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Her eyes will flutter open and I will smile as shock registers in the crinkling of her brow and the parting of her lips. She will attempt to rise, but fall as she detects the bindings at her wrists and ankles, recognizes where she is. Her eyes will widen, her pupils will dilate, her face will flush, and the finely trained muscles of her arms and shoulders will tense. Goosebumps will rise on her moistening flesh.
I have been here before, but she has not and she will not be aware of the predictability of her responses.
After a moment, she will realize she has not been gagged. She might scream or she might vomit, but that isn't especially relevant. There will be no one but myself to bear witness. I will wait until she is finished. If she vomits, eventually she will empty herself. Screaming will wear on her throat, make it hoarse. It will ebb and she will find herself tear-streaked, staring at me, her bottle green eyes standing out against their inflamed rims.
I will be sitting on a teak stool, one arm resting on a matte black table blemished with paint and glaze and clay, I will stand and take two measured steps toward the industrial-grade kiln she lies within.
She will be near-silent. I will take this brief moment of relative peace to examine her features up close for the first time. She will be more aesthetically pleasing than I thought, though hers truly is an inner light. Fear will hardly dim her at all, merely age her a bit. It suits her nicely, and reinforces the necessity of my actions. She will be the perfection I percieved the first time I read her words on the pages of The Daily just two months ago.
"Do you have any idea how lovely you are, Olivia?"
She will recoil, or try to in the limited space she occupies. I will withdraw the hand I was extending to caress her clammy skin, and a sadness will tug at the corners of my mouth. Her eyes will narrow as she is emboldened by my hesitation. She will speak, "Who are you? Where the fuck am I"
"My name is Cassandra, but that isn't particularly important. Tonight is for you. The final night of your tormented immortality. I only regret that I didn't find you sooner."
She will cry out for help, plead with me to let her go, but it won't change anything. She will shout out again in the feeble hope that someone might hear and come to her aid. My fingers will curl into a fist, fingernails digging hot pink crescents into my skin as I remind myself that she is ignorant. She doesn't know that I am the one who is rescuing her.
"No one can hear you, Olivia. Why do you think I chose this place?" I will lean forward, locking my eyes with her wet, pink-rimmed ones. "My grandmother left it to me when she died. Her private studio. It's just you and me here."
"What're you- Cassandra... I know you, don't I?" She will work at the bindings on her wrists, but I won't stop her. She won't free herself in time. She will pause as recognition momentarily replaces the confusion in her eyes, "Yeah, Cassandra Butler. You're an art student, aren't you? You did that mural in Savery Hall."
"Shut up! I told you I'm not important." My voice will chill in my mouth and I will resist the urge to strike her. That isn't the plan.
"I'm sorry. That was rude."
My features will soften and I will remind myself why she was chosen.
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