Warm, wet blood gushed from Jazzie's wound as it made a bright, crimson trail that seeped through her clothes. She was only vaguely aware of Cayden cradling her in his arms while he ran, every step he took, echoing through the halls.
Jazzie tried opening her eyes, but the light made her nauseous. The constant throbbing in her side made it hard for her to breathe. Each breath she took was a struggle for her, and she didn't know how much longer it was before her heart gave out.
She gave up trying and rested her head in the hollow of Cayden's chest, his heartbeat accelerating, building up more tension in Jazzie's head. The warmth radiating from his body wasn't enough to fight the line of ice in her body, threatening to freeze her to death.
She heard Cayden unlock a door which brought them to a vast, open field. Cayden cursed silently to himself.
"Jazzie..." he whispered.
Jazzie opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Instead, she looked deeply into Cayden's light brown eyes filled with worry and redemption. She should've listened to him. Why didn't she? Cayden forewarned her about Trevor's reputation as a psychopath, but Trevor insisted he'd changed, and that was good enough for Jazzie.... at the time.
Cayden pushed loose strands of hair out of her eyes and put them behind her ears. He continued walking. He eyed the pool of blood with fury flaring up inside him. He was going to kill Trevor for this.
He never trusted him. Never. But Jazzie insisted he give Trevor a chance, and that's where he went wrong. Because of that, he failed to protect her. He was a failure. He failed to protect the only person who meant so much to him, and now, she may never live to hear those words come from him.
Cayden blazed through his memories of Jazzie. The first day he met her, he instantaneously fell in love with her. He wasn't trying to sound melodramatic, but it was true. It was like love at first sight, which he definitely believed in. She was so beautiful; her shiny black hair fell just below her shoulders, curling up at the ends. Her icy blue eyes were as pure as her heart, like he was staring into her soul when he looked into them.
Everything about her was perfect to him, but what really stood out was the way she seemed to carry this cheery, sunny aura that drew in even the most reluctant. No one hated her; it was impossible. She was loved by everyone. Everyone except Trevor.
What would make him want to do such a thing to her? Did he even truly love her at all, or was it just for show? Either way, Cayden wished he would go to hell, because Jazzie didn't deserve that.
Jazzie grunted. "Cayden?"
The sound of her voice was barely above a whisper, so Cayden almost thought he imagined her calling his name. He thumbed her cheekbone lightly, letting her know he was listening.
His heart shattered. "Jazzie," Cayden cooed, "this isn't your fault; Trevor used you. He pretended to like you, and he pretended like he cared. Tainted love poisons your mind, and that's exactly what he did to you. He is, in every way, responsible for all this, so you can't blame yourself for his wrongdoing."
He didn't realize how much intensity was in his words as he spoke. Jazzie simply stared at him, and all he kept thinking of was that she was going to die any moment in his arms, her body temperature decreasing each passing minute. He didn't know what to do. There was no service out here, and they were miles from the nearest hospital. Cayden sighed, picking up speed.
There was no light other than the stars above which guided him through the ocean of grass. The bitter wind sent chills flying down his spine. He hovered protectively over Jazzie, blocking out most of the cold. Even by doing so, she was still shivering erratically.
Cayden carefully set her down against an oak tree, taking off his shirt to give to Jazzie. A sharp burst of cool air rushed around him immediately as if it were doing him a favor, clawing at every inch of bare skin.
"I don't want to move anymore. Can we... can we stop here?"
"Jazzie, I'm not going to let you die. We have to keep moving; I'm not sure how long the chloroform will keep Trevor under." Cayden perceived his breath which escape his mouth as he spoke.
"We'll never make it in time." Jazzie's voice faltered, becoming barely audible. Tears wracked her body, and she turned her head away. Cayden never saw her like this before. It pained him in a way he couldn't describe. It was like someone took a spear to his heart, allowing him to drown in his own blood and sorrow, slowly disappearing into oblivion.
"Okay," he prompted. "We can rest."
He sat down next to Jazzie, wrapping his arms tightly around her waist, afraid if he were to let go, she'd evaporate into thin air. She was practically already a block of ice, the arctic air piercing her skin. He propped her up against him, threading his fingers through her hair, and without realizing, tears brimmed his eyelids.
Jazzie's breathing slowed and evened out, indicating that she was asleep. Her skin was so pale and almost ghost-like, as if she was already on the brink of death. Cayden closed his eyes, exhaustion washing over him. He endeavored letting sleep take over, but even then some, sleep didn't sound like a bad idea right now. Part of him begged for sleep, but the other part hassled him to move on, to keep going.
Frigid darkness enveloped him, the cold too thick, almost suffocating. Cayden attempted to take a breath, but his lungs contracted. He began to panic. Come on, breathe! He thought. A smoky aroma filled his nose, triggering his gag reflexes. A strong hand covered his mouth, not allowing any air flow in or out of him. He withdrew a breath in vain, gasping for the oxygen he so desperately needed, but didn't receive.
Cayden awoke, only to find himself staring at a small orange dot surrounded by blackness. He was sitting in a chair, his hands chained to the wall behind him. His eyes weren't fully adjusted yet, but eventually he was able to make out a tall, sinister figure looming over him. Cayden already knew who it was. It was Trevor.
The decrepit flooring beneath him creaked as Trevor moved from one side of the room to the other, breathing heavily.
"You thought you could save her," Trevor stated, his voice taunting, yet remained monotone.
Cayden couldn't speak. It was like someone tied his tongue together with barbed wire. He couldn't see Trevor's frame anymore; the only thing that gave away his location was the orange dot that flickered in front of him.
A low chuckle came from him. "Well, Cayden, did you seriously believe you could escape that easily?"
Cayden stayed quiet.
"Fine then. We'll do this the hard way."
The next thing he knew, something sharp stabbed his shoulder, the pain racing through him like wildfire. He already felt the blood trickling down his arms and stomach. Cayden bit his lip, stifling a scream. A million images flashed in his mind, but instead of them being pictures of many different things, they were all different pictures of the same person. Jazzie.
"Wh- what did you do to her?" Cayden managed.
Cayden saw what looked like a ghost of a smile playing across his lips, but it was too dark to tell.
"She's in a better place now."
No. No. No. No. No. This wasn't happening. Jazzie isn't dead. He's lying. As much as he didn't want to believe that, he knew Trevor was telling the truth. Jazzie was dead, and there was nothing he could do now to change that.
A hollow pit in his stomach opened up, swallowing him from the inside out. He just wanted Trevor to kill him and get it over with, to spare him the pain and misery that clouded his vision. He knew he should be crying, but he had no more tears left to do so; they were, as well, swallowed up by the dark void inside him.
"She loved you, you know. Always had." Something about his tone made Cayden uneasy. It sounded practiced, like Trevor spent hours or even days trying to word this correctly. Hidden within, he heard an edge of... jealousy.
"Why are you telling me this?" Cayden winced, clutching his shoulder wound.
A puff of smoke jetted out from Trevor's mouth which blew in his direction; the orange glow dimmed.
"I think the real question here is: Why shouldn't I?"
Cayden nearly laughed. "I'd rather hear it from her, not from you." He spat as much hatred as he could muster into those words.
Trevor smirked. "Sounds reasonable." His face held a smug expression while he tapped his fingers pensively against the windowsill. "What would you say if I could grant you that wish?"
"I thought you said she was dead." Cayden meant to say more, but he decided against it.
"Oh, no, she is dead, but that's irrelevant at the moment."
"I don't understand," Cayden mumbled, all hope vanishing. He wanted him to stop playing this sick little game of his.
Something gleamed in Trevor's hands as he held it up to the moonlight spilling in through the window. It was a key. He trotted over to Cayden and unchained him. He made a run for it. Trevor must have known he'd try to pull something like that, so he tightly clasped Cayden's arm, squeezing the life out of it. The force shot a spark of pain in his shoulder.
"Follow," Trevor motioned.
He had to be joking, Cayden thought. He used Jazzie, then he hurt her, and now he isn't sure whether or not she's still alive, yet despite all that, he really thought he'd follow him. Yeah, right. Trevor didn't give him a choice though. He dragged him along like a ragdoll, his grip gradually becoming tighter, turning his arm a deep blue.
"It would hurt less if you'd just proceed willingly. As you can see, restraining is getting you no where."
He let out a sigh of frustration. Obviously it's not getting him anywhere, but he had no intentions of following him either way. But eventually the pain became too unbearable to the point where he thought he'd collapse.
Showing less restrain against Trevor's fierce pull, relief washed over him, the pain obliterating to numbness. Trevor guided him to another room just as dark as the last, but in this one, he saw a huge screen in the corner of the room, and standing three feet in front of it was a video camera hooked up to a screen projector.
"Take a seat, Cayden."
"I prefer to stand."
"It wasn't a question. I said sit down." His voice raised.
When he didn't move, Trevor then took something out of his pocket, and pointed it at Cayden's leg. He fired.
His legs buckled beneath him, his face colliding with the cool tile. The pain spread quickly, adrenaline rushing through his veins while his heart pounded hard against his chest. He heard Trevor set the gun down beside him, and he made his way toward him.
"Much better, don't you think?" Trevor asked.
All Cayden could do was shake his head and scowl. A glint of amusement and satisfaction sparkled in Trevor's eyes.
"Now, if you would, keep your eyes on the screen and watch. Or if you really want another injury, I'd be happy to oblige. Your choice."
Cayden lifted his head up towards the screen and did as he was told.
Jazzie laid against the corner of the room, dazed and confused. Just a minute ago she was being held safely in Cayden's arms, but now, she was alone in the dark with Cayden no where to be seen.
Pain shot out from her knife wound. She craned her head around, trying to make sense of where she was, but all she saw was complete darkness. She then heard low breathing coming from across the room.
Her heart rate quickened, and her voice quivered. "Who's there?" she croaked.
Someone walked over to her, stopping a mere five inches away . The person reached down and took her hand. She flinched, suddenly realizing it was Trevor.
"Shhh. You're okay Jazzie."
Jazzie whimpered softly, cowering from his outstretched hand. Tears started leaking from her eyelids.
Trevor gently brushed the tears away with the back of his hand, letting it linger there a few minutes until he felt Jazzie trembling beneath his touch.
"You don't need to be afraid of me, sweetie." He leaned in closer to her, his breath hot against her cheek. He then lowered his lips to hers, closing the distance between them. The kiss started off a soft, delicate pressure, later transforming into a more feral desire.
Cayden couldn't watch this no more. Rage took over him, blurring his vision. Stop Trevor. Just stop. Can't you see she doesn't like it? Just stop! The more he tried prying his eyes away from the screen, the harder his body defied him. He closed his eyes, unable to look any longer.
Even though this was a projection, Cayden still felt like he was playing witness to the events happening before him like they were just now happening instead of on screen.
Behind him, Trevor cleared his throat. Reluctantly, Cayden opened his eyes.
Jazzie finally pulled away from his firm grasp, then a loud smack penetrated the silence that followed after.
He didn't. Trevor seriously didn't just smack her right there. That's it.
"I can't believe you would even think of putting her through that! What did she ever do to you?" All he could hear now was the low, persistent thrumming in his ears.
Trevor didn't answer.
"Do you like doing that to people? Is that what it is? Do you find amusement in inflicting pain on others?"
Attempting to stand up on his feet, he fell back down, his leg strength too feeble to steady him. Cayden bit his lip in frustration.
"Just watch the video," Trevor said.
Trevor didn't argue back with him; instead he kept his eyes trained on the screen, the moving images reflecting off his dark eyes.
Disgusted, Cayden let his head hang limply. Sweat slicked his body, making the already cold air even colder. Shivers crawled up and down his arms, leaving behind a scattering of goose-bumps.
A familiar voice grabbed his attention.
"I'm not sure, Trev. I... I thought you said you've changed."
"Sweetie, I did change. I changed for you, for us. Aren't you happy?"
Jazzie hesitated before she answered, "I was at first, but now, I'm not sure. This isn't love; it's torture. I miss the real you. Please go back to the funny, caring, guy I learned to love. The guy who'd always be there for me when I needed him, and who'd never hurt me. I know he's still in there. Please find him."
Trevor violently shook his head, enmity hardening his features. "This is who I am. You said you wanted to know me more. You said we should always be honest with each other, and that's what I'm doing, being honest."
"You call this honesty?" Her voice rose an octave. "Brutally torturing me and beating me to death is honesty? How the hell does that make any sense?" She was screaming at him now.
"You wouldn't understand."
"Then help me understand, Trev. I want to understand, but you need to give me that chance. Abusing others to eliminate your problems isn't a very favorable method."
His voice sounded weak, almost defeated. "You don't know how hard it is. You don't know how much pain I suffered while being together-"
"If you didn't want to be with me, then why did you ask me out to begin with?"
"It wasn't like that-"
"Just why Trev? Why?" She sounded desperate, as if Trevor's answer was her only anchor to life.
"Because you had feelings for Cayden, too. I didn't want to feel like I was competing. I thought when I asked you out you'd only love me in that way but I guess I was wrong." The tone of his voice was dark and menacing, clearly beyond anger.
"Yes. I do love Cayden, but not like I love you."
He held her gaze with his, staring at her intently. "How can I be sure you're telling the truth? You could only be saying that just so I could spare your life."
"I guess you'll just have to find that out for yourself."
The sound of Trevor's boots against the floor neared her. She didn't dare look up or acknowledge his presence as he held her face in both of his hands. His grasp wasn't strong, but it wasn't necessarily weak either.
Jazzie remained silent on her part, but she could tell Trevor was fuming, his arms shaking dangerously. She pulled herself away from him, kicking him in the groin. He toppled over, releasing a blood-curdling scream that sounded almost animal-like.
"You're right; I am lying," Jazzie shouted. "I don't like this side of you, and I'm scared. This is exactly what you said you weren't anymore, but yet you still are. So I wouldn't be the one to talk about who's lying if I were you."
Still writhing in pain, Trevor reached into his pocket, pulling out his gun. He pulled the trigger.
Jazzie didn't have time to swerve out of the bullet's path; it made its mark, hitting her smack in the middle of her chest. She heaved and fell to the ground.
Gasping for air, she looked up at Trevor's form looming over her, gun poised in his hand, aiming right at her. Fear gripped her muscles, twisting and turning them with great force, adding to the pain from the bullet wound.
A small gasp escaped her lips as he took one more step forward, as well as bringing the gun down closer to her.
"I will not be taken as a fool, and I will redeem my reputation," he said, thick with anger. "You will regret this."
He shot at her one last time before she finally saw nothing but blackness.
"No! How could you?!" Cayden's cry boomed through the room as the projector turned off.
He began to sob, not caring that Trevor was right in front of him; he needed to grieve. Surprisingly Trevor didn't do anything in the long moment of his emotional breakdown. He didn't even look Cayden's way, but instead he fiddled with the gun he held in his hands. He was going to kill Cayden too.
As soon as Cayden's crying ceased, Trevor tilted his head in his direction.
"Done yet?" His voice was full of mirth.
When Cayden didn't answer, he continued. "She never loved the real me, who I really was."
Trevor leered over towards Cayden, once again, gun poised. He didn't look up when Trevor fired. He kept his eyes shut, welcoming death as if it were an old friend. At least in this life, Cayden thought, I will be with Jazzie.
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