Tarnished – Part 9


In the clutches of an evil cult, Hannah has been tortured and victimized. Kier’s mother seems to be, if not the leader, then at the top of the hierarchy. She gives the orders and others follow without question, no matter how barbaric they may be. However, amide the pain and fear, Hannah finds an unlikely friend.

 “I knew when you first walked by our shop that you were the one.”

“How could you possibly know? And how can I have walked by a shop that doesn’t exist? The police said….”

“Not all is as it seems, Hannah Renee Watson of Paw Paw, West Virginia. Did you think no one would ever find out?”

“Why does it matter where I’m from?”

“Maybe Granny was right after all. Maybe you’re a changeling.”

“Granny was a crazy old sourpuss,” Hannah replied angrily. “Her opinion can hardly be considered credible. She died senile, huddled in her cabin in the woods.”

“And yet she was right about something,” the woman said, advancing into the room. “You’re sensitive to silver—like them. You’re evil!”

“Lots of people are allergic to metal. It’s probably not the silver at all, but the cheap metals mixed with it. I can’t wear nickle either. Loads of people are allergic to that!”

“No, with you, it’s silver. Do you think we don’t know? We’ve tried different things, even nickle. Nothing makes you burn and blister like silver.”

“Why are you doing this to me? What makes it right to do this to another person? What’s wrong with you?”

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live!” The woman snapped, eyes flashing dangerously.

“You’re crazier than Granny,” Hannah said. “At least she only waved rowan berries at me and muttered prayers when I came in the room. You torture people and quote Bible verses to make it seem like you’re doing something right! This isn’t my fault! I didn’t ask for this!”

“Witch!”

“You’re an idiot,” Hannah said. “Delusional and an idiot. You sadistic hag! How do you justify your actions? Scientific research? What makes a person go so wrong?”

“The Master will see to you,” the woman said as she backed out of the room. “He’ll see to you personally.”

“The police will be looking for me. Bernie will have called them.”

“Bernie thinks you ran away. You told him you were leaving. You told him not to look for you. No one’s looking, Hannah Renee. No one cares.”

“Bernie cares! He loves me!”

“Hmph!” She slammed the door behind her, the lock outside sliding to.

Hannah threw herself on the bed, weeping. It was true, no one would come looking for her. Even Bernie. Dear, sweet, muddled, bumbling Bernie. He’d taken her at her word. He thought she’d run away.

The door opened again and someone slipped in, shutting it quietly.

“Hannah,” he whispered.

She looked around. It was Kier.

“You! What are you doing here? Keep away from me! You’re one of them!”

“Shh, keep your voice down, would you? I swear, I’m not. Okay—I sort of am, but this is wrong, Hannah. This torture. It’s wrong. The others, they participated because they wanted to. But kidnapping you, putting you through this. It’s not right.”

He crossed the room to the bed. Hannah recoiled from him.

“I swear. I don’t want to hurt you. I brought you something.” He pulled a tube of ointment from his pocket. “This will help the pain. I can help you with it.”

“I can manage, thank you,” she said stiffly. “Set it down over there.” She nodded toward the opposite side of the bed.

“Don’t be silly. You’ve got them all down your spine. Do you think I don’t know? You can’t possibly reach.” He opened the tube, squeezing a little on his finger. “Turn around.”

He slipped the knot at her neck and pulled the robe down from her shoulders. Hannah shivered. She was naked underneath the robe. Although she was afraid, Kier’s touch excited her. She shivered when his fingers brushed against her skin. The ointment smelled like mint and it tingled when it touched her, burning cold for a moment, then hot. Soon, the pain of her wounds eased, feeling almost normal. She took the tube of medicine from him. Turning away, she applied it other places.

“Thank you,” she murmured. “Can you get me out of here?”

“I’ll try.”

“Please. Before the Master comes.”

“I’ll try, Hannah.”

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