Ellie had been standing at the door to dungeon for a few minutes, looking around nervously and sniffling. There was someone down there she had to see, had to get at. Blade had said he was down there; he talked to animals, he limped, he had to be the one. A shudder ran down her body, tears welling up in her eyes. She was afraid of what would happen. But she had to confront him and make him go away, make it better. People would see he was wrong and they would know. They would know what he had done to her, what so many people had done to her.
She shuffled to the door, pushing it open. There was an imagined creak and the stairs stretched out in front of her. Ellie would have sworn there was nothing at the bottom, though she stumbled down nonetheless. Below she heard a quiet voice going on and, though she couldn’t hear the words. It seemed almost familiar. The last few steps tripped her up as she tried to understand the softly-whispered words.
“Don’t worry, little one.” Trkasu was whispering the scorpion, carefully reminding himself not to click and hiss so the babe would understand him. This was training, testing, helping them become acclimated to people. They would be able to listen to anyone when he was done. “No one will hurt you.” He was worried, though, that they would be useless as anything but pets. But that could be changed on a word from him as easily as they could be called to him.
“It is you.” Ellie’s voice trembled as she stared at his back. She was sure it was him, even if it wasn’t. The man in the forest, who helped her horse and not helped her. He was the one who’d hurt her so badly, torn her clothing and left her bleeding. When Trkasu’s head jerked and turned, his eyes emotionless, she almost shrieked. “It’s you!” She lunged toward Trkasu, not even taking the moment to note that she barely came up to his chest. “You!” That last word was a shriek, tears in her eyes overflowing as her bony fists slammed into his padded shirt.
“Who are you?” Trkasu tried to stumble away, the scorpion leaping from his hand. But instead he fell beneath her fists, his cane dropping next to him as he hit his knees on the ground. She was shrieking at him, incoherent words echoing through the room. Trkasu tried to grab his cane and back away from her as she ranted on and on. Her hands were cold and clammy on his shoulder. An involuntary shiver shook his as he just managed to jerk away, staring up at her from where he knelt on the ground.
“You!” The shriek forced Trkasu’s head into his hands. Ellie was sobbing as she pushed him again and again, almost knocking him flat on his back .”You did that! You hurt me and raped and hurt me and I can’t believe you don’t remember!” The last word faded into a high pitched squeak as she fell to her knees, sobbing and keening. Not even Trkasu could understand the words behind the teary moans.
“I… do not know who you are nor have I ever done something to offend your person.” His voice could barely stay steady. There was a conscious reminder going through his mind, that he wasn’t home and he wasn’t listening to his brother’s annoyed screaming at an offense he hadn’t know he’d committed. “But if I have done you wrong, for that I am sorry.” The words were not empty. They could not have been, not so used to apologizing to his brothers for something he had to have done.
“You raped me!” The word were a shriek, echoing again through the chamber. Trkasu winced away, almost closing his eyes. Ellie was coming closer, crawling toward. His back hit the wall and he was stuck. The scorpions had fled, hiding beneath pillows and in cracks Trkasu couldn’t have imagined existed. There was silence but for her voice and the shrieks that continued unabated. “You hurt me!”
“I did nothing.” His voice shook and Trkasu cursed himself for the weakness. She was so close, too close, almost touching and her eyes were filled with anger. Her hands slammed into his chest, driving the air out as he tried to scramble away. Too much, too much; everything was right there on his skin. He noticed he was struggling to breath after a moment, tiny gasps forcing their ways through his tense body. “But for that nothing I am sorry, if you wish.”
Elkin’s shriek didn’t even pretend to be words as she tried to beat Trkasu. He was so much larger than her it seemed pointless as she rained tiny and hard fists down on his arms and chest. He didn’t fight back, trembling and cowering from the anger. That was all he knew how to do, covering his face with thin arms and trying desperately to remember where he was. He wasn’t home, wasn’t with his brothers or his father, nowhere near them at all.
But he heard their voices and their shouts and he couldn’t help the way his hands shook as he covered his ears, eyes closed tight. Ellie was still screaming and keening. Her hands slammed against him, almost threatening to leave bruises. She wasn’t strong enough for that, but he wasn’t fighting back. His brother was standing over him, threatening him, laughing at him and he’d done something wrong again.
“I’m sorry.” His voice rose, trembled, fell again. Ellie paused as he cowered, covering his face with almost vibrating arms. He could barely breathe, hyperventilating and cutting up his words with gasping breath. “I don’t know what I did but I’m sorry. I did something and I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Please don’t hurt me.” The control and walls he had were falling in the fear of the moment, the utterly pointless fear he couldn’t even start to control. She was hitting him and he had to have done something wrong. There was no way not to deserve the fists, the complaints, the screams. He had done something wrong, they were right. They were always right. “I’m sorry.”
Ellie stared at him with angered eyes, glaring through him. All she saw was what she’d seen in her mind, the events that she knew had to have happened. And though he was trembling and apologizing, he still didn’t know. She whimpered and let the tears flow, her eyes red and cheeks even redder. With a final, wordless, noise she reached out and slashed at his cheek. Her long and rough nails caught his skin, cut his cheek and ear as she wept. The site of tiny cuts sent her screaming to the other side of the room, Trkasu unresponsive the tiny trickles of blood on his skin.
“You did this to me!” The words were sobs, shrieks, her entire body trembling. Her voice rose higher when Trkasu didn’t look up. His arms were still shaking, his eyes closed. His reality was no closer to real then hers at that moment. He was caught in something between what had been and what was, the truth that had ended and the truth of the moment. “It’s all your fault!” With that parting blow, she fled up the stairs. She almost tripped on each step, stumbling and blubbering the entire way up. At the very top the door slammed behind her. Her feet gave out as she stumbled and fell, collapsing into a ball on the ground as she wept. Behind her, still in the corner of the dungeon, Trkasu trembled in the silence, waiting.