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Chapter 4

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I slept so soundly that I resembled the dead. In the darkness where I had come from, I was forced to stay awake, no matter how tired I was of living, of experiencing that lonely, suffocating torture. There is no rest for the wicked, which I assumed I must be to deserve such punishment, but I didn't feel evil.

I dreamed of the tar. Dreamed that it had turned into a tentacle monster. That it had grown a hundred limbs that slowly slithered up my naked body and constricted my flesh like snakes. It was suffocating me, dragging me back down to the darkness with it, slowly sliding me towards the hole in the ground where it had come from.

I woke with a gasp, grasping my throat because I had stopped breathing in my sleep. I sat up and sucked in air multiple times, relieved that it had just been a dream.

My Master stirred on the ground next to me. He groaned and reached for me, pulling me down towards him.

"What are you doing awake?" he murmured, his eyes still closed.

It was amusing to see such a powerful man look so vulnerable. He said he was an evil man, but when he was sleepy, he looked as innocent as a baby.

"I had a nightmare," I whispered.

"About the darkness?" he asked, reaching behind him for his clothing and possessions. He seemed to have given up on sleeping and was starting to sit up as well.

My heart sped up in my chest. "How did you know about-?"

"Shit!" He interrupted before I was able to finish my question. His eyes snapped open. "That little asshole stole my pouch."

I wasn't going to let him get away with not answering my questions this time. He had summoned me, so it shouldn't have been surprising that he knew about the darkness. But if he knew about the darkness, maybe he knew what it was and why I had been trapped there. He had to give me answers. If he was going to release me from the physical darkness, then I wanted to be released from some of my psychological darkness as well.

"As I was saying-" I continued.

He waved his hand at me, rummaging around the dirt and pulling on his clothes. "Not now. Not when my black pixie dust has been stolen. I need that to cast spells, which I will use to protect us."

I sighed. I wouldn't be getting answers to my questions yet. "Are you sure you didn't just misplace it? I thought you said that the animals that you used to create this house would guard us from anyone who tried to enter. How could someone have stolen it?"

He paused his movements and rubbed his chin like he was trying to think of how to respond to me. "I have a particular enemy who knows how to get past some of my entrapments. If anyone did this, it was him."

I chewed my lower lip and contemplated his words. "Is this one of the people you told me about earlier who betrayed you?"

He chuckled. "People? Hah!" He snickered to himself some more before shaking his head. "Yes, that villainous creature is one of the ones who has betrayed me, but that isn't important now. Our journey is going to take longer because my pouch was stolen. We're going to have to visit my sister to buy some more black pixie dust. She's the only person who will sell it to me. I was hoping to avoid her, since I've put her in enough danger as it is already, but we can't survive without it."

Survive what? I wondered, but I didn't ask because I wanted to live in ignorant bliss a little longer. I needed this break after the way that tar tortured me for so long.

I smiled as we both stood and left the abode. Even though he didn't have his black pixie dust anymore, the whole shelter seemed to sense that my Master was done with it and collapsed onto itself as soon as we exited. All the creatures slithered back to their original resting places, burying themselves in the ground as if we had never been there.

All the woods looked the same, I wish we had taken a path, but my Master led me forward, seeming to know exactly which direction to go in.

"You have a sister?" I asked. "What is she like?"

"She is my only sibling," he said. "And she's a prostitute."

I blushed. I knew exactly what that word meant. I was surprised he could admit to that so nonchalantly.

My Master laughed. "Why are you suddenly shy? You didn't mind playing the part of my whore last night."

I could feel my face getting warmer, but my heart also raced in excitement. "I hope we can do that again."

"We will." He winked at me. "As many times as you want. That's why I brought you here."

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