The Punishment

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I was exhausted, I felt like I had not slept in days. My face ached, my jaw felt as though it was cemented in place. My knuckles were rough and covered in bloody scrapes, my ribcage was bruising, purples and blues spreading across my chest like a miniature sea.

A damp cloth was pressed to my face gently.I looked up to see Ari's face, her concern creasing her brow and pulling her mouth down in concentration. She dabbed gently at my wounds.

As soon as she separated me and brian she rushed me back to our igloo shaped house and sat me up on teh kitchen counter beside the sink, already bustling around the kitchen searching for a rag.

I laughed. "Ari, I have gotten into fights before, I'll be ok." I tried to hop down from the counter only to be pushed back impatiently by her.

"Yes, of course, all you bad asses getting in fights all the time, you can handle it no problem. Don't forget I'm the one who saved you."

She roughly pushed the cloth against my head and began to rub my wounds, looking intently at the cloth while I was intently looking at her face, the way she bit her lip in her examination of my head.

"Ah, mind being a little bit mor egentle there/"

She glared at me but lightened her touch as she wiped away the blood. After she finished she gingerely touched the sore spots on my face, me groaning at each one.

"Trying to kill me?"

She stepped back with her hand on her hip. She rolle dher eyes and sighed, "Just shut up and let me help you."

I smiled and bit my cheek to keep from laughing. She stomped back and roughly pulled up my shirt exposing my beaten ribs. She whistled lowly and ran off, I could hear her rummaging around in the girls bathroom and a minute later she returned with an ointment.

"What's that?"

"It's for bruises." She replies shortyl, squeezing the tube and spreading the white cream on her palm with two fingers. She looked at me expectantly, her eyebrows raised. Rolling ym eyes I pulled up my shirt and allowed her to rub the lotio on the book sized bruise. The cold made me hiss and she giggled, her lotion covered hand rising to her mouth.

"Oh that's funny?"

i squeeze some of the bruise ointment onto my hand and slather it on her arms before she can react.

She screeched and jumped back laughing. "I can't believe you!"

She walked in a cautious semi-circle around me, stalking back and forth slowly, an evil smile on her face. She jumped at me, wiping her palm across my face, from my hairline to the tip of my nose, and ran off screaming. I chased after her, my heart pounding, I cornered her in the bunk room and laughing I smeared paint on the side of her stomach. We ran around the house laughing and yelling until we collapsed on the couch, breathless, our faces red.

I stared at her, her red lips parted, her hair caught in little eddies of air, fly aways sticking to her forehead and creating a golden halo around her head. We sat silently, I leaned towards her and her eyes fluttered closed, and suddenly she pulled back.

"I- I'm sorry, I just can't it's too soon.'

I pulled away, pain clouding my vision.

"No, Tony, it's not like that, I really care about you, but..."

"But nothing." I reply and jump up from the couch, angrily stomping to my bed.

At that moment our front door was flung open and five men in army fatigues walked in. "It's time."

I turned curiously, my hand on the doorway, "Time for what?"

"For your punishment."

My body filled with a sudden flash of cold and I slowly backed away, "You can't be serious."

"No we are quite serious." A dark haired man smirked in a Gaelic accent.

"Ok then, lets go." I walked out the door an slapped him on the back.

He growled, "The only reason I'm not beating you into a pulp is that you already look like hell and your gonna get it in a second."

"Thanks man, I appreciate it." I smile and saunter ahead.

Ari walks slowly behind us with her arms crossed shaking her head, muttering under her breath.

I keep walking, masking my broken heart with a jaunty smile and a up beat step. We came upon a platform that had been set up in The Reformatory center, twin metal pole sat on top of the black stage. The men roughy grabbed us both and handcuffed us to the poles.

"Get off me!" I twist and maneuver out of their grip.

Rolling his eyes a guard replied, "Give it up kid." And twisted my arms behind my back and bound me to the pole with an extra tug.

The fashionably suited man walks out with a lash at his side. His stride oozed confidence, his smile exuding intelligence and his eyes shine with cruelty.

"Shall we begin?" I stared at him blankly from beneath my bangs. "I say we start with the girl." A grin spread evilly across his face.

"No. Ill take her punishments for her." Ari looked up at me in surprise, her hair whipping in the air with the jolt.

"No you will not. Let's begin." He took slow long strides toward Ari, each step making her flinch.

He flukes his wrist an a blue shot from his hand, Ari cried out in pain and fell to her knees.

"No!" I screamed, pulling against my bonds, reaching for her.

Red blossomed across her white t shirt, her face was contorted in agony, her fingers gripped the rod, her knuckles turning white. Another flick of his wrist adorned with a Rolex sent her screaming to the ground. The next three only brought pained moans. She sat on her knees, her head dangling, her hand hanging limply by her wrists.

I cried out for her, the crimson flowing through her ripped shirt and rolling down in rivulets.

As I fell towards her, struggling against the chains, a searing pain ripped across my body. My scream deadened me, my vision blurred. I collapsed against the pole, refusing to fall on the ground. The next one made me collapse to my knees, my mouth hanging open, silently screaming in pain. The last eight faded and became distorted feelings of pain and lightning, numbness, searing cold and heat.

When it finished all I could hear was a maniacal laugh, a blurred crowd of colors and bobbing faces, gasps of shock and terrified silence.

I hung with my mouth open, gasping for air, my hair obscuring my vision, pain an animal tearing through my body, an inferno of agony.

Black edged on my vision, I welcomed the comforting silence.

Thanks for reading! Please comment an vote! To all of those who have made it this far, you mean so much to me (;

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