Bleeding Heart

By: Alannah Carbonneau

On the screen, I saw my house. I saw Jaylah sitting on the front porch with a man - an officer of the law. They were looking for me. I felt relief pool in the pit of my belly as tears that refused to fall filled my eyes. I couldn’t hear what they were saying - I had a feeling that there was sound, but Calix hadn’t given me the luxury of hearing Jaylah’s voice.

Studying her face, I saw that she was tired. Her eyes were rimmed with dark shadows of a bruised purple and her shiny hair was pulled up in a messy bun, making it obvious that she hadn’t washed her hair in a couple days. In her thin hands, there was a cup of coffee despite the fact that it was night in Seattle as well as here in Alberta. It surprised me that Jaylah was drinking coffee, never mind that she was drinking coffee so late. She always had one cup in the morning, but never more. She claimed to be brilliant enough without caffeine - I had never claimed a superpower such as that.

Watching the screen intently, my breath hitched as the officer reached over to squeeze her hand. Her eyes flickered to the man and she smiled. It was a shy, sweet, hopeful, beautiful smile that I wished I were seeing in person - rather than over this screen.

She seemed comfortable with him - but I had never seen this man before. He was older than her, clearly, and that made me wonder, not for the first time, how old Calix was. I didn’t open my mouth or even turn to ask him, though. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen - from my little sister. I missed her so desperately, my heart ached and my stomach clenched uncomfortably.

I wondered how long Jaylah had known the officer. I doubted she’d been out on dates since my abduction. I sincerely doubted that she’d been flirting and sneaking out through her window either - and yet she seemed oddly familiar with this man.

It had been ten days since I’d been taken.

In ten days, my entire personality had been morphed into something ugly. Now, I didn’t know who I was. My gentle heart and soft-spoken soul was wary and lashing. I was angry. I was sad. I was broken.

I was broken.

Calix, the man who in only four days had tricked my body into convincing my mind of the impossible - that I loved him - had broken me.

Now, I was ashamed.

Seeing my little sister, so lacking of sleep and peace of mind on this screen did nothing but solidify the loathing I felt toward this man sitting beside me.

I wished for the first time since my first night with Calix, that I would have pressed the blade into his throat, that I would have killed him. But if I had, my family would die. He’d told me this - but maybe he was wrong. Maybe this officer who seemed so interested in my sister, would protect them from the harm of Calix.

“Officer Michael Andean has been instructed to take a special interest in your case.” Calix informed matter of fact. His voice was cold and clinical and I found myself blinking in shock. “He visits your family twice a day, before and after his shift. He has promised, on countless occasions, that he is doing all that he can to find you. His orders have been to become especially close to your sister, Jaylah.”

And that was when I realized what Calix was saying. Officer Michael Andean was under Calix’s employment.

Calix continued at my astonished silence. “He has succeeded in his mission, Nova. Jaylah trusts him implicitly. She would meet him anywhere, follow him into harm, and no one would suspect a thing of such a respected officer.” A fat tear slid down my cheek, but no sound escaped my lips. “You see, love.” His hand caught my chin to force my face toward his. “I’ve thought of everything. Your failure to act as my wife should will only result in unfavorable consequences that your family will suffer.”

“You’re a bastard.” I said without emotion. I hated the way his hand felt against my skin, but I didn’t shake his grip from my chin.

Calix cocked his head to the side, and for a brief moment, a fleeting flash of pain shone through his eyes. “You know I dislike hurting you, love. But you insist on fighting me for a freedom you will never again have.” He sighed. “I’m done riding idle threats to keep you in check, Nova. The next time you decide to ignore my calls or affections, there will be devastating consequences.” His eyes were cold and hard. His decision had been made and I knew, I just knew, this threat wasn’t in any way idle.

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