Stolen By A Sinner: Chapter 3

Lara

When the cat-o-nine tail whip with metal spikes strikes, more pain explodes over my back as it tears through my shirt, ripping at my skin.

I bite harder on my bottom lip to keep the cry from escaping.

Whack.

Eighteen.

Don’t cry.

Whack.

A wave of scorching heat engulfs my skin, sweat beading on my forehead. My back tingles as if tiny tongues of barbed wire are licking me, every strike intensifying the crippling pain.

Nineteen.

My arms threaten to buckle as I keep myself braced in a kneeling position, so I don’t plow into the hardwood floor.

Whack.

Twenty.

Don’t cry!

Unable to stop it, a tear spills over my cheek. I bite harder, my mind void of any thoughts.

There’s only the pain.

“You have a call,” Marcel, the head of the guards and Tymon’s second in charge, mutters.

The whip hits my back so hard that I can’t keep myself from falling forward and sprawling over the wooden floor. Air bursts from my lungs, my skin torn and on fire, my bones aching.

The whip drops next to me, the metal spikes coated with droplets of blood. I stare at it as I listen to Tymon taking the call and leaving the sitting room.

The moment I’m alone, my ears fill with a whooshing sound. My sight blurs, the intensity of the pain increasing tenfold.

You’ve survived worse. Don’t cry.

You’re stronger than this.

I push myself up into a sitting position. My skin feels stretched thin over my back, the drying blood pulling at the gashes.

I clench my teeth, suppressing groans while I climb to my feet.

The punishment is over. At least Tymon didn’t kill me.

Using a hand to brace myself against the walls, I gingerly make my way down to the servant’s quarters. Dizziness threatens to overwhelm me, but I shake my head.

Don’t pass out.

A first aid kit lies on my bed. Like all the times before, I take it along with my sweatpants and sweater and walk into the bathroom.

I set everything down on the counter, then lift my eyes to the mirror.

I’m pale, my eyes too large, too dark.

You’re okay.

My breathing starts to speed up, and once again, I shove the turbulent emotions deep down, not giving them the chance to surface.

You’re okay.

Turning on a faucet, I cup my hands and splash water over my face before taking a couple of painkillers. Unbuttoning my shirt, I carefully pull the tattered fabric off, winching whenever it tugs at the fresh wounds.

You’re okay.

Opening the first aid kit, I turn so I can see the right side of my back in the mirror. Old marks are now covered by fresh, red welts. Clenching my jaw, I begin the painstaking process of cleaning myself up.

It takes a while to tend to my wounds, my teeth aching from all the clenching. There are gashes I can’t reach. The best I could do was draping a warm, wet cloth over them to get rid of some of the blood.

It’s no use asking one of the other staff members to help. We never get personally involved because you don’t know who will die next. It would be stupid to form bonds. It would only make things more challenging, so it’s everyone for themselves.

I learned this lesson after Mom died, and I was left to fend for myself. She got bronchitis, and when she had breathing problems, she was taken away, and I was told she died.

There was no funeral.

When my time comes, I won’t have a funeral either. Like all the ones before me, I’ll just vanish.

Just wiped from existence while life in the mansion goes on as always.

You accept these things when you’re given no other choice. It’s better not to fight.

It’s better not to hope.

It makes everything easier.

Knowing the other staff members need to clean up after a long day’s work, I get dressed in my sweatpants and sweater. Gathering the bloody shirt, my skirt, and pumps, I leave the bathroom.

A new shirt lies on my bed.

I tuck the new shirt, my skirt, and pumps away in the box, then head up to the kitchen to throw the ruined shirt away.

The wounds keep tightening, and I know I won’t get much sleep tonight. The next week will be brutal because I still have to see to all my chores.

I walk past the main part of the kitchen and into the section that’s used for laundry and stocking the cleaning supplies. The smell of stew still hangs in the air, but having no appetite, I ignore the pot on the small gas stove.

Agnes prepares our meals, and it’s always some kind of stew with egg bread. As long as our stomachs are full, we don’t complain.

I toss the ruined shirt in the trash, then pour myself a glass of water. Standing by the sink, I only drink half and throw the rest down the drain.

A sudden popping of gunfire coming from outside has me quickly walking to the small window. Glancing into the night, lights illuminate the grounds at the side of the mansion. I can’t see anything, but when more gunfire fills the air and I hear men shouting, I take a hesitant step away from the window.

Is the mansion under attack?

Suddenly the lights go out, plunging me into darkness. My heart kicks in my chest before continuing to beat frantically.

What’s happening?

Something like this has never happened before, so I don’t know what to do.

Hide!

I squint my eyes, and with my arms held out in front of me, I feel my way into the main part of the kitchen.

All hell descends on the mansion as gunfire pours through the hallways.

Dear God!

I duck behind the marble island, my arm pressing against it. I keep blinking, my eyes finally starting to adjust to the darkness. On all fours, I crawl to the side of the island and peek around it.

Where are the other staff? Do I try to make a run for it or hide?

The gunfire is sporadic, then I hear a man shout, “Clear all the rooms. I want Mazur found.”

God, they’ll probably kill me just for working here.

The gunfire comes closer, the shots sounding impossibly loud and making my heart beat faster in my chest.

Get to safety! You’ve survived too much to die tonight.

I glance to the other section of the kitchen, and as I stand up to make a run for the backdoor, it bursts open, and men pour inside.

Crap!

Panicking, I run in the opposite direction, and darting into the hallway, bullets fly past me. My mouth instantly grows bone dry, and before I can take another step, a bullet slams into my side, tearing through my flesh and insides with excruciating pain.

Another bullet hits me in the stomach, and as pain engulfs me for a second time, my body drops into a pit of darkness.

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