TRIGGER warning – bondage, forced sedation, threats and physical violence.
This is out of context unless the blog has been read in a chronological order.
It was so vivid. I was in my teens and I wrote about it in in my diary. I dreamed I found a cardboard box in our living room. Hiding inside was a tiger cub! It jumped straight out and started playing with the fringe of our carpet. Seeing a baby tiger close up…it was unbelievably cute, fluffy, innocent. An irresistible urge to cry seized control of me. The tiger cub. It had no idea some people wanted it dead. I sobbed so much it yanked me right out of sleep. It was still in the middle of the night, so I turned to my side and tried going back to sleep. I looked at the wallpaper – glowing a faint yellow from the streetlight outside – and felt the pillow soaked with tears. I wanted to hug the tiger close to my heart and shelter it, but it was gone now. Such an emptiness inside. In the morning I spoke to my mother about the dream. She had books on dream symbolism, but none of us could find an interpretation which satisfied me.
Guinevere, 6 years old:
Sometimes I feel like we’re one person. Elijah and I can guess each other’s thoughts and he’s always by my side. Elijah’s father Luke smiles at us.
”A match made in Heaven.” Elijah’s mother Ivy laughs.
”In Hell, darling. She’s got a Demon in her.”
”You swore!” Elijah exclaims. Swearing is forbidden in their home.
”I meant it literally, so it doesn’t count”, Ivy informs him. I try to forget I heard her talk about the Demon. I have one girl inside who really frightens me. She’s a Demon. I shouldn’t think about her – if I do she might come here! I scrunch up my face and concentrate on pushing it away – gone, gone, gone. I focus so hard I close my eyes and when I open them I notice Ivy looking at me coldly. She doesn’t want me here.
Elijah says his mother only wants to invite girls he hates. Earlier today she told me I should be so grateful who got to marry Elijah – she’d do it herself, if she could. I simply nodded.
”I love Elijah”, I said earnestly. Her mouth twitched the way it does when she’s annoyed.
”I wish he didn’t love you all that much”, she blurted. Elijah looked from his mother to me, drew a deep breath and yelled:
”I won’t marry anyone else, mom!” Ivy glared at me and I stared right back at her. Suddenly her face contorted into a downright scary expression:
”You’ve bewitched my son!” She hissed. ”You bewitched him with your eyes!”
”Bewitch?” What does the word even mean?
”You put a spell on him with your eyes!”
”Stop repeating everything I say, it is rude! Continue being rude and I’ll send you home now!”
”Can I take Elijah with me?”
Suddenly Luke entered the room.
”Stop with the bullshit, Ivy! She’s just a little girl. And she’s his best friend.” Luke wore a tired expression and when the parents started arguing, Elijah held his hand out to me. I took it and we left the room.
Luke had to go somewhere and it didn’t take more than an hour before Ivy tied us up next to baby Langdon. Langdon wasn’t really a baby – he was a two year-old toddler – and his offense had been biting his mother. Elijah and I couldn’t fathom what we’d done wrong. She’d just snatched us, tied us and reappeared brandishing a knife for us to see. Then she put a finger in front of her lips.
”I have a headache”, she declared. ”Not a sound from you!” Langdon whimpered weakly beneath the handkerchief which was tied over his mouth. Elijah and I couldn’t look at each other, she’d put us down back to back. I searched for his hands and hooked my little finger through his. It was Eric who’d taught me the finger game. It is easy. You try to catch each other’s fingers, hooking and unhooking them faster and faster. (Before Eric taught me how to stay calm I would break down completely if somebody tied me.)
As we heard footsteps approaching, we stopped playing. Ivy stood in the doorway and looked at us for a while. Then she walked up to us and sat on the edge of the bed, crying.
”I’m so sorry she tied you up! I would stop her if I could!” Ivy wailed. ”Your good mother is here now!” She patted Elijahs head tenderly. ”I’ll release you if you play quietly. I’m afraid she will reappear…we mustn’t make too much noise.”
”We’ll be quiet mom”, Elijah whispered.
”Yes”, I breathed. Ivy was still crying when she untied Langdon. He’d fallen asleep but now he began waving his arms and legs in all directions. He succeeded in tearing his handkerchief away and screamed as if the house was on fire. Ivy’s face froze and she sat like a statue for some time. Then she leaped from the bed and sprinted out of the room. I was hoping she’d stay away but she returned with a jug of water she forced Langdon to drink. Elijah and I attempted to play quietly with Langdon, but it was as if he didn’t really see or hear us. His movements grew slower and slower, until he laid down on the carpet fast asleep. Elijah ran to tell Ivy his little brother was sleeping and she lifted Langdon onto the bed. I’d learned quickly we must always keep an eye on Ivy – she could decide to punish us for anything and everything. Until Luke came home, Elijah and I took turns to peek out of the nursery to see what Ivy was up to. Lucky for us she was occupied grooming and dressing up, presumably because Luke was due to arrive. When he did come home, all was fine for some time. Ivy was cooking some food Luke really liked and they were too busy flirting with each other to disturb us.
The storm broke when Luke tried to wake Langdon for dinner and was unable to.
”Did you sedate him!” He walked down the stairs, carrying a limp Langdon in his arms. Ivy smiled sweetly.
”Langdon is sleepy honey – Bianca and Elijah played a lot with him today. Especially Bianca, she’s such a handful!”
”Don’t even start – he’s sedated!”
”Don’t use words like that in front of them!” Ivy hissed, looking pointedly at Elijah and I.
”Langdon is loosing weight, Ivy! He’s too short for his age! The nurse said he looked malnourished …he could die if you continue like this!”
”You’re being overly dramatic!”
”No I’m not!” Luke was crying now and he wouldn’t stop. His tears were still falling when their car stopped at my mother’s house and she came out to walk me indoors.
Every family in The Society has something they believe in more firmly than other things. Ivy really believed in bondage and did her outmost to convince Luke of its universality. I had some experience being tied up – usually together with Eric or Philip or both – but I don’t remember it as a go-to punishment among my relatives. Tying someone was something they did when they couldn’t see any other way to handle a situation. Eric and I would make funny faces until we were laughing. If we were back to back we trained our reflexes, chasing each other’s fingers. Far away from each other, we tapped our feet in the same rhythm. If we weren’t gagged he told me stories or sang songs. Elijah didn’t have older siblings to comfort him. Guinevere and I did all we could but when it was time for Bianca to go home, Elijah and Langdon would start crying. Langdon was very little and Elijah was nearly a year younger than me. It was always Bianca who was sent home – she was amnesic to all abuse and so couldn’t tell Mother anything. If Bianca hadn’t existed, I would have worried night and day about how the brothers were doing.
Luke asked to chat with me alone. He’s sitting on the sofa in their house and I’m standing in front of him. There’s a rectangle on the carpet warmed by the sun and I’ve fit both my bare feet inside. Elijah is on the other side of the living room door, picking at the lock to open it. He doesn’t want to be shut out of the conversation.
”I heard you and Elijah got married”, Luke states, a little amused.
”It was Princess, but I married him too!” I explain. Luke sighs.
”Bianca…Guinevere. There is something you need to know. I’m not gonna lie to you, or create false expectations.” His face is sad. Oh no, he’s gonna say something bad. Is he sending me away?
”What are false expectations?” I ask.
”It’s hard to explain…Guinevere, you are a Night girl. You were born to the Night. It means your family is dangerous. Night families are dangerous and if you pass your trials…”
”What are the trials?”
”I’m not allowed to tell you beforehand. But if you – or any of the girls inside you – pass those tests, then you’ll become a dangerous person. Very dangerous.” He regards me gravely.
”I don’t understand.”
”You’re like a tiger cub. Tiger cubs are cute, innocent and playful. Everyone loves them. But one day you will grow up. Nobody in their right mind keeps a full blown tiger in their home.”
”Why not? I love tigers!” I thrust my arms out, embracing an invisible big cat. Luke draws his hands through his hair in an exasperated gesture.
”A tiger could kill you, Bianca. You’re from a family of tigers and you’ll be one too. I’m not sure I want you anywhere near my son in the future.”
”A tiger can protect against thieves!”
”It could also kill a whole family. Bianca, if you pass your tests they’ll train you to murder. You’ll be dangerous. Like an eagle among sparrows…or a dinosaur next to salamanders.” I probably shouldn’t tell Luke Grandfather has already made me kill some animals. I did it so they wouldn’t be tortured. Something tells me Luke won’t see the point right now.
”I’m not dangerous!”
”Then why do you keep carrying knives?”
”No knives!” I show him there are no knives in the hem of my jeans nor in my socks. Thanks God I didn’t steal any from the kitchen today. Luke merely shakes his head. The conversation ends with me crying, saying I don’t want to be a murderer, I don’t want to kill, I’ll never wield a knife again. (The first two statements are true but I conveniently forget making the last one.)
If Luke thought of me as a tiger cub, to Ivy I was a weed. Not any plant, but the monstrous sort which infiltrates and takes over a garden. She did her best to pull me up by my roots but I kept coming back. Luke insisted I should be treated nicely and only receive fair punishments.
”We don’t want her any more savage”, he declared.
”Of course, honey”, Ivy smiled. But then she was alone with us. Sometimes she pretended I wasn’t even there, serving food to her children and giving me none. Other times she tied me up and left me somewhere in the house, taking her sons to the playground. They didn’t go willingly – they wanted me along – but Ivy hauled them out the door. While cooking, she grazed my skin with a knife on accident.
”You never have to see me again”, she cooed in a consoling voice. ”Just go to Elijah and call him all the ugly words you can think of. Here – take this knife, chase him with it!” I stared at her.
”If you hurt me again, my Grandfather will come for you!” I spit on the hand holding the knife. Ivy grazed my throat with the blade, but Elijah saw it. He had snuck up quietly to the kitchen doorway and was standing there, watching. He ran and told Luke Ivy cut me. The adults launched themselves into a screaming match, Luke accusing Ivy of not having taken her medicine. The fight ended with Luke tying Ivy up and calling her relatives to say she was out of control. Then he told me he was really sorry and he’d understand if I didn’t want to see Elijah again. This was my worst nightmare and I wept so much I couldn’t speak for some time. Then I hiccuped:
”I lo-lo-love E-e-e-lijah!” Luke sighed. Elijah gave me a hug so hard I thought he’d never let go of me.