Chapter Thirty-One

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"Nora!"

A distant, familiar voice was calling out to me. I turned and turned as I searched among the dark abyss for the source, but came up empty. It called out to me again in a panic-stricken tone, yelling from a distance so great I had to strain my ears and hold my breath to hear it clearly, calling out and begging me to declare my whereabouts. My heart ached and throbbed - I wanted him to find me, but every time I opened my mouth to respond I'd only let out a breath of cold air.

I felt a strong jerk pull me awake from my sleep, and my first thought was that it was freezing cold, wherever I was. And I knew so because my entire body was shivering uncontrollably, my teeth clattering as my jaw trembled. My neck had cramped up, and I let out a pained groan as I tried to move it from its dangled position. I forcefully craned my neck to glance at my surroundings, and for a few seconds my mind swirled with confusion. Either my eyes were still shut or I had gone blind, because the only thing that greeted me back was pure darkness that made it impossible to even identify the shapes of the objects in the room, had there been any.

I gulped nervously, fighting hard to maintain my composure. I could remember everything that went down all the way to the part where I was assaulted and lost consciousness, and I knew that the only way to make it out of here - wherever here was - alive was by staying composed and controlling my thoughts and emotions. Freaking out would take you nowhere, I reminded myself.

I inhaled deeply, feeling my body shake as the cold air traveled through my lungs. I focused my attention on the sense of touch. My hands were tied behind my back, I could feel the roughness of the tightened ropes around my wrist cutting into my skin. My ankles were free though, and my feet were flat against the ground. I must be seated on a metal chair, I thought to myself, as I moved my hands and felt the coldness of the metal on my skin. I forced my neck to the side, stretching my stiffened muscles, and I felt the soft texture of a cloth on my face. I was blindfolded, that's why I couldn't see anything.

Suddenly, the crunching of footsteps sounded from afar, but it was nearing my spot. I felt my heart begin to race and pound against my rib-cage, and I gulped the nerves away. I listened in carefully, not moving a single muscle in my body, and I was able to identify two different patterns of steps, meaning there were at least two people nearing me.

My fear fueled the adrenaline rush in my veins, and I found my fingers clawing at the rope around my wrists. I scratched at it, forced my wrists wide open, shifted my hands into different positions, and eventually caught the end of the rope. I began to untie myself, which seemed like an impossible task, and the thought of never getting out of wherever I was spread a deep sense of dread through my chest, and I felt it begin to constrict as my fear invaded my vision.

Breathe.

My fingers picked at the end of the rope, in the process it dug deeper into my wrist and I felt the ends penetrating my skin. I winced but continued ripping at it.

There came a sound of jingling of keys, and I held my breath as my movements came to a halt. Seconds later an obnoxious creak sounded as a door was moved.

Even though I was still blind to what was ahead of me, I could still sense the moment they stepped into the same room I was in. Their aura was there, invading my personal space and shoving a deep sense of terror into my chest. I felt my blood run cold as my fear took control, this time shutting my body down that I found no more courage to fight, but instead I sat completely still as I anticipated the next move.

I heard the footsteps near me, and I flinched visibly when a rough hand clasped the back of my head, and fingers undid my blindfold. It fell down onto my lap, and I blinked away the pain of being exposed to brightness after adjusting to the dark. I felt the cold air cool the part of my skin that was covered behind the cloth for so long.

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