47 - Peace In Your Violence

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It took me a little while to come to terms with everything.

The first thing I'd done was cry. I'd kept a lock on my tear ducts for a while, because I didn't see what point there was to them. Tears wouldn't bring back the dead. Nevertheless, there was a certain freedom to collapsing on Rian's couch and letting myself dissolve. I couldn't remember the last time I'd cried in earnest; for my parents, for Rian, for myself. I suppose you could call the experience cathartic.

The next thing I did was leave Rian's apartment. I gathered my things and walked Siggy home, making sure to lock the door behind me. It was raining. His spare key was still gripped in my fist.

The third thing I did was listen to a voicemail from Lisa. She and Rokim had won their competition and were on their way back home. I half-smiled, because that was good news. I wasn't sure whether I was in shock or if I'd simply accepted the way things were. Or, according to Rian, the way things had to be. 

I'd done my best. Sometimes your best wasn't good enough, I supposed.

The fourth thing I'd done was get kidnapped.

I opened my eyes, looking around blearily. I was sitting on a roughly hewn chair, shrouded in darkness. My head was foggy and everything ached. 

I groaned, trying to move, and frowned hazily when I couldn't. My arms and legs were restrained by . . . was that rope? 

What happened? I thought in sudden alarm. Why the hell am I tied to a chair?

Slowly, I pieced together the shards of my memory. My apartment—I'd been in my apartment. It was late, and I'd just gotten around to doing the laundry. Rokim had sent me a text that he and Lisa were due to arrive in about an hour, so I'd left my door unlocked. 

God, I'm stupid.

I took in a breath, trying to calm my nerves. Adrian had called, but I hadn't picked up. And then . . .

I squinted into the dark, trying to remember. I'd been shoving my sleepover clothes into the washer when I'd heard a sound behind me. It was weird; like humming, but not by a human. It was machine, mechanical. Static.

My eyes widened when I made out a shape in the blackness. It was a table, and sitting on top of it was a Taser.

"What the fuck?" I whispered. 

The rest of my memory rushed back to me. I'd only managed to get a glimpse of the attacker when I'd felt my body seize up, overwhelmed by a sudden and shaky sort of pain. It felt like forever before it had stopped and my knees had buckled and my head had slammed on the corner of something hard on the way down. I'd hit the ground and the world had gone dark.

And now I was here.

I groaned again, letting my head loll forward. I'd just gotten—what? Dumped?—and the same day I'd managed to get myself kidnapped. Was it even the same day? How much time had passed? I didn't know.

Go me.

"So you're awake."

My head snapped up at the loud words, echoing in the dim. Something in my mind ticked, whirred—I recognized the voice. The feminine lilt, the nasally edge. The sound of hatred.

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