I’m not supposed to be here.
Everything was good. Everything was fine, at least, and that’s the closest to good I’ve ever been, and— fuck. Fuck. Everything is fucked.
It’s over. I walked out, just like I always do, and now I’m here, staring straight down into this well of ink like it has all the answers. Usually, they say you should toss in a coin. What they really mean is something of value. The ink stains my hands. It looks like my blood. It looks like—
There’s an eye down there. There’s an eye and it’s blinking at me, staring like it knows something about me, and I fucking hate when people act like they know me better than I do, and I fucking hated it when he did that. He’s not here: it’s just me and the eye and the Inkwell. But he might as well be here. I’m thinking about him so much that I could almost pluck him straight out of the dreamscape, sharp and mean and beautiful as ever. My cold hearted killer. My most ardent admirer.
And also my prison master.
The basement was freezing and suffocatingly isolated, a soundproof bubble away from any sort of civilisation. He was calculatingly precise with every preparation, especially with the knowledge of my halv strength. Too precise. He could have kept me there forever.
I rub at my wrists where the fur has thinned from the abuse of cold steel handcuffs. The action only smears ink across the sparseness.
He would have kept me there forever. I don’t have to ask to know, it’s just a pure, clear thought that exists in my mind like the absolute truth. I know him well enough now. He’s predictable in a way, stable in his instability.
But I got away. And I’m free. And I never have to see him again, except—
Except I want to. I want him to chase me down and drag me back kicking and screaming, alternately coveting and constricting me. I don’t love him, but I love how obsessed he is, desperate and willing to do anything just to keep me like a doll. Dress me up. Braid my hair. He did that a few times when he had me in the basement. He washed and brushed my hair so gently, his fingers rubbing my scalp with steady warmth. I could have fallen asleep in those moments, lulled into peace by the domesticity, but I don’t sleep. So, instead, I listened to him breathe, in and out. Slow. When he left me afterwards, I traced the movements of his fingerprints on my body and ached for another touch.
The eye is staring at me. It looks like his, dark and impenetrable like a pearl of coal. It doesn’t have the spark, though — it doesn’t ignite me just with a look. It asks me a question.
I want him to want me. At some point, one side has to give, and I fucking swear it won’t be me.
The eye looks.
I’m tempted to give into it all, sometimes. Allow myself to be kept like some sort of trinket. I’d be safe and I’d never have to worry about anything ever again. He’s not hard on the eyes. But I don’t want to be treasured, I live for the fight, and I wouldn’t ever be content with peace, not like that. Sometimes I feel like it’s what I deserve — his cruelty as much as his care. I’m not enough to be loved by someone else. I’m not enough to be loved by—
I thrust my hand forward into the well. It burns with a blazing inferno, crawling up my arm one drop at a time. I can hear screaming. I can hear my screaming. I feel bones crack out of place, each one a sharp burn of pain that dances down my spine as I writhe, beast tempted by the call of the void like a rat to a piper. Teeth are heavy in my mouth, drool pooling in the back of my throat with the taste of blood. The scent washes over me like a balm. The hunting dog is soothed only by a mark, a target. A goal.
I’m out of my head. I don’t know what’s fucking going on, only that I’ve succumbed to something, and it feels like losing myself all over again. But maybe there was never anything to lose. I’m a fucking shell. I’m nothing without—
Eyes blink open on my body, glowing in the darkness like beacons. I’m hunched over, coated in ink, and breathing heavily, the forced transformation bleeding exhaustion from my body like a gaping wound. My chest is bare, shirt torn up and hanging on only by the sleeves. Over my heart are four lines, precise cuts intended to scar. M.
The eyes look. They know where to go.
I follow their gaze.
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