If you didn’t get an opportunity to read the first two scenes, feel free to have a looksee (Scene 1 and Scene 2). This scene in introduces my heroine to the game. She’s quite young, just 12-13 at the time. Just as a reminder, this is 6 years before the next chapter, so she has a bit of growing up to do. Again, this chapter is raw and less than edited, so don’t be surprised if you find a few mistakes or funky wording. Enjoy
Chapter 1 Scene 3
The transient male cried out, silencing the night sounds of the nocturnal creatures. Kecil shrunk back and covered her ears against his tormented sounds. Still, she couldn’t turn away from his face. Distorted from beatings the males issued before they dragged him through the village and tied him to the rock, his features were unrecognizable as they contorted in pain.
He arched his back as Kasut struck him, though the rattan cords held him spread eagle, preventing him from transforming into a tiger, lest he break his limbs in the process. A pattern formed on his chest, first angry red stripes, crisscrossing, then as the flesh weakened ragged nicks appeared. The cane bit deeper and deeper, cutting into his skin until the soft tissue was raw and bloody, leaving deep grooves which puckered around the gashes.
His struggles grew less frantic until finally he stilled.
Kasut brought the cane down a last time then wiped his brow, his chest heaving.
“What are you doing?” Gemuk strode into the clearing, the weight of his body making his steps audible.
“He passed out.”
“Then wake him again. I’m not finished.” He grabbed the cane and pushed Kasut away. Gemuk weighed the stick in his hands then dipped the rattan in a basket of brine, increasing its flexibility, intensifying the torture.
Kasut worked on rousing the male, slapping his bloated face.
He groaned, his eyes flickering.
A smile formed on Gemuk’s face as he turned to the barely conscious male.
Kecil had seen enough. She walked through the village and passed her mother’s hut, refusing to look inside, the dwelling as lifeless and vacant as… She couldn’t sleep here, not tonight. Increasing her pace, she left the village behind, running from the slap of wood against flesh, from the screams, and from him—her mother’s killer.
She ran deeper into the rainforest, a stitch in her side forming, echoing the pain steadily growing in her heart. Her vision blurred, but the wind dried the tear as fast as they fell, leaving the skin on her cheeks tight and pasting the hairs of her lashes into a fuzzy mass.
She raced. Bounding over a decaying stump, her toe snagged and she fell. Her shoulder scraped along the forest floor as she skidded to a stop. Too exhausted to move, she lay curled on her side and cried… broken and alone.