I turned toward where I thought that they were, I would be struck, hard in the ribs, back, and my legs would be kicked out from under me. The strain on my arms was unbearable until I could get back onto my feet. They didn't attack me relentlessly; it was almost as if they were toying with me. I thought it was James, but I knew there was no way he would be able to resist taunting me. It was hard not to cry out from the pain that was being inflicted, but I didn't want to give the motherfucker any satisfaction from hearing my pain, so I did my best to keep it inside.
Eventually, they must've got bored of my not responding. I wasn't showing any outward fear toward them, causing them to leave me alone. I was pleased at myself. The only sign that I had acknowledged anything was happening to me was, my body's natural response to being attacked. Once I was sure I was alone, I reacted. I screamed in pain, worried that further injuries had been inflicted on me, and that these too, would go untreated.
Daylight broke through the cracks in the wood that formed the barn. My eyes burned from lack of sleep and I was still struggling to keep them open. My whole body was screaming at me, but all I could do was wait to see who would come for me. I wasn't only hungry, but I was thirsty too.
The doors to the barn were flung open, flooding the space with brilliant sunshine. My head snapped up as I squinted, making out three, maybe four figures walking toward me. I must've managed to fall asleep in this position because I was drowsy and felt groggy.
"Mr. Cullen." The deep, familiar tones of Felix drifted through the space. He turned to the men that stood to one side. "Let him down."
I automatically tensed as one of them stood in front of me, while one of the others released the rope from the pulley system. I was spared no mercy as I collapsed onto the floor, my legs no longer having the strength to hold me upright. I could hear their sniggers as I struggled to find my feet. There was no way I could allow myself to be punished for this, but I couldn't stand.
Felix appeared in front of me, taking hold of my chin and pulling my face toward him as he spoke. "You're allowed to rest for a short while. Tonight, you fight again." He turned to the men near me. "Take him back to the house. I need to prepare things for later."
He turned away from us, and my arms were grabbed. I was manhandled and taken back to the main property to the cell that I, now, called home. Once there, I was unceremoniously thrown on the floor. As they left, I managed to drag myself onto the bed, closing my eyes and allowing sleep to claim me.
The rest I had gained was short lived. I awoke gasping for breath and realized that I had ice cold water tossed over me.
My eyes found Felix quickly; his tone was business like as usual. "Come. You're to train before you fight tonight." With that, he turned and left the room. I wasn't given the chance to respond before my arms were grabbed and I was taken from the cell into the training room where Felix waited for me. He indicated that I should begin on the treadmill. I knew better than to disobey, so I began to run. The pain from my broken fingers remained, and I wondered if Felix knew what James had done to me. Then again, why would he care? I was a simple means to an end, as long as I could earn money. That would be all they cared about. What was a little pain to them?
Once Felix was satisfied that I was in good enough shape, he sent me back to my cell, telling me I would be collected shortly for the fight and given my orders before we left. That struck me as unusual. Normally I was told once I was at the venue, but there was nothing I could do than, follow their orders.
Exhaustion washed over me once I was alone again. My whole body felt like it was on fire; my eyes burned as I fought to keep them open.
I didn't need to worry that I would lapse into some form of sleep as Laurent stepped into my line of sight. He smiled at me. "Hello, Edward. You know why I'm here." I nodded slowly, falling to my knees and outstretching my hands in front of me. My fingers wouldn't straighten out, but this wasn't something he noticed. The handcuffs were secured around my wrists before I made the, now familiar journey from my cell to the outside world.
Stopping at the door that leads outside, Laurent turned to me and I sighed. "I know, I know. You need to put the hood on." He simply laughed in response before producing it from his pocket. Once it was placed over my head, I was taken outside. The fresh air woke me up slightly, and we seemed to be taking the long route to whatever vehicle they were using. I stumbled on the, slightly uneven, ground causing Laurent to grab me, steadying me before I fell. I needed to know what was happening.
"Can I ask you something?" I almost whispered, taking the silence as an approval. "Where are we going tonight?" He didn't answer, and we just continued to walk. Something was wrong, I just didn't know what.
We halted suddenly and I expected the van door to open, but instead I heard Felix's voice. "This way."
The ground beneath my feet changed to a wooden floor and my mind raced to try and make sense of where I could be. Then I realized we were in the barn that I had been brought to earlier. Fear spiked in me and I wondered if they were going to kill me this time. I froze, unable to move forward. Laurent pulled at my arm causing me to stagger forward before I fell to the ground. Instinctively, I put my hands out flat to break my fall, but this only caused me further pain and I screamed out. Not that they cared in any way shape or form.
I felt arms on me, grabbing me as I was dragged across the floor before I heard another door open. Then I was pulled to stand up straight before the hood was removed. When I could focus my eyes, Felix came into my field of vision. My eyes immediately dropped to the floor, my heart pounding heavily in my chest while I waited for him to speak.
It felt like an eternity before he spoke. "Tonight you fight again. This time on home ground." My eyes snapped to his and he cocked his head to one side, a questioning look on his face. "You will fight here, and you are to win, no excuses, no reprieves. Failure is not an option. Understood?"
I nodded slowly at him, keeping my face as calm as possible. How was I going to fight with broken fingers? I doubted they would care or offer me any medical attention, so I held my tongue and vowed to fight through the pain. I just didn't know how much I would regret that.
I listened intently to the noises that came from outside the room I was in. There were voices, but it all sounded very subdued, nowhere near the level of noise that I was used to. Then I remembered how much smaller the space than the other locations. Soon I found myself being told that it was time for my fight.
Once again, the nerves ripped through me. I knew each fight would test me, push me to the limits, but now I was injured and hadn't said anything. Would they punish me for that? I had no idea, but now wasn't the time for me to worry. Tonight, they told me to win, and orders had to be obeyed regardless.
Once I was ready to fight, Felix led me out and I looked around, noticing the crowd was different. They weren't the normal mixture of people that I had come to expect. They seemed to be more businessmen; they looked wealthier than the normal people I was expected to entertain. I tried not to make eye contact with any of them, after all, I was nothing to them.
Aro was standing off to the side talking to Caius and another man that I hadn't seen before. Feeling the weight of my stare, his eyes cut to me, piercing me as they bored into my soul. I felt uncomfortable but yet, I couldn't bring myself to look away.
Felix pushed me in the back, ending the stare off. When I dared to look at him, he wasn't looking my way. I moved where I was commanded and waited for the inevitable to happen.
The introductions passed in a haze. The guy was a similar height to me. They said his name was Riley. I really didn't want to know his name after what happened to the person in the basement following my escape attempt. If I didn't know his name, I wouldn't think of him as a person. That way if I was to kill him, it wouldn't matter, would it? It was too much to hope that I could switch off entirely, but I needed to cope and that was the only way I could, so I needed force myself to do it.
Riley seemed to be excited about the prospect of fighting tonight. I just couldn't understand why. It seemed alien to me that someone would look forward to beating the life out of another person. I mean, he seemed normal in the scheme of things, especially when you compared him to James; then again, anyone would seem normal alongside him. I had my instructions, and that was to win.
Once the fight started, it became clear that Riley was a worthy opponent. He was fast on his feet and confident which he turned to his advantage. It was like he could anticipate my actions. Then again, I wasn't in top form. I was tired, verging on exhaustion and nursing broken fingers on one hand. It was in my interest to show no weakness, but there was little that I could do to keep to flashes of intense pain from my face. I knew he saw them and a sly grin spread across his lips. The moment I saw this, I knew that I was in trouble.
He ran toward me, pushing me backwards which caused me to lose balance, inducing us to fall to the floor together. I fought him, trying to wrestle him off me, but it was useless. My energy was gone and he ended up straddling me. His arm was across my throat, cutting off my air supply. I clawed at his arms, but my injuries and his pure strength, meant that I was fighting a losing battle. Breathing was a struggle and I thrashed about under him. My eyes were being drawn to where I saw Aro standing. He had an angry look on his face as he turned to Felix. He whispered something into his ear. Felix simply nodded and left, but not before he glared at me. Displeasure was clearly written all over his face.
With what little energy I had left, I fought back. This only encouraged Riley further as he pressed harder down on my throat.
I remembered him whispering into my ear. "I thought it would take more to take you down tonight. James was right; this was easy money for me."
That was the last thing that I heard before I blacked out.
Pre-read by Shaz Warner and Beta'd by DreamofRob 10 – thanks to both you wonderful ladies who keep me sane!
Thanks to everyone who reviewed the last chapter – sorry I have failed majorly as replying, but I do read every single one of them. I love hearing your reactions and know that you are all eager for Edward to be free, and I will be honest with you. The rest of the story is planned in my head I just need to get it down around everything else that I am doing.
Bella's POV is being told under the story Missing, not as far on as this but if you want to know what she thinks, head on over.