Weeks passed in marital bliss as Dana began to find herself feeling more content in her role as Colin’s wife. Unexpectedly on her part, she found herself genuinely caring for the man, despite the strange feeling she could not shake from him. That queer empty feeling she had never felt from another. She began to wonder if perhaps it was from the trials of war that left this strange hollowness within him. However, Colin never showed any signs of troubled thoughts from the war. He was always so calm, charming, and very attentive.

Even as she tried to probe at the hollowness that she felt from her darling husband, she could not determine the source of it. With no leads as to why she felt such a thing from Colin, Dana ignored the nagging feeling in the back of her mind and pushed the sense down. She forced herself to overlook the hollow feelings she felt from him as they spent their days and nights together, getting to know each other both physically and emotionally.

Colin, curious about his new bride, would often ask Dana about her past, her adopted family, and her powers. To Dana, Colin seemed to be genuinely interested in her life, giving her the sense that not only could she potentially trust her husband, but also that her feelings could openly flourish without fear. She grew ever more assured as she could sense the genuine desires and affections felt by Colin as they spent their time together.

When Dana was not spending her time with Colin, he would often send her to meet with Dr. Isidore Vlach to test her abilities to see what had changed after the ritual. However, it seemed all the testing he ran on her -day after day – would prove to have no new results. Her strength was still that of an average human. Her reaction time and stealth also remained average. Even her empathic ability seemed to be unchanged, according to Vlach’s tests.

Dana could sense Vlach’s frustration as he would sift through his files, mumbling to himself and rubbing the bridge of his nose where his thick glasses sat. He would often talk to himself about previous rituals conducted and the clarity of their success. He was certain he had done everything right. In his frustration, he would curse the witch and secretly accuse her of botching the whole experiment.

Dr. Vlach would often cause Dana to raise a brow at his underhanded remarks about Sonia Havel, especially when she was not within earshot. Dana could easily pick up on the quiet disdain they held for each other even without her gift. However, it was that passive underhandedness that gave her pause to trust Dr. Vlach even with the smallest of things.

Of course, when Isidore Vlach was not busy examining Dana, Sonia would put in her own time to conduct further examinations on Dana. Unlike Vlach’s examinations, most conducted by Sonia consisted of long walks through the halls and gardens, and having friendly talks about Dana’s day-to-day living in the manor.

Sonia showed far more interest in what Dana could potentially do with the enhancement of her abilities and insisted there was a major change within her. Dana would then deny any knowledge of a change in her abilities. Sonia would smile knowingly at Dana, as if she knew something that Dana did not. Dana felt certain that the witch saw something in Dana that she had yet to discover. The thought was unnerving, to say the least.

She did not trust the doctors, and Isidore Vlach was no different in her eyes. While the man was helpful and had a kind exterior, she knew exactly what she was to men like him. A new subject to exploit. In addition, Sonia, while there was something powerful connecting them, something Dana could not explain, she feared the woman greatly. Dana could not forget the intense feelings of hate, vengeance, and darkness she felt seeping from the woman’s very soul during the ritual.

Dana just prayed she was at least able to hide her fears from the witch.

Between them and the regular attempts at pregnancy, there were doctors always close by, waiting for the early signs of a positive pregnancy.

Dana felt increasingly overwhelmed by the attention paid to her by people she felt uneasy around. She also began to feel terrible loneliness in her heart, despite her more pleasing attention from Colin. When she felt like she might break under the pressure, Dana decided to return to the city and visit with her family and friends to try to quell the negative feelings.

When Dana went to Colin with her needs, she was again surprised when he agreed she should go visit with her family. However, he insisted one of his men, Martin Altair, go with her to keep her safe. While Dana appreciated the sentiment, she did not want anyone around to take the joy out of the visit. Reluctantly, she accepted Colin’s terms.

Dana rode in the back of the black car with Martin across from her. The cream-colored leather interior was warm and comfortable, the tinted windows rolled down slightly to let a cool breeze blow through. Dana leaned close to the window and let the hair blow the loose strands of hair from her braids, taking in the city smells.

Dana was uncomfortably aware of Martin’s amber eyes watching her, his coy smile was frozen on his face as the car bumped and swayed. He sat in his black uniform, more casual than the one she saw him wearing at the wedding with all his medals and honors. His hair was slicked back, making his already dark hair look like black polish, his widow peeks prominent. Dana let out a sigh and looked at Martin, gracing him with her own plastic smile.

“Thank you for escorting me out, I’m sure you’d rather spend time with your family.” Dana did not know much about the man except he made her extremely uncomfortable. Before her marriage to Colin, she would have avoided men like Martin at all costs. However, because he was so close to her husband, she could only try to minimize their time together, and out of courtesy, she thought it best to try to know the man.

Martin smiled wide. “I don’t have family like you. My brothers in the Order are my family.”

Dana swallowed and looked out the window. He liked to make her uncomfortable, she knew that she could not get used to the foulness she felt when he got his kicks from trying to break her civility. “Family is what we make of it.” She said flatly.

Martin clicked his tongue. “Is Colin not family enough for you? Aren’t you a daughter to the Order, now?”

Dana looked at him with wide eyes, shocked by his underhanded accusations. “Colin is my husband, that doesn’t negate the family I had before. Who has ever expected a bride to forgo her family after she weds?”

Martin shrugged. “Suppose not. But I’ve never been married.”

Dana could feel herself growing flustered. She looked out the window, feeling relief at the sight of her home neighborhood. She took in a slow deep breath and exhaled. “In the meantime, I’d be more comfortable if you would wait for me in the car while I visit with my family.”

Martin grinned and stared at Dana for a long and uncomfortable moment before responding. “Of course, Drottning.”

Dana let the hint of mockery fall away as she focused her attention on the three-story brick building drawing near. She would not let him find purchase under her skin and ruin her time with her family.

The car pulled up to the sidewalk in front of the brick building. Dana waited patiently as the driver got out and opened the door for her to step out. She glanced over to Martin just as the door swung out. He let himself lean back to relax, crossing his leg over his knee. “Enjoy your visit, Drottning. I’ll be here when you’re finished.”

Dana paused for a moment at his strange sincerity. “Uh, thank you, Martin. I will.”

Stepping out of the car, she adjusted the long lilac dress with small rose gold buttons running down the front. She tugged at her pale cream gloves nervously, and almost laughed at herself. What was she nervous about? She was not stepping into a stranger’s home. As she walked to the door, she could hear footsteps rush down the stairs within, and before she could touch the brass nob, Joseph threw the door open and wrapped his arms around Dana.

Joseph hugged his adopted sister as though he had not seen her in a decade. For him and the rest of the family, it felt terribly true. The moment he saw the car pull up from the second-floor window, he knew she had finally come home. Joseph and Lindsey, along with baby Elroy, had been the only ones home on that day, and when Joseph took off for the door in a sudden hurry, he called out to Lindsey to call Amelia and Ed over the phone to let them know Dana had come home.

Joseph held Dana tight for a long moment. She was still so short that she felt like a child in his embrace. When he finally released her, he saw her smiling with tears in her eyes. “Hey, lil’ stray! You found your way home, did ya?” Joseph laughed and put his arm around Dana’s shoulder, steering her into the door.

“That’s what happens when you feed a stray, they always come back.” Dana let out a high titter of a laugh and leaned into Joseph as they walked up the stairway.

Opening the door at the top of the steps, Joseph let Dana in ahead of him. With a big grin, he called out to Lindsey over his sister’s head. “Sweetheart? Did you get ahold of Emmie or Ed?”

Lindsey poked her head into the hall, the phone to her ear. “Emmie’s on her way, I’m trying to reach Ed now.”

Joseph put his hand on Dana’s back and steered her into the hall towards the kitchen where Lindsey stood. “Ed might be working. I’m sure if you can’t reach him Emmie will fetch him.”

Seeing baby Elroy sitting in his high chair, looking around curiously, Dana darted over and carefully pulled the child out of his seat and into her arms. Elroy squealed with delight as Dana held the chubby baby to her chest. She giggled as Elroy immediately put his soft mouth onto the tip of her nose and cooed. Giggling, Dana kissed his soft pudgy cheeks repeatedly, making Elroy squeal louder with delight.

Finally resting Elroy on her wide hip, she swayed slowly to a silent rhythm. “Hasn’t even been a month and he’s already a wee sausage.” Dana lightly nibbled at her nephew’s pudgy fingers, making the baby wiggle wildly.

With a sigh, Lindsey hung up the phone and turned her attention to Dana. “He missed you so badly. Every time we pass your room down the hall, he rubbernecks to see if you’re hiding inside.”

Dana smiled, her eyes never leaving Elroy. She let out a dramatic gasp. “Is that so? Well, I’ve missed you too, yes I have!” She rubbed her nose against his affectionately. “Papa tells me he’s been crawling on his own.”

Joseph nodded proudly. “Yep, he tears through here like he owns the place, now.”

Lindsey laughed. Her laugh was as warm as her bright smile. “Soon he’ll be walking, and we’ll all be in trouble then.” She stroked her son’s head affectionately.

It had been less than an hour of playing with the baby before there was a knock at the door. Joseph left Lindsey and Dana with Elroy in the live in room to answer the door. Joseph, knowing who was at the door, opened it wide to see Amelia and Ed smiling as he waved them in.

“Thanks for coming, I know it was short notice,” Joseph started.

Amelia smirked, swaggering into the hall wearing a dark green pencil skirt and high heels. She took off her matching green hat and handed it to Joseph. “Darling, you couldn’t keep us away.”

Ed, wearing a white shirt and brown slacks held up with black suspenders patted Joseph on the back. “Good seeing you, brother.”

Joseph shut the door behind them. “How have things been? Haven’t seen either of you in a while.”

Ed fiddled with the brown wool cap in his back pocket, making sure it stayed in place. “You’ve been missed at the meetings. It’s quiet without you there.”

Joseph frowned and nodded. “Yeah. You know I can’t be there, I have my family to think of.”

Amelia gave Joseph a sidelong look. “Plenty of us have families. It hasn’t stopped anyone else from being there.”

Joseph gave Amelia a sour look. “Look, things have been quiet with Dana at the manor,”

Amelia turned on him, her voice low, but her tone sharp. “For you, because she was able to give your family protection. You think things are quiet for everyone else?”

Joseph rubbed his mouth. “Look, it hasn’t even been that long. You need to give it time. You’re obsessed and it’s making you paranoid.”

Amelia stepped up to Joseph. Joseph was over six feet tall, and in heels, Amelia was almost at eye level with him. Her height alone could be intimidating, but it was her energy that really made Joseph want to take a step back. “I may be obsessed, but at least I know what I stand for, and I’ll never stop until the Order falls.”

Ed put a hand on both Joseph and Amelia’s shoulders and eased them apart. “This is neither the time nor the place for this shit. We’re here for Dana. We can discuss this later.”

Amelia stared Joseph down for a long moment. Joseph did not blame her for her passion. Losing her family because of the war and the plague, she put all her hate and passion into putting an end to the people who destroyed everything she had. With everything she continued to uncover in her investigations for The Post, he knew just how dangerous the Arcane Order truly was. Their war crimes were immeasurable and horrifying. Genocide, human experimentation, suppression of the press, murder, corruption… this was just a short list of what Amelia was able to uncover.

The only problem? If she leaked this information through The Post, Amelia and everyone who worked there would vanish in the night. That was the not-so-secret secret that everyone knew and refused to acknowledge.

Amelia took a step back and turned away from the men. Her heels clicked loudly on the wood floor as she walked down the hall. Joseph exhaled, not realizing he had been holding his breath. “She’s going to get herself killed.”

Ed shifted his weight. “That’s the thing about fighting for a cause, Joseph. You also have to be willing to die for it.”

Joseph frowned. Neither Ed nor Amelia had a family to live for, but what about all the friends who cared about them? Joseph already knew he would be devastated to lose his friends if they ever caught the members of the rebellion. What about his father, he was a less active member, but he was still part of it. Then there was Dana, she could both lose everyone she loves and her life.

Everyone he knew and loved, including his wife and son, were all in danger for a cause. Joseph wished he could wash his hands of it all, but when everyone close to him was in some small way involved with trying to overthrow the Arcane Order, it was impossible to do so.

Frustrated, he watched Ed walk down the hall to join Amelia before moving up quickly to follow close behind. As he walked into the live in room, he saw that Amelia had a disgusted look on her face, while Dana looked chastised and Lindsey beside Dana, whispering something to her too low for him to hear.

Joseph looked at the women, confused. “What did we miss?”

Amelia spat and cursed in her native language. “She’s late.” She waved towards Dana.

Ed’s brow creased. “Late, for what? You just got here.”

Lindsey cleared her throat softly. “We think she might be pregnant.”

The room went deathly silent. The only sounds heard were the soft coos of the baby, and the tick, tick, tick of the clock.

“Fuck.” Both Joseph and Ed spoke in unison.

The doctors examined Dana closely. She was regularly asked to give a urine sample at least every other week to test for pregnancy. To her horror, her urine samples were then injected into young female mice, rats, or rabbits only to be killed a few days later and autopsied to see if they had changes to their ovaries. Over and over again, the poor creatures died in vain. Test after test came back negative.

Another mystery was why she had stopped having her monthly bleeding. Her doctors could not explain it. She seemed perfectly healthy. Even the most invasive tests could not explain why she stopped having a period, especially at such a young age.

With every test run Dana began to loath the doctors further. When she brought her concerns to Colin, he would simply wave off her concerns, telling her they were only doing what they were trained to do and that she should give them more respect. Dana felt hurt by his dismissiveness, unable to understand why he was acting so coldly towards her.

With the long passing of weeks and months, many attempts to become pregnant, and the continuing disappointment of negative tests, Colin began to grow distant from his young bride. He began to spend less time with her, leaving her alone at the manor while he took long trips to different cities. He even began to suggest she start spending nights in her own tower to “relax.”

The hollowness she felt from him seemed to expand, and his affections and desires for her seemed to grow fainter with each confirmation of a negative pregnancy test. The loneliness grew to suffocating levels as she would spend her days and nights alone, wandering the still halls of the manor and the grounds.

Growing depressed, she decided to leave the manor one afternoon and visit Amelia. When she told Colin that she planned to leave for the day, he had barely acknowledged her presence. Fighting back tears, she walked outside to the car and suddenly realized she was not given an escort for this trip. While she was relieved to not have Martin at her heels making her even more miserable, she felt the message of not being seen as important enough to need protection. The driver was the only one there.

As she took the car down to the docks to meet her friend, she suddenly broke down into tears. She wept as quietly as she could, but she could not stop the little gasps and hiccups as she broke. She felt like a child again. Losing her father, even the image of his face lost to her in time. Her beautiful mother, dying a devastatingly painful death aboard a crowed ship and being dumped like trash into the sea. Dana choked on her words as she quietly called for her mother.

“Mummy.” She whimpered as she pulled her knees to her chest and cried into her skirts. “Daddy.” She sniffled as the snot dripped from her nose.

Their loss had always been tough, but at this moment, she missed them more than she had in years. She hugged her knees tighter and rocked herself in the car seat.

As they reached the docks, Dana composed herself the best she could. Taking out a small oyster shell encrusted pocket mirror from her handbag, she cleaned up her face before the driver could park the car. When the man opened the door, Dana stepped out, looking as though nothing was wrong. As she walked away from the car, she turned back to see the driver getting back into the driver’s seat and leaning back, placing his hat over his eyes to rest.

That made Dana feel slightly better, knowing that Amelia might want to talk about her latest findings against the Order. Dana was not used to having full privacy with anyone, now, no one seemed to care what she did or with whom she did it. It was both a relief and neglect.

Dana walked along the wood boardwalk until she came to Ed’s seafood shack, where the only person around was Amelia sitting at their wood bench with her back to Dana. She sat smoking a cigarette and gazing down at the old wood table.

Dana felt a thrill at seeing her friend and tiptoed quickly to sneak up on her friend. As she came upon her friend, she stopped, feeling a sense of anxiety and fear from Amelia. Dana felt her momentary joy fade, replaced by a cloud of her own anxiety. “Emmie?”

Amelia jerked around, her eyes wide. When she realized Dana was alone, she visibly relaxed. “Oh, Ma donna, you scared me.” She stood and pulled Dana into a tight embrace, kissing her friend on the corner of her lips.

Amelia held Dana at arm’s length for a moment and examined her dearest friend. “My love, have you been crying?”

Dana blinked, the sudden wave of pain crashed into her like a tidal wave and she began to weep once more. Amelia pulled Dana to her body tightly as Dana broke down, her body shaking as she cried against her chest. Amelia held Dana tight, stroking her ashen hair and whispering soothingly in her mother tongue.

As Dana began to sag in her arms, Amelia moved her to sit on the bench at her side. As she wiped the tears from her friend’s face, she could feel a rage building inside her. She took Dana’s face in her hands, forcing her to look into her gold and green eyes. “What did he do to you?”

With everything she had learned in her years investigating the Arcane Order and its leaders, she was sure they had conducted some sort of horrible experiments on her. Or perhaps she was being abused in some other way. All she knew is that somehow Colin Devlin was involved.

Dana sniffed hard and blinked away her tears. “Th-They keep telling me…” She sniffed again. “That I’m not pregnant, and they keep killing little mice to find out and…”

Amelia held Dana’s face still. “Just breathe, Ma donna, you’re going to faint if you don’t calm yourself.”

Dana nodded and took a deep breath. Exhaling slowly, she felt herself relax. “Thank you, Emmie.”

“Of course. Now, what has you in tears?”

Dana exhaled shakily. “It’s Colin. He wants nothing to do with me now. I thought he loved me, but he treats me like a stranger. We don’t even share a bed anymore.”

Amelia felt her heart skip as she glanced at the file on the table.

Dana felt the anxious shift in Amelia. She looked at her friend closely, watching her hazel eyes flick to the tan folder. “What is it?”

Amelia thought about lying, she felt guilty for what she knew. She also did not want to hurt her friend any further. She knew Dana was already in agony, and she wanted desperately to make everything ok. As she pondered her options, she finally decided that the truth, while painful, was the best choice.

Amelia opened the file and pulled out a photo, placing it upside down in front of Dana. Keeping her hand on the photo, she gazed into Dana’s sapphire eyes. “This is what you should see.”

As Dana reached out to take the photo, Amelia held it down on the table. “You need to understand, this is going to be very hard to see.”

Dana looked from Amelia to the photo, her fingers along the edge. It took Amelia a long time to move her hand away, she hated having to give this to her friend, but it was the right choice.

Dana could feel the tension from Amelia and almost decided not to pick up the photo. She was not sure she wanted to know what was on it. She had an intense feeling that it was going to change everything. Chewing her lip, she slid the photo closer to herself and finally turned it over.

At first, Dana wasn’t convinced that what she was looking at was real. The black and white photo was somewhat blurred but clear enough to see the tall, lean man in a dark suit embracing a dark-haired woman in a skintight dress and oversized fur coat. They were locked in a passionate kiss. There was no mistaking their intentions.

Dana let out a painful groan, trying to hold back tears. She failed. With tears running down her cheeks, she looked at her friend. “When was this taken?”

Amelia wanted to weep for Dana. She could not stand seeing her friend in so much pain. “I was given the photo three days ago.”

A fierce rage began to fill Dana. She wanted to scream and rage. She had to fight the urge to tear apart the photo. “He said he loved me.”

Amelia took Dana’s face in her hands and held her gaze. “He lied. You can’t let this go. He will only continue.”

Dana nodded, her teeth grinding so hard her jaw hurt. “What can I do?”

Amelia wiped a tear from Dana’s cheek and let her hands fall into her lap. “The church does not believe in divorce.”

Dana let out a frustrated whimper.

Amelia continued. “Help me take him and the Arcane Order down for good. It might be the only way to earn your freedom.”

Dana clenched her fists. She was so mad at herself for not listening to her friends and family. She should have been working to take the Order down in the first place, but she was blinded by sweet lies and tainted affections. Now she had a newfound reason to fight the Order, she just had to confront Colin first.

“I’ll do it.”

Amelia nodded. “Good. The rebellion is behind you. We will help you strike as the left hand of the Drottning.”

Dana let out a bitter chuckle. “I like the sound of that. The Left Hand.”

Amelia gave her friend a surprised smile. “Yes, it’s perfect.”

The rebellion had never taken a name. It had always been more of a gaggle of old men and piss and vinegar young bloods who yearned for a time before the Arcane Order. They had little to no leadership or direction, no matter how much information Amelia was able to bring to the table. Now that they had a powerful ally not only on the inside, but also at the highest seat of power in the Arcane Order, there was finally a chance of real change happening. Amelia was determined to make sure that the Left Hand would not only be her close allies, but they would also protect and guide her to helping put an end to the Order.

Dana stood, hands still clenched tight, her nails biting into her palms. As Amelia looked at her, she could have sworn she saw a purple smoke come off Dana’s fists, but shrugged it off as a trick of the fading light.

Dana picked up the picture and slipped it into her pocket. As she began to leave, Amelia stood and called out, “Long live the Drottning.”

Dana could only think of confronting Colin for his infidelity as she marched up the tower angrily. While her steps were usually light clicks on the stone steps, her steps sounded heavy, like the boots of one of the many soldiers in the manor. She held the skirts of her long velvety dress up to her knees, the royal purple almost black in the dim light that remained.

At the top of the tower, the space just before his office was clear of all except two guards. Dana looked right through the two men and to the door behind them.

Watching the Drottning approach, the men could have sworn they could see some kind of smoke or steam coming off her back and shoulders. Even her shadow trailing behind her seems to move with wisps of dark mist rising off the ground. Spooked by the sight, the two men stepped aside, allowing the Drottning to pass.

Taking hold of the brass door handle, Dana flung the door open with such force the door slammed against the walls, startling the two men inside. Martin Altair stood quickly, automatically reaching for the pistol at his belt. Colin quickly held up a hand to stop his friend. “It’s alright.”

The two guards peered in hesitantly. One of the men cleared his throat nervously. “Sir?”

Calmly, Colin spoke to the men. “Gentlemen, please close the door. My darling wife wished to speak with me.”

Quickly, the men closed the door, leaving Dana in the room with Colin and Martin. Dana took no notice of Martin who stood aside and watched diligently.

Colin picked up his glass of whisky and took a sip. “Darling, to what do I own this pleasure?”

Dana took two long strides and knocked the glass from his hand violently. As Colin looked at her with utter annoyance and tried to hide it with a smile, Dana pulled out the photo and thrust it at him. “You’re sleeping with other women now?”

Colin rolled his shoulder back. “Since you aren’t fulfilling your wifely duty, I figure it’s worth trying to sire an heir anywhere I can take it.”

Colin smirked down on Dana. A snicker came from the room and she flushed red with fury. “How can you do that to me? I thought you loved me?” Tears began to well in her eyes, blurring her vision.

Colin laughed bitterly. “Love? You honestly thought I could love you?” Colin’s laugh turned into a foul cackle as he watched tears roll down Dana’s cheeks. “I can’t imagine anyone could love a weak, fat, powerless whore like you.”

Dana’s hands shook as she looked at them. They blurred and became pale shapes that faded from her vision. A dark feeling filled her as she realized what Colin’s hollowness was. Nothingness. He had no love for anyone but himself. She had just been a pawn in his sick games. She hated him. She hated herself for loving him. She hated herself so much. The hate, disgust, and pure rage suddenly burst from within and consumed her.

She took her open palm, pushed all her rage into it, and slapped Colin across the face with all her might.

The strike was faster than Colin could react, taking him by surprise. The force of the slap had sent him reeling back into his desk. He was certain, had it not been there, he would have fallen flat to the ground. The pain was far more than he expected as well. The sharp sting reminded him of being stung by a small swarm of wasps all at once. He tasted iron in his mouth and he brought his hand to his lips. Blood filled his mouth, and as he pulled away from his hand, he realized there was blood from his nose that trickled over his lips as well.

He also noticed something that made him take a closer look. A heavy smoke of an indigo shade clung to his skin for a long moment, leaving his skin tingling. As the smoke faded away, so did the sensation from his hand and her handprint on his face. Grinning wickedly, he looked up at Dana, who stood stunned at what she had done. Her eyes were wide like a Doe in the sights of a shotgun.

“Interesting.” He smirked, whipping the blood on the back of his hand.

Dana’s heart raced, the look in his eyes scared her to death. The power that burst from her was like nothing she had ever felt. She began to shake all over her body as she realized Martin had his gun pointed towards her head, ready to put her down.

“Please, I don’t know what came over me.” She pleaded as Colin stepped closer. His icy blue eyes seemed to darken, his grin almost a snarl.

Colin waved to Martin to lower his gun. “Give us some privacy,” He took Dana’s chin violently, holding her face so tight she was afraid he intended to break her jaw. “No matter what you hear, no one comes in.”

Martin holstered his pistol and smirked. “As you say.”

Dana looked over to Martin, trying to plead with her eyes, whimpering as the man sauntered out the door and locked it behind him. When she looked back at Colin’s eyes, they were no longer the icy blue, but a startling bright crimson, reminding her of fresh blood. Dana began to breathe faster, terrified of the man holding her. She felt a pinching pain on her cheeks where he held her and she whimpered in pain.

Suddenly, he released her. She stumbled back and rubbed at her face, feeling wet and tender. When she looked at her hand, it had streaks of blood on it. She glanced at the hand that had held her. To her utter horror, his sleek hands had sprouted claws of a filthy yellow and brown color, like old bone. Metallic red spots spotted his fingers and faded up his forearm. Gazing up at her husband, she saw him suddenly jerk in pain as his back seemed to burst.

Dana screamed as two red wings exploded from his back and spread out in a painful stretch. Before she could try to run, he grabbed her by the front of her dress and tore violently at it. Dana cried out as the claws raked her breasts painfully. She fell to the floor and tried to crawl backward.

Colin laughed his voice gravely and harsh to Dana’s ears, making the hair on her neck stand up. “I may not love you, but I do own you. You are mine to do as I please.”

Dana shook her head hard. She began to sob in terror at the sight of the monster before her. “Please,” She squeaked.

“Please? Please what?!” Colin reached down and picked her up by the throat, lifting her off the ground. More of the metallic red spots spread around his neck, temples, and jawline like a sudden rash. “Didn’t I just tell you? I can do whatever I want with you. Hell! I might kill you if it wouldn’t displease the bureaucrats in the Order.”

He used his free clawed hand and tore the remainder of her ruined velvet dress. “So don’t be scared. I won’t kill you.”

As Dana began to blackout, he threw her naked body against the desk, knocking the remaining breath from her lungs. She coughed and gasped as he stepped up behind her, his red bat-like wings folded lazily at his back. As she tried to stand, Colin took the back of her neck and pulled her head up to his.

“But I will do to you whatever I wish.” He slammed her face onto the table, forcing her naked body to fold over the desk. She felt pain over her face and tasted the tangy iron of blood in her mouth.

Colin did not bother to carefully unbuckle his pants. With his free hand, he used his claws to rip the fabric away, ruining the front of his pants, but allowing himself to free his hard cock. Violently, he thrust himself into her.

Dana cried out in pain, feeling like he had ripped her as he forced himself inside. She screamed for help as Colin forced himself on her, his wings spreading out to help his balance.

As she struggled to free herself, he pulled up her head again and snarled in her ear. “You. Are. Mine.”

Dana wept, blood and snot and tears on her face. “Nooo, please.”

Colin slammed her face onto the table again. “You are mine till death, never forget that.”

Dizzy and in pain, Dana began to see fuzzy spots as her vision grew dark. Suddenly, Colin let out a rumbling growl. A heartbeat later, he tossed her to the floor like a rag doll and called for Martin to come in. Dana felt the world spin as she closed her eyes and prayed for death.

More coming soon

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