Blood rose in the back of her throat as she stared on, half conscious; eyes trapped behind swollen, battered lids. It oozed out as she pressed shaking hands against the cold floor, dripping down split lips and onto the ragged, white, worn dress she had been forced into. Etreyja heaved a breath beneath the swelling, sporadic bursts of blood that filled throat and tried to force the pain away. A harsh, distant bark filled her ears; accompanied by a feral flashing of yellowed teeth that forced her to stare into the undulating abyss the man's throat made, mid scream. He was roaring about the dress, she absently realized, her head lolling listlessly to the side, strands of matted ebon hair obscuring her already narrowed vision. Her arms fell limp and she rolled with the tilt of her head, falling flatly onto her back; red ichor worming its way onto the shallow crest of her partially exposed breasts, pooling between them before rolling into her navel. With a splattering cough, she tried to whisper out for mercy, for an end to the pain. A dull thud rocked through her, emanating from her right side and she let out a misty cry of pain as a heavy foot pulled back.
The man, Samuel, her adoptive father was standing over her, now, his fists clenched as the darkness of the room, and Etreyja's fading vision painted him as a menacing silhouette. He leaned close, his breath a humid, putrid wave on her face as he spoke. The ringing in her ears had only become more intense with his approach, the pressure in her head threatening to burst from her temples. She wished it would, silently, her azure eyes peeking out from the soft, inflamed, bruised tissue of her face; tear free from her and send this man to the hell he'd earned. He was talking through the entirety of her beleaguered thoughts; stomping his foot as he stood, moving away from her, toward the other corner of the room. She felt the dress, hot and wet, sticking to her skin, a moth-eaten thing she had been forced into before, clinging to her with heavy, blood swollen frills. She recalled, sluggishly, that Samuel had a wife, sometime when she had first arrived here; a small woman with kind eyes. Etreyja did not have the same eyes, nor the same kindness in her; she was an emptying shell, leaking life and luster onto the garment of a maggot-chewed corpse. The ringing in her ears dulled, allowing the rabid rantings of her 'father' to flood her senses.
"Don't cry, you won't get any sympathy for tears," Samuel roared out from across the room, his voice a deep and booming thing that seemed to shake the edges of Etreyja's vision, "I don't want you to fucking cry!"
His back was turned, but she could barely make out the furious tremble coursing through the man as she faced her adopted brother. She rolled onto her side without grace, moving her hands against the cruel quavering that had overtaken her. He turned, quickly, as the sound reached him; a quiet chuckle escaping as he took heavy steps toward her. She stared up, mouthing whatever apologies she could muster; soundlessly, blood still dripping from her lips. Samuel reached out like a serpent, his hand wrapping around her throat and forcing her onto her back; clamping around her throat easily and pressing against her soft, yielding flesh with a bestial vigor. Etreyja forced out a choking noise, placing her useless hands against his forearm for a brief moment before her eyes began to roll; the pain that wracked her fading in the face of imminent strangulation.
Please came the mental plea, soft and terrified, as darkness swept through her, severing her connection to the corporeal world, don't...
Unconsciousness found Etreyja in a more loving place, in the arms of a fictitious family; a house far removed from the blood stained floors and crimson weeping wedding dresses. They spoke in silence, their voices an audible vacuum; the static filler of her dreams. Scenery shifted and changed, as did the features of her phantasmal family; most often they reflected her own appearance, in a distant way. Today they were different, stooped silhouettes with inky skin that bubbled and dripped from their forms; exposing ruby red bones for a mere moment before more flowing ooze covered the gash. Arranged around a polished wooden table they all sat, staring at one another, with Etreyja seated beside them. They gurgled and frothed, making strange motions at one another from time to time; always followed by a hearty, echoing peal of laughter. Etreyja adjusted in her seat, smiling along with their laughter, a light blush tinging her porcelain skin; feeling strangely warm as these bizarre creatures passed plates back and forth, engaged partly in their conversations. Something tugged at her, though, a dull pain in her right side. Her family noticed, turning to her, their faces weeping tar tears of concern, putting forward a silent query.
"Are you ok, dear," they whispered in their liquid silence, "where does it hurt?"
Etreyja slowly lifted the simple shirt she was wearing...and immediately wished she hadn't. Where the pain was pulsing, her ribs were pressed through the skin, black, thick blood pouring from ruby red bones. She opened her mouth to say something, but was immediately afflicted with a stabbing pain in her arm. As she moved her gaze from the ruby rib to her forearm, her eyes caught the thin line of a plastic tube; leading from the bend of her forearm off into the hazy distance.
The voice echoed in the distance, irritating her strange family into motion. She followed them into a growing nimbus of cruel, sterile light, watching their forms become amorphous as the light pressed down upon them. They dried, cracked, melted, then simply vanished as the light became brighter and brighter. A cold nausea swept over her as the light consumed her and washed away her dearly held dreams.
"She's waking up. Next time, damnit, do your job; don't miss the goddamn vein."
There was a mumble of displeasure and hasty steps, followed by the metallic click of a heavy door swinging shut. Etreyja's eyes opened slowly, adjusting to the glaring light situated above her hospital bed. Her arm ached and a cursory inspection revealed, among the fading bruises, there was a large, circular one; a small bead of blood forming on the tiny piece of gauze taped there. It was the only pain she felt, a fact for which she was silently thankful. The nurse left the room as she was taking time to adjust to herself in the bed, sitting up, pulling absently at the front of her papery gown. The blinds were pulled shut, she noticed, turning to gaze about the room.
"I..." Her voice cracked as dry lips peeled away from one another, "hate this world, and everything in it."