Warning: This chapter has a lot of violence! Not for fainthearted….. Reader discretion is advised.
😉 I had to put that. But seriously, I mean it.
Thirty minutes later Holly was dressed in a white t-shirt and jeans.
I’m dressed like a mental patient, she thought. Probably so I don’t hurt myself.
She opened the door warily, as if danger was outside the door. Artemis was waiting for her, so she was somewhat right.
“Come on,” he muttered, turning to the opposite direction and walking down the corridor.
Holly followed him hesitantly, looking around and kept a good space between them as they went through the manor. Kitchen, living room, music room, library, she tried to remember where everything was, but she would no doubt get lost sometime or another.
Finally they reached a staircase, and Holly was just about to go up it, when Artemis snatched her arm.
“Holly, I am putting this the nicest way possible… do not go up there.”
Holly looked into his eyes and tried to figure out why he didn’t want her up there, but couldn’t. She just nodded distractedly.
Artemis was about to start yelling at her, she could feel it. But it never came. Instead, Artemis’s cell phone rang.
“I’ll be right back.” he muttered, taking the call into the other room.
Holly looked up the stairs, she wondered what could be up there, what would be up there for Artemis to almost get upset with her.
She glanced the way Artemis went. The call did look like it was going to take a while. Maybe just a quick peek, just go in there, take a look and come down…
She nodded at her thought and headed up the stairs. Each one creaked, making her wince, but Artemis never came back. Finally, she reached the door at the top of the stairs, and opened it.
She gasped when she saw what was in there.
A sleeping lady. The covers were pulled up to her chin, so Holly couldn’t get a very good look, but Holly knew she was definitely sleeping. Well, sleeping or dead.
Why would Artemis try to hide this from her? she wondered. Then she had a thought. Maybe I could help her…
Her thought was abruptly cut off by Artemis. She didn’t hear him approach, but suddenly she sensed his presence behind her. She tensed, and started to turn around, but stopped immediately when he curled an arm around her, pinning her arms to her sides, and his other hand covered her mouth.
“What part of stay out of the attic wasn’t clear?” he hissed in her ear.
She tried to answer, but with his hand over her mouth it wasn’t intelligible.
“Shut up,” he growled. “Or-”
“Arty? Is that you?”
Both Artemis and Holly looked to the source of the voice. The lady was awake now, sitting up in bed. Now that she wasn’t covered by the blanket Holly could take her in fully.
The woman was small and thin, and her skin cast off a sickly glow that made Holly nauseated to look at. All in all, she looked so extremely fragile it broke her heart.
“Yes, it’s me, Mother,” Artemis answered, his voice irritable. Holly tensed, thinking, ‘mother’… He tightened his grip on her as he said, “go back to sleep.”
Mrs. Fowl yawned. “That sounds like an okay idea. But first, come give me a hug.”
He made a low sound, somewhere between a growl and a frustrated sigh, and squeezed Holly one time as warning before slowly releasing her. “Don’t move, and don’t say a word,” he hissed as he walked around her.
She watched silently as Artemis stalked over and gave his mother a hug, squeezing the frail women gently once before stepping back. “Thank you,” she said, as she burrowed back down under the covers.
“Of course,” the boy said stiffly. “May I go now?”
“Yes, run along dear. Leave your poor mother to rest.”
But Artemis had stopped listening after the “yes.” Without another word to his mother, he walked back over to where Holly was standing, grabbed a fistful of her hair, and started tugging her out the door with a low growl of “come on.”
He continued to drag her clear down, back to the basement, and she realized what was about to happen, a second before it did.
He busted through the basement door and threw the elf down. She slid across the basement floor and scraped her elbow, but he was beyond caring now. He turned and locked the door, and then he was on her in the next second.
“I told you to stay out of the attic,” he growled at her. He pulled a small pocket knife from his suit pocket, opened it, and pressed the tip of it to her throat. His hand was shaking with his anger. “Well?” he demanded. “Nothing to say for yourself? Speak!” he barked.
“I- I’m sorry!” she choked out. “I was just curious! I- I didn’t realize-”
“You didn’t realize what, Holly?” he spat. “That there was a reason that I told you to stay out of there? I gave you the freedom to go almost anywhere you want in the manor, around the clock, and you just had to go to the one place I prohibited! The only one, and you still couldn’t manage to restrain yourself! You know, I have half a mind to just kill you right here and now. But no,” he paused and smiled evilly, his eyes filled with hate and anger, “no, I think that would be to easy.”
The next thing she knew, he had plunged the knife into her calf. Her leg exploded with pain, but apparently it wasn’t enough for him, as he proceeded to twist the knife in her leg with both hands, drilling it in deeply. She heard a scream, and it registered through the cloud in her mind that it must have been hers, but she couldn’t bring herself to care, or to think of anything but the pain.
That was what the next hour and a half of her life was: pain. It was all she knew, and definitely all she could focus on. She writhed and screamed and begged and cried, to no avail. Every word just seemed to make him want to torture her more, because with every moment it just seemed to get worse.
By the time they were found, she had several smaller cuts all over her body, two more wounds like the one in her calf, a broken rib, and several longer cuts as well. She’d lost so much blood that she was barely on the edge of consciousness. The only reason she was still holding on was because she was afraid if she let herself pass out, she might not wake up.
Not even realizing it, she slowly started to slip into unconsciousness, only to be zapped back into awareness by someone shouting, someone who she realized wasn’t her for once. There was too much blood in her ears to tell what was being said though.
Then suddenly Artemis grabbed another fistful of her hair and dragged her up, pinning her limp body against his, and she heard his voice right by her ear say, “one more step and I’ll finish her off.”
“Artemis, put the elf down,” Butler said. “Don’t hurt her, just lay her down.”
“Why should I?” Artemis demanded. “She deserves to die. And nobody will miss her anyways, everybody who cares already thinks she’s dead.”
“Well, I’m sure she cares! Look, whatever happened I’m sure can be worked out. Now please, just put her down.”
“Fine,” the boy snarled. “You want her? Here she is!” He pushed the elf away from him, and she rolled and fell to the floor at the giant man’s feet. “But fair warning, she’s lost enough blood I can honestly say I have no idea whether she’ll die of blood loss or not. But then again, I don’t care.” He stood up. “Good luck, and good bye.”
Then he stomped out of the room, leaving Butler alone with the broken and blood soaked form of Captain Short.