Because when things go bad, they go horribly, horribly wrong.
You wanted to know why, right? Well, that's why. It's all really just that simple. I was damned from birth and no matter how long I run, how hard I hide, how smart I keep, my past is my present is my future. And it's such a short future at that. I am not a bad person. I don't know if I'm a good person, but I know I'm not a bad one. I've met the bad ones. I know the bad ones. The bad ones own me.
Thirsty. So thirsty. Dry mouth, aching stomach, scratchy throat, itchy skin. Thirsty.
Water? Is that water? I'm in it. I open my mouth, for half my face is submerged and take a gulp before I can muster opening my eyes, before it registers that I'm starting to wake up and should open my eyes. So thirsty. The water tastes not right and makes my stomach cramp but I gulp again and again until I choke.
Sputtering, a yank my head up, splashing water over the rim of the tub I'm curled up on my side in. I cough and hack and my chained hands clatter loudly against the side of it. The end of my chain is hooked to the ceiling above my head and I'm thankful it's long enough that my shoulders aren't dislocated yet. He never did like using regular handcuffs. Especially not after the last time I hitched them and ditched them, I'm sure. Heavy iron chains with links an inch round for me.
Still panting and trying to catch my breath, I whip my head to the side to fling my wet hair out of my eyes. Damn Tony for slipping those sleeping pills into my tea last night. His heart had been in the right place, worried over my sleeping three hours a week. His kindness has killed me.
Jack had come all the same, taking advantage of my drugged state. I doubt it had been any sort of feat for him to sneak me out from under everyone's noses.
Damned. It's just who I am.
"Why a bath?" I hissed, trying to get my bearings. New apartment from last time. At least this one was newer, less...stains. No matter how much bleach you use, not all the blood comes out every time.
"You smelled like those pathetic mongrels trying to keep you from me," Jack snarled from somewhere behind me. He rounded around to meet my eyes. He wanted to see the petrifying terror in them. He'd have to wait for my shock to wear off first.
I was still clothed. Shirt, jeans. He'd taken my shoes and socks, or maybe they'd fallen off during the trip. And my hair was loose, sticking to my scalp, instead of back in the tidy braid I'd been sleeping in.
But I knew how he liked to play with my hair. An overwhelming nauseous feeling rose at the idea of his fingers in it while I was passed out cold.
"But I think you're cleansed now," he murmured, the rancor from his tone gone and replaced by something near reverence. He climbed a short stool near the head of the tub and lifted the chain link off the hook in the ceiling.
He hopped down and ordered, "Stand up."
I did, I tried, but my legs were rubber and numb and while I was still struggling at it he jerked his end of the chain, sending me over the side of the tub and crashing to the floor. I yelped and couldn't brace for the way my legs landed or how hard my head hit the tile. I laid there stunned, and he simply dragged me over to where he wanted me. He didn't bother with the order again but, using a ladder, he hoisted me to my feet while he hooked a different link in my chain to the new hook. The link was further down my chain, closer to me, so that it forced my hands above my head. It didn't hurt my shoulders yet, but it would. And I'd lose feeling in my hands, too.
Jack wandered out of my vision for a moment but returned just as quickly, flogger in hand. It glistened from a recent cleaning.
"We've missed you, Libby. So very, very much." He held up the flogger. "See? It's all oiled and ready."
Then he shoved his face so close to mine our noses brushed, his expression was instantly darker, harder, meaner. Fury and wrongness radiated off of him like a sun's rays and I wondered if this time I'd be burned to ashes from it. "Are you?" He growled at me.
I knew even as my own screams would wreck my throat and ears, as my instinct to survive and stubbornness would draw out all the agony, I was thankful. It'd finally be over, and Tony and the others would finally, finally be safe.
"Free to live as I'm free to die," I whispered.
He spun me by my chain so that he had access to my back. I saw his shadow arm raise the shadow flogger.
Because when things go bad, they go horribly, terribly, irrefutably, and hopelessly bad.