Revival of a King by G. N. Wright

Prologue

 

Three Years Ago

Freezing. That’s what I am. So cold. Not only my body, but even my soul feels like it’s a block of ice. Why am I so cold? The last thing I remember was running through the woods with Marcus. Where is Marcus? Where am I? Just as I’m forming these thoughts, darkness descends.

Marcus is my best friend, Marcus Riviera, My River. We’ve been best friends since kindergarten when Jimmy Olsen came over and pulled one of my pigtails. Marcus walked over and pushed him into the sandbox and told him to leave me alone. He reached out and held my hand and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We sat next to each other in every class, hung out almost every day after school and took vacations together with our families. We are always together, River and Ells against the world. He has always been there for me, stood up for me, protected me, he has made the girl I am today.

We shouldn’t have been in the woods. It’s forbidden. Marcus’ dad says it’s not safe. He says there’s animals out there to fear, but like many kids out there, we thought we had nothing to be scared of. Each time we’d go into the woods, we’d go deeper into the unknown. Exploring and discovering what forbidden treasures we could find. I wanted to turn back today, something felt off, but Marcus dared me to go further. And I never back down from a dare.

I wake again to a foggy feeling clouding my brain. My head is pounding, and my body feels heavy, like it’s being weighed down. I try to open my eyes to see where I am, but they won’t cooperate. My heart is starting to race, fear starts to creep in. I try to move but my limbs feel heavy, awkward, and impossible to lift. That coldness I felt, I feel it from head to toe, I am bare, naked, vulnerable.

That’s when things start to register. I focus and realize my arms are strung tightly above my head; my wrists bound closely together. I realize my thighs are sore, held unbearably wide by other constraints around my ankles. That’s when I register pain all along my abdomen. So much pain. Then I smell it, an iron metallic smell is all around me. Blood. What the hell happened to me?

An unfamiliar buzzing sound perforates my consciousness. I try to concentrate but my head hurts so much. I try to move when the squeak of a floorboard next to me makes me flinch.

“Shh, Ells. It’s Ash. I’ve got you.” I am hushed by a familiar voice. Is that Asher? Asher is here? Why the hell is he here? Where even is here?

I struggle to open my eyes but when I do, I’m greeted by Asher’s’ sapphire blue gaze. Asher Donovan is my best friend like Marcus, well not exactly like Marcus but close enough. He moved into our town a couple of years ago with his family and joined our little double trouble twosome. Marcus doesn’t like him as much as I do but he puts up with him for me. The three of us hang out a lot together as do our families. He is an amazing friend like Marcus, but I don’t see him the same way I do my River. There is just something different about my friendship with Marcus, there always has been.

Blinking away from his eyes, I look around the room. It’s small and dark. It looks like a cabin of some sort. That buzzing sound is coming from an air conditioning unit in the corner. There are no windows, just a door in front of me leading to somewhere else. I’m lying on the lone piece of furniture in the room, a dirty mattress on the floor. I turn my eyes back onto Asher and notice the sadness in his gaze as he looks over me.

I follow his eyes and take stock. The blood that I smelt is all over me. My abdomen is covered with cuts and marks I have no memory of receiving. Following the blood further, that’s when I notice it covering my thighs.

No. No. No. No. No. No. Please god no.

“I’m so sorry, Ells. I had no idea.” Asher whispers as a tear streaks down his face.

I feel sick. I can feel the bile clawing its way up my throat wanting to get out. This can’t be happening, none of this makes any sense.

“What’s going on? Where’s Marcus?” I question, my own voice sounding hoarse and broken.

“Just don’t say anything when they get here,” he replies, just as we hearfootsteps approaching. Ash tenses next to me, wiping the tear from his face quickly, putting an impassive mask on and my heart sinks. What could be worse than what’s already happened.

The door flies open, and I am greeted with the sight of Asher’s father Elliot and his older brother Greg. They share the same family looks with Asher, that all American tall, fair haired boy next door look. The same striking blue eyes, eyes I usually find charming, attractive even, but not right now. Their expressions are a stark contrast from what I saw on Asher’s face a moment ago. They look excited, giddy even and I fear things are about to get worse.

“Well, I didn’t want to believe my son when he said he had caught himself a princess but here you are!” Elliot’s voice booms across the small space as his gaze assesses me from top to bottom lingering on my thighs. His smile expands into a grin like the cat that got the canary as he slides his gaze over to Greg and slaps him on the shoulder.

“How was she son?” he asks proudly.

“A nice tight fit,” Greg replies smoothly, looking directly into my eyes showcasing a huge sadistic smile on his face.

I feel the bile clawing further up my throat, trying to find a way to get out. How could he do this to me? How could Elliot let his son do this? Elliot is friends with my parents. Their family have been to my house for dinner multiple times. What the hell is wrong with them? Elliot turns his gaze onto his younger son.

“Well Ash, you’re on guard duty until her sale tomorrow. It’s time you started to take more of an active role in the family business,” he commands.

“Yes sir.” Ash replies without skipping a beat. Oh god, Asher is a part of this? I want to cry.

“That’s my boy and feel free to have a go before she’s gone, finally pop your own cherry,” Elliot sneers gleefully offering him a wink and then nods to Greg, “You drug her again. We want her to be nice and compliant when the buyers come tomorrow, no surprises.”

Greg slithers over to me. I want to fight. I need to try and defend myself, but my body won’t comply and as he kneels down and slides a needle into my arm, I feel the fogginess begin to take over me again. Before I slip into the darkness one more time, I hear his whispered words against my ear.

“I’ll come back for another taste later, princess. My cum mixed with your blood is a great look on you.”

The last thing I feel is him stroking my face before I succumb to the darkness.

I reawaken to the feeling of floating. Like drifting lazily down the river, feeling the ebb and flow of the water beneath me. But it’s not the water that’s holding me, it’s someone’s strong arms under me. Recalling what happened earlier, I try with all my might to kick my legs and swing my arms, but my limbs won’t cooperate. They feel like they’re encased in concrete, just useless accessories attached to my body.

“Ells, it’s going to be okay. I’m getting you out of here,” Asher whispers breathlessly. His pace is fast. Leaves crunching underfoot while his heart beats strong beneath my head resting on his chest. I fight to stay awake, but I keep drifting back into the darkness.

A while later I am awoken byanother voice, cutting into my hazy thoughts.

“Fuck, is she okay? What did those bastards do to her?” the new voice questions.

"It was Greg and his crew, they … he … I didn’t get there in time to stop them,” he chokes out. His whole body deflates with his confession. I want to comfort him. Tell him it wasn’t his fault, but the fog won’t let my mouth cooperate.

“Hey, kid, you saved her from worse. You’re a hero,” the man argues, and I feel instantly grateful to him for voicing my thoughts. He says what I cannot, Asher did not do this to me. He has nothing to feel guilty for. I look into Asher’s eye to try and convey my agreement with the man's comments but as our eyes lock, Asher flicks his gaze away, his face guilt ridden.

“Just hurry and get her out of here before they realize she’s missing and come looking for her,” Asher replies before he looks down at me with so much sadness as he leans in to place a kiss on my forehead. “Oh, Ells Bells, I’m so sorry. I wish I could have done something more; I wish I could have stopped them but don’t worry, I’ll make them pay.”

The look in his eye tells me that what happened here hasn’t just changed me irrevocably, it's changed him too. The fun-loving boy of my childhood is gone. We will never be the same.

He gives me one last look and then passes me off to the man and turns and walks away before I can respond. I have no idea where he’s going or when I will see him again and it makes my heart ache.

The man quickly wraps a blanket around me to cover my body and it's only then I focus on him. My River. He has come to save me.

“Marcus?” I question, still disoriented.

“It’s Michael sweetheart, don’t worry we are getting you out of here,” Marcus’ dad answers me.

I don’t have time to answer him before he turns and begins running at a quick pace through the woods. At this point, I don’t care where we’re going, as long as it’s as far away as possible from the hell that occurred back there.

After what seems like hours, we clear the tree line just as dawn begins to break. The sunlight streaming into my eyes makes me squint, and into view comes a small car. Michael slows his pace and makes his way over to the vehicle. As he nears the passenger side door, my heart starts to race, and I begin to panic. What if I’ve gone through one hell, only to be placed into another? Who is in this car? What if Asher just handed me from one devil, to another?

I have always trusted Michael but then again, I also trusted Elliot and Greg and look how that turned out. I must have tensed, because Michael squeezes me closer in an attempt to comfort me when in reality, it only suffocates me.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart, you’re going to be safe now.”

He places me gently down while keeping one arm around me as he uses the other to open the car door and then pushes me inside. In the driver's seat is a man who looks not much older than me. I’ve never seen this guy before, but Michael trusts him to take care of me. He got me far away from that place. I still cannot comprehend how this all happened, I was just out in the woods with Marcus … Marcus. What happened to Marcus? Oh god! I whip my head quickly and choke his name.

“Marcus?”

Michael smiles at the mention of his son's name and kneels so he’s on my eye level. “Marcus is going to be okay. I will watch over him. He’s strong. But one day, sweet girl, you’re going to have to come back for him. He’ll need you”.

That’s when it hits me, I’m leaving. I’m leaving Black Hallows. Everyone I’ve ever known is here, my friends, my family.

“What about my parents?” I ask, only now realizing I disappeared yesterday. They must be worried sick. Oh lord they would be devastated to find out what happened to me. After a few moments of silence, I turn to Michael and plead for an answer.

He flicks his eyes from me to the unknown driver and back, giving me, a sad smile and I know. That one look was all it took. They knew. They knew what was happening to me and did nothing. It all finally dawns on me. I was kidnapped, beaten, raped and if that wasn’t enough, my parents knew and did nothing to stop it. I finally give in and let the tears fall down my face. Suddenly a hand reaches over and hands me a tissue. I turn and find enough mental capacity to ask a question that’s been running through my mind.

“Who? Who are you?” I garble through my tears.

The tension slowly releases from his shoulders and he looks to me with a friendly but sorrowful smile. He's familiar to me, yet I know we've never met. He’s got a handsome face with kind blue eyes and looks to be in around his early 20’s.

“I’m Zack,” he replies simply.

“You can trust him more than anyone, Elle. Don’t worry, he will keep you safe from here on out,” Michael tells me with such conviction, and I have no choice but to believe him.

“Forget about this place and what happened here and don’t come back until you’re ready, it’s not safe for you. Take care, kid,” he adds before he quickly shuts the door and steps back.

Before I can protest the stranger next to me revs the engine quietly and takes us back out onto the main road.

And then we drive out of Black Hallows, the only home I’ve ever known.