Proving his loyalty to the coven hadn’t been hard. Barely a week had past and he was nearly ready to take the mysterious “final test.” He was a little apprehensive, as the man had told him it would be painful. James, as the man had come to be known, had told him it was by far the most challenging test of all. He had been here for little more than a week and had had almost no contact with the outside world. His cell phone had been returned to him just long enough for him to send a text to Brendon saying: Am safe. Don’t worry. Will contact when possible. And that had been it. The rest of the time had been devoted to proving his loyalty and succeeding at the tests he was given. And now he was to take the one before the final test.
He was in a small room, bright fluorescent lights overhead. He was sitting on the ground, legs crossed in front of him. He was barefoot, something that the coven required of him to do. Ryan actually preferred it to wearing shoes. It was strangely comforting and it gave him a more connected feeling with the Earth.
The door in front of him opened. He never knew who was giving him his test as they would always be wearing some kind of mask to hide their identities from him. Today’s “Giver,” as he’d begun to call them, was wearing a Casanova-styled mask; beautiful and intricate designs running across the gold frame. It reminded Ryan of Brendon. He pushed the thought away and smiled at the Giver.
“What would you do for this coven, Harlot?” The Giver spat. Ryan nearly sighed at the name they had given him. He supposed it could be a lot worse, but he wasn’t particularly fond of it. He looked at the Giver. “I would do anything you asked, my liege,” he replied. Another demand of the coven. He was to add “my liege” into whatever he was saying whenever speaking to a Giver. Failure to do so would result in severe physical punishment.
“What if you were to die performing the test?”
Ryan bowed his head respectfully. “I would do anything you asked, my liege,” he repeated. The Giver chuckled. “Very good, Harlot. And in that case, you will drink this,” the Giver said, handing him a small vial of red fluid. Ryan took it and waited, knowing the Giver wasn’t finished.
“You will drink that fluid. It is poison and it will kill you in 45 minutes if I don’t deem you worthy of receiving the antidote. What say you, Harlot?”
Ryan uncapped the poison and brought it to his lips, swallowing the bitter contents without hesitation. The Giver leaned against the wall, staring at Ryan intently as he put the cap back on and placed the bottle gently on the floor. Then he closed his eyes and waited for death or salvation.
Ryan had been missing for a week. Seven days of heartbreak and anguish for his friends, who had little more to go by than a cryptic text message. Brendon spent hours staring at those eight words, trying to decipher some hidden meaning behind them. Trying to see if he could decipher the code that Ryan had clearly been trying to send. But he couldn’t find it. He knew it was there, an SOS from his Mona Lisa. And he couldn’t find it, no matter how hard he searched. But he kept frantically searching, unable to accept that fact that it simply wasn’t there.
Yay! Another cliffhanger! Y'all probably hate me by now :)
TheAnonymous: Thank you!
panicfan01: Yea, I felt for him too. Brendon's a handful...
Wicked_Lovely: Wow. Just wow. Thank you so much. I'm glad you love it!! That really, truly means a lot to me.