Authors: Kimber S. Dawn
A yelp escapes my lips before I sob, “Please, please stop.”
“Stop?” His laughter is drenched in wickedness with danger visible just beneath the surface. My breath hitches in my throat and my trembling body begins to jerk and seize. “Do you seriously think you have a say in what I choose to do to you? I make the rules, Heather. All of them. Now. I said fucking stand up!!”
I put all my effort into willing my body to follow his command but before I can accomplish the feat his fist connects with my cheek sending me through the air until I slam against the wall like a broken doll.
“STAND!” He shouts.
I try, I swear I try but the sound of blood rushing passed my eardrums along with the pain ricocheting through my skull causes the room to spin. Holding on to a wall for support I’m barely able to make it to my knees and as soon as I stand the room tilts, sending me face first to the stone floor.
Through the blood running from my head down into my vision I watch as Roman drags my uncle Jay into the room and drops him into a heap on the stone floor. The glint of something silver catches my eye right before Roman moves quickly behind him and wraps a metal wire around his neck and pulls back as he places his knee between my uncle’s shoulder blades.
I can only watch in horrid fascination as Roman strangles the life from my beloved uncle before shock consumes me and the blessed darkness rips my consciousness away.
I have no idea how much time has passed when I wake up. After a quick priority level assessment I note I am in a bed, my bed, I’m clothed, and other than the slight discomfort around the front
my head and a stabbing pain in my jaw, I’m not in any other serious pain. I move my legs slightly first
then my arms and wince from the ache of unused muscles and bone
“Ahhhh you’re awake. Good. It’s time you to learn how the rest of your life will be spent. I need you to keep in mind this will be a short-term arrangement because inevitably you’ll let me down and I will become bored. Once I lose interest, you lose your life…are we clear?” Without knowing exactly how one should respond, I simply nod.
“Beginning now, I want you to suffocate any misconceptions you may have of living a long life. Neither of us can afford any illusions. You will soon bore me into having to kill you. Understood?”
My eyelids flutter open and the first thing I see is the tornado full of angels on my ceiling. Is it strange the painting reminds me of Roman? Such beauty wielding the power over life and death. Beauty wielding the power to maim, kill, and destroy. I attempt to speak but my mouth is dry as cotton and I’m unable to separate my teeth.
Roman leans over me lightly pulling me up, fluffing pillows behind my back and laying me back to rest sitting up.
“Because you refused to answer my earlier question concerning your knowledge of the twelve, I purposefully shattered your jaw and wired your teeth together and for added excitement I took care of your inconvenient uncle. You’ve been out for almost two weeks. I am confident, in 3 to 4 weeks when I remove the wires you’ll be eager to have a conversation. Heather, when I make a demand, you are to follow it to the T immediately, every single time. You will not like the consequence if you choose otherwise.”
Oh my God, Uncle Jay! I prayed I was hallucinating, hoping the shock riddled my mind with holes of insanity and caused me to see and hear things that weren’t really there. I’m still not convinced as his words barrel through my shell-shocked frontal lobe. He broke my jaw? Then wired my mouth shut? I am so far up shit creek and for the first time, including the previous beatings, all my training, my time in the academy, the night those three punks tried to mug me, for the first time in my life, I truly feel fear.
I look down and for a moment become confused by what I see. I’m dressed in the frilliest silver and soft
satin gown and robe I’ve ever seen. My eyes land on my manicured hands resting on my abdomen.
It is apparent as I look in his eyes my shock can be clearly seen. “I may be the devil, mouse, but a barbarian I am not. As long as you stay alive under my roof, you will wear what pleases me. The condition of your hands was appalling; a woman’s hands should feel as soft as flower petals.
have manicured hands and polished nails, not callused paws with hangnails.”
He sighs as if he’s weary or exhausted before he stands and walks to a fully stocked bar situated in a corner. A cream overstuffed chair and ottoman and a matching cream chaise lounge are positioned diagonal from each other. Both are decorated with baby blue and silver throw pillows and a light gray blanket.
When he returns and sits on the bed he explains the drink he hands me, “Sprite with a splash of cherry juice, lets see how you do on clear liquids today and tomorrow we’ll try some warm broth. I detest vomit so if you lose the contents of your stomach, YOU will be the one cleaning up. Understood?”
I nod slightly keeping my eyes on the crystal tumbler in my hand. “Here,” My eyes dart up to his and I flinch and clench my eyelids shut when I see how close his hand is to my face, preparing for an impending strike. “I’m trying to help you at the moment.” I blink up at him and note the aggravation on his face. One of his hands gently wraps around mine holding the glass while the other directs a straw towards my mouth. “Open your lips as much as you can.”
I do as I’m told and he slides the straw between my cheek and teeth. “Now, close them and take little sips. I know you may feel dehydrated, but do not gulp, Heather. I’ve kept you hydrated and nourished using certain IV solutions.”
After a few sips I pull the straw from my mouth and set the glass on the bedside table. Roman remains unmoved from my side sitting on the edge of the bed. His hand comes up and brushes my hair over my shoulder as his eyes roam over my face. He seems to be studying me for reasons completely unknown to me.
“You will not be leaving the manor again, Heather…the life you once lived is no longer one you control, it belongs to me now and it’s only purpose is for my amusement. As long as you do as I say, you will be rewarded with luxuries such as this bed,” He nods towards the bed, “clothing made of the finest material,” He jerks his head towards what I assume is a closet, “a fully stocked and lavish bathroom with amenities, a comfortable room, music, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared by a five star chef I employ. Do you understand, Heather?”
My chin quivers and tears well in my eyes as my chest implodes when the detailed memory of what Roman did to my Uncle Jay comes crashing back. I realize I’ll never see him or my brothers again, never hug their necks again, never hear their voices again. I’m somehow able to keep the tears from spilling over as I nod and he continues his sinister speech.
“I’ve never gone this far before. Women before you would kill to be in your position. Your knowledge of the twelve has caused these extreme measures. Now, lets hope for your sake you are able to succeed in two different ways. First, don’t piss me off because there will come a point where I’d rather slit your throat after carving you up than deal with you. You have one thing in your favor in that aspect… You can’t speak. Breaking your jaw to wire it shut may have seemed for my benefit, but in all honesty, I did it for you. Secondly, it is in your best interest to keep me amused, entertained, by whatever means necessary. As soon as I become bored with you, I’ll become irritated with you, and when you become a gnat, I will end your life. Is that also understood?”
I can’t help the tears this time. They fall. In rivers they stream down my face as I nod ‘yes’.
s huge hands cup my face as his thumbs sweep away my tears. His lips brush mine when he whispers “Shhh… Come now, mouse, I know, I know it may seem as though I’ve stolen your life but in actuality you gave it to me as a gift. You told me you wanted me, did you not?” I nod, again. “Well now you have me, you have me like no one else ever has or ever will.” He smiles down at me in all of his beauty, his blue eyes shining like sapphires looking into my muddy brown ones as his lips cover mine in the sweetest, most gentle kiss I’ve ever felt.
The thought running on a loop through my mind is, ‘I wanted to know the truth. Not only because I wanted to save and love Roman Payne, but because I wanted his name cleared. Now I know I didn’t want the truth. I wanted the lies, the deception, because they would make Roman my angel.
Roman isn’t good, Roman isn’t innocent. And Roman can never be my angel. Roman is a killer, a vile thief of lives and souls and dreams. He is Lucifer, in all of his glorious beauty.
Believe it or not I settle into some semblance of a routine fairly quickly and Roman’s housekeeper, Dolores and I formed a tentative relationship. Dolores doesn’t speak, and I’m uncertain if it’s because she can’t, or won’t. Although her silence slowed our communication initially it did not prevent it. Each morning, after Roman lays out my clothes he leaves for his practice. I get up, shower and dress
then I make my way down stairs to see if Dolores will allow me to help her with any of the house duties, but of course she never does. I keep trying to persuade her to let me help with the garden, but she shakes her head and tsks tsks me using her two forefingers.
Each rainy day I weep, then each day the sun shines I weep a bit more. Dolores has caught me several times crying for fresh air, but she doesn’t say a word nor does she try to ease my painful yearning to feel the sunlight or rain drops on my face.
My gilded cage slowly becomes easier to live within as time passes and I settle into a routine that strangely provides me with comfort each day. My greatest fear is I won’t be able to hide these conflicting thoughts from Roman. I am afraid if he ever knew how badly I yearn to sneak outside it will cost me my life.
I have watched Roman Payne from afar for a very long time. I have followed him. I have studied him since his first ‘mistake’ when he had to call his daddy to come and help clean up his mess.
When his macabre journey began, I was standing in the shadows as nothing more than a voyeur and over time my voyeurism evolved into envy. Brittany was supposed to be my prom date, not his. I’d been in love with Brittany since second grade. When I asked her to prom and she said yes, I was over the moon. I saved every cent I earned; I rented a limo, made reservations for the nicest restaurant in town and ordered the most expensive corsage I could afford. Three days before the event, Roman Payne, Mr. Popularity-All American Rich Boy, noticed my Brittany and asked her to prom. Brittany cancelled our date.