Chapter 16

Charlie shed a tear. Those words he never expected to fall from her lips. The two drew closer until Gabrielle wrapped her arms around her kidnapper. She sighed into his chest, not sure if she was ready to do the things she was about to. Charlie had no idea but he hugged her back with a need in his heart. He didn’t know if he could let her die now that she agreed.

Gabrielle quivered her lip unintentionally. This was it. All her work for the months of being held captive was down to this moment. But she hardened her mind, reminding herself she was stronger than anyone thought she’d ever become. They let each other go and Gabrielle let Charlie lead her into the kitchen to prepare their ‘last meal’. The other hand she gripped tighter into a fist which she subtlety kept behind her back.

“What are we to eat,” she asked him trying to keep her façade up. She was led to the refrigerator still filled with plenty of delicious foods. There was everything in there to make any kind of meal she wanted, just as Charlie planned it to be.

“It is your choice to decide,” he told her. “Something baked? Something fried?”

Gabrielle thought for a second. She could eat anything but she had to keep it simple; simple worked for her plan. It took her a few moments but she came up with the perfect solution.

“Grilled cheese,” she said definitely. “It’s the first thing I had here and it should be the last.”

Charlie smiled bashfully at her remembering that meal so long ago. Turning his back to hide the ridiculous grin, he grabbed his tea. But before he was able to take a sip, another inquiry was thrown his way.

“Am I the first?” she asked.

The bizarre question took him by surprise. He didn’t realize what she meant before he saw his Annabel Lee clinging to the white cloth of her dress. Charlie swallowed with a dry mouth and began to feel the heat crawl up his back and into his neck. On the first day he had made a promise to never lie and that what was he planned on doing. To ignore her question was the only option he could think up.

“I have another present to give,” he said after clearing his throat. Gabrielle turned back to him and sighed but kept her ruse of innocent curiosity. As she took a step closer, her kidnapper stepped back and signaled her to wait there. Charlie quickly ran to his room, figuring it would be suitable to leave her alone for one second. That was the mistake she was waiting for.

Her feet dashed over to the counter at once and raised her closed fist over the steaming liquid. As her fingers slowly opened, the white powdery substance fell from her palm. It was the reason she had taken so long in getting dressed. Using the heel of her cleaned boots she was able to grind the little round sleeping pills she had stolen from him into something much more discreetly edible or, like in Charlie’s case, more drinkable.

“To remind us of what it means to live,” Charlie’s voice finished, growing louder as he entered the room. He stared down at the box in his hands which was the only reason Gabrielle was able to stir the powder into being unnoticeable. The larger chunks of the crushed pills she kept in her hand to use in another of his foods.

The gift box was placed onto the table and Charlie refilled his hands with the tea instead. A strained look flashed on his Annabel Lee’s face for a second before she took the present carefully. Charlie stopped her, saying it was a gift to open after their meal. His lips dragged in a large sip of his tea which Gabrielle watched with anticipation. The warm liquid slithered down his throat and Gabrielle sighed with relief that he couldn’t taste the difference. She drew closer to Charlie who leaned on the kitchen counter. Her arms wrapped around his torso and hugged him from behind.

“Maybe we should start on lunch,” she said with lopsided smile. The malice in her eyes was hidden behind Charlie’s back making him unaware of his impending danger. He happily agreed and soon they were making her favorite dish before she carried out her new favorite memory.

Half an hour later the two of them were talking over their empty plates and bowls over what heaven would be. The man knew he had over eaten with the way his eyelids were becoming heavy but fought the sleep off. Gabrielle had managed to keep her clenched hand unnoticed until she was able to slip the bits of the round tablets into Charlie’s tomato soup. He ate it greedily and hungrily and now the girl was just waiting for the right moment to start.

“I do believe I have a gift for you,” he said while trying to stir his mind into action. His legs clumsily brought him over to the counter where Gabrielle followed. He shook his head to fight off his drowsiness but it just made him more light-headed. “Something for us to listen to.”

He opened the lid of the box and held it for his Annabel Lee to see. Her pale lips gasped at the small thing inside but smiled genuinely.

“A seashell,” she said. Charlie nodded and went to clean up their lunch as she turned the conch shell over. The inside was a delicate pink which grew into a brighter one toward the opening. The outside of the shell was a light cream spotted with more oranges and tans. To say it wasn’t stunning would be a huge lie. The captive beamed up at her kidnapper.

“So we may hear the ocean tide as we fall asleep inside,” he explained.

Gabrielle held the seashell in her hands gingerly. To ‘hear the ocean’ brought her back to the conversation they had before on the beach but that was so long ago. There was a pause in time as Gabrielle looked up curiously into Charlie’s rapid blinking eyes. She smirked and straightened her back. Her kidnapper was more affected by the pills every second meaning she was closer to getting what she wanted.

“It’s useless,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. Charlie widened his eyes, lifted his brows and inhaled deeply. His Annabel Lee’s form was blurring and it was harder and harder to keep himself awake. He rested his head on the inside of his palm and yawned before asking to repeat what she had said.

“The shell is useless,” she reiterated, this time with more force behind her words. She strolled her feet calmly in front of the oven where the dirty frying pan was still cooling. “I was just another useless shell too, remember? I’m an Annabel Lee but I’m not the first one.”

Charlie stared confused at his beautiful bride. He never knew her to be unhappy or in the least bit off in the past few weeks; it was the reason he thought she was ready for their sacrifice. He had seen her smiles, her laughter rung through his ears. Moving closer to hold her, his steps clicked on the floor gently. His feet began to sway but he thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until his eyes became too heavy to stay open did he know something was wrong.

“What is—?” His balance faltered making him lean on the edge of the sink. Gabrielle was prepared for it and stretched her shoulders. The fight was on.

“Getting sleepy, Charlie?”

Getting a firm grip on the frying pan, she turned and swung with all her might. Charlie’s head was hit hard making him fall to the ground. His head barely registered what happened until the shadow of his bride gazed down over his aching body.

“Like I said, I know I wasn’t the first Annabel Lee,” she declared, leering down at him. Charlie tried to think of anything to say but his head pounded from the blow and the shock of it all. Gabrielle smirked and finished with a twisted giddiness. “But by God, I’m going to be the last.”

The girl swung again and made contact with his head. Charlie was knocked unconscious and Gabrielle was made the victor.

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: I am sorry this chapter took a while to upload but I think it was worth the wait ;) Next chapter might be more twisted! And I’ve got another question for you guys: what’s a fun way to torture someone? Just curious…

Stay insane <3

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