Whumptober Day 6 and 12: No More/Please Stop+Broken Bones
[Inky Depths Masterlist]
[CW: broken bones, blood, panic, manipulative whumper, unexpected whump]
Her head spun, and in the whirlwind of panicked, confused thoughts, one memory stuck out like a sore thumb. The voice of Mr. Schaal, flat and monotonous, dragging through a lesson in health class.
“It can be hard to see when a situation turns abusive. Turn the page to 342. Often the metaphor of the frog and the pot has been used to describe the phenomenon. In essence, a frog placed directly into a broiling pot will hop free. A frog placed in lukewarm water will stay, and remain complacent as the water heats slowly and boils it alive. Marnie, I’d like you to read the diagram A.2, and...”
And for the life of her, Rosalind could not remember the water beginning to heat. It had been only days ago, she was sure of it, that warm arms had held her while she cried, gentle assurances falling like water from his tongue.
She thought of paper airplanes, folded painstakingly from assorted pamphlets, flying over library shelves and sometimes hitting her. More often than not missing, and always providing a laugh for those there to witness it.
She recalled warm, sympathetic smiles on cold evenings, and the soft wool of a tan sweater often passed to her before he left for the night. The tail lights winking at her as his truck pulled from the parking lot for the night.
She remembered a laugh full of wonder, the smell of campfire smoke and the rich earth surrounding them.
She couldn’t remember when the water had reached its boiling point. But she knew it was far too late for her to hop out. The restraints locked around her wrists made that point very clear.
It had been a normal afternoon. Well, as normal as anything in her life could really be called, anyway. She had been just…adjusting, honestly, as she had been for the last week or so.
She had gone from sleeping on concrete that seemed to soak in and hold the chill close to her to a real, warm bed overnight.
It was shocking, and a lot to take in. It left her weak and a little dazed, but Pascal had been kind, and assured her it was all perfectly normal. He had held her on days where the world seemed to spin around her, and she was left open and scared. Had tucked her into bed with blankets to chase away the lingering chill. Soft pillows to aid her to sleep.
He never seemed to get very angry, though it was clear he did have a temper about him. She wasn’t sure why it upset him when she wanted to go outside to see more of the landscape, but it made her nervous. Even if he did simply take a deep breath, and smile at her, and explain that it was simply a matter of their safety for the time. Especially in the state she was in
That made sense. She knew she was a mess, for whatever reason.
But that was nothing compared to this.
All she had done was finally work up the energy to pull her notes and papers from her backpack, and take up a spot in the little window seat to pour over them. It took her a few minutes to organize them, she wasn’t sure why she had left them in such disarray last time she had them out, but then she began sketching out the outline of the next chapter on a new page.
She was lost in her own world when Pascal came looking for her, and found her writing. She had been putting the last strokes on a sentence, dotting the i’s in her protagonists name and at the end of the phrase. He left the room for minutes, her none the wiser, and returned.
He did not necessarily have to be quiet to have easily snuck up on her. She would say, though, that she felt like the temperature of the room dropped. Still, her face was buried in the pages
Until, that is, they were ripped from her hands, and a rough hand gripped her chin, tilting it up. Alarmed violet eyes met hardened green, and there was an edge in his presence that she…had never seen before.
She didn’t know why, but he was livid
She hadn’t had the chance to ask, either, before her chin was released and the pencil plucked from her grasp. Then, she was being wrenched upwards.
She stumbled much, fear and lack of understanding a tripwire seemingly winding itself around her legs. “Pascal, h-hold on, i don’t, w-what’s-” she stammered, questions jumping into sight, then twisting and changing themselves in her head before they could leave her mouth, until she was left spewing nothing more than a jumbled mess of confused syllables.
He was unresponsive as he continued to drag her from the room. She tried to ease some of the discomfort by getting her footing and walking with him, but quickly her foot caught on the rug she had not known was coming up, and she tripped. Once more she was at the lacking mercy of his iron grip, and his ceaseless forward momentum.
There was no relief when they halted suddenly, and she was thrown against the dining room table. The wind left her lungs in a breathless sob as her stomach slammed against the side, and her knees buckled beneath her, suddenly forced into the task of keeping her up.
It was only seconds, during which she had not even begun to recover and much less to move, before hands grabbed her arms once more, coming from in front of her this time. They jerked forward, pulling her a little further up the table and leaving her on shaky tiptoes, until her wrists came to rest in circles of half metal.
Had those been there last night?
Swiftly, what she managed to assume were shackles locked closed, tight against her skin. Before she had even attempted to pick herself up from where she had been thrown, she had been thwarted.
All she could manage was to lift her head a little, pain faded now to give the fear and utter lack of understanding room to grow. Her eyes found the green ones she had gazed into so many times before, and was shocked to find she didn’t recognize the man behind them.
What had she done?
Movement drew her eyes from his face to his hand, which was reaching to pick up a large, smooth stone that was resting on the table. Her breath caught in her throat, and her heart seemed to stop beating.
“After all the kindness I’ve shown you, you go against the one thing I ask.”
She was shocked by the strong, frigid tone. She floundered first any grasp of what he could possibly mean. He…she vaguely remembered him asking her to take a break. Something about pausing with her manuscript and just relaxing for a little while. Surely that, that couldn’t be what this was about? Right?
Lost in trying to figure it out, she was caught off guard by the heavy rock smashing into her left hand. Her brain short circuited, unable to process the pain now layering itself over fear and sorrow and confusion. A high keen peeled itself from her throat as as it came down again, and again, and again.
“Pas-Pascal, wait, stop, stop please! stop I’m I’m sorry!”
Instead of stopping, he slammed it down harder. It fell upon each finger individually, smashing knuckles and dainty phalanges. It wrecked metacarpals and shattered tiny bones into fragments, a horror show beneath screaming skin, until Rosalind was nothing but a sobbing mess.
Her knees had given out after the first blow, and so she draped, dead weight, over the table. All of the weight centered in the wrists that were restrained to the table, pulling on the already agonized hands. She could barely breathe over the cries she could not fight off.
“P-please no more, please please, I don’t-don’t know what I did wrong please I’m sorry, please don’t hurt me anymore, please,” she pleaded
There was a pause filled with nothing but weak gasps for air and tearful blubbering, before he responded.
“If you don’t know what you did wrong, then you can’t be properly sorry. Guess you still have a lot to learn.”
The bloodstained stone was then swiftly brought down upon her right, and an agonized wail rang out like a prayer to a god who had no ears to listen.
“Good thing I have all the time in the world to teach you, little Dove.”
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