She was alone. Utterly alone.
She shook her head. Damp flew off her face, bounced off the white walls all around her. Where was she?
A hot ball of hatred dropped into her gut. Betrayal.
She took a deep breath and looked around. She had tried and failed to scale the walls. They were slick, soaking wet, and towered four times above her height.
Without assistance she’d never get out of here. No one was coming for her. No one. Except perhaps the one who’d dropped her here to begin with.
Her extremities shook. In her mind, she saw him. Relived his betrayal again and again. The torture. The cold. The water. The drowning. The agony. Even now, she couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. As soon as that venomous liquid reached her chest, she had screamed, high pitched wails heaving from her chest, begging for mercy, but none came.
The man who brought her here was not the man she had loved. He was not merciful. He was relentless.
“It’s for your own good,” his voice had vibrated, rough and dominant against her ear. She shuddered remembering the strong stroke of his fingers against her dripping hair. “It will be over soon, my love.”
Bile rose in her throat at the memory. “Why?” she screamed. “Why have you done this to me? Leave me alone!” She had to escape. She scrambled to the wall again, tried to scale the smooth, white surface. She tumbled down again, her head banging up and down against the slick floor.
After he had broken her will, after she had cried over and again, he’d wrapped his arms around her and pressed her into his chest. He made sounds, protective sounds, possessive sounds, even laughter. She struggled to break free, raked her nails into his skin, but he only laughed again.
Then he dumped her, shivering and wet onto the smooth, white floor.
“I’ll be right back,” he whispered.
How long had it been now? A month? A year?
She shrank against the floor. What was left to live for, now? If he, her protector, the man she thought she loved, could do this to her, then what was left for her?
At the end of the room, a black hole marred the surface of the smooth white floor. A drop of water trembled and fell from a terrible apparatus above the room; plummeted into that darkness.
Muscles aching, she dragged her limp body across the floor, pace by pace, her joints straining, and peered down into that hole. Nothing but black. Dank whiffs of mildew and rotting human hair wafted up from the deep. Who else had he done this to? What would happen to her now?
She looked up and saw her twisted reflection in the shining steel that arced above her. Her bright green eyes were dull with sorrow.
If a silver grate, dotted by drops of filthy water, had not guarded the gaping mouth of the dark, she would have taken control of her fate, cast herself into that bleak night and been done with her miserable life. Instead she dropped her face onto the putrid metal and inhaled the welcome scent of death.
“Please,” she whispered. “Please just take me away now. Please let me go…”
Her heart stilled. Her betrayer had returned. His voice reverberated against the walls. What fresh hell did he have for her now…?
A warm, rough blanket wrapped around her quivering flesh. Strong arms pulled her up and out.
“You poor darling.” He touched his face to her nose and his big brown eyes met hers. “You’ll be dry soon. I know you hate baths, but we can’t let those nasty fleas eat the little kitty alive, can we?” He stroked his fingernails against her scalp, then gently pressed his lips to the top of her head.
Maybe she could forgive him. Maybe.
With quiet dignity, she brushed her whiskers against his face and began to purr.