Chapter One: Release
It was the first sound I’d heard in days. I barely registered the jingle of keys and the scrape in the lock before my cell door burst open. I didn’t have enough time to scramble out of the way, and the heavy metal door caught me on the side of my head, a sharp pain piercing my skull.
Stars danced in front of my eyes, and I crumpled to the filthy, cold dungeon floor.
“Get up, scum,” a rough voice ordered, and then I was yanked to my feet and slammed against the stone wall, hitting my head again. I kept my eyes closed, against the harshness of the lantern’s light which the guards had brought down to my prison – or the Pit, as it was more affectionately known.
You see, I was certifiably insane. Darkness can do that to you when it’s the only thing you know for eternity. I didn’t even know how long I’d been here, locked up, alone. Before, I used to scream and cry and beat the unforgiving door. Then I would mope and refuse to eat.
It was at those times, when I was most weak, that the guards would come for some fun. But I didn’t give up easy; I bit them to the blood, I clawed them with my nails, I hissed and kicked, fought and squirmed until they were too exhausted for anything. Even when they brought weapons to hit me with, I would jump at them, tearing them out of their grips, turning on them. The trick was to never get cornered, and it was hard with four walls holding you in. My screams would echo throughout the stones long after they would leave, and I always knew that the other prisoners heard. They heard my screams because I heard theirs, as deep underground as I was.
When they sent in complaints to the Overseer, I was thrown into the Pit. The only level deeper than mine was nicknamed Hades, and that was for the worst criminals – traitors, gang leaders, murderers, and those who took advantage of women. Even I was considered a horrible criminal – one of the worst, in fact – but I wasn’t thrown into Hades because I was a woman.
I was seventeen when I was thrown into prison. Because I killed. Because I murdered the Duchess of Merin and her son.
You didn’t kill them, the strong part of me whispered. It wasn’t you. You’re innocent.
It was, my numb heart responded. It was me. That’s what they told me.
They lied, my stronger self insisted, Someone did. Someone framed you.
It was at times like these, when I would battle internally with myself, that I would wonder if I truly had gone insane. I didn’t know what was real anymore, or who to believe. It’s hard to cling on to the truth when you’re living a lie.
The guards would slide me my food through a narrow slit, more often than not taking most of it for themselves. And then they would leer at me from behind the bars, and mock me.
Here you are, murderess…
“Murderess,” the rough voice hissed now, and I snapped back to the present. I was still pressed against the stone wall, and it seemed to disconcert the guard that for once, I wasn’t struggling.
“A neck just made for the noose,” he chuckled lewdly, one calloused hand clamping around my throat. Memories of being strangled overtook me, and I began to tremble violently. Any second now, and I would start the fight. And those never ended well.
“Well, what do you know?” the second guard asked, and I heard a sneer in his coarse voice. “It’s finally tame. Pity; we just broke her, and they finally remember she’s still alive. Not for long though, eh?” he asked his buddy, and they snickered.
|Natalie Portman||as Arianna|
|Sean O'pry||as Prince Dominic|
|Scarlett Johansson||as Cordelia|
|Jonathan Rhys Meyers||as Prince Francis|
|Clive Owen||as King Wilhelm|
|Matt Bomer||as Julian|
|Tom Felton||as Jude|
|Ian McKellen||as Lord Deverell|
|George Clooney||as Sir Daelin|
|Angelina Jolie||as Viola|