Everything hurts.

I’m used to waking up in pain, but this is a different kind of pain. This is a deep pain. The kind you’d get after being in an accident and you’re on the mend. It’s different because, for the longest time, I’ haven’t been on the mend. Every day is fresh pain that takes the place of the previous pain.

My eyes barely open, but I see enough to know that I’m losing my mind. The ceiling isn’t a cracked mess with water trailing down. My eyes jerk to the wall next to me, but it’s clean. I move my hand slightly, and I don’t feel anything around my wrist.

When I inhale, I smell fresh linen? My head is on something soft. A pillow? He’s done it. Dimitri has finally pushed me so far that I’ve lost my mind. My mind starts to race, but I feel incredibly lucid. Maybe I haven’t lost my mind. So how did I end up in a soft bed in a clean room?

I go through all the different scenarios, and the only thing I can think of is maybe Dimitri gave me some sort of drug that makes me hallucinate. That makes the most sense. There’s no way that he would just let me out. I guess I have to take the good out of this. At least I can pretend that I’m some place nice. I’ve been wanting a dream like this since I’ve been in this hellhole with Dimitri, I know I’m going to be even more upset when the drug wears off, but right now, I’m just going to go with it.

I hear a door opening, and I can’t stop myself from freezing up.

Please, just let me have this dream for a little while longer.

I pray, but when I hear the footsteps coming in my direction, I know the dream is over. I wonder what Dimitri will do to me today. I hope it’s not the iron table. I don’t think I can take any more of that. I clamp my eyes shut, knowing when I open them again, I’m going to be back in that room.

“Désirée?” a female speaks.

Is this part of the drug? I open my eyes again, but I’m still in the clean room. I was wrong. This is the worst dream. I want to wake up. This is torture. I bring my hands up to my face and slap at my head, trying to force myself to wake.

“Hey, hey, hey. It’s okay. Don’t do that.” The same woman comes closer to me, softly pulling my hands down until they are back at my sides. The pain doesn’t come after that. Instead, she lets go and gives me a small smile. “Wow, I’m so happy to see you awake.”

“Who . . . who are you?” I ask, trying to kickstart my brain. Something about this woman is familiar like I’ve seen her before.

“We’ve met, but I guess it’s been a while. I’m Angelina.”

“You do look familiar—how did you get here with Dimitri?” I’m so confused.

She shakes her head. “No, honey, you’re not with Dimitri. You’re out.” Angelina pats my hand in comfort.

I feel a small bubble of hope push up in my chest. “Is this real? Am I really out? Dimitri’s gone?”

“Yes, you’re free,” Angelina says softly.

I start to cry as I look down at my body. I’m in a T-shirt, but it’s clean. My arms are covered in cuts and bruises from the studs on the table. I flex my legs and can feel the sores on my body. The outside hurts, but it’s my insides I’m worried about. Dimitri abused me for the entire time that I was there. Somedays, I’d just bleed for hours after like I was on my period. Other times my pussy lips would be so swollen and sore I couldn’t close my legs.

The parts of my body that the world can see will heal up. I know that, but my insides are broken. I’m never going to be whole again. The weight of that pushes down on my chest, and I cry a little harder.

“Oh, honey, you cry all you need to, but I want you to know that you’re one of the strongest people I’ve ever encountered. Things are very hard, and they’re going to be hard for a long time, but you’ve beat him. You’re going to get through this. You’re safe now.”

I fight to compose myself. I have so many questions. “Thank you, I really appreciate you helping me. How long have I been here?”

“Of course. You’ve been here about a day. You were so exhausted we gave you some pain medication and something to help you sleep. We figured you needed it.” She shrugs, and I give her a slight nod.

Wait, did she say we? Who’s we? I look around the room, but I don’t see anyone else.

“Angelina, sorry, but you said we? I don’t see anyone else. Sometimes my mind isn’t right. Is there someone else here?” I say softly in case I’m missing something.

“Oh no, Désirée, no one else in the room with us but you have quite a few people outside. They didn’t all want to be in here and overwhelm you. When you’re ready, I can call them in as many as you want or who you want,” Angelina explains.

People are here for me? I can’t help but smile a little. I’m going to be around friendly faces again. I feel like it’s been so long. “I bet my family has been a little overbearing.”

“A little, especially the one with the buzz cut and the tattoos from his neck down to his fingertips. He hasn’t moved no matter how many times I said I’d reach out when it was okay for them to see you.”

Recognition erupts in my mind. I know exactly who she’s talking about, and I laugh. It feels good to laugh. “Malcolm? He’s not related to me.”

Tags: E.C. Land Crime