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    Hostage Situation

    • Writing

    The Challenge

    For this writing Challenge what we want you to do is to create a thread or a response post where your character is caught up in some sort of hostage situation. This could be a bank heist with masked robbers. This could be a home invasion. A person that just cracked and took their family hostage. Whatever your brain can imagine.

     

    The catch is that you must write your character as one of the hostages.

     

    Is your character a hero?

    Are they so scared that they pee themselves?

    Are they the ones the bad guys take with them to try to escape?

     

    You decide!



    Submission: Submit the following in a reply to this post.
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    Lanval's hand was tight on her wrist as he pulled her down the hall, half-asleep and struggling to keep up with his longer stride. If she fell, he’d drag her. He already had, not bothering to wake her gently.  Instead he took her arm and pulled her from the spot on the bed where she’d fallen into a fitful sleep, exhausted from work and hoping for a brief reprieve before he woke up. 

    It had probably never crossed his mind to let her sleep, of course. Elphine’s days were spent on drudgery, lighting fires, cleaning rooms, running errands, and whatever else was required of a servant in Cthonos. The nights though, those were Lanval’s and where Lanval went, so did Elphine, regardless of her own wishes. She didn’t want much. Survival and at the moment, sleep, a dreamless respite of nothingness before consciousness and the reminder of her precarious situation filtered in. Before reality sunk in once more. 


    No mind was paid to the still fresh whip marks she bore across her back, nor her pleas for him to stop, that she’d come along if he gave her a moment to stand. At least she hadn’t felt the scrape of stone on her raw back, but rather along her stomach as she had struggled to get to climb to her feet. It wasn’t until he’d open the door to his room, that he released her.  Quickly, she stood just in time before he’d grabbed her by the wrist again, pulling her along with nothing more than a grunt about his hunger. 

    Down, down, down they went from his tower room. Elphine focused on keeping on her feet. When she thought she wasn’t going to fall, she snuck a look up at him, trying to decide if it was just hunger putting him into a mood. “I could have fetched something for you,” Elphine said gently. She’d have preferred that, despite the extra work. Elphine had realized very quickly after Lanval had claimed her for his bed of ash— a position that she knew well would end in her death— he was worse with an audience.

    Much worse. 

    She wouldn’t complain; Elphine never complained. Complaints would do nothing but anger him and Elphine worried about his mood. Lanval might decide violence was the game he wished to play tonight. 

    Bitemarks and bruises. 

    “It would take too long,” was his curt reply. So that was that. 


    She concentrated on her feet, on not falling. Her head jerked up when Lanval pulled her to an abrupt stop and Elphine took in the blonde hair and pleading expression in her large tear-stained brown eyes.  She instantly averted her gaze once she registered the identity of the girl in front of her. Eva. The younger sister of Lanval’s former lover. The girl Elphine replaced. She replaced Eva too though the girl didn’t know it. Elphine wasn’t a martyr. She couldn’t claim she knew the full implications of what she had done, but she knew she had the opportunity to stop Lanval from killing her, stop him from tormenting her, and so she had. 

    “What’s this, the last Morozov daughter, running through the halls, blood on her hands… Have you been playing with knives, little girl? Did you forget which end you’re supposed to hold? Or… did you know all too well?” His grip on Elphine’s wrist tightened, his tone almost playful. Why did he have to do this? 

    “I-I…”

    “I, I, I—” He mocked.  “Look at me when you talk to me.” Eva complied. “That’s better.  So, is the girl stupid or is she a murderer?”

    Elphine had heard Lanval speak in that tone before. He just couldn’t resist tormenting her, could he? Maybe she should be grateful his playful attention was turned elsewhere, but she was not. Not when she could feel the weight of Eva’s gaze. Foolish...

     

    Elphine could not just stand there and listen to him torment the girl so despite the uncomfortable way Lanval had her wrist, she turned toward him. His grip slackened, and, stepping as close as she could, Elphine rested her hand against his chest, but not to imply he should stop. Elphine stood close enough she had to tilt her head back to look at him, pressed close enough that she could rest her chin on his chest, her head still back, bodies close. Elphine continued to slide her hand up so it rested against his cheek. 


    “I thought you were hungry, Lanval,” Elphine told him softly. “You know how I know you’re hungry, Lanval? You’re standing in the hall, talking to nothing. We should go get something to eat. You shouldn’t talk to nothing. You should talk to me instead.” Elphine ran her thumb against Lanval’s cheek and then she shifted up and pressed a kiss on his neck. She didn’t look at Eva. Didn’t look at anything but Lanval. 

    She might hate herself.

    “Silly me, talking to nothing. I must be hungrier than I thought.” He grinned. That was good. Probably.

    "I know for a fact that the baker was making honeyed sweetbread today. I bet there's some left." She hoped it was still there.  She did not want her words to become a lie.  His widening smile took on a different note as his arm slid around her waist.


    “I hope that’s a promise, Elphine. If there isn’t any there… I might just have to eat you instead.” A horrible joke, but he released her wrist and took her own hand, their fingers intertwining as he slid his other hand from her waist, and then they were walking again.

    “If it is not there, I’ll make it.” The sooner they were gone, the better.

    “I-I need someone’s help. Please. I went looking for help.” The fear in Eva’s voice was palpable. Stupid girl.

    “I just hope it’s sweet enough for you.” Elphine added, hoping that they could just keep going and Eva would understand.
    Lanval’s help was not something to be sought.

    Then, a small, bloody hand reached out and took her own, pulling her to a stop. “Please help.”

    Elphine looked up at Lanval, into those blue eyes that though always lovely, sometimes reflected madness and cruelty. Sometimes there was something sweet in them, something that told her that it was possible, but not right now. Right now, his eyes revealed nothing but cold warning. 

    You will not speak with her ever again. You will not meet her gaze. 

    Neither one was pulling anymore, but Elphine still felt like she might be pulled apart. How easy would it be to slip into further cruelty? Lanval would like that. He’d already asked it of her, before Elphine had taken Eva’s place, sparing her from Lanval’s bed of ash. She didn’t know that, though, did she? Eva was still young and naïve like Elphine had been ten years ago when she was dragged to this place and granted the mercy of servitude. Eva’s innocence was why Elphine had done it, her innocence and her tears. Elphine chose this role and Lanval had her get down on her knees and thank him for it. He’d have killed Eva in a night, in hours, but not Elphine. Elphine endured and she could not regret what she’d done, even though here she was, once more forced into more cruelty to a girl too stupid to run away from the wolves. 

    “He’s dying. Please!” She would not see her.


    “Now who could that have been?” Lanval asked, his warning gaze sliding into something more predatory. 

    Elphine hesitated too long, just one stupid moment too long. Firmly, she removed her hand from Eva’s bloody grasp. She never even looked at the girl. 

    “No one. I’ve head hunger makes you hear things. Aren’t you hungry, Lanval?”  Elphine’s eyes were on his. This was safest. Safest until it wasn’t. She was sincere. Couldn’t he hear her sincerity? Please? 

    “He said his name is Kr—"

    “I think I hear some sweetbread calling my name,” he cut Eva off at the moment that was so important to Elphine. She could feel no relief that he’d decided to humor her. 

    Who? Who is dying? 

    Elphine was selfish enough to survive; she was smart enough to know with that much blood, there was no helping whoever the girl was pleading over. But now… now she couldn’t just leave. 

    Any other start to any other name and perhaps Elphine could have ignored it, but not Krispin. Cthonos wasn’t a place for him just like it hadn’t been for Elphine all those year ago. This morning she saw that he was still the same while Elphine had changed. He was still innocent. Still the cream puff she knew as a little girl... 

    Elphine’s self-control was iron and she used her reserves of it now, if only to resist sprinting down the hall. Instead she looked up at Lanval, wondering what she might say to make him understand. No, he wouldn’t understand. He couldn’t understand and she could not explain. Explaining would only upset him. 

    “Will you please do me a favor? I know this will seem crazy, but I believe if you follow the blood someone may be in trouble, dying nearby. I need to know who it is. If you want to go to the kitchens and eat, I understand and if you will permit me, I will go check myself… but I would prefer you to come with me… if you are willing. Would you come with me, please?” Asking him to come too, that was damage control. She couldn’t let him know how much she still cared for her childhood friend. Eva was so much easier to ignore when she just wanted to help a nameless man who had likely run afoul of one of Lanval’s half-siblings. Easier when there wasn’t the chance it was him. 

    “You know what happens when you follow blood, Elphine? You find more blood.” Pulling away from her, he turned back to Eva. “Let’s see where this blood trail leads,” he announced. Glancing back at Elphine, he held out his hand, mockingly gesturing for her to proceed.  Saying nothing more, she followed the girl and Lanval followed her, further and further down the hall towards the bleeding man. Elphine didn’t want to turn the corner, but she did so anyway. 

    Relief flowed through her as she was met by the sight of blond hair and blood so much blood. Horrible that she should feel such relief but there it was. Not Krispin with his curling dark hair and cheekbones so similar to Lanval’s own. Her heart began to slow again as she took in the rest of the scene, her eyes running over all the horrible knife marks and lacerations, including the large cut that likely killed him. 

    “You were right,” Elphine commented. There is more blood. “Too much blood from the start…” Her words weren't for Lanval, but for Eva. The younger girl choked back a sob and a part of her could not help but offer some miniscule comfort, but there was no comfort in Cthonos. Please just leave. Elphine’s biggest fear was that this blood, Eva’s torment would just rile Lanval up again. 

    She acted before he could, slipping her arms around him in a brief hug, before stepping back and placing her hand against his chest as she looked into his eyes. What would she find there?

    “My past doesn’t matter anymore. I know that. My family’s dead. Any friends I had didn’t care. They moved on. It’s so very easy to forget childhood friends, but… I heard something in that hall, a reminder and I thought the person dying might have been one of mine. It’s silly, but I guess I just needed to know. So, thank you, now I know and won't think about it anymore.” Moving up on tip toes, she kissed his cheek. She was careful again with her wording, making no mention of Eva and how her words set off her worried frenzy. 

    Silence, then… “It’s nice to have closure,” he told her with a pat on his cheek. But it wasn’t okay, she knew by his tone, before he stepped away, a knife already in his hand as he stalked towards Eva and grabbed her by the jaw. 

    “I was just trying to help him…” Eva began, tears welling up once more in his eyes, but mercifully fell silent when Lanval pressed the flat of his blade to the girl’s cheek, moving the tip close to her eye. Elphine stood still. She said nothing. She made no attempt to help the girl at all. Just the blink of an eye at the knife might cut… 

    Lanval spoke again, his words directed at Elphine, but a message for them both. “Some people don’t need closure, Elphine. Some people are better off just leaving the past behind them and never going back. Or maybe they’ll find that they’re the ones dead on the ground…” Threatening words and an implicit reminder of what he might do. Lanval pulled the knife from Eva’s face. 

    “Thank you,” Elphine told him. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for the advice. Thank you for not hurting her. He walked back to her and she remained carefully still. He could have done worse, but Lord Dagger was making a point. This wasn’t Lanval with the madness in his eyes, but calculation behind a terrifyingly neutral gaze. 

    He stopped in front of her, leaning down to brush his lips to hers, but there was no warmth in that kiss. Only warning. And ownership. He took her hand in silence and pulled her down the hall again, far away from Eva and the dead man. 

    "Who is your friend now, Elphine?" 

    Elphine knew what she had given up when she'd decided to follow that blood trail. She was stupid to think she could help Krispin. She’d just get him killed if she tried.

    “I don’t have any friends, Lanval,” Elphine told him, finally looking up. Her own eyes reflected nothing but serenity. What she needed them to be. What he wanted them to be. 

    Calm. 

    “Only you.”

    It wasn’t even a lie. 

     

     

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