The Underworld (Chapter Six, page 1 of 9)

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Deidre hit the cold stone floor and heard the cell door slam shut. Too weak to move, she lay still. The world was one of haziness and blood - her blood. She smelled it, and it rendered her hungry and made her want to sob. But her energy was gone, along with her voice, depleted after all her screaming and struggling.

Her lower body was shredded from what the men had done, her upper body bruised and broken from their blows when she'd tried to fight them. Her head had a gash in it, her vision blurry and her nose broken and streaming blood into her mouth and down her throat.

No more pain. It was there, at the corner of her mind, waiting for the barrier that left her numb to fall. After a lifetime with a brain tumor and more surgeries than she cared to count, she'd learned how to separate herself from the pain.

As long as she didn't move. Agony would tear down the brittle wall between her and her sanity if she did. Tears trickled out of her eyes to the cold floor.

What did I do to deserve any of this? It wasn't the first time she'd thought such a thing, but it was the first time she wasn't able to find any sort of silver lining in her situation. There was no demon lord to save her, and no matter what she said, she hadn't been able to convince her attackers to take mercy on her.

It was light outside. She'd spent several lifetimes screaming or so it felt like, but she was able to see the suns through the window, high in the sky. Either little time had passed at all or an entire day had.

Chains rattled from one side of the cell, drawing her attention away from her thoughts. Even if Jared wanted to eat her, she wasn't able to move. From her peripheral, she glimpsed a dark shape inching towards her cautiously from the direction of the corner.

She closed her eyes, destroyed by the idea that she was about to be eaten by a demon after the disaster that was her life. A sob escaped her, and it hurt so bad, she swallowed the next one.

"Demon?" It was a woman's voice that came from the other prisoner in her cell.

Deidre opened her eyes and blinked way tears.

The face that hovered over hers wasn't anyone she recognized. The young woman had long, curly dark red hair, skin made pale from her imprisonment, and a round face. Her eyes were those of a deity: flashing black then white then every color in between. They stopped at dark purple and stayed that color.

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