Chapter 16

Chapter Sixteen

He sat huddled in the corner, knees drawn to his chest. The stone wall behind him was cold, clammy with the moisture of his sweat as he trembled. How long had he been in this hole? The cold metal shackles around his wrists and ankles allowed him a foot of movement and that, compared to what he’d been subjected to earlier, felt like freedom.

His ribs ached every time he drew air, his breathing short and shallow to keep from causing himself more pain than necessary from his cracked ribs. The blindfold was still in place, wet with tears and drying blood from the shallow cuts she’d made on his eyelids.

The last session had been horrible. He shuddered, not wanting to think about it, but unable to think of anything else. Everything in this place was under her control. If he breathed too loudly or moved too fast, she would find a reason to punish him. The normal sessions were bad, but punishment—he shivered. The last time he earned punishment, she broke every bone in his fingers. They still weren’t properly healed.

How long had he been here? The days blurred together. What was his life like before this? Pain defined his existence now. He vaguely remembered his father’s pity, but that didn’t matter anymore. His father had given him to her.

What had he done to deserve this? A violent shudder ran through him and he almost gasped at the abrupt revelation that came to him: I tortured someone. And I reveled in it. He bit back a sob. He had done the same thing she was doing to him and loved it.

He wondered if she felt the same joy in it that he had, but it was a short-lived thought. He heard footsteps and tensed. They only ever belonged to her. He bit his lip so hard it started bleeding to keep from begging. If he begged, she made the sessions worse. Nothing was worth this. No pleasure was worth going through this much pain.

I’ll never do it again, he promised, but kept it to himself. He knew words like that would mean nothing to her. He’d tried it during their early sessions. Any time he begged or made promises, she was crueler. The less he fought her, the more lenient she was. He sobbed low in his throat. Her leniency came in the form of shredded flesh instead of broken bones, but any mercy was better than none.

He was hauled roughly to his feet after the shackles were removed from the wall. Hands landed on either side of his face and he tried not to flinch, expecting pain to follow.

Instead, the blindfold was pushed off of his eyes and he blinked unseeingly into the dim light. It took a minute for his eyes to adjust and it was painful. He’d gotten used to the dark.

She stood in front of him, her face an emotionless mask as she unlocked the shackles from around his wrists and ankles. It was the first time he’d been free from them and he fought the urge to fall to his knees and beg, fought to keep from speaking, and fought to keep his eyes on hers. There had to be something horrible waiting for him if she was changing everything now.

“You’re going home,” she said. “If you ever act on the urge to torture someone again, you know what lies in wait for you.”

He coughed, aware that his voice was dusty with disuse. “It’s really over?” he asked, flinching as her eyes narrowed. Kuso. He wasn’t supposed to speak without permission. I’m going to be punished!

But nothing happened. “It’s really over,” she said. “Your father’s waiting outside. He’s arranged an ambulance.”

He stared as he watched her walk away.

She halted mid-step and turned to him. “Keep up,” she said, tone hard. “I can always change my mind.”

Frightened into obedience, he kept pace with her despite the broken bones in his fingers crying out for him to attend to them. Despite the lacerations digging into the backs of his thighs, his back, and even the soles of his feet. Despite everything, he kept pace. Because nothing was keeping him here. He’d learned his lesson.

Torturing someone else meant she would torture him. He’d never do it again. He’d never let the monster see the light of day again.

His father met him outside, an ambulance waiting a few feet away. Stumbling towards it, he caught just enough of his father’s conversation with her to make him want to crawl into a hole somewhere and die. His father had arranged the torture. His father had found his sick pleasure so repulsive that he’d arranged for someone to torture him. How would he ever be able to look his father in the face again? How would he ever be able to meet his own eyes in the mirror?

He felt sick as he settled into the bed in the ambulance, no longer bothering to bite back the whimpers of pain he felt every time the vehicle hit a bump.

That night, as he lay in the hospital bed, drugged to the teeth, he made a promise to himself. I will never torture someone again. I will keep the monster inside me satisfied by breaking spirits instead of bodies. If I don’t do anything, the monster will consume me and I will end up back in her hands. I can’t do that. I can’t go through that again.

Fuji woke in a cold sweat. He hadn’t dreamed of those days in years. He was glad that Ryoma and Saeki had left earlier, because he didn’t want them to see him after that dream.

He walked softly down the stairs and slipped a bottle of water out of the fridge. Opening it, he downed it in a few seconds. His hands were shaking as he threw the bottle away and he took a deep breath, resting his forehead against the fridge in order to gather his wits.

Saeki’s right, he thought. We need to talk about this before I get any further involved in Sora’s plans. If Kirihara is enough of a threat to make me have that dream, I’m worried I may become a threat to my lovers.

He shivered, hating that his sadism ran so deep. If Kirihara’s challenge was enough to awaken buried memories….he shuddered. If I get too far gone, will I hurt Saeki or Ryoma? Will they trust me when they see what I keep hidden from them?

Sudden panic set in. My father can’t know I’m having these dreams again. He bit off a whimper. If his father found out, then he’d call her. And Fuji didn’t want that.

I need to find a way to control this. Fuji closed his eyes. I need to talk to Saeki, he admitted. If anyone can help me with this, it’s him. After all, he recovered from what I did to him. It wasn’t as extreme as…as what I did, but it was enough.

Having decided on a course of action, Fuji went back upstairs and laid down. But he didn’t sleep the rest of the night, unable to close his eyes in fear of her shadow showing up in his dreams.

Chapter 15     Chapter Index     Chapter 17

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  1. Chains of Choice Chapter 16 | Luana Araceli

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