Ch. 19 - Try, Try Again

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The taste of copper filled my mouth as I recoiled into myself, the blow turning my stomach as the impact worked its way from my core to the outer reaches of my body. I stumbled and fell to my knees. Gritting my teeth, I looked up to meet the eyes of my attacker.

Adrian's icy blue gaze bore into me, unapologetic.

"Get on your feet, Koraline." He instructed. His demeanor was unreadable.

I struggled to stand. My short, curvy frame felt like a hundred anvils and I gasped as I finally managed to do as he instructed.

"Again," He demanded, his honey voice was firm and aloof.

I tried to concentrate, to drown out the pain spreading through my being from the repetition of Adrian's attacks. I focused on only myself, I searched for the power he kept telling me flowed through my veins and a small spark flickered from somewhere deep inside. Like a rose made of fire blooming open in my chest.

It was then that I realized Adrian's hand was there. His palm placed over my heart and beneath his hand velvet swirls began to spread over my skin, burning brightly like the fire I felt enveloping me. It was then that I realized that the fire was coming from him. Or maybe he was just igniting the fire within me. Either way it spread like the most complex of tattoos across my flesh - A living, tribal flame.

"Now," He barks. "Try again."
I summed up my fury. Every ounce of anger I had buried deep down within me. My anger at Enzo, at Dorian and Mel, and even at Adrian himself and I felt the fire burn brighter and more intense until I could no longer contain it. I struck my hand out and my palm hit Adrian square in the chest, knocking him to the ground. Smoke rose from his torso.

I run to him and kneel at his side. He recovers quickly and a look of approval passes over his face.

"You did very well, Koraline." He gives me the ghost of a smile beneath his serious, mentor façade. "Now, do it again."

*           *           *           *

For days the cycled continued. Enzo would come and pester me during the day. I would scold him and demand he leave me be until he finally grew bored of my rejection and went to cat around in more interesting corners of the castle and then night would fall and in my dreams there would be Adrian and he would drill me until finally my powers grew strong enough to disperse his astral energy and send his spirit back into his body.

I'm ready now he said but I'm not so sure. I guess there's only one way to find out.

Tomorrow is the day. It's now or never. There are only two options now, either I escape and rescue Adrian or we're both doomed.

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