“Those who can soar to the highest heights can also plunge to the deepest depths, and the natureswhich enjoy most keenly are those which also suffer most sharply”
Flashes of him disappeared and reappeared in her head like lightening in the darkesthours. She wanted to forget last night, but his hungry eyes, those bloodshot things stabbedinto her slumber. Every word, every threat, the very breath from his lips pounded through pained ears.“Did you enjoy the dinner?” King Aldrec asked when he entered her cell.Zaira only nodded.“Quiet again? You usually are. My son made it tonight. It’s his first time cooking.”Aldrec smiled at her, and she quickly looked away. “Yes, slightly different and better. He’sa great chef, isn’t he? I guess cooking is another of his talents. And he happens to only besixteen,” he boasted, forming another grin at the end.She glanced away again for she knew it was just an illusion. He had no heart. Heonly cared for his son, so any form of friendliness from him couldn’t be trusted. Hedemanded her to take a seat, so she settled at the edge of the bed.“Zaira, you know why I’m keeping you here,” he started, then knelt down beforeher, studying her face. Zaira’s eyes grew dim. “Now, don’t give me that look. You don’trealize how powerful you are, how much of a gift it is to have you here.”Zaira wanted to tell him that keeping her as a prisoner for his own benefit waswrong, but she remembered what happened the last time she told him something similar,that brutal blow across her face and the long-lasting pain afterwards.Aldrec sat close beside her and brought his palm up to her chin. “Such staggeringeyes…they always get to me…in all your twenty-seven years, not even the goddess of beauty can compare. Unless you’re that goddess yourself come down here in human form.”Zaira pulled from his touch, and rolled her eyes. To think he can try cheap words onher. She rose from the bed, but Aldrec grabbed her arms and pinned her back down.And then it happened. He touched her.“Stop it! Let go!” she yelled, trying to push him away but wasn’t strong enough.“Somebody help!” she screamed at the top of her lungs.“That’s no use,” he said. “No one’s around. We’re the only ones here.”“Bastard!”His heavy rage struck across her face. Zaira struggled helplessly to break free as hesmothered her neck with wet, dirty kisses. His tongue felt like a poisonous snake, thick with icky slime. When he stopped, and she sat up and stared disgustingly into hisfrightening stones of utter wickedness, resentment sweltering through every vein in her body. She wondered if he had any shame for what he just did. They looked at one another in what seemed as forever. “Please, leave,” she finally said in the kindest manner, hoping asofter tone would make him do so. She couldn’t stand his presence. Instead, the kingroughly grabbed her by her chin and gazed deeply into her with a shadow of darknesslingering over him.He edged his face closer, their lips just an inch apart, but Zaira shoved him awaywith all her might. “Leave me alone!”“You dare yell at me?”She sunk down against the wall, drawing her knees to her chest and narrowed her eyes with hatred.“Don’t you look at me that way either,” added the king.Zahira kept her head down and ignored him.“Look up to me,” he commanded. And when she didn’t, he knelt before her.