Chapter 1: Carol

Endless suffering. A nightmare Carol was never going to wake from.

Like every other evening, the sadist had whipped her bloody, treated her wounds, comforted her, fucked her, then left her to heal overnight.

It was a vicious cycle.

Not that she cared one way or another, but it was impossible to tell the actual time of day in this basement, or underground, or whatever it was. There were no windows. Not in her room, and not in the torture chamber as she called what the sadist referred to as his 'playroom'. Those were the only places he’d taken her to.

There were girls in the adjoining cells. She’d heard them talking, and fucking, and even laughing. Evidently, the other Doomers were not as bad as Sebastian. And even though she had no doubt that the women were held against their will, they were at least treated better. They even got to get out and see the sunlight, something the sadist believed Carol, as an immortal, didn’t need.

Once a day, she would hear the Doomer in charge of this place herd the women out.

Whatever. The whole place was silent now, so the others must’ve been sleeping. Carol shifted, trying to get more comfortable. Lying face down for so long was becoming hard to endure, but she was afraid to turn around. Her wounds should be closed by now, but her entire back was still throbbing with pain.

Damn, she would have done anything for a joint right now. Scratch that; she needed a morphine injection to numb the pain. Both physical and emotional. Though she would have settled for a Percocet. Anything to take the edge off.

Fuck, if she hadn’t been such a pothead, she would have never stepped outside to smoke that joint, would have never ended up as the whipping toy of a merciless sadist, and Ben would still be alive.

Dear fates, the guilt was even worse than the physical pain.

Carol still harbored a smidgen of hope that Ben had managed to escape, or that George had found him in that alley and had rushed him to safety. But at the back of her mind, she feared the worst. There was no way he could’ve escaped. There had been too many of them. And if he’d been still alive, the Doomers would have loaded him into their minivan and brought him here.

Maybe they had.

She’d been out when they’d locked her in this cell, this hell. They might’ve brought Ben as well, and were holding him somewhere else. This was the worst possibility, though, worse than his death.

After all, as a female immortal, she was a rare and irreplaceable commodity, and the sadist would want to keep her alive. But he had no need for Ben. Sebastian would torture him for information and after getting everything he could out of Ben, he would finish him.

An honorable end in battle would’ve been a mercy.

The one bright spot she clung to, her only victory in this losing battle, was that the sadist had bought her dumb act. Somehow, through the haze of pain, she’d managed to keep the façade of a stupid airhead who knew nothing about anything. Surprisingly, he’d believed her when she’d cried and sobbed claiming that she had no idea where the keep was.

But if Sebastian had Ben—

Carol shivered. It didn’t matter if Ben had told the sadist everything or nothing. Sebastian would’ve tortured her friend for the fun of it. Like a cat playing with a mouse, he would’ve given Ben an illusion of hope, just to kill him in the end.

Fates, please, please, I’m not asking anything for myself. But please save Ben. Let him be alive and well at the keep, or already dead. But not here, suffering at the hands of this monster.

Her sobs scraped over a dry throat that was still raw from her screams, and glancing at the nightstand, she eyed the water bottle her tormenter had left for her. She was so thirsty, but reaching for it meant stretching her arm and moving her bruised and knotted back muscles. Besides, her bladder was full, and any more liquid would force her to get up and shuffle to the bathroom. Something she was hoping to avoid for a couple more hours. If she managed to fall asleep, by the time it was morning, or the end of whatever the sleep cycle was here, the pain would be gone and going to the bathroom would not be the Herculean effort it would be now.

In the end, the thirst and the full bladder won. Moving as few muscles as possible, Carol shifted toward the edge of the bed and lifted an exhausted arm to grab the bottle. Enduring the pain had sucked out every last iota of energy from her, and every muscle in her body hurt, even those that weren’t bruised.

Shit, she needed her other hand to twist the cap off.

Gritting her teeth, Carol pushed through the pain to get herself to a sitting position and opened the fucking thing.

Bliss. The water was still cold, and going down her throat, it felt like the life-giving liquid it was. Carol didn’t stop until it was empty. With a grunt, she pushed to her feet and took the empty plastic container to the bathroom.

When she finally made it to the toilet, she had another moment of bliss as she sat down and emptied her bladder. Who would have thought that the simplest things would feel so good? Apparently, when deprived of everything else, a drink of water and a toilet seemed like the best life had to offer.

Perhaps she could muster enough strength to get into the shower. The sadist had cleaned her before tucking her in bed, but to stand under a stream of water without anyone watching her was another simple pleasure she craved to claim for herself. Fates knew there weren’t many.

She was naked, so at least there was no need to take anything off. Carol stepped inside the tiny shower stall and turned the faucet to the maximum it had to offer. The pressure sucked, but the water was hot enough and seemed to be in endless supply. The temperature didn’t vary for the entire hour or more she just stood under the weak stream, letting it soothe her bruised and abused body.

When she was done, Carol patted herself dry with a soft towel, then filled her bottle with tap water. She brushed her teeth, doing it in slow motion because it hurt even to move her arm, then rinsed her mouth with the bottle. It was a little gross, since she intended to drink from it later, but bending to reach the stream of water straight out of the faucet was a definite no go. She intended to do as little bending as possible.

As she got back to her bed, she took her time to lower herself gently to the bed, gingerly lying on her side. When the position proved tolerable, Carol sighed and closed her eyes.

Despite what her family thought of her, Carol’s life hadn’t always been easy, but nothing could’ve prepared her for this. The pain and the blood weren’t even the worst of it. In fact, if there were an Olympic competition for misery, the pain would’ve gotten only the bronze, the guilt would’ve won the silver, while the shame would’ve taken the gold.

Fates, the shame.

Carol buried her face in the pillow. Her tormenter was playing with more than her body; he was manipulating her mind, breaking her and molding her into what he wanted her to become. And she was letting him because she was too weak to fight it, too needy to refuse the little comfort he was offering her. Worst of all, as impossible as it seemed, she was wet for him when he entered her.

It must have been his immortal pheromones working their magic on her body. There was no other explanation. She wasn’t submissive, she didn’t get off on pain, and she sure as hell found nothing attractive about the sadist. In fact, nothing would’ve given her greater pleasure than to cut the fucker’s heart out, but only after she'd whipped him to within an inch of his life the same way he was doing to her. Over and over again, allowing him just enough time to heal, then doing it again.

The image brought a bitter smile to her face.

Sweet Carol, the one who’d been nice to everyone, was gone. The sadist had created a monster—a vicious, bloodthirsty woman who was bent on revenge.