Celena's Pack by R.L. Wilson
I’m jolted awake by a faint whisper in the dark. Blinking, I reposition myself. I could swear the feminine voice belongs to Ronnie, but no way is Ronnie here. It must be a dream or wishful thinking. To be honest, I’ve been restless for days. Really, it started back when Ronnie first arrived. She stormed into the mansion like a hurricane, knocking everything out of her path. It was a glorious thing. I love hurricanes.
I drift back to sleep, making myself comfortable on my oversized pillow.
Again, the faint voice splits the air, followed by a tap on my shoulder. Okay, the touch is real. Fear clogs my throat, threatening to take me out. I choke on the truth; she’s here. Ronnie said she would escape. For us both, it could mean death.
I jump out of bed as the glare from the light burns my eyes. It doesn’t sizzle as much as the shock of seeing Ronnie here in my bedroom, and without Prince or a guard.
A faint squeal escapes my lips before she hushes me. “How did you?” I stutter before extending my arms out to touch her to make sure I’m not hallucinating. I pat her thin silk shirt before she grabs my hand. “It’s real, I’m here.” The excitement gracing her face sends chills tumbling down my spine.
“I told you that I would escape,” she affirms. “Will you come with me?” The serious look on her face feels like scissors slicing my heart. Of course, I want to escape. I’m thankful for her bravery and considering me, before she bolts out of this house and never looks back. But that dagger of fear shoots through me like a rocket. “What if we get caught? They will torture us, or worse,” I urge.
“We can’t let fear stop us. There isn’t much time. We have to go now,” she demands, while more whispers pry through the silence.
My eyes shoot open and my hands jump, like the nervous wreck that I am.
“Don’t worry,” Ronnie says.
It doesn’t calm my nerves one bit. Instead, it makes me second guess this escape plan and wonder who else she is taking along.
Cautiously, I follow her out of the room. More than anything, I want freedom from my evil master. I have been here for two long years. I’ve granted him everything imaginable, including a mansion and riches. In return, he made me a servant. Can you imagine me, a genie, being a damn slave?
The stringent scent of urine becomes more pronounced as we come upon the dining room. Before I can let out a scream, I slap my hands across my mouth. My eyes pause on the three prisoners standing here in the flesh, emaciated and consumed by the scent of their own urine. My heart plummets to my feet at the sight of them. Of course, I have seen them before. But they’ve never appeared so thin and frail.
Horror consumes my thoughts. Had I been a part of destroying these young ladies? The council might judge me for my actions. But what other choice did I have? Prince is my master. “No time to be sympathetic,” Ronnie urges.
She’s right. I shove my sympathy to the back of my mind.
“Celena, you know the way. Take us out of this hellhole,” she insists.
I nod in agreement as I give another quick glance to Ronnie’s frame. She isn’t frail like the others. Prince gave her better food, sure, but she never ate it. I have to admit, there is something he loved about her. Something special about her.
Stay calm, I remind myself. “The backdoor is the quickest. We must stay quiet,” I whisper.
Ronnie shakes her head, the muscles in her face tense, like she is preparing for war.
I lead the way, taking in a heady breath of courage and sniffing for Prince. He has a distinctive scent. I know it well. I have been smelling the expensive cologne for two years. It likely makes me the expert in leading the escape. However, the odds of us getting caught are probably higher than average.
I don’t catch his scent, so I continue creeping through the house, leading the way. Swift, silent, cautious. Making sure not to disturb Prince or his bodyguards. Bruce is the biggest and meanest of all the guards. He doesn’t take any shit. I’ve seen him fold guys into pretzels for getting too close to Prince.
The patter of footsteps behind me slap hard against the floor. I know everyone is eager to see their families and drop the shackles, but if we get caught, the prison they just escaped will be heavenly compared to the torture we will all endure, me included.
My mouth becomes a desert as we near the stairs. Just ten steps down to the exit and ten steps to freedom. I pinch myself to ensure this is reality, then flip a glance back to Ronnie. I know how to get out, but she has been the conductor. It was her idea. I guess I want her approval, and to gage her comfort level by the look on her face.
Looking into her brown eyes, I see strength. The once angry stare is mask-like, which I take to mean she’s not so sure or scared shitless. She swallows hard and gives me a stern nod.