Slave 125

 The screams didn’t always wait for Allura to fall asleep, she could sometimes hear them echoing in her ears, bringing with them visions of the recent past. Of black clad men armed to the teeth with assault weaponry, bursting into her home. Of seeing the push back of the rifles as they fired, colorful shots of laser speeding through the air, the men efficient as they took down her servants.

The screams didn’t last long, but what she did remember was the fear, the vocalizing of pain before it died down on a gasp, the silence far too final to be anything other than death. Every one who had been on the first floor at the time had been killed, the attackers utterly ruthless and without mercy.

She had been on the second floor, enjoying tea and cookies with her friends. Sasperella had been sent from the room, the girl intent on checking on what was behind the delay of the cake’s arrival. She’d forever blame herself for letting Sasperella leave the room, Allura knowing she’d never forget the wild shriek Sumetra had let out when they heard the screams and laser fire down below.

Sumetra’s panic would only increase, her wails becoming louder when they realized the intruders weren’t leaving any survivors. Sumetra wasn’t the only one panicking, the servants on the second floor were rushing about, some hiding in rooms, others trying to reach Allura and get her to safety. There would be none to find, the intruders coming up the stair case, their steps slow, a foreboding taunt.

It had been foolish of them to leave the room, but Allura had run out onto the landing when she heard the noise. It wasn’t fearlessness that made her move, Allura wondering if she’d come to welcome death. She knew these last two months had been hard on her, the separation from her daughters proving almost unbearable. Nothing could compare to the pain she felt, not even the sight of the bodies, smoke billowing off their laser charred flesh.

Someone had grabbed her by the arm, tugging desperately. Voices shouted at her, the girls from Arus trying to get her back into the sitting room. She had been slow to move, just staring down at the strangers, noting the hoods that hid their faces from them. There had been no need to kill so many, not with the hoods in place, and she had angrily shouted as much.

Even as her friends all but picked her up, awkwardly dragging her back into the room, Allura continued to scream, wondering why such violence had been brought into her home. She was all but useless once inside the room, the girls working to barricade the door with furniture. Romelle had run to the room’s sole window, peering outside. But there was no escape that way, black clad men waiting for just such an attempt.

Numb, Allura knelt on the floor, wondering who these intruders could be. She didn’t for one instant believe it was Lotor coming for her, sure he would have more class than to kill off the innocents that surrounded her. But other than the king, she didn’t know who would come into her home like this, Allura thinking she had no enemies. And she felt this was more than a group looking for valuables, these were no common thieves but experienced mercenaries.

Mercenaries who were soon at the room’s door, pounding fists against the surface. The door wouldn’t hold up to the strain for long, especially if they used explosives, but it never came to that. Instead they announced their intentions to kill the remaining servants, one for every ten minutes that the girls stayed barricaded in their room. Allura would never forget the laughter that followed this announcement, the evil amusement the intruders took at their plight.

Nor would she forget how hopeless the situation seemed, trapped with enemies at the door. And that was before the hooks came crashing in through the window, the men on the outside preparing ropes to climb up into the room. It had moved Allura into action, the girl almost calm as she walked over to the window. It was with the utmost certainty that she spoke, Allura preparing to bargain herself for her friends and servant’s safety. Too many had already died this day, and she knew that the ones who survived had futures they deserved to see.

“If I promise to come quietly…..” Allura had shouted down to the man on the ropes. “Will you spare them?” Her hands hovered near the rope’s tether, Allura prepared to unhook it depending on the man’s response.

“If you behave and give us no further trouble.” Agreed the man, and Allura relaxed, a fraction of the tension she felt leaving her. “All right then.” She could hear her friends gasping out their protests, but Romelle had been quiet. Whatever thoughts were going through her cousin’s head, the former princess of Pollux wanted to live. And so it had been she who helped Allura keep the three remaining girls away from the window, the man quickly climbing up the rope to enter the room.

His cohorts followed, taking hold of the girls, but leaving Allura with her arms free. She stood with her head held proud, watching as the furniture’s barricade was cleared from the door. Other men burst into the room, the servants who had been threatened left alone for the moment. The intruders took to binding everyone’s arms behind their back, including Allura’s. It was like this that they walked out of the room, and down the stairs.

Allura had come to a halt when she saw the bodies, appalled horror on her face. A hard jab in her back from a rifle got her moving again, as did the whispered threat that if she made trouble now, the rest would die. They didn’t seem to understand she wasn’t resisting, Allura simply too shocked to get her feet moving. Dominique had been brought down the stairs, a laser pistol to her temple as threat.

The brunette had been crying, tear tracks staining her cheeks with the ruins of her eye make up. But she had locked eyes with Allura, and stubbornly insisted that she fight rather than give in. Allura had smiled a sad smile, knowing she was disappointing Dominique with her actions. She did not fight, choosing instead to walk where prodded, leaving behind her friends and her home to step outside.

Several vehicles were parked on her lawn, sleek cruisers of beetle black metal with tinted windows that would obscure the passengers from inside. No markings had been on the vehicles, no hint towards who this mad men swore allegiance to. Hands on her arms roughly guided her to one of the cruisers, Allura being shoved into the back of it. She didn’t even have time to get off her knees before a man entered the cruiser, grasping her by the hair.

She was prepared for almost anything, but taken aback when he began winding her hair into a thick braid. Confused she hadn’t fought him, merely kneeling there as he efficiently braided her hair. Others joined them in the carriage of the cruiser, doors being slammed shut all around them as they prepared to leave. They didn’t talk, Allura realizing they didn’t want her to latch on to something she could recognize or use to identify them later.

She could remember thinking there might not be a later for her, Allura catching sight of the glint of metal, the jagged knife reflected on the interior’s window. She had inhaled to scream, panicked and feeling the man jerk cruelly on her braided hair. Her head was yanked back at an awkward angle, Allura unable to see the knife. But she could feel it, the flat of it’s blade against her head.

Her scream died before being fully formed, Allura feeling the knife sawing through her hair. She didn’t understand why they were taking her hair, Allura struggling as best she could but to no avail. The braid cut away, the remains of her hair fell just past her chin, Allura noticing how light her head felt now that her hair had been shorn away.

She hadn’t meant to cry, but she turned with tears in her eyes, a loud demand of why escaping her lips. They hadn’t bothered to give her an answer, and her breath caught on her sobs. It seemed the taking of her hair was the final straw, her grief and horror at what the intruders had done, the countless number of people they had killed, catching up to her.

Her tears had annoyed at least one of the men, for he had struck out at her, a hard back hand across her face. She could remember the pain that had surged at the hit, her skin stinging sharply. And then the nothingness that followed, the blow being such that it had rendered her unconscious.

She had remained asleep through much of their journey, Allura unsure of where they had taken her. What little she had seen of her surroundings wasn’t pleasant, Allura in a damp and dark basement, her only source of light a flickering lamp. It’s circle of illumination was nothing more than a few feet in all directions, she didn’t even know where the exit to room was.

The floor was made of hard concrete, stained brown with water and other fluids she did not want to identify. A musky smell permeated through the room, Allura unable to decide just what that scent was. The wall at her back was just as hard as the floor, chipped stone she leaned against, Allura unable to get comfortable. Her hands were still bound behind her back, uncomfortable metal cuffs cinched over her wrists.

Her legs had also been bound, forcing Allura to do nothing more than lie on the floor, the girl unable to get up and explore her surroundings. There was a tray of food set a few feet away from her, a meager offering of food she had refused to touch, the girl refusing to eat like a dog. The food attracted vermin, Allura no longer panicked at the sight of two brown rats crawling over the tray and her legs.

There was sounds too, she could hear the drip drop of water falling, the noise proving bothersome at first. Allura soon grew used to it, the sound blending in to the point she was able to tune it out. At times she could hear voices, loud and celebratory, a drunken revelry going on. The celebrations didn’t last long, she could occasionally hear the murmur of conversation, broken up by one voice in particular shouting.

The basement proved too distant from the voice, Allura unable to make out the muffled words, neither knowing their meaning nor the language spoken. She could only pick up on the emotions, and she trembled, wondering what the anger meant for her in particular. Either way, no one came to check on her, leaving Allura with nothing but her thoughts and the nightmares to keep her company.

It was more than just dark in the basement, a chill breeze blew across the floor, alluding to a draft in the room. It left her feeling cold all the time, Allura shivering and wishing she wore more than a light, summer suited dress. Even the loss of her hair helped her to feel the cold all the more, Allura missing the feel of it covering her back.

She tried not to give in to tears, Allura knowing crying would accomplish nothing save to make her feel more miserable. She thought instead on her friends, trying to think of happier times. Of their laughter and their joy, their attempts to bring Allura out of her depressed state. They hadn’t always succeeded, Allura too withdrawn at the best of times.

Too often were her thoughts consumed with her daughters, Allura wondering how Alessandra and Adora were faring without her. Sometimes she even thought about Lotor, wondering how he was coping with being a single father. What little word they received from Doom was focused on the King’s exploits, his never ending quest for more planets to add to his already vast empire.

Never did the reports speak on Lotor the man, Lotor the father, only Lotor the king, Lotor the blood thirsty conqueror. She felt disappointed to know he was continuing his father’s legacy, even as she felt certain it was the only way he was capable of coping with her leaving Doom. It didn’t make what he was doing any less wrong, Allura cringing in horror as the galaxy was torn apart by his actions.

She didn’t know what it was like in the castle, but the horror stories that trickled in about the Drule’s invasion was enough to make her blood run cold. Too many people were suffering, too many dead or enslaved. Resistances were mounted and just as quickly crushed, the lions of Arus playing a big part in making Doom an unstoppable force.

It left Allura with a new kind of guilt, the girl wondering if she would have been able to reign back Lotor’s destructive urges by staying on Doom. She knew from experience one could not dwell on the what ifs, but several flitted through her mind, Allura sure that the people who had died in her home would still be alive if she had never left Lotor.

She also wondered if anyone would be coming for her, Allura not knowing if the intruders intended to ransom her off. Were the local authorities from Umeso looking for her? Would they find her any time soon, or would she be left to wilt away in the darkness? She didn’t even know if she was still on planet Quevra, though she doubted she had been unconscious long enough for them to travel to even the nearest of planets.

Allura didn’t know if she should feel hope that they were most likely still on Quevra, the girl not knowing if that improved her chances of being found. She just knew she was hungry, and tired. And dirty, Allura shifting uncomfortably on the floor. Her bladder was full, and she was holding onto hope, foolish though it may be, that someone would come to take her to the bathroom. Just as she hoped they would untie her and allow her to eat in a civilized manner.

But the hours stretched on, an endless eternity in the darkness. Eventually even the uncomfortable state of her bladder ceased to matter, Allura slumping against the wall. She fell into a restless slumber, haunted by memories, sleep a torment of another kind.

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