Series: (The Life of Anna #4)
(Two Years Later)
Anna felt herself rising to a stark and brutal level of consciousness, only dimly aware that she lay flat on her back in her own bed at the Manor.
With lucidity came a dull, aching pain that grew with each breath she drew.
Devin had taken Anna’s baby. A child conceived out of love with Alex. The last vestige of Alex she had clung to. And Devin took it. Again.
No. It couldn’t be Alex’s baby. Alex was dead. He’d been dead for so long…she didn’t know how long. He was dead. But then why did Devin say it was Alex’s baby and get her so upset?
Anna felt the fog of confusion smothering her mind. She was always confused these days. Some days Devin said Alex was alive. Other days, Devin said Alex was dead. Why did he confuse her? It was hard enough keeping hold of reality as it was. But when Devin bothered to speak to her, it got even more confusing.
Focus, Anna. Her inner voice sounded as weak as she felt, but she tried to comply, vaguely remembering back to a time when she could focus, when she was much stronger than she was now.
They’d just returned home from another Spring Gathering—her third, she thought. She’d been pregnant before they left. She was not pregnant now. Devin had told her before they left that it was Alex’s baby, and she’d believed him. She’d fought tooth and nail to keep him from taking it, but now it just seemed foolish. Alex had been dead for a long, long time.
Alex! The pain in her heart began again. She ran to the bathroom and tore open her relief cabinet of drugs.
It was empty.
“No!” she cried. “No!” She’d been a good girl. She’d done everything Devin had asked her to do. Why was he withholding her relief?
She ran to her bedroom door and pounded on it, screaming Devin’s name. She didn’t care if he came to punish her. She just needed him to come. Screaming his name always made him come. And it made him mad.
But no one came. She pounded on the door until her fists were bruised and bleeding, and still no one came.
Devin always came when she screamed. Why not this time?
She curled up in a ball on her bed and sobbed. Where was everybody? She’d been a good girl. She’d tried very hard to be obedient. Why was he punishing her? What had she done wrong?
The only time Devin required her to be coherent was during the Spring Gatherings, and even then she wasn’t completely coherent. He didn’t take her to the Summer Gatherings anymore. He said she didn’t need to be there, so she stayed home and got high. He didn’t really need her at all, except for one thing: a baby in the spring. Anna didn’t understand why.
She didn’t remember much of the last two years, except avoiding thoughts of Alex. She hadn’t seen or spoken to anyone since she’d come home from Germany. Except Wilhelm. He came out every few months and visited with her. She didn’t like it when he came. He reminded her too much of Alex.
But when he left, she felt so lonely.
The drugs were seeping out of her system now and she couldn’t avoid thinking about Alex. She missed him. So much it hurt to breathe.
She looked at her right hand. Devin had made her take off her diamond rings, but made her wear her right hand wedding band. Every time she looked at it, pain stabbed her heart. She tried to take it off one time and Devin got so angry. It didn’t make any sense. Why would Devin want her to remember her dead husband?
Her hand was swollen from pounding on the door and it made the ring tight. Normally it was too loose; she’d lost a lot of weight over the last two years. She didn’t even like to look in the mirror now.
Tommy had been astonished when he saw her last week at the Gathering. She recalled the shock on his face and his concerned exclamation: “You’ve gotten so thin! I’m worried about you.”
“I’m fine,” Anna had protested. She appreciated his concern, but she was fine.
Anna had been astounded to see Aaron at the Gathering. She couldn’t make herself speak to him, but saw him and Tommy talking a lot. Travis was there as well and the three of them seemed inseparable.
Life had changed a lot in the last two years. She rarely left her room, was rarely called upon to perform any sexual duties. Men just didn’t seem interested in her body without the curves; but Anna didn’t mind. Ian stayed with her several nights a week and that was all she needed. Devin only spent the night with her once in a while. If she’d been sober enough to care, she would have been hurt.
The door opened and she flipped over to see Maggie enter carrying a tray.
“Maggie!” she cried. “Where’s Devin?”
Maggie gave her a sympathetic look. “Master said that he would come see you after you ate.”
“Why is my cabinet empty?” Anna demanded.
Maggie’s eyes widened and she flinched at Anna’s sudden, mercurial demeanor. “Master said to take everything out while you were gone. I don’t know, Mistress.”
“I’m not hungry,” Anna huffed. If she couldn’t have her drugs, then she wouldn’t eat.
“Master said he wouldn’t come see you if you didn’t eat,” Maggie said quietly.
Anna narrowed her eyes at the tray of food. “Fine.”
She got up on shaky legs and walked to the table and began eating. Maggie left the room after watching her for a minute and Anna was left alone.
It was too quiet. She looked around for the remote for the TV and saw it on the nightstand. Anna sighed. She couldn’t reach it and didn’t have the energy to get up and get it. Maybe after she ate.
When Devin took her for himself at the age of twelve, she had a vision of a man. A man who Devin was very interested in. But why? Why would Devin care about a little girl’s dreams?
Alex wants her to be free.
Devin demands her obedience.
As Anna takes her first steps into the world, into love, into friendship, she wonders if she will ever understand either of them.
The Life of Anna, Part 3: Embraced
As her Masters work around her, Anna must navigate a life she never wanted.
Marissa’s story of Anna began with a dream about being kidnapped with Adam Savage from Mythbusters (Yes, really). Over the next year and a half, it morphed into the story that is now known as “The Life of Anna.” She has several other stories in progress, one of which is based on her kidnapped dream.
When she’s not writing or editing, Marissa is taking care of two young boys, training to be an astronaut, running her household, wrestling with gorillas, playing around on Facebook, promoting whirled peas, and busting her tush for her accounting degree. She enjoys chocolate, air conditioning in the desert’s summer heat, really good strawberry margaritas, sleeping, and shopping.
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