I Am No Prey by Amal Clare May 25, 2021

16-Mysteries

"What!" I shrieked. "You shot me up with poison!" I turned my gaze to Everard. "Are you trying to kill me!?" 

"No." 

Of course he was being monosyllabic now. "What do you mean no!" I shrieked again. "You freaking shot me up with snake venom!" 

"You have an antidote, right?" I asked the sister who'd been nice so far. Her name was Anna. I think. 

"Calm down, dear. The poison kills by stopping the heart. It should reach your heart in a few more seconds, and we're monitoring you. If it's going to kill you, we'll give you the antidote." 

That really didn't help at all and whatever I was going to say broke off in a gasp when I felt an acute stab of pain in my chest. I looked down, and placed my hand where my heart was, half expecting to see a knife poking out. My heart, one of the most vital organs in my body, had stopped, and it hurt. I toppled off the bed, clutching my chest and breathing deeply, gasping, thinking that maybe that would get it to beat again. Other effects were happening too, since the blood circulation had completely stopped. 

Vaguely, I registered someone yelling to give me the antidote, and another voice saying I was still alive. I bit my lip, hard, not registering the taste of the blood that flooded my mouth, and squeezed my eyes shut. I'd be dead soon from the lack of blood circulation. So I squeezed my eyes shut and fisted my hands, praying to the One above to let me stay here just a few more years. I was in the middle of my third prayer when the sharp pain in my chest suddenly disappeared, and I felt the first beat through my core, literally. I shuddered, my senses returning slowly as the blood started circulating my body again. 

A few moments later and I was completely fine, almost as if it never happened. Everyone else was quiet. 

One of the sisters-the one I didn't like-whistled. 

"Marie," Everard warned from behind me. 

"That was remarkable. See? I told you she'd be fine, a good thing I didn't give her the antidote, Everard. Do you know if she can heal from anything? Have you tried? 

And that was it, the shadows in the room sprung free from the walls, wrapping around her, at the same time that I pounced on her and slammed her against the wall, my hand around her throat. 

"I am not some bloody lab rat for you to experiment on," I snarled. "And you try something like that again without my permission, you'll find out exactly what I'm capable of. You hear me?" 

Her eyes bulged and her reply came out choked. I dropped my hand, sure that I hadn't been squeezing too hard. I let out a breath, slow and steady, forcing my panic and anger under control. The shadows eased away from her. I stepped away from her, her sister regarded me with saucer-wide eyes, and when she took a step away from me, I realized that she feared me. I hated it and whirled on Everard. 

"What the hell was that? Are you going to throw a knife at me next to see if I survive that? What if I actually died?" 

"I wouldn't have let you die." 

"Oh really? That's not what it looked like a few minutes ago." 

"You were fine." 

"Fine!" I shrieked, "You want me to stop your heart and ask whether you're fine?!" 

His gaze hardened. "I need to know what you can do, and yes, what you can heal from."

"Why!?"

He looked away, jaw clenched and a frown pulling at his brows. Of course he wasn't going to tell me. And to think that I was trusting him, feeling more than trust. Way more. My hands fisted at my sides and I wanted to break something, preferably his nose. I didn't think, I just launched myself at him, grabbing his collar and pulling my fist back. He grabbed my wrist before I even got close, and pushed me against the wall. The movement jarred my wings and elicited a gasp fro my lips. He leaned down to my ear. 

In a low, husky voice, he whispered, "You want to try that again, sweetheart?" 

This was so not the time for this. In fact, no time was good for this and I snarled in his face. 

"Call me sweetheart one more time and I'll make the rest of my stay here hell for you." 

His grip tightened on my wrist. "If you don't cooperate, I'll resort to treating you like a prisoner and you will never leave here." 

I stopped and stared at him, shocked, and....hurt. That wasn't what I was expecting at all. Then again, what was I expecting? I was a prisoner and he was my captor and I was a fool to believe that had changed. Of course he'd want to do something involving my freakish powers, that was why I was stuck here after all. 

Seeing my expression, he dropped my hand and stepped back. "Just let them run the tests they need to, we won't test your...healing abilities without telling you next time, all right?" 

I wanted to shout "No way in hell mister!" and run out. But then what? He was faster than me, stronger, and even if I somehow managed to escape him, there was no way for me to leave the country and go back home. Never mind that apparently I could control fire. Fire that hadn't deigned to show so far and shadows that were useless when all they did was whisper in my ear and have no physicality. 

"Fine," I ground out. 

On the way back to the rooms, I would never call them my rooms, I realized that what happened made me remember my priorities and who Everard was to me. So I would be placid and listen, for now. Then I'd get the hell out and destroy whatever they got from me that could be used to make others like me. Now I just had to figure out how to do that.

******

The next day, it was Daniel who showed up, not Everard. I figured that Everard sent him in his place knowing that I was still angry with him. I was more than angry. 

Daniel wasn't as patient as him, but I wasn't complaining. Back in the training room, I was on my fiftieth sit-up when I pushed myself off the ground and pulled Daniel from whatever book he was reading. 

"Teach me how to fight." 

"Should I be worried?" 

I frowned. "Why would you be worried?" 

"You already have an attitude that bites, not sure if I want you to punch me hard when you're angry too." 

"Please?" 

His brows rose, and he seemed shocked that I actually asked nicely. I wasn't that rude, was I? 

He laughed when he noticed my expression. "I'm just messing with you, it'd be fun to teach you. A pleasure." 

"You're laying it too thick." 

He ignored that and held up his hands, palms facing me. "Punch my hands." 

I did, his hands didn't even budge, and my punches were probably wrong. 

"Your form is wrong. First, your thumb needs to be outside your fist, not in, and you aim with this." 

He took my hand, showed me and made me do it again. Then he made me correct my form, and do it again. And again. I threw punches until my arms hurt, but his hands didn't budge once. That was only possible with years of training, something I didn't have time for. I needed to learn faster, that was the only way I'd have a chance of escaping. 

After that, he made me practice kicking. That was ten times trickier than the punching, because I was doing everything wrong. I was bending my knees wrong, when I kicked out, I did that wrong, my form was wrong, I kept my arms in the wrong places. Wrong. Wrong. Up until this point, I didn't realize my arms needed to be in a position also to deliver the right kick, and there were so many types of kicks. This was kind of starting to suck. 

I let out a groan and dropped my arms. "Fine. Show me how you do it." 

He reared his leg back and kicked the wall using what I knew was a perfect roundhouse kick. Hard. Hard enough that the plaster cracked. I gulped and mentally told myself not to get on his bad side. Or to learn how to survive if I did. 

"Try again." 

I did. Again and again until I lost count and I was shaking and panting. After what felt like the millionth time, I dropped to the floor, exhausted. 

"On the positive side, you're improving fast, faster than expected."

I let out a half hearted cheer at that. Maybe that was because of my abilities or whatever. "When can we practice again?" 

"We'll do it everyday. Defense before offence, it'll be more fun to teach you defense."

"What do you mean by fun?" I asked warily. 

A feline grin was the only response. "You stink, go take a shower and rest up." 

I rolled my eyes and left, exhausted and agreeing with him that I needed a shower and a long nap.