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The Devil She Knew - Chapter 2

Updated: May 6


The Devil She Knew

Theo awoke on a grand canopy bed, her head thick with confusion. The room was lavish, a sprawling Victorian dreamscape with velvet curtains and intricate woodwork. She pushed the heavy duvet aside and stood, her feet sinking into a plush Persian rug. Her eyes darted around, looking for Lauren, but the room was empty.

Voices murmured faintly from a window draped in dark fabric. Theo crossed the room, the floorboards creaking beneath her weight. She pulled back the curtain and saw a bonfire crackling in the backyard, flames licking at the night sky. Cyclists circled around it, their laughter blending with the popping wood. She scanned the crowd for Lauren, spotting her near the fire, talking to another woman. The woman leaned in, laughing at Lauren's jokes and touching her arm with a familiarity that made Theo's stomach clench.

"Not today, bitch," Theo muttered, storming out of the room. The hallway was eerily silent, the only sound her hurried footsteps on the creaky floorboards. As she descended the grand staircase, the scent of smoke and booze grew stronger, wrapping around her like a heavy cloak.

Downstairs, the party was in full swing. People danced, their bodies swaying to the rhythm of some unseen drum. Wine glasses clinked, and the bonfire's glow cast flickering shadows over the crowd. Theo pushed through, making a beeline for Lauren, but before she could reach her, Amelia intercepted, her voice syrupy sweet.

“You’re finally up!” she said, smiling as if nothing were wrong. Theo brushed past her, but Amelia was persistent, her grip on Theo’s arm tight and insistent. “Stay and have a drink! There's all the wine you'd like.”

Theo shook her off, her patience thin. “We’re celebrating, Theo,” Amelia said, her words trailing after Theo like a shadow.

Theo found Lauren kissing the woman, their lips meeting with a sense of easy intimacy. Rage flared in her chest, and she shouted, “LAUREN!” Her voice cut through the revelry, silencing the crowd. Lauren turned, her eyes calm, even amused.

“Join us," she said with a grin. "We all belong to each other here.”

Theo ripped the drink from Lauren’s hand and threw it to the ground, the glass shattering with a sharp crack. “What the fuck did they give you?” she demanded, the anger in her voice echoing off the surrounding trees. The woman stepped toward Theo, her touch feather-light on Theo’s shoulder. She leaned in, her breath warm against Theo’s ear. “This is how we show our love. Why don’t you join us? I can watch if you'd like.”

That was enough. Theo spun around and punched the woman square in the face. The impact was solid, sending her sprawling to the ground. But instead of anger, the woman laughed, blood trickling from her nose. The cyclists cheered as if this were all part of the plan.

Theo grabbed Lauren's wrist, her grip tight with urgency. “We’re getting the fuck out of here," she said. But Lauren shook her head, her eyes fixed on the bonfire. “We can’t leave. The entertainment is about to begin.” Just as she said that, the crowd fell into a hushed silence, and the air grew heavy with anticipation. "Look, my love," Lauren said, stepping aside to give Theo a clear view.

In the center of the gathering, a table had been set, and on it lay Tony, his arms spread wide. A man without cycling gear stood over him, a gleaming blade in his hand. The air smelled of woodsmoke and fear, an unsettling combination. Tony's voice rang out, his tone reverent. “Our sacrifice is for your love.” With those words, the man plunged the knife into Tony's heart, the blade sinking deep.

Theo felt a surge of shock, her knees giving way beneath her. She fell to the ground, her body shaking with fear and disbelief. Lauren tried to lift her, but her limbs felt like lead, unresponsive to her commands. Lauren kissed her lips and whispered, "This is all for love," then stood up, joining the others. The group around the bonfire dissolved into an orgy, bodies mingling and moving, their hands exploring with a reckless abandon. Blood dripped from Tony's lifeless body, staining the grass a deep red.

Theo screamed, her voice high and raw, but every exit seemed blocked. People grabbed her, their grips unnervingly strong. She fought to break free, but the more she struggled, the tighter their hold became.

The man who'd killed Tony approached, his steps slow and deliberate. His eyes held a chilling calm as he came within inches of Theo. He stroked her cheek, his touch soft but filled with menace. "Why are you denying our gifts?" he asked, his voice gentle yet threatening. "We've brought you here to show our love. Why don't you love us in return?"

Theo spat in his face, her rage mixing with disgust. “You’re fucking psychotic,” she snarled. The man only smiled, his calm unwavering. "Our queen must be tired. Maybe she should rest." He nodded to the others, who dragged Theo back to her room. The door closed with a heavy thud, sealing her in. From the other side, Amelia's voice drifted through the wood. "Once you accept our love, it will all be over."

Theo pounded on the door, her fists bruising with each hit. "LET ME OUT!" she screamed, her voice ragged with desperation. "I'm sorry, my queen," Amelia replied from the other side. "We can't. Not until you've accepted us."


***


For hours, Theo's screams tore through the thick walls, mingling with the distant cries of unseen victims. Her voice became hoarse, a raw edge that echoed in the cavernous room. Tears carved tracks down her cheeks, smearing the grime of fear and despair. She witnessed the ritualistic sacrifice of one cyclist after another, each scene searing itself into her mind. It felt like days, each agonizing minute stretching into an eternity.

She paced the room, her steps heavy and disjointed. The ornate decor—velvet drapes and gilded frames—felt oppressive, the high ceilings looming like a shroud. She sat on the edge of the bed, the mattress too soft, sinking beneath her weight. It offered no comfort. Lying down, she curled into a ball, her thoughts racing with futile escape plans. Each attempt had failed, the windows too high, the door too thick. With each passing hour, the realization settled in—there was no way out. She was theirs.

Defeated, Theo sat on the bed, her body sagging with exhaustion. The room door creaked open, the hinges whining in protest. She didn't bother to look up. "Where’s my wife?" she asked, her voice flat. She needed to see Lauren's face, needed to know if there was any part of her still clinging to reality.

A group of cyclists walked over, their heavy boots thumping against the hardwood floor. "Lauren is preparing for the next hunt," one of them said, his tone disturbingly cheerful. "Would you like to join us?"

Theo nodded, her heart heavy in her chest. It was as if her will to fight had been drained from her. She followed them to the backyard, where the scent of smoke and pine filled the cool night air. The bonfire cast eerie shadows, the flickering flames dancing across the faces of the cyclists. Near the edge of the woods, Lauren stood with a group of others, all of them grinning with that same unsettling smile.

As she approached, the cyclists cheered. "Our queen will join us!" they shouted, their voices rising above the crackling fire. Lauren greeted her with a kiss on the lips, her touch gentle yet devoid of warmth. “I’m so happy you joined us, baby,” she said, her eyes gleaming in the firelight. Theo felt a lump in her throat, tears welling in her eyes, but she forced them back. She couldn't show weakness now.

They walked into the woods, the darkness swallowing them whole. It felt like they had been walking for miles when Theo spotted a faint glow in the distance—a streetlight. The sight filled her with a spark of hope. Streetlights meant roads, and roads meant escape. She kept her eyes on it, her heart racing with a newfound sense of determination.

Suddenly, a cyclist shouted, “I’ve got one!” The group erupted in excitement, rushing toward the voice. Theo seized her chance, pretending to follow before doubling back and sprinting toward the streetlight. The darkness was thick, but it seemed to part for her, as if the woods themselves wanted her to escape. Branches brushed against her skin, leaves crunching underfoot, but she kept running, her lungs burning with exertion.

The voices behind her grew louder, the cyclists shouting her name with increasing desperation. She reached the streetlights, two tall posts marking the entrance to an overpass. Below, the hum of cars on the highway was a distant promise of safety. She knew she had no other choice—this was her only way out.

As the voices grew closer, she climbed the overpass wall, her fingers gripping the cold stone. It was taller than she expected, but she found footholds, pulling herself up. The memory of wall climbing with Lauren flashed in her mind, Lauren's voice encouraging her from below. "Don't worry, baby, if you fall, I'll catch you," she had said. "Say it with me: I'm a badass bitch."

“I’m a badass bitch,” Theo whispered to herself, her voice trembling as she climbed higher. She reached the top and looked down at the passing traffic. Tears streamed down her cheeks, the wind whipping her hair across her face. "I love you, Lauren," she said, her voice barely audible above the roar of the highway.

Just as she was about to jump, a voice pierced through the chaos, calm and soothing. "Don’t." It was gentle, almost tender, and it stopped her cold. She turned her head to see who had spoken, but the darkness revealed nothing. The cyclists were closing in, their voices frantic, but that single word hung in the air, pulling her back from the edge.


To Be Continued...

 

Thanks for tuning in. I had a lot of fun writing this chapter and can already see where I'm going to take the next. While you wait here's a sneak peak at next weeks saga of The Devil She Knew:


"Luce wants the Neuter of the Universus," God said, his voice low.

"The universe of all universes?" Theo asked, trying to grasp the concept. 

"Something like that," he replied, turning back to her. "All universes are part of a single fabric, stretched over time and space like a blanket. In those universes, I'm allowed to create, but with the condition that Luce is permitted to nurture." 

Theo listened, trying to connect the dots. "So, does Luce want to become a creator?" 

"Luce is incapable of creating, but impeccable at communicating. Exquisite at manipulation. And since the universe has already been created, all Luce has to do is bring light to her creations." God turned around and waved his hand. Another version of him, this time with frustration, materialized near the fireplace. God said, "Who better to do that than the bringer of light?"


See you next week.
The Devil She Knew


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