Handcuffs and Roses

written in response to Shafali’s Creativity Carnival picture below

She heard a door open and close and a set of footsteps begin their descent down the stairs. “I have a present for you.” He sounded happy, amused even, but she closed her eyes against the sound. She tried her best to remain motionless. She kept her hands in prayer pose, tucked beneath her cheek, and continued to lie on her side on the dirty, single mattress.  She willed her breaths to remain even, and steady, as he dragged a chair closer to her. She could feel his hot breath on her face; the whiskey scent tickled her nose.

“Don’t you want to see what I have brought for you?” She could feel something gently caress her arm. The touch was soft, almost loving. “I know you are not sleeping, my pet. Open your eyes.”

She glanced up at his pale blue eyes. She noted the stubble along his jaw line and cheeks before diverting her attention to  the floor.

“Do you like roses my pet? I thought we could play a game.” He twirled the rose in between his fingers as he spoke.” I will ask you a question and if you answer correctly, you can keep this rose. I will even give you a vase with some water.”

His games, and prizes, were twisted. The last game was a dance. The prize?  Music. Simple, it seemed, until hours later her handcuffs and chains became too heavy for her weakened body. She grew tired. Every time she moved the metal would cut further into the fragile flesh around her ankles and wrists. Every time she tried to stop, he would slap a riding crop – first, on the floor, then at her legs and shoulders to keep her moving. The welts still hadn’t healed.

“Do you love me, my pet?” He used the rose to tenderly stroke her face from her temple to her jaw; its faint, sweet smell drifted into her nose.

She refused to answer, to give into his demand. If she said yes, she would be destroying herself, destroying her hope for freedom. She would be admitting defeat, admitting that she was trapped here; that her old life did not exist, that it was something she could not return to, that it would remain just a faded memory of better days. She had tried for weeks to find a way out. She yanked at the chains that kept her secured to the walls. She paced the same six-foot area over and over again until the bottoms of her feet were raw. She screamed until her voice was gone. But no one ever walked through that door except for him. He was her captor. A predator that had stalked her and had taken her against her will; kidnapped her and placed her into a concrete basement. She was his slave, his pet, to use and abuse as he saw fit.

“Do you love me?” his gentle tone was replaced with malice and anger. She stared back at him, her face set in stone. “Well, let’s just see what the rose says, shall we?” He tugged off a delicate petal. “She loves me, she loves me not…” Her sense of fear and foreboding increased as each petal floated down to the floor.