The sounds of flesh being pummeled echoed around the room. Stryder hung from the ceiling by his wrists. His ribs were a rainbow of black, purple and green bruises. His left eye was swollen shut and
blood poured from random cuts along his torso. He couldn't remember how long he had been here. The days and nights had melded together as he drifted in and out of consciousness. The guards removed
the wrist cuffs and drug him from the room. They roughly threw him into a cell and he landed hard on the stone floor. His body screamed from pain. Stryder managed to move onto his poor excuse of a
bed. It was just slightly softer than the floor. From the adjoining cell, he could hear Alexis moving. She moved closer to him and reached her hand through the bars and stroked her hand through his
hair. She remained silent as she lent him comfort. The bruises along her face were finally beginning to heal. The guards had slapped her around after she had tried to attack them when they had
brought Stryder back to his cell the first night after the daily beatings had begun. Stryder willed himself to breath slowly, his body was slowly being broken to pieces and he was powerless to stop
it. He couldn't leave Alexis alone but he knew he wouldn't last much longer. He reached up and gripped her hand with his and gently squeezed. He allowed himself to fade into the darkness that
Alexis released the tears that had been threatening to spill since Stryder had been brought back to the cell. She couldn't picture a way out and knew that they were both going to die here. She
curled her arms protectively around her stomach. She had missed her period this month and she knew that she was pregnant. Fortunately since it was still early, she had been spared from morning
sickness. She sat on the floor with her back against the wall, just listening to Stryder's ragged breathing. The darkness hid most of the visible damage to his body but it couldn't hide the gasps
of pain he made while he slept or the involuntary wincing when he moved. The opening of a door drew Alexis's attention. A guard walked down toward her and Stryder's cells. He shoved a cup of water
and a few slices of bread between the bars of their cells. He paused for a moment to stare at Stryder and then his gaze drifted to Alexis. She could feel him staring at her and curled herself up
into a smaller ball. She reached her hand through the bars and gripped Stryder's. The guard merely laughed and turned and walked back out, letting the door bang closed. Alexis glanced over at
Stryder who was breathing uneasily. She leaned her head against the wall and with her hand still gripped tightly within hers, she drifted off into an uneasy sleep.
Alexis awoke with a start. Something was wrong! The sounds of silence were deafening. She automatically reached for Stryder's hand, but instead of the warmth it usually held, it was ice cold. Panic
was rushing over her. She shook his shoulder but there wasn't a sound from him. His body lay cold and stiff. He hadn't woken back up... he had just slipped away. Alexis let out a scream and began
to bang on the bars of the cell. She screamed Stryder's name over and over but no one ever came. The skin on her fists peeled away, each time they came into contact with the metal bars and blood
began to run down her wrists. She screamed until she couldn't scream anymore and tears poured along her face. She never noticed the two men who had snuck past the guards and were making their way
toward her. She prayed for death.
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