Tuesday, January 17, 2012
My eyes were shut tight and my jaw clenched, determined not to make a cry of pain. That would only encourage them. It would take a lot of damage to kill me, but that wasn’t their goal. Reapers were patient, for they had eternity to do whatever they desired, and many loved to spill blood just to watch it run.
One of them grabbed a fistful of my hair and yanked me upright so that his yellow eyes could drive into mine. His mouth slid wide to show multiple rows of jagged, needle teeth.
“I thought you had passed out for a moment,” Geir said as he crouched in front of me. “That would have been disappointing.”
If the chains weren’t so tight around my arms, I’d have punched his face so hard those shark teeth would shoot out the back of his head. I jerked against the metal to their limits, but halted brutally with Geir’s throat just out of reach. I was too weakened to break free of the chains and of the angelic spell cast into the pentagram drawn on the ground around me. My body would heal and then they would begin again, tearing me up until I was near death only to let me heal so they could start all over. I didn’t know how long I’d been in this barn. I didn’t know if it was night or day. And I didn’t know if she was still alive.
I had to return to her. The reaper struck my face and blood ran over my eyes. I had to return to her.
He stopped after some time, releasing me roughly, but I was so numb from agony that it made little difference whether he was torturing me or not. The closer I was to death, the less it hurt. My chest heaved painfully in order to breathe. One of my lungs had collapsed and its desperation to heal was even more excruciating than the initial blow that had damaged it. When my eyes were shut, I saw her face. When I opened them, blinking through blood, I saw Geir’s face. Ivar stood behind him, talking to Cadan. He wrapped a hand around her cheek tenderly for a moment before leaving the barn with her. Their show of affection for one another was alien, so untrue to their natures. They were incapable of love. They didn’t even know the meaning of the word.
My teeth ground together as my heartbeat quickened with rage. Bastian had returned. He appeared from the Grim with a flash of black hair and shadows of power that made my skin crawl. I shivered and sank deeper on my knees, my knuckles dragging to the dirt floor. Geir moved aside as Bastian approached, the lesser reaper bowing out submissively.
Bastian’s icy indigo gaze met mine with satisfied amusement. “Hello, William. Did you miss me?”
“What took you so long?” I asked hoarsely, looking up into his face. “Geir hits like a bitch.”
The yellow-eyed reaper hissed and moved to strike me.
“Enough,” Bastian said in a low, calm voice. He didn’t need to shout for his thugs to obey. Often, one look was more than enough to send them cowering.
It was painful straining to see Bastian’s face above me, waiting for him to start torturing me again.
“I’m impressed you haven’t lost your spirit, William,” he said. “By now I thought you’d be begging for death, but I have to admit I’m pleased. I have a gift for you. He should be here soon.”