No Refunds, part seven
Previous - this entry written on March 07, 2008 at 10:39 pm - Next

When the laughter had died down, I scooted over to the cage door, looking it over; I'd never really paid much attention to it, as I'd only been in before when Sarah had been nearby, knowing that the door would be opened again when she wished it, and not until. The idea of escape from the cage hadn't even entered my mind until now. Kieran hopped up to sit cross-legged on her bed, watching me with quite a bit of amusement.

"I've been over every inch of that thing; trust me, there's no way to open it without the key. It's possible if you're a contortionist to unhook the bars from the base at one end, or it used to be. I think she welded that spot after I'd gotten out the first few times, though."

My attention turned back to him after the last few words, a look of amazement no doubt quite visible. He laughed again, somewhat bitterly.

"She never mentions that part, does she?"

"I... I hadn't really thought about it. I got the impression that she purchased the cage after I arrived," I answered hesitantly.

"Hell, no. She's had that thing since long before I knew her. She doesn't bring it out unless she thinks she needs it, though. I didn't get shoved in it until the first time I slipped my cuffs." His hands flexed, the memory more than mere words for him, it seemed. I realized my own hands were clasping opposite wrists and managed a chuckle.

"That's when she... I guess when she got it back out, then, for me, too. I was being kind of a brat, I guess. She said if my cuffs wouldn't hold me, she'd find something that would."

"Yeah, that sounds like one of her lines. It's always the way with her; every time you think you've found some way to fight back, to save face, to hold onto your pride, she'll come up with something new to beat you right back down." His voice was quiet now, no trace of laughter as he continued, "She knows what she's doing, too. Everything she does, somehow it's all part of her plans. Anything you do, she's already a step or two ahead, always. You can't beat her, no matter how hard you try..."

I couldn't help shivering at the tone in his voice, and quickly wrapped myself in one of the blankets, suddenly feeling relieved to be shielded from view. His head, which had been half-bowed, his gaze fixed on the floor, suddenly raised to look at me.

"Take that off."

He'd barely finished speaking when I had the blanket shrugged off, was kneeling a second later... and blushing, furious with myself for such a reaction, a moment after that. Again that bitter laugh tumbled out, his gaze knowing.

"She's definitely got her claws in you. What made you do it, boy? Why'd you give up your freedom for that bitch?"

That last word was enough to set my teeth on edge; I snatched the blanket back up, wrapping it around myself again, and settling crosslegged as he was. Only then did I answer him.

"I asked her to take it from me. My 'freedom' wasn't doing me a damn bit of good... I didn't want it, don't want it. A day spent serving her is more satisfying than a year of freedom. Oh, and just so you know, I would prefer it if you didn't try to insult her, or me... boy."

He raised an eyebrow and what anger I'd been holding onto was lost again as I realized that pissing off the only source of food and water I was likely to have for a while wasn't the brightest of ideas. Wise or not, I managed to keep my expression from shifting, glaring right back at him with far more pride and certainty than I actually felt.

"I think I've earned the right to insult her all I want. I don't do it often; certainly not as often as she deserves. Hell, she's proud of the fact that she's a bitch, she revels in it most days.

"I think you need to realize that the way you see her, adoration and respect and all of that, isn't all there is to see. She's got a dark side, and one day you'll be faced with it. I hope, for her sake, that after you've seen it you will still stay with her. For your sake, I hope when the time comes you'll run as far and as fast as you can, and never come near her again. Unfortunately, I rather doubt this'll be the case. You love her, don't you?"

My mouth opened, about to answer... something in his tone gave me pause, and I actually considered the question rather than blurt out my first, instinctive response.

"Yeah, I do love her. Kieran, every positive thing in the last year has involved her. Every good moment is her gift in one way or another. She... she does so much, gives so much, and all she asks in return is submission; if she wanted the moon on a string I'd find a way to climb into the sky and bring it back for her, I'm thankful that she is satisfied with a collar around my throat and a tattoo on my hip. She means the world to me."

He leaned back, silent, digesting my answer... then shook his head, rising and heading to the door.

"Just try to remember one thing: she meant the world to me, too... and to the boy before me, and the one before him, and so on. You're not the first. You won't be the last. Enjoy it, her, while you can."

With that, he stalked out, closing the door and leaving me in the darkness.

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