Let me out, and let me in.
His commanding tone was enough to make me stop in place, stirring feelings inside of me that I didn’t even know existed. I’d never been submissive in my nature, leaning more towards dominant but suddenly nothing other than submission came to mind when he was speaking.
“These needles are here for you but you already knew that.” Brendon’s tone softened, “Are my assumptions correct in you fearing them?”
I nodded, biting my lip.
“Forgive my confusion but I do not understand.” Brendon stood back up, “What do you have to fear? It’s a simple pinch.”
It was a simple fear yet one hard to explain. “I’m afraid of the pain.” That was the short explanation.
“But you’ve been hurt before. Surely, your line of work does not come without some scratches which hurt a lot more than needles.”
“I know it’s not going to hurt a lot but, I can’t explain... I just- and why do you want to poke me anyway?”
Brendon smiled, flashing pearly white teeth. “I need your blood.”
“Hell no.” My stubborn-ness returned as I glared up at him, “I’ve donated blood before. That shit takes forever. Plus, I’m not in the giving mood.”
“I’m not feeling incredibly patient.” Brendon warned, “And I’ve been more than fair-“
I cut him off, much to his displeasure. “Fair? What is fair about poking me with needles?”
“I could take a far more grisly approach.” Brendon warned, cocking his head to the side as he waited for my response. “Is that what you would prefer?”
“Sure.” I mean, what the hell did I have to lose? I was stuck for god knows how long in a house with some lunatic. I was clearly going to die eventually so why not just skip straight to the bloody finish?
“Excuse me?” Brendon’s velvety voice held nothing other than pure confusion, causing his brows to furrow together.
Something inside of me twitched as I stared at him and in complete horror I realized I was currently staring... because I found him attractive. That had been immediately apparent but for some reason I figured he would become unattractive to me once he decided to keep me hostage. Evidently my eyes weren’t connecting to my brain because the man I was staring at still looked attractive to me.
“Just kill me already.” I muttered, through clenched teeth.
“You’d prefer death over a little poke?”
“Did I stutter?”
“Ryan!” Brendon suddenly yelled Ryan’s name and impatiently tapped his foot upon the ground as he waited.
“What?” Ryan sounded quite unhappy to be invited in to our conversation.
“Madeline is frustrating me.” Brendon said, gesturing to the needles. “Will you take her blood?”
“I’m not getting involved in this lover’s spat.” Ryan said, attempting to back out of the room.
Lover’s spat? Hardly! Without even thinking it through I reached out, grabbing on to Ryan’s arm. The muscles beneath his skin contracted, giving me the idea that he wasn’t one to randomly grab on to... Still I held on. “Kill me.” I pleaded, staring in to his eyes. I didn’t want to be in this room for one more minute with Brendon.
Also, I really wasn’t all that fond of having blood taken from my body, for absolutely any purpose.
Whatever happened next occurred much too quickly for me to even comprehend. I felt something brush past me and then I was standing alone, while Ryan was against the wall with Brendon standing directly in front of him, his arm carefully placed over Ryan’s throat.
“I... um, I just missed something pretty important.” I awkwardly stated, clearing my throat.
Neither boy paid me any attention for they seemed to be locked in a deadly ‘who can stare the longest’ game.
“It was her request.” Ryan finally said.
Brendon lowered his arm but remained close to Ryan, “That is not her call to make, understood?”
Great. Now I couldn’t even decide to end my own life.
Ryan took his time before replying, “Understood.” He didn’t look all that happy about it though. So, what exactly did he have against me? I hadn’t tried to kill him! I tried to kill Brendon and yet Brendon was more pro-life when it came to my existence.
Brendon smiled widely, acting as if nothing had occurred just moments ago. “Madeline, can we get this over with now please?”
“I am not willingly allowing that needle anywhere near me until you at least explain why you need my blood.” That seemed like a fair request, right?
Ryan lingered by the door and I assumed he was just as unaware of Brendon’s plans as I was.
Brendon shrugged, “Fair enough. I’m going to extract enough blood to drench your clothing so that Ryan and I can stage your death.”
“Worst-idea-ever.” I spit out, crossing my arms over my chest.
“Did you expect to be found?” Brendon asked, raising an eyebrow, “Anyone can search for you all they want but no one will find you.”
No one will find you...
The words sunk in and in horror I thought of my mother, struggling with her lung cancer. She was already suffering... when news of my ‘death’ hit her would she be able to cope? ... Who, if not me, would take care of her?
As much as I struggled to find words I could not, none were fitting of the situation. My lips parted, nothing other than air coming out.
What was the point of even playing along now?
I was to be declared dead. Once done no one would even look and if they did it obviously wouldn’t matter. There was something bigger than me here, something clearly supernatural. There was nothing normal about Brendon; that was the only thing I was certain of at this point.
So, I could be declared dead and live under Brendon until he got sick of me and killed me or I could just die. All it came down to was wanting to hold on to a string that was falling apart, quickly coming to an end. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to hold on. I didn’t want unfounded hope to find it’s way in to my life.
My plan came together in seconds and I knew it wasn’t a good one but that didn’t matter. To run felt great. To be caught, not so much. I’d rather run, even if only for a few seconds, instead of never even trying. The outcome was to be the same either way. It was just a matter of time. Time was something I didn’t want.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see that Ryan’s hand was inches from one of the doors, while the other door was unguarded. I only had to make it a few steps and then...
The door flew open, crashing against a vase, which was obviously placed too close. My feet thudded against the tiled flooring. Someone’s hand was inches from my wrist but I managed to pull away in time, turning towards the front door...
It was so close.
The hand that had been reaching out finally wrapped around my wrist, causing me to lose my footing. As I fell to the ground the person holding on to me fell as well, keeping a tight grip.
“Get off of me.” I tried to keep my tone even, not wanting to betray how truly afraid I was of each of these men, who held my life in their very capable hands.
My face was forced in to the ground as the person shifted their weight, keeping hold of my wrist. I felt as if my wrist were being twisted in to a painful angle as it was held behind my back.
“That was very, very stupid Madeline.” Brendon spoke, words flowing out from behind clenched teeth.
I could barely glance up as I heard footsteps and saw Ryan entering the room. “Well, that was entertaining. Shall I begin?” He held a needle in between his thin fingers.
I began struggling harder against Brendon, doing nothing more than hurting myself. “What is that?” I demanded, going nowhere, despite my constant struggles. Brendon wouldn’t budge. “That’s not to take blood… that’s an injection. What is it?”
“Shh…” Brendon’s grip loosened, though I was still kept in place. “It’s just to calm you. You’re overreacting.”
“Please don’t.” I hated myself for sounding so weak but as Ryan approached with the needle I couldn’t stop the shaking that took over my body. Ever since I was a child I’d carried around the irrational fear. I remembered when I was 9. I had to go to a doctor’s visit and I ended up shattering the doctor’s nose as he approached me with a needle, carrying something everyone was convinced I needed. I wasn’t so convinced. People had survived just fine before we had all these fancy vaccines. I didn’t want anything moving through my veins, even if it was supposedly going to protect me.
“Fuck.” Brendon let go for just a second, giving me the chance to drive my elbow back in to his face. I felt the collision and winced, not letting either boy see that I had harmed myself, more than I had harmed Brendon.
Brendon’s hand quickly re-gripped my wrist and I shut my eyes tightly as I felt the needle slide through my skin. Tears clung to my eyelashes, refusing to fall, and a tiny bubble of blood gathered upon my skin as Ryan slid the needle out of my skin, standing as if nothing had happened. “I’m going to leave now.” He informed us, looking extremely irritated. “Keep a leash on her if you must.” I rolled my eyes, staying in place. I wanted Brendon to let me go. I knew if I continued to fight then he would not, so to essentially play dead was my only good option.
“You’re bleeding.” Brendon stated.
“How can you tell?” The blood wasn’t even dripping. It was on the other side of my arm, facing away from Brendon.
“I can smell it.” Brendon mumbled, “I’m going to let you go. Promise not to run off again?”
“My promise would mean nothing.”
“So, you’d prefer to lay like this forever?” Brendon shifted, and I assumed he was ‘making himself comfortable.’
“What do you want from me?” Brendon shifted a little more, expertly shifting his weight. I began to lose air, gasping as my body began panicking.
“You’re quite stupid.” Brendon finally spoke, the harsh words doing nothing to me. Once Brendon was off of me I turned around, facing him, but not standing.
I couldn’t tell if he was bad or worse, compared to Ryan. Parts of him seemed so innocent, whereas other parts of him seemed ready to kill. “So, then why keep me around?” I finally choked the question out.
Brendon sighed heavily, stepping closer to me. I stepped back and we continued like this for several seconds, seemingly stuck in a partially choreographed dance. “Stop it.” Brendon finally spoke up, stopping me immediately. I hated how my body reacted to him; not even letting his words hit my brain.
“Can’t you stage my death in a way that doesn’t involve bleeding me dry?” My arms suddenly itched, though I knew it was all in my head.
“I’m not going to bleed you dry.” Brendon said, shaking his head. “Don’t be so dramatic. I’m simply going to take a small amount of blood from your body every twenty-four hours until I have enough to drench your clothing. I don’t need people snooping around, looking for you.”
“Yeah, because someone finding me would just be awful.” I wrinkled my nose as the sarcastically spoken words passed my lips, “So answer me this; what happens when they search for my killer?”
“They’ll find him.” Brendon said, grinning happily.
“You’re just going to offer yourself up like that?”
My arm was beginning to feel numb and I shook it, trying to keep it awake. The numb feeling grew however, causing panic to spike through my body. What had Ryan injected in to me?
“No, I believe his name is…” Brendon thought for a second before throwing out a name I definitely didn’t expect. “… Alex Kourtain? Something like that.”
My heart sank and my mouth began to feel dry, “Alex Vortain?” I prayed I was wrong and it was simply someone with a similar sounding name that Brendon had in mind.
Brendon smiled, “That’s the name!” His smile simply grew, “Your step-dad, right? Don’t worry. I have it all planned out. The police already have the evidence in their hands, once they figure it out… the blood will be at his home, and the lies will be planted in his mind.”
My step-dad was a good man. He didn’t deserve that, no one did. To be wrongfully charged? How could Brendon do that? He was going to ruin his life!
“I w-wo-“ The words took a lot of effort to think up, let alone speak. Why had my mouth suddenly gone so numb?
Brendon nodded, grabbing on to my waist just before I dropped. “I know, I know. Shh, this won’t take long. By the time you wake up I’ll have all of the blood I’ll need for today.”
I grasped on to the fear as darkness clouded my mind, taking every other feeling far away.
“Wake up.” The voice came in and out of my head, causing me a great deal of dizziness. It took three tries but finally my eyes opened, letting in the light of the room.
“Turn off the light.” I mumbled, holding my head. It hurt a great deal. Come to think of it, my entire body hurt. What happened to me?
Brendon stood and seconds later I could see nothing, for the light had been turned off. “How are you feeling?” His voice was a lot closer than I’d expected, causing me to jump.
“I hurt.” My lips were dry. “Can I have something to drink?”
“Of course.” I heard movement and then light filtered in from the adjoining bathroom and I realized I was once again in Brendon’s room. I could hear the water running and then the light turned off and I could again see nothing.
I focused on the sound of Brendon’s footsteps and they soon stopped near me. The cup was pressed against my hand and soon enough I was guiding it to my lips, drinking thirstily. “What did you do?” After drinking so much water my voice came out hoarse, but at least it was no longer cracking.
“I took some blood, as I informed you I would.” Brendon made it sound so unimportant. “Two more days and this will all be over.”
“What, are you going to kill me then?” I spit out, dropping the cup.
I didn’t hear a crash and instead I heard it softly clink against the table as it was set down gently.
“No, I am not going to kill you in two days. I’ll have enough blood to stage a murder scene then, without your lovely body of course.” Brendon’s cold fingers brushed against my skin, causing me to tremble.
“Why do you want me here?” The stress in my voice was obvious and I suddenly wished I could see Brendon. I didn’t like being in the dark. I felt a lot more vulnerable, and it showed in my voice.
“Why don’t you want to be here?” Brendon shot back, “I’m giving you an out. I’m essentially giving you freedom from who you are, or I did. I’ve taken the pain back but I’d gladly reinforce it.” I shuddered, remembering how I felt the night before. Brendon forced me to feel all of the feelings I should’ve been feeling all along. He’d taken my gift and turned it in to a curse.
“This freedom you’ve given me is cleverly disguised because I feel awfully trapped.” I reached out, touching nothing but air. I wanted the light back. I wanted out of this place. I wanted true freedom. I didn’t want to be faux dead, and I certainly didn’t want my step-dad to be blamed for my supposed death.
I shuddered as Brendon’s hand closed around my own, “You won’t ever leave until you learn to hear me… and when you do you won’t want to leave.”
“Learn to hear you? I can hear you!”
“If you can hear me then what have I been telling you?” Brendon asked, tone dripping with an unfamiliar emotion. It was strong but I couldn’t quite place it.
“You’ve been telling me you’re fucking insane.” I snapped, pulling my hand away from him. “This is a lot easier than it seems. Just drop this crazy act and let me go. I’ll never come back-“
“I can’t do that.” Brendon suddenly sounded so very sad.
“Because, as Ryan so kindly pointed out, I’m greedy when it comes to you, and I always will be.”
Then the light came on.
Brendon was nowhere to be seen.