The sky outside had gotten completely dark, and Lily had to rely on candlelight within the walls of the cottage. Still they waited, still they kept alert
The door to the cottage slammed open, revealing Serena, dressed in bloodstained clothes. Around her neck coiled wires from Lily’s outstretched palm. On her chest, over her heart, was a red circle of light emitted from one of Iris’ projectile weapons – she called them <<Shooters>>.
Serena blinked in surprise, then looked at Lily’s hand, with wires extended from it, and then glanced down her chest, trying to puzzle out the purpose of the red circle.
Seeing that the intruder was the woman the two had been waiting for, Lily relaxed and reeled in her wires. Iris kept her shooter trained on Serena, but reluctantly returned it to the compartment on her thigh when Lily shook her head.
Serena chuckled and closed the door behind her.
“My. That was a surprise. You two are definitely more than you seem to be.”
Her chuckle cut off and her face tightened with fury when she saw the unconscious blue-haired man. Bloodlust radiated off her, effusing the air. She gestured at the bucket of water by the leg of the table.
“Wake him up.”
Her voice was curt and commanding. She brooked no denial. Lily shrugged, picked up the prepared bucket, then splashed it over the unconscious man’s face, slapping him a few times to wake him up.
The man awoke with a jolt and frantically looked around. His eyes passed over Lily and Serena but froze when he spotted Iris, still in her bloodstained summer dress. Eyes wide, his breathing became erratic, his body began to spasm. In a voice of equal parts fear and rage, he screamed out.
“Monster! I-it’s a monster! Save me, anyone! Come no closer, inhuman fiend!”
“Stop squirming, rat.”
With bloodlust clearly written on her face, Serena strode up to the man and grabbed his chin, forcing him to look at her.
At the side, Iris was pouting slightly. No girl liked being called a monster, even if the accuser was a powerless, pathetic excuse for a living creature. Lily strode up to Iris and hugged her into her chest, stroking her head.
“It’s okay Iris. I still think you’re super cute, okay?”
Iris blushed and leaned into Lily’s chest, savouring the moment.
While this exchange was occurring, the blue-haired man had somehow ended up off the chair and sideways on the floor, curling up in agony from the powerful kick to the gut Serena had delivered. She pinned his neck with her foot as she spoke in a voice dripping with savagery.
“Do you remember yet?”
His reply was converted to a scream by a kick to his arm, dislocating it.
“How about now?”
“No- *kick* I- *kick* Sto- *kick* What- *kick* FUCK YOU! *kick* *kick* *kick*”
The man, reduced to a whimpering mess, lay prone on the floor, shivering. Admiring Serena’s kick technique, Lily applauded lightly, taking a mental note to try some of those attacks out the next time she had a chance to kick an opponent while they were down. Oblivious to Lily’s silent admiration, Serena reached down with her left hand and grabbed hold of the man’s neck, raising him up to her eye level. With her other hand, she lifted her shirt and revealed the slave brand on her right breast.
The man’s eyes searched frantically around the room and around Serena for an answer. They lingered on her hair, her brand, and the bed in the corner of the cottage. Then a look of both horror and realisation graced his face.
Serena smiled, a cruel smile bereft of humor.
“There we go. It’s been a long time, dear.”
She drew back her arm and thrust it forward, throwing the man across the room, into the wall adjacent to the bed. He crashed against it and landed on the bed, bloodied and weak.
“I still remember everything, you know. Everything, clear as day. Not a day have I not relived it. Not a night passes that the memory does not haunt me.”
Serena closed the distance while speaking, looking for all the world like a predator calmly closing in on its prey.
“Selene! Don’t be crazy! T-This is- I’m sorry! This is all past! I- I can give you money! Just don’t-”
As the man attempted to reason with Serena, she had arrived at the edge of the bed. As she spoke, she placed a finger tenderly upon the man’s lips, silencing him.
“I remember the day we first met. That day, at the river, where I fell in love for the first time.”
With her other hand, she gently caressed the man’s cheek, at which the man could only stay frozen in terror. Her voice sounded sweet, but her eyes were the steel of a bloodthirsty blade.
“I remember how you courted me, how you were so sweet. I remember you bringing me to this quaint little cottage, and promising a peaceful life together here.”
More caresses. By now, the man’s skin was pale white with fear, and his eyes were darting about frantically, trying to avoid Serena’s gaze.
“I remember how you drugged me that night.”
In a flash of movement, Serena’s right knee connected with the man’s abdomen. He lurched forward, eyes bulging, hacking up blood.
“I remember how you tied me up on that bed.”
Serena’s right elbow struck his chin.
“I remember how you branded me as I lay naked and helpless.”
Joined fists smashed down on his forehead.
“I remember you and your comrades taking turns to try me out.”
She grabbed his face and forced him into a face-up position on the bed. She reached to her calf holster, where she drew a serrated knife, which she held in a reverse grip.
“I remember being violated,”
She swung down and stabbed the man’s groin with the knife. The man screamed out, but somehow Serena’s quiet voice seemed to drown out the noise.
“and again and again and again and again and again AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!”
Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab.
Breathing heavily, Serena threw the knife aside. Before her, the man was whimpering, his face a pathetic sight of tears and blood, his clothes a bloody, tattered mess. The faint smell of human excrement caused Lily to wrinkle her nose and take a few steps back. Iris simply shut off her sense of smell.
“For years I’ve been plagued by that night. For years I’ve desired this revenge. Every time an owner violated me, every time an owner abused me, every time the accursed collar delivered its punishment. The anticipation of this night has sustained me. And it is an anticipation which has grown stronger. Finally, with this, perhaps I will be free of the ghost of that night.”
Her face composed and calm, showing no trace of her earlier rage, she drew her rapier – a simple, yet elegant silver blade – and pierced him through the eye. The man convulsed, then stopped moving, his face eternally contorted in pain and fear.
Serena withdrew her blade, swinging it to clear it of blood and grey matter, then smoothly returned it to its sheath. She turned to Lily with a large, genuine smile, the first Lily had seen grace the woman’s face.
“Well! That was refreshing. Maybe tonight I can finally sleep well.”