“I’ve watched you for years, you know.”
Caroline mewled as her sandy-haired captor entered her dimly lit prison, locking the heavy iron door behind him. Nothing about the slender young man should have inspired terror. His voice, like his appearance, was so… normal. Average height, average looks, average build – he was no different from every other student on their college campus except for a fiercely disturbed intelligence that was backed by wild and untrained magic. How could such a monster be so unassuming?
“You were a charming little kitten at seven. You were sweet, playful, a joy to be around even if you were a bit vain and flighty.” He slipped the skeleton key into his pocket as his eyes devoured her naked body. With her wrists and ankles strapped to a large, iron X, she was open and vulnerable to anything he chose to do to her. His choices thus far had given her such nightmares that she’d screamed her throat raw over the past two weeks. She barely managed a pained whimper when he began to undress.
“By sixteen, you’d embraced your whorish cat nature with alacrity, lifting your tail for any male who came sniffing around. As long as they were an animal like you, that is. Normal men had no chance with you, did they, Caroline?”
“Is that what this is about?” Pale yellow fur sprouted along her arms and legs as she struggled against her restraints. She knew what happened next; she wasn’t sure she could endure it again. “You kidnapped me and stuffed me in a basement because I turned you down for a date?” Her ears lengthened and grew matching fur as she relied more and more on her cat for strength.
“Oh, Caroline, I thought you were smarter than that. It was never about you.” He placed his clothing on the only other piece of furniture in the room, a rusty metal table by the door, but kept a small item hidden in his hand. As he approached, he turned the elegant brooch so that the faint light in the room glinted off the metal. She gasped in surprise. “Ah, I see you recognize this. Can you imagine my shock when I found it at the bus stop?”
“It… it fell out of my pocket. I swear!” Her eyes followed his fingers as they lovingly traced each golden swirl and caressed the flawless pearl cabochon. Dear God, how long had he planned this?
“I see you recognize my little gift, Caroline.” Power swirled around his slim figure, making it glow in the faint light as he paced. Her eyes followed him nervously, for each pass brought him closer to her. “Too bad you didn’t recognize its value six years ago. It wasn’t from a discount chain like your little pride of vicious cunts claimed; I’d had it made just for you in the finest jeweler in the country. I demanded 18k gold because anything less was an insult to your beauty. I even imported the finest natural pearl from Venezuela because cultured pearls weren’t good enough for you! And how did you repay me? Hmmm? How?”
Caroline hissed and pressed against the cold metal at her back as he brought his face inches from hers. When she turned her head from the fury in his swirling eyes, his fingers dug painfully into her cheeks as he forced her to look at him. Blood coated her tongue as her fangs cut into the tender flesh inside her mouth. Her captor’s eyes shone with corrupted power; fathomless pools of pure silver tainted with jet black streaks of pure evil.
“Answer me, Caroline.”
“I… um, I dropped it.” Her voice trembled from between her pursed lips and blood dribbled onto her chin to mix with the unending stream of tears she thought long exhausted.
“Did you want to try that again, kitty?” His eyes flared as he dragged the sharp pin of the brooch along her cheek, cutting deeply into her flawless skin. He grinned when her screech of pain echoed in the small room.
“Okay, God! I threw it away! I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“Oh, I’m sure you are now, Caroline.” She released another agonizing scream as the brooch dug a matching furrow in her other cheek. Her claws bit into her palms as she struggled to escape the bands around her wrists. “I’m sure you’re very sorry.” His eyes flashed as he pressed the pin of the brooch deep into her shoulder. “I’m sure you’re going to be even sorrier by the time I’m finished with you.”