Strange chill kissed her skin, provoking shivers down her spine. Sweats were dripping down her temple, drenching into the pillow she was lying. She was awake on the inside. But her eyes weren’t listening to her. They quivered in fear. Lost the directions. She frowned. Wake up! Clover! Wake up! Open your eyes! Chatters of unfamiliar noises rang in her ears, though they seemed to be from a distant place.
Is she awake?
Should be in a few minutes.
And the squeaking of the rectangular object began. Underneath her eyelids, she felt an instant flash of light shone across her face. Within the beam, a moderate shadow stepped in and interrupted, blocking the light. Someone was approaching. Her muscles tensed, sensing the change of pressure in the air. It was getting nearer...and nearer... until there was a pause in motion.
The spot beside her sunk in a little, as if a heavy material was laid. A warm air was then breathed onto her dry lips, mumbling the words she couldn’t make sense of.
Clover tweaked the next second, gasping for breath. Image of a middle-aged man on top of her was mirrored in her sight, only leaving a few inches in between. “...Who.. who are you?!” Clanging and jingling knocking against the poles of the bed caught her attention.
“...You...! Let me go!” Clover kicked the metal chains, squeezing her palms out of the cuffs.
Her four limbs were tied wide apart.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” he said, resting his head next to hers, sniffing her neck. “Hmm... Can I dine in now?”
“Get off me!!” she fought, bouncing her body, shaking the pervert off the bed.
He laughed, got back on his feet, straightening the new wrinkles on his shirt. “Good meals are meant to be enjoyed in the eyes of public. Don’t be in a rush, my dear. If today we can’t make it, there’s always tomorrow.” Fixing his thirsty stare, looking beyond the clothes covering her assets, “Your hole is mine,” he slurped, staining the surface of his thick lips.
I saw you before, Clover choked by her own thought. His eyes, smile and even the shape of his figure were stimulating an odd hunch in her. But she couldn’t remember where did they encounter. She glanced around nervously. Only to be surrounded by four plain, grey, cracked bricked walls. Echoes pierced through the door were rather strong. There was a small wooden panel on it. And through the hole, she could see two heads. One on the left, and the other on the right. She furrowed her brows to look further in front, but creepy darkness was all it had.
The man in the room caught Clover staring at him. It was too late for her to avoid his doubtful smile. He approached her in a friendly way and crouched next to the bed. Hunger in his eyes was surprisingly gone.
He sighed for the very first time ever since he entered, “Such a waste that you’re their daughter.”
“What do you mean?” Clover asked, shocked by the stillness in her voice. “You know my parents?”
“Of course. How can I not know? Traitors.”
That word struck her. She didn’t say a thing and waited for him to continue.
“Your dad cheated on me. For the sake of his own. He lied to me, saying that he wanted to build a company together with me and both of us shall lead the world together, as the ‘young leaders’,” he paused, rolling his eyes. “And you know what? I actually believed him. I didn’t have much money back then but I chose to give him all that I had, hoping to make this dream of ours work. But he was a f*cking faker. Asshole.”
Behind her gritted teeth, “my dad was never a faker,” she fought,” nor an asshole.”
“Not to you,” he smirked. “He left me on my own. I couldn’t reach him,” his voice turned heavy. “And when I saw him again, he was already the successful Tremon everybody knew of. I was just a stepping stone. I did try to get to him. You know what I got in return?- A blind eye. He even wanted to get rid of me to shut my mouth. Not once. Not twice. Many times. This life of mine almost ruined in the hands of that bastard!”
“Liar...” Tears were streaming down Clover’s face. “Liar!”
“I’m not a liar! Your DAD was!” he exclaimed. Hatred was written clearly in his protruding eyes. “If it wasn’t because of my strong will to revenge, the one underneath the soil would be me!”
“Even if what you are telling is true, my parents are already dead! You’ve won! Why are you doing this to me?!”
He shifted to the bed again, sticking his skin close to hers. Leg crossed on one another. And before saying anything, he laid his back sideways, facing the girl he had been crazy for. Clover pushed her body away from him. But no matter how hard she tried, it was useless. She was pushing herself nowhere. Her hands were cuffed so tightly. She couldn’t move. The man pulled her towards his chest, caressing the seductive curves.
“You were just a kid back then... And now you’ve grown into such a fine lady,” he whispered, licking her jaw to his confinement. “I didn’t know you were theirs. Until more and more stories hit my ears."
Twisting the edges of her silky hair, “Reaching this age, my semen are overproducing. The moment I saw you on the website, I was turned on instantly,” he continued. “You have no idea how much I masturbated just by looking at your picture.”
Clover snatched her face from his grip, disgusted by the lewdness in him. His breath was stinking, and saliva was staining on her. But her fierceness wasn’t stopping him. He got more excited instead and knelt on the bed, back to the original position. Clover froze as he pushed open her shirt, revealing the colour of her bra and whatever that was under. Tracing the lines on her bra, the deepness of her sternum, the trembles of her skin, his naughty fingers were on the move.
“No no no, don’t be afraid,” he blew softly along her navel,” I’m not going to rape you. Rape is painful. Sex is love.”
“Let me go...please...” she cried.
“Boss,” Kenny appeared, totally in black, with his scar exposed, just like how she saw him the first time.
Help . Clover caught his eyes.
But he turned away, ignoring her voiceless cries. “Urgent.” he said, handing a phone over to him.
A silent sigh of relieve was puffed from her mouth, seeing the man getting off hurriedly and reached for the call. He sounded worried, speaking with the one over the phone. His weight creaked as he walked straight into the exit, waving a signal to the guards outside the door, commanding them to secure this rotten place. And with a loud thud, it was shut closely with no any chances for her to escape. She was left alone, being an ‘X’ on the bed.
Memories protected safely at the back of her mind, played like a movie across her eyes. Those innocent chuckles once belonged to her, the voices of the once alive beings, were as clear as water. Miss, wouldn’t be the best feeling to describe her yearnings for the past. But it was the closest to her heart.
She didn’t want to be drifted from the reality. However, it was hard. The bygone was too strong.
“Clover!” Veronica patted on her laps, “let me help you with your ponytails. Come here!”
“Okayy!” she ran over, pushing the tall grasses with her ten tiny fingers, looking for the figure of her mom. The noises from her music shoes chimed everywhere, chasing away the small creatures crawling on the muddy soil.
Under the old, shady tree, where whorls were seen along the stem, there sat her mother on a steel chair, arranging the flowers she plucked into a vase. Roses, morning glories, ivies were laid vertically on the table, with their ends trimmed and cleaned. The breeze blew on her face gently, telling her its presence. Thin rays passed through the thick clouds hit on the love pangent of the necklace hanging down her neck. Looking ever so elegantly, dressed in her simple comfy home wear. From afar, it was as though petals were descending, making her the goddess of the floral. She was so beautiful.
Upon reaching, Clover braked and hid behind the bushes. She had always knew that her mother was one in a million. The tender touch of her mom on the flowers was decreasing the time she planned to hide. Jealous? Of the flowers? Most probably.
But Clover was indeed still a child. And her love for her mom was vast.
“Peekaboo!” she jumped into Veronica’s sight.
Veronica wasn’t shocked though.
She laughed. “Better attempt next time, my girl,” cupping her by her armpits, she placed the small girl on her, letting her short fresh legs dangling in the air. “Promise me one thing, little pie,′ she murmured, running her fingers in between Clover's messy hair.
Pointing to Clover’s beating prop, “This piece of innocence in you,” Veronica said,” promise me you will never lose it.”
Touching her chest, feeling the rhythmic thumps,” I...Innoce..cence?” she asked, “What's that? It’s in... here?”
There were more she wanted to say. But the words couldn’t find their way out of her throat.
"Grow with your innocence. Don’t let reality steals it away from you."
Clover looked into her mother’s eyes, wondering the reason for the sudden silence. They were dazzling. But they weren’t happy. Clover held onto the stare,only to find herself tearing up, seeing the unknown pain hidden behind her mother's pupils.
She bounced her weight on Veronica's laps. “Mom...what’s...what’s wrong?”
“Oh dear! Why are you sobbing?”
“Cause...c-causee... you look so saaadddd...” her cries were getting louder.
Pulling the little daughter closer and planted her in her solid embrace, she kissed her forehead, “Nothing...” she murmured, “You’re too young to know.”
“Will you tell me ...” pausing, stopped by her own hiccups. “....once I turn into an adult?”
Clover got down on the ground. “Then I want to be an adult really quickly!!” she ran into the path lined with the wild florals. “Because I hate to see you sad!” her high-pitched voice echoed.
And the scene faded.
The greenery was gone. She was back into reality where nothing belonged to her anymore, including her own self.
“Did you know from the beginning, mom?” she uttered, feeling the tears at the back of her throat “...that dad swallowed everything and made them looked like his own?”