When she later emerged from another corridor and into a very large room she felt a sense of disquiet. She had the vague feeling of having been in this big room before, but she couldn’t remember why or even how often. The woman continued ‘grunt-yanking’ her toward one end of the room where a dais had been built. A very short and rotund man stood there, a dwarf really; obviously waiting to receive her. Several feet in front of the dais, and right next to where the dwarf was standing, there was an iron ring bolted to the stone floor. This part of the floor was stained nearly black with blood. The woman dragged her to this exact spot and dropped the steel ring allowing the heavy chains to fall with a loud clatter as she moved off several feet away and waited. The dwarf produced a lock and key, secured the steel ring to the iron one set in the floor and moved off several feet away to wait, just as the woman had done, but on the opposite side of the dais.
Now that she had stopped moving she took stock of her surroundings. The room was furnished with exotic things, some of them obviously imported from half a world away, but they had been poorly maintained. Rich tapestries hung askew on the walls, tattered and fading, and ignored. Suspended from the high vaulted ceiling above, several chandeliers appeared to have remained untouched for years, unlit and coated with layers of cobwebs.
Scanning the room, her eyes returned to the dais, and only now did she feel a sudden compulsion to look upward. Seated there upon a throne of sorts was a monstrous thing. She knew that this was the thing that had made her so terrified before. Of all the awful things that had been done to her here, this was what had done the most awful of them. But the fear which she was sure had paralyzed her before was still gone even while looking up at the monster seated on that throne, and she knew that if this thing didn’t make her feel afraid now then she would never be afraid again. It was a liberating feeling but she didn’t have time to enjoy it, for as she became aware of the absence of fear she became aware instead of a different feeling. Hatred. Whatever this thing had done to her, she hated him for it.
The thing spoke to her in a voice which sounded hauntingly familiar, as if she were hearing a voice from an oft-recurring nightmare. “There is my little beauty… I sensed when you awoke and I could not wait to see the new you.” It sneered as a bit of spittle drooled over its bottom lip to slowly ooze down its chin. The monster seemed not to notice. It was a hulk of a thing, as pale as she, but it was big and round. It dressed in clothing that must once been very expensive but were now filthy, caked with grime, food, and layers of dust. She began to recognize that she was now noticing levels of detail she couldn’t remember having noticed before. She stared up at the fat, bloated monster with an expression she was certain was as cold as the room she had been held in. His voice came again in a taunting lilt.“Not going to talk to me again today?”.
She made no attempt to reply. That hatred was still growing within her, slowly building as it combined with her revulsion to form a kind of disgust that seethed more than it raged. She didn’t have to remember all the things this monster had done. She could guess well enough. She seemed to remember parts of her body being badly injured. Broken bones, maybe. She had never known for sure, had she? Well, it hadn’t mattered to her then when she could do nothing about it and it certainly didn’t matter now. Those injuries didn’t hurt anymore, and she barely remembered them.
The thing stood and walked down the dais toward her, its heaving bulk practically bouncing with each step it took until it stopped directly in front of her. As she looked up at him, she saw his expression change from amusement to anger. He drew his hand back. This had terrified her before, hadn’t it? When he brought his hand back forward it slammed into the side of her head with tremendous force, swiveling her head on her neck. Her body half-turned to absorb the impact, then slowly resumed its original position, her head turning slowly to look back up at him with the same cold, hateful expression as a trickle of blood started to flow down from her lower lip. Had she just seen the woman flinch?
The thing looked down at her and laughed.“Not the timid child anymore, are you, my beauty? No, I don’t suppose you are.” His laughing smile spread into a sadistic grin as he leaned down close. He smelled like compost and her stomach lurched slightly. “Now do not worry about that bleeding lip of yours. I think you will find that the bleeding has already stopped. From now on, no matter what I do to you, you’ll always heal, my beauty.That’s why I did it to you, you see.” He stood back up and retreated a step on the dais to increase his height advantage before continuing, his voice dropping to a strained whisper that somehow seemed to carry throughout the large chamber. “, what is done is done. It cannot be undone, and I do not care if you hate me for it. In fact, I hope you do. But you really should have done as you were told, my beauty. Did you really think that you could defy me in my own house? That you could mock me and insult me, and I would just simply allow it? Not only did you underestimate me, but you overestimated yourself! You are mine! You belong to me as surely as this mansion and these grounds belong to me!” With that he lunged forward in his anger and caught her by the throat. “And now I will punish you severely for all you have done to me!”, and his bloated fingers begin to squeeze as her vision began to dim, a grayish-brown mist advancing from the edges of her field of vision toward the center until all she could see was the monster’s ghastly face, fading into darkness as the dimming mist continued to overwhelm her vision until she saw no more. He let go of her throat as her head went limp, her eyes rolling backward as she collapsed with a hard thud against the stone floor. The monster then turned and stormed up the dais, his anger evident as he sat, throwing his considerable bulk against the back of the throne.
He sat there silently, his jaw clenched, his fists flexing and unflexing in rapid succession as he waited, glaring down at the young woman’s subdued body below. Suddenly, the woman spasmed and then slowly began to sit back up pushing herself up from the floor as she gradually regained her senses. The monster took a deep breath, let it out slowly and haltingly, then breathed in again and exhaled even more deliberately, slowly re-establishing control. His next words were almost inaudible, almost as if he were speaking only to himself, though she was still able to discern his words clearly. “Oh yes, I will punish you severely for what you have done to me.” Again his fists unconsciously flexed and unflexed over and over as he spoke. “And I had considered punishing you for the rest of your life, but I wanted to do more than that to you, my beauty. Much, much more… I began to think of all the wonderful ways I could hurt you, all the delicious ways I could make your life a never-ending stream of terror and pain, imagining your life as nothing but this; and always, as I imagined tormenting you all the way to the very last day, the very last moment of your life, I would envisage finally looking down at your dead body only to find myself still unsatisfied. It was then that I realized that I could never be satisfied with punishing you for the rest of your life when what I really want is to punish you forever.”