EMPIRE OF LUST
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Heaven Casteel Ever since I was a kid, I've always feared my brother, Killian Casteel, especially after he told me straight to my face he was going to destroy me. Brothers are supposed to care for their siblings and protect them, but it was the opposite for Killian. He hated me and he made sure to let me know that. He was a psychopathic monster trapped in a young body. I always told myself and I stayed off his grid. I was grateful at least, when he left home to study abroad, leaving Papa and me. However, I ran out of luck when he returned home years later. This time, he began demanding my body in ways that were morally forbidden. I did try to hide from his insane lust and psychopathic nature, but it was impossible. What Killian Casteel wants, Killian Casteel gets, and this time, he wants my body and my soul.
I ran as fast as my frail legs could carry me, my heart pounding against my ribcage like it would burst open. I was frightened and my legs were getting weaker and sorer from running such a long distance, but I couldn't stop.
I know if I did, I would be killed.
Those bad men would catch me and they would do to me what they did to Mama and my unborn sister.
Papa said to run to the stable and hide there, so those bad men wouldn't find me.
He said I should stay there and not make any sound, unless, I would be found and killed. Papa left with his big gun and he promised he was going to come back to get me.
From behind, the gunshots were louder and more frequent. I blinked away the tears that have blurred my sight and they fell on my face, as I continued to run.
When I got to the stable, it was locked with a big padlock.
No! I have to go inside and hide.
How can I go inside now, since the door was locked with the big lock?
I didn't want to make any sound, fearing one of those bad men might be near and would hear me and shoot me with their big guns.
I needed to go inside and hide. I didn't want to die.
I tried pulling the lock, hoping it would magically open, but it was stuck and my hands weren't strong enough like Papa's or Uncle Lincoln, or any of the other coworkers. I needed the keys or something bigger, I could break the lock with.
Looking around, I hoped to see a thick wood, or some rock I could hit the lock with, but there was nothing nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I rushed to the backyard, to see if the windows were left open, so I could climb through from there, but the windows were closed too.
In desperation, I pulled the empty barrel lying carelessly on the floor and pushed it against the wooden shed, then I climbed on it.
Luckily, I was able to pull the window open and I jumped through, landing inside, on the hay sacks that were stacked on the floor.
It was very dark and scary inside the stable, but this time, I didn't mind the darkness.
Papa had taught me how to overcome my fear of the dark.
I always hate the dark and Papa said I'm nyctophobic. He said to always count sheep and keep my back against the wall whenever I found myself in a dark place. In the darkness, I glided into one of the stable partitions and placed my back against the wooden wall, coiling myself like a ball.
One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four sheep, five sheep......twenty sheep.....thirty sheep...
I shut my eyes and rocked myself like mama used to rock me whenever I'd had a terrible nightmare and I continued to count sheep while waiting for Papa to come to get me.
I didn't know for how long I'd stayed in the stable before I started hearing the indistinct voices outside. I pulled my knees closer until they begin to hurt, but I didn't dare make any sound.
The door burst open and I shuddered with fear. The voices outside were becoming clearer and I hear one of the men say,
"Burn everything double-checked. The boss was specific about having no survivors left."
In my childish brain, I deduce immediately, they were no other survivors left, except me.
They've killed Papa too.
I wanted to cry, but I didn't want to make any sound.
I bit out the material of my pajamas, so I don't emit any sound.
Soon, our horses began to neigh uncontrollably like they were being threatened and I sprung my eyes open immediately.
It was very dark, darker than night and the air was getting thicker. I perceived something else in the atmosphere and I panicked.
Smoke! There was smoke everywhere and the smell of burning wood filled my nostrils like oxygen.
Papa used to say I have an incredible sense of smell, because of how quick I'm to deduce any odd smell around me.
I sprung up from the concrete floor and I hurried out of the stable partition, trying to find my way to the door, but the thick smoke seized my lungs and I began to cough uncontrollably.
I tried to ward off the smoke, but I couldn't breathe anymore. I coughed, wheezed and I choked. The smoke filled my eyes and every other opening in my body.
I heard the door slam shut and the sound that followed, were from the wailing horses and the sound of my shallow breaths.
My legs couldn't hold me up any longer, because of how weak they have become.
I fell to the hard ground, holding my chest as I continued to cough and choke.
I saw life slowly seeping from my body, but I did not attempt to catch it.
Why should I?
Papa was gone, and so was Mama and my unborn sister.
Why should I try to catch back my life, when everyone else was dead?
Of what use was my living?
I closed my eyes and tears drop from both my eyes, then, I gave in to the darkness calling unto me from afar.
I regained my consciousness in a start, but I couldn't open my eyes.
My eyelids were heavy like someone has glued them together and they were inseparable.
I tried to move my body, but I couldn't even feel any part of it except my head, because of its heaviness as I tried to lift it from the soft landing I was laid on.
I also noticed there were layers of some soft materials around my face and my head too.
What happened to me?
I could barely recall anything. Not my name, not who I was or how I came to be. There were no memories inside my head, nothing at all.
Everything was blank and black, like a fathomless black hole.
I began to hear voices, indistinct voices and I struggled to free my eyelids from themselves, so I could see where I was and ask questions about how I got there.
"I tell you, doctor, I saw her finger twitch." A deep voice said as several footsteps approached me in a hurry.
I couldn't recognize any the voices nor place them to anyone familiar.
I couldn't even tell what I looked like or what I don't.
"You sure Mr. Casteel?" Another voice, still unrecognizable, questioned the first voice, and before the first voice could reply to him, I heard another voice announce hysterically,
"Doctor Baird, I just saw her thumb twitch!"
This third voice wasn't deep and gruff like the first two were, it was softer.
I felt someone move towards me and their hand raised mine. That was the first time I felt another part of my body, other than my head. Whoever it was, pressed my elbow and I winced softly, creasing my forehead.
I wanted to tell the person to stop, but I could neither open my mouth nor my eyes.
"Heaven, if you can hear me, wiggle your fingers." One of the deep and gruff voices said to me.
Heaven....was my name Heaven?
How come I don't remember that too?
What happened to me?
"You see, I told you she's finally regained her consciousness." The second deep and gruff voice said. I could sense the excitement in his voice.
Who was he and why was he so concerned about my revival?
"Thank goodness, my daughter is finally coming back to me.' The first voice added and my brows creased in confusion.
Daughter? Was he my papa?
"Isn't it yet time to remove it?"
I fought desperately to open my eyes and see his face, but my glued eyelids still couldn't separate themselves.
"We aren't certain yet, Mr. Casteel. She might be semiconscious, in the sense that, her brain is awake and responding, but her physical body isn't." The first voice explained to the second,
"When the patient's anatomy is in a vegetative state, their neurological systems and brain cells are awake, transmitting signals to other parts of the body. A few may respond to the stimulus, causing reflex, but most of them don't."
I don't even understand a word of what the voice had said, but I was eager to open my eyes and see my papa.
"What about the bandage?" The second voice asked,
"Not yet, Mr. Casteel. We've to wait until she's fully conscious, then we can take off the bandage."
I'm awake. I just have to open my eyes and let them know that.
The more I tried to separate my eyelids and make a sound, the more difficult it proved, so I decided to give it a rest and force myself to sleep.
Maybe, when I wake up, this would all be a nightmare.
That was what I've been calling her because that was what she was. A ghost face.
One, I couldn't wait to see what laid underneath the plastic skin they've covered her with. She was the reminder of everything bad.
Someone that wasn't supposed to be in existence.
I wish she'd died in that accident, not my mother.
I watched as my father pampered her since she returned from the health confinement.
It has been two weeks since she escaped the darkness and was brought home. Since then, he had always been around her, making sure she was alright and wasn't in any kind of pain or discomfort.
He was trying to rectify his past mistakes, through her.
Good for him, I've no conscience to deal with, neither do I owe no one any compassion.
My feet carried me into the kitchen, where I heard the voices coming from.
Her contagious laughter filled the at
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