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Her sluggish brain struggled to pull out of unconsciousness. She opened and blinked her eyes against the impenetrable blackness. The sharp smell of wet iron assaulted her nostrils. Blood. She felt the pressure of a hard wooden floor jab against every part of her body. The stiffness of her muscles and joints prickled with heaviness as she slowly worked her hand to her throbbing head. Something wet and sticky smeared upon her forehead as she checked for a wound. No gaping holes.

With small, tentative movements she sat up, her muscles protesting. The chill of the air against her bare skin made her shiver. Naked and confused, frantic thoughts filled her mind. What is happening to me? Why am I here? Where am I? She gasped as she moved her leg and heard the distinct sound of metal scraping the floor. Her ankles burned with tenderness. She reached down and felt cold metal bands clamped around each ankle attached to heavy chains. Disbelief and panic made it difficult to breathe and her heart jumped so violently she feared it would burst out of her chest. She jerked on the chains and found them secure. Small animal-like whimpers escaped her lips as she continued to pull and jerk the chains.

The door opened and the click of a switch threw a blazing brightness into the room. The woman in chains squinted and shielded her eyes against the sudden glare. The tall, hefty woman in the doorway had a myriad of expressions cross her face. Sadness, guilt, love. The woman spoke.

"Not too much longer, Anna. Sunrise is in an hour."

The woman looked toward the corner of the room and Anna followed her gaze. They both stared at the shredded, ripped and bloodied body of what had once been a man.

 


 

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