Lost in Silence (The Lost Series Book 1)

LOST IN SILENCE

THE LOST SERIES BOOK ONE

BY TRACIE DOUGLAS

 

Lost in Silence Copyright © 2015 by Tracie Douglas

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

For Connor,

To the moon and back.

 

Silence is the most powerful scream.

-Anonymous

 

Prologue

Somewhere in the world

Every night before I fall I sleep, I make a wish to never to wake up. Death for me would be a celebration. No matter how much I beg for it, cry for it or pray for it, I wake every morning.

Disappointed to wake yet again this particular morning, I rub the sleep from my eyes, preparing myself because he’ll be here soon and I need to be ready.

Last night, he locked me in the guest room. While any normal person would be grateful to sleep in a bed, I wasn’t. I’d rather sleep in my closet with my thread bare blankets than
that
bed. Which is why I slept on the floor next to the bed. I was playing with fire, I knew, because he could come in to check on me at any moment. Luckily I’m a light sleeper. The key in the lock would wake me instantly, giving me just enough time to climb into the bed.

I stretch my body, feeling the heavy chain anklet weighing me down, the other end attached to the bed, reminding me of my prisoner status. I glance at the clock on the wall, willing time to slow but it never does. I don’t have much of it, so I roll over, push myself up off the floor and walk to the bathroom. My chain drags behind me, giving me enough slack to use the facilities.

I turn on the shower and step into the icy water. Since I’m not allowed the luxury of hot showers I’ve grown used to the cold. At first it was a form of torture and power, now it’s just routine. Using the bar of soap he provides, I lather my body and hair, gagging on the smell of baby powder. It used to be my favorite scent and since he was a master of manipulation, he used it against me. The scent sickens me and has become a signal, telling my body to prepare for what is to come. I shiver, the anticipation overwhelming. No matter how many times I prepare myself exactly like this, it never got any easier.

I quickly rinse the soap away, pushing away my lingering fears and shut the shower off. I pat my body down with the scratchy towel hanging nearby. I comb my hair until it is slightly damp and return the towel to its designated hook. Closing the bathroom door behind me, I walk towards the wardrobe. I’m only allowed clothing on days like this. Entertaining days. Although I wouldn’t call these outfits clothing. I felt more naked wearing these garments than actually walking around in the nude. I reach for the long white, gauzy, scrap and pull it out over my head, adjusting it as it falls down the length of my body.

Glancing at the clock again, I see I have finished with a few minutes to spare. The room is already in perfect order, something I made sure of before falling asleep late last night. I sit down and arrange myself, per his instructions, in the chair special ordered for my guest. It was an oversized, overstuffed, ornate throne. Apparently my guest has a thing for fairy tale princesses. A new one for the book of characters I’ve been instructed to play. Too bad fairy tales weren’t real.

Today I was a princess, frozen like a statue, a masterpiece, waiting for my prince charming.

It isn’t long before I hear the key slide into the lock. As usual he’s on time. The door quickly opens and closes as they step into the room. One of the men standing in front of me is my prison warden, the man I hated more than death itself. The other man is my prince charming. Both send chills down my spine and leave a sour taste in my mouth.

“Prince Valiant, there are your quarters,” my warden’s words break the silence, his cold eyes rest on me. They rake my body and the room, checking for any discrepancies. He’d use any reason to punish me, not that he needed one. “Honored sir, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Aleta, Queen of the Misty Isles.”

My blood runs cold as a wave of shock rolls through me. I was to play a role from a childhood story and not just any story, one of my favorites. My eyes meet his, something I rarely did because of the repercussions. A sickening smile spreads across his face as the recognition of my shock seeps into his eyes. This was planned, another manipulation of something I loved to further torture me.

Prince Valiant steps closer to me, a dark mask covering his face, obscuring his identity. I’m not surprised since very few of my guests ever take it off or go without one. Likely he would remove it once I’m blindfolded. I’ve grown used to being blindfolded. These men got off on the unknown and if I couldn’t see what was coming, my reaction to the physicality of it was more intense and real.

“My lady,” he bows deeply and truthfully I find his ability to bend in such a way shocking. He’s not a small man. In fact, I’m a little worried about being crushed underneath his portly shape, although he wasn’t the biggest man I’d been with. His hidden face looks up at me from the floor, waiting for me to allow him to stand. I hesitate, once again catching the warden’s eye. They glitter with warning, reminding of my instructions. I was Valiant’s queen for the next twenty-four hours. I’m his to do whatever he wants with. I’m expected to give myself freely to him. No objections and no exceptions.

Holding his gaze, I flick my hand allowing Valiant to stand. He does quickly but his breathing is now labored and a sheen of sweat covers what skin I can see beneath his period style clothing. He was definitely dressed for his role.

“Have I upset you, my lady?” Valiant asks, taking a step closer. I cast my eyes down, away from both of them. I couldn’t answer Valiant, not that I was instructed to be silent but because I no longer had the ability to do so.

“She doesn’t speak,” my captor tells him. Valiant turns, his mouth open to object but he’s cut off. “The queen suffered a terrible accident some years back, destroying her vocal chords.”

He lied, as usual. There wasn’t an accident. My inability to form words was caused from something much deeper, much darker. A moment in time I would never forget.

“How unfortunate,” I can feel Valiant’s eyes on me, his body shifts toward me, resonating curiosity. I’m easy prey for him now. “Does she communicate in other ways?”

“She has no voice,” he
explains but now he sounds annoyed with Valiant. “She won’t need to communicate.”

“What if I want to do something she doesn’t like?”

“She can’t object without a voice, can she?”

Valiant touches under my chin and lifts my face. His chubby fingers feel clammy against my skin and I know his whole body is in a sweat. The sour smell of him pierces through his expensive cologne causing my stomach to turn and my thoughts once again return to the worry of being trapped underneath him. My eyes meet his and I notice the excited twinkle blinking at me from their depths. He likes this new development.

“Does she scream?”

“She does not,” my captor’s words are meant to be a reminder for me but they are unnecessary. I couldn’t scream even if I wanted to, making me good at the silent game.

“Excellent,” Valiant murmurs and releases my chin. His hand slips down the length of my neck, under the sheer gown and over the swell of my breast, his fingers clamp onto my nipple. He tests this new bit of information by pinching hard. I close my eyes tightly, trying to block out the white hot pain radiating from the sensitive nub. I hated nipple play more so because men always tested my reactions this exact way. Valiant gasps at my lack of reaction and a smile plays on his face at once. He turns giddy and hastily begins unbuttoning his jacket, his pasty hands struggling with the buttons. “I’d like to get started now.”

My captor nods before quietly opening and closing the door, the only sound I hear is the key slipping back into the lock. I know how important my behavior means to him and I would comply knowing he was watching, recording my time with Valiant. He always did. It was a sick fetish of his, watching these men do things to me they would never do to a free woman. There were times he would make me watch the sessions with him, typically the most brutal of them. He would study my reactions as I watched and remembered each strike against my skin. He found it fascinating.

Valiant circles me, bringing my attention back to him. His shirt now hangs open revealing more of his pasty skin, his scent much stronger. He watches me with malice in his eye as his hand reaches out to slap me hard across the face. He groans in pleasure at the sight of his red handprint on my pale skin.

“You must forgive me Aleta,” his voice is ragged as he licks his lips. “I’m afraid this new development has caused a change in my plans.”

His confession wasn’t surprising in the least. There was something about a voiceless woman many men found intriguing. I lift my eyes, meeting his with strength, daring him to test me. The gleam staring back at me said it all. The next twenty-four hours were going to be hell and he was going to enjoy every minute of it.

So much for fairy tale princesses.

*****

Somewhere in the Sandbox

It’s been six months since I’ve been back stateside. Six months since my entire life blew up. At the time, I was on the edge, ready to walk out in the middle of enemy fire. I wanted pain, needed it and frankly, I didn’t care if death came along with it. I requested an immediate redeployment after the shit hit the fan. I was ready to meet the darkness at the end of an enemy weapon.

Now, six months later, things were better. I was in control of myself again and I had my brothers to thank for that. One in particular, he pulled me back from the brink, showed me life was worth living and he did it in a way I never saw coming. He made me care again, for him, for my brothers and most of all for myself. It was a big change for me, learning to care for people who didn’t suck the life from you, people who weren’t always needing or wanting more than you were able to give them. Not everyone in my life had been this way, just one and she nearly broke me.

My sister was happy to hear about my recovery and that I had a family to lean on when I needed to. She was still upset though, I didn’t see her before making a mad dash back to the desert. She understood though. She had even prepared for it. In her most recent letter she told me she had seen it coming years ago and was more than happy to see ‘the backstabbing bitch’ out of my life. I’m sure she danced all the way to the post office when she sent me the papers finalizing my divorce. She also sent the biggest care package I ever received, filled with baked goods, candy and anything else she could shove into the box to celebrate with.

“Hudson,” a voice calls from outside the bunkroom it was Dizzy, our squad tracker and in-house comedian. “You in there?”

“What’s going on Diz,” I called back, folding my sister’s letter and tucking it under my pillow. While things had been getting better for me but I couldn’t say the same for home life. Things were going from bad to worse for my younger brother. He’s been into more trouble, which is what else my sister’s letters was filled with. Neither of us could pinpoint what exactly had caused this drastic change in his character. He’d always been a good kid, willing to lend a helping hand and going out of his way for others. Now, my sister was lucky if she saw him in passing. Since their last argument he’d taken to avoiding her. Something was going on, something bad. I had a sinking feeling it had to do with me and what happened the last time I was home.

“You got anymore of those cookies your sister sent?” he opens the door, leaning against the frame. A blast of heat hits me in the face and quickly fills the bunkroom.

“Sorry man, Tango got the last of them a few minutes ago,” I shake my head and smile. My sister would love hearing how much her baking skills are appreciated here.

“Damn, I was hoping to take a few with me on patrol,” he steps into the room, letting the door close behind him. I see his eyes stop at my pillow and notice the letter sticking out from underneath it. “Everything all right at home?”

My squad knew a little of what was happening. They offered help but there wasn’t much anyone could do about it. My brother needed a Hudson sized boot up his ass.

“Same shit, different day,” I reply, keeping it as vague as possible.

“Only a couple of months left brother,” he turns his head to the side, his eyes somber and understanding. It was rare to see Dizzy like this because he was always busy making fun of himself, putting himself at the center of every joke. Something dark stirred beneath his comedic demeanor today.

“I just hope they can hang on for that long,” I sigh, knowing he’s right. We didn’t count the days like our families did stateside, there was too much danger around. Instead, we focused on our missions, taking it one day at a time.

“So, file for an emergency leave,” he shrugs.

“I don’t know man,” I rub my hand over my buzzed head and down my face. “I’m not sure if I can go back.”

“I understand,” his voice drops and I know he is thinking about his own home life. Dizzy’s mother recently lost her battle with cancer and he hadn’t been able attend the funeral. We were away on mission at the time. They sent him home to grieve but he wasn’t gone long and when he came back, he was different.

“Are a couple of months going be long enough for you?” I asked, noting the tension in his body as he thinks about what awaits him.

“Has to be,” he replies, his focus on the dirt covered floor. “Got to face it some time.”

I shrug, wishing neither one of us had to face
it
. Whatever
it
was and as much as I’ve accomplished here I wasn’t sure if I was ready to it back home.

“You sure you’re sister can handle it?” his watches me carefully.

I wasn’t sure. This time her letter was more desperate than the last and it had me on edge. My brother started running with a crew who’d been known to cause a lot of havoc in town. A group I knew well. No matter how much my sister tried to get him to see reason, he’d been unresponsive to her pleas and things were getting rough.

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