“You have to do this!”, her sister’s scream trailed off through the dust cloud billowing a veil between them. It was too late, her sister had been taken, snatched up before she had a chance to say goodbye.
The stone cut like glass shards beneath her skin and the dust, like poison, as she gasped for air and slid barefoot into the opening at the bottom of the iron gates.
The fires blazed in their lanterns and blew furiously through wicked chants and the chaotic thunder of pounding hooves. Before they could lasso her feet, half her body had disappeared in darkness beneath hell, where the dew of the other world kissed her shattered bones.
“Lace her,” he grunted as his horse halted, towering over the foot of her head that had not made it through the iron spades dug into the earth. Her arms stretched out in defeat before the brigade of horsemen, raising them into the thickenss of the air, in position to be tied with a rope made of thorns.
The fabric of her dress had torn from root to tip from being dragged through iron, dust and stone once more. She looked through the gates to the moon, now blurring into seven crescents as tears welled in her eyes and the sharpeness of terror punctured her veins.
Strung to wooden leads that were attached to reins, a familiar warmth collected at the small of her back and ran down her arms, lacing them in webs of crimson.
“His chambers,” he whispered into her right ear as he grazed her jugular with his sharpened, metal nails. Moving in a dance before her, he grasped her neck and snarled into her other ear, “For you.” With the flick of his thumb, he cut the cord wrapped around sheer fabric that draped her head and body.
As the delicate material slid off her skin, she stood before the King, fully exposed, shimmering in dried blood that glistened in the candlelight glowing from four pewter bowls, hanging above his head. The wind had picked up into a chorus of panic and fear, as sheer fabrics hung from hooks, setting off waves of angry motion around them.
The wooden planks steadied her weakened arms, as she mounted the fire-hardened swing on which he waited to lace her arms above him.
Straddling him on his throne, while he hooked her arms together, grazing skin to skin, she peered through his hollow eyes like a tiger stalking prey, not breaking her gaze once.
Leaning in, she hissed and snipped his ear with her teeth, drawing blood, “For you.”
The ropes tightened and creaked as the seat swung abruptly. He clenched his teeth and thrusted upward, forcing the wax from the candle bowls above to drip like blades of fire across her shoulders.
In searing pain, her pelvis was forced downward, driving him deep within. Melted wax, blood and sweat spattered across her back, running down the length of her body as it cooled while his throne swung wildly through her.
She had been broken in.
Dim light shone on her face as she peered through the fog, upward toward a shadowed figure on horseback. With an outstretched arm, he grasped her hand, “Take my hand.”
She winced in fear and turned her face to the ground, snatching her hand from his grip. As the coolness of dew saturated her wounds and the sweet smell of grass engulfed her, relief settled into her bones.
She glanced back toward the gates, where three black horses stood guard, breathing heavily through the mist, warding off the hell that stood beyond; a brigade of horsemen, chanting, hollering and digging their stirrups in as they abruptly turned away in defeat, leaving a cloud of dust behind them in darkness.
“Your arms,” he said softly.
Confused, she raised her body toward him, where the flicker of fire revealed what appeared to be fresh blood.
“You’re bleeding, my dear,” he said, as he leaned in closer with the light.
She sat up in disbelief.
“I thought they…” he balanced her as she stood, calming her.
“You made it.”
Rubies sewn with strings of gold, that were fastened to each finger, delicately unraveled down her arms, lacing them in webs of crimson.
(Dream from 2014)