Chapter 11

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  • Dedicated to Emma Lane- my awesome bestie

"Ready to start?" Raxis asked, an amused and excited smile on his face. I was sitting down, my eyes closed in acceptance. I was about to risk my life in the Mercy Games: seven days, seven tortures. For each day, I would be tortured with something, a new thing each day.

I would need to withstand twenty four hours of torture, no respite from the hideous pain. All of this would be inflicted on me by the master of pain, Raxis, who thrived on it. Other's pain was entertainment for him, our screams were music to his ears.

I would need to be extremely strong, for my parents, for Liam and for me. If I couldn't brave the torture, I would be able to say, mercy. It would grant me a swift, painless death. However, I was not going to use it as if I broke under Raxis's grip before the week was over, Liam would not be healed. He would most likely die and though I would not be there to see it, I did not want him to die. 

I opened my eyes, determined to survive.

"Ready."

Raxis smiled, a predatory smile, like a spider at a fly. And I was caught in his web.  

"Today," Raxis started as he walked over to his desk and bent down to retrieve something. "We are going to use...." 

He trailed off, his eyes flashing and then revealed an object.  

It was a knife. A wickedly sharp knife. I gulped and my head grew hot from the intense pain that started attacking me, like pins and needles. I started breathing quickly and I felt desperately like crying. But I stopped myself. I wouldn't give Raxis the satisfaction of making me cry.

I calmed my frenzied breathing and stared straight ahead, willig myself to keep a smooth, blank face. Raxis looked slightly disappointed. The emotion was soon wiped clean to be replaced with anticipation. All too soon, he would see my lack of control in any matter.

He walked from behind his desk and pulled up a chair beside me.

Ohmygod, it was about to start. I fought to keep my poker face as Raxis started wiping the knife with a cloth.

Why is he cleaning it? I thought. Guess he wants to keep it pretty as he cuts me.

Keep yourself under control, I fought. It's a scare tactic. It's building up the tension.

It was really working.

"You know, Danielle," Raxis said. "I'm glad you came here."  

"Oh, me too," I replied, sarcastically. Sarcasm was an easy mask to wear over the seething mess of fear I was becoming.  

"Well here's what's going to happen, Danielle, wait, can I call you Dani?" He asked. "It'll be like we're friends." 

"Yeah," I said slowly. "But we're not." 

"Just a minor detail," he replied merrily. 

"Are you going to talk all the time and bore me to death?" I asked snarkily. 

His face tightened and anger slipped through his facade.

I shouldn't have said that.

I gasped as a swift, hot pain came over me. I looked down and my leg sported a long, thin cut. I raised my eyes to see Raxis holding a bloodied knife. 

"Don't disrespect me again," he said, menace seeping into his tone. "Now as I was saying before, we are playing the Mercy Game, this time with a knife. I will torture you until you're close to death, where I will use my power to heal you back to full health. And then we will start all over again."  

"Doesn't that sound fun?" Raxis teased. I felt anger rise inside me, a terrible anger, at this demon who dared to mess with me. 

"I won't scream," I said. "I won't."

"Your promise will soon be broken," Raxis whispered. A slash along my arm and I buckled down, holding it as fire danced up and down.

The Mercy Games had begun.

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A wave of blinding pain overcame me, nearly causing me to scream in agony. I dug my nails into my knee, trying desperately to focus on the lesser pain. The knife was obviously enchanted with dark magic as it it sunk into my flesh each time as easily as a knife sinks into butter.

Raxis let the blade kiss my arm then dug in the pressure so that it cut, withdrawing the blade slowly, taking in my agonized expression with a manic grin. He cut deeper the knife and I nearly screamed with the pain, the fiery pain, it was everywhere.

My eyes rolled into the back of my head as I struggled to contain myself. I was aching to scream, to release that two syllable word.

Mercy. To take off the heavy burden that was thrust upon me. To escape this world of pain and horror to a peaceful eternity.

For me, I chanted, but that wasn't good enough. If I wanted to reward myself, I would have cried mercy awhile back.

For my parents, I thought. But, though I knew they would miss me desperately, they wouldn't die. They would live on. Only one person kept my mouth from opening, from saying one simple, little word which would let me discard the pain, make the endless torture stop.

Liam. He was the only thing keeping me alive, as I held on, a thin strand of string, already frayed and nearly broken. For Liam had brightened my life, and every moment, every kiss, every touch had let me live on with hope in this place.

To call out mercy, to run like a coward from the pain, would be a gross betrayal. I knew if Liam were in my place, he would brave the pain, and keep on going, if only for my sake. And so, I gritted my teeth and fought the pain that wracked my body, never screaming and always fighting.

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"We have finished the first torture," Raxis announced. I gasped in relief, opening my mouth in the first time in twenty four hours. I was starving and thirsty, the long hours taking its toll. I smelled like blood and sweat and I no doubt looked like a mess, various cuts and wounds decorating my body. Pain still jabbed my body as Raxis's previous injuries inflicted upon me, made themselves known. I looked at him.

"Please, heal him," I begged. "Take the time now." 

"A new day has started, Danielle," he crooned. "A new torture." 

"What about food or drink?" I asked him desperately. "I can't survive a week without it." 

"You'll survive," Raxis said. "This is no ordinary situation."

He laughed, a cold, chilling laugh. This man had just tortured me for twenty four hours straight and was now laughing at my pain. My anger rose, bubbling like a volcano, ready to erupt.  

I launched myself onto him scratching, kicking and punching. The pain inflamed me but the anger drove me forward to hurt him- just like had hurt me.

Suddenly, I flew backwards, crashing into the wall and landing heavily on the thinly carpeted floor. Raxis stood over me, a face like thunder. Using his powers, I rose up into the air, choking. I couldn't breathe, couldn't breathe, need air, need- 

I dropped back onto the floor, landing painfully on my knees.  

"Attack me again," he warned evenly. "And I will kill you along. Your friend will die along with you, then."

I stood up slowly, wobbling a little. Raxis continued speaking.

"Kiss my hand and all will be forgiven."

He extended a pale, white hand and I looked at it in disbelief. The mocking expression on his face told me that he didn't expect me to- was just teasing me.

I spat in his face, a sense of satisfaction washing over me. He brushed the spit off impatiently and threw me against the opposite wall. As my head made contact, a sickening CRACK! sounded through the room. My vision grew blurry and I realized this was the second torture: what I assumed was the breaking of bones. The last coherent thought that ran through my head was,

I will survive.

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