Home > Tied (All Torn Up #2)(2)

Tied (All Torn Up #2)(2)
Author: Carian Cole

But the moment quickly passes, and I tense up when her entire body begins to tremble, her arms wrapping tighter around her little dog as her pale blue-gray eyes slowly slide away from mine and shift to something behind me, widening with new fear.

I realize we’re not alone.

I turn to see a man coming toward us, his lips set in a grim line, fists clenched at his sides.

“No…no…no,” the girl whispers frantically behind me as I rise to my feet. “The bad man is coming.”

He quickly closes the space between us and throws a punch at me before I have a chance to block him. His fist crashes into the side of my face. I shake my head; then I throw my body against his and take him down hard to the ground. He’s clutching an eight-inch blade in his hand.

He came prepared.

His eyes are dark, blank pits, and if the saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul is true, this man definitely has no soul. I can almost feel the evil radiating off of him, and his determination to win this fight. I wrestle him for the knife as he tries to sink it into my gut, knowing without a doubt that he’ll definitely kill me if I don’t get it out of his grip.

Fighting to twist the knife out of his hand, I get on top of him, my knees pinning his shoulders down. Suddenly the girl appears, holding a large rock in her shaking hands. A scream erupts from her as she brings the rock down hard on his head. He lets out a surprised grunt, his eyes rolling back into his head, and slowly goes limp. He drops the knife, which she grabs and throws a few feet away. She’s panting and shaking from the effort, but her eyes meet mine for a second. There’s determination and strength there as she stares back at me. There is silent agreement.

The little dog makes those pitiful sounds, its whole body wriggling and wanting to attack, but it stays near its master: the girl. When I hear low moaning, I look back down at her captor. At a face I’ve never seen before with eyes that don’t deserve to see the light of day. Amazingly, the hit to the head hasn’t fazed him much, and I don’t even see any blood oozing from him. Once again, he focuses his venomous eyes on me. A strange sense of déjà vu comes over me as I grab his throat with both hands and squeeze.

It is going to be him or me. I knew that the moment I saw him coming for the girl. He isn’t going to allow her to be taken away from him, and he isn’t going to be caught.

I make a choice.

I commit to it.

I execute it.

There’s no going back. No second thought. No momentary hesitation.

I squeeze his throat harder as he struggles beneath me, grabbing my hands with his own, kicking his legs up. But he grows weak and I grow strong, and I win.

The girl sobs on the ground behind me, and the dog lets out its pitiful howl, which sends a chill down my spine as years of anguish break free from the cage of my heart. It swirls up inside me like a tornado and unleashes its destruction as I choke him to death.

I witness his last breath, hear his last gurgle, and feel him go lifeless beneath me.

And fuck…it feels good.

I stand and slowly back away from the well-dressed body of the man I just killed. I try to catch my breath, my heart racing from the rush of adrenaline and this sick shock coursing through me like lightning.

I just killed someone with my hands. A total stranger that I had no beef with. He could be anyone—her father, her boyfriend, a kidnapper. I have no idea, and the fact that I don’t care is both surprising and concerning. Regardless, he tried to hurt me and I stopped him, and it’s given me a euphoric high that hasn’t subsided yet.

I flex my sore fingers, continuing to eye him to make sure he doesn’t get up.

The sound of scurrying behind me forces me to tear my gaze off the body to find the girl running farther into the woods after the dog, who has suddenly bolted.

“Get him!” the girl yells.

I take off after them, afraid they’re both going to get themselves lost out here in the woods. The girl’s bare feet must be getting torn to shreds as she runs over rocks and dried dead leaves, but it doesn’t stop her from chasing after the small white dog.

“Stop chasing him,” I yell, but I’m not sure she hears me or can make out my hoarse, choppy words. Chasing a running dog only makes it run more. If she would stop chasing him and just sit and wait, he’d most likely stop and come back to look for her.


The deep voice booms through the forest behind me and, for a moment, I think it’s the man I just strangled—not dead, after all. I stop in my tracks; then I glance back and realize it’s not him.

“Get him!” the girl shrieks.

“Put your hands up and don’t move.” Three cops have guns aimed at me as they inch closer. Their eyes are locked on me, waiting for me to either run off or pull out a weapon of my own.

Oh, shit. They think she’s telling them to get me.

I don’t resist. I don’t try to say anything at all. I do exactly what they tell me to do, their guns still pointed at me and each officer waiting for me to make the wrong move. I slowly put my hands up over my head as two of the officers come after me and the other goes after the girl.

I had completely forgotten about the 911 call and, honestly, I’m surprised they were able to find us. But I now notice that the whole scene is suddenly crawling with people.

Confusion shrouds my brain as I’m put in handcuffs. It hits me how this appears as I look around, at everyone’s hard glares and the accusations on their faces. I barely listen to the officer reading me my rights. They march me past the hole and the dead body that’s being covered, toward the dirt road where several police cars and an ambulance are waiting with strobing lights. Panic has caused my voice to retreat to its hiding place, where it’s only heard in my own head.

Let me go.

I didn’t hurt her.

I saved her.

Hands push me roughly into the backseat of the police car, and the door is slammed in my face before the officer walks away to talk to someone else. The girl is being carried—crying, arms and legs flailing—into the back of the ambulance by a male and female officer. We lock eyes before the doors of the ambulance are closed.

I only wanted to save you.

Tell them I saved you.

Tell them I’m not crazy.



When I close my eyes, I replay the moment he found me.

I was frozen with fear and fascination as he strangled the bad man. I watched as the man who had kept me for years struggled to breathe, his eyes bulging from his head. As much as I wanted him dead, a twinge of guilt twisted up like a vine around my emotions as I witnessed his death. He was, after all, the hand that fed me. He was the only person I had seen or had any interaction with for years.

The man choking him was an animal with long, messy, blond hair and wild eyes, his muscular arms and hands covered with brightly colored tattoos. His voice rough and raw, but the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. He killed my captor with zero hesitation. Once he gained control, that was it. The powerful fierceness that poured from him was controlled. Owned. Unstoppable. He had no fear.

He was beautiful. Exquisite. My captivation quickly shifted from the man who took me to the man who now mesmerized me with every fiber of his existence. He was, in every way, the man I knew would save me.

Too much is happening at once. There are too many people, too many sounds, too many smells, too much brightness. Too much everything. I need my books. I need Poppy.

And where is the prince?

I know these people are doctors and police officers because I’ve seen them on television. Not these exact ones, but similar ones. I lie motionless on a hospital bed as they poke at me, hoping if I don’t move maybe they’ll get bored and go away. Or maybe some crisis will happen, and they’ll all run from my room and forget me to go witness a fight or a proposal. That’s what usually happens on TV.

I’m free. The realization suddenly hits me.

“Can you tell me your name, sweetheart?” asks a gray-haired nurse. She has a friendly, sincere smile that makes me want to smile back. Earlier, she gently helped me into a thin robe that feels scratchy against my skin. She keeps trying to hold my hand, but I pull it away and shove it under my body to hide it from her. I don’t mind the smiles, but I don’t want touching.

My name, my name. What is my name?

Hollipop, Hollipop, you’re my little Hollipop…

The song Mommy used to sing to me floats through my head. Her voice is as clear as it was way back then, but that’s not my name.

Is it?

I’m given a glass of orange juice and cookies on a tray next to the bed, and my stomach twists at the sight of them. Cold juice! In a real glass, not plastic or paper. I want the treats so bad my hands tremble and my mouth waters, but I’m afraid to touch them and bring them to my lips. Nice things mean something bad will happen, and I don’t want any more bad things to happen today. I resist the urge to throw them at her.

“You must be thirsty and hungry,” the nurse coaxes, and I want so badly to trust her, but I’ve heard those words before. “Do you want something different, honey? I can get you soda, or water, or apple juice. I have crackers, or I can get you a bowl of chicken soup?”

I want every single thing she listed.

Instead, I shake my head defiantly. No, I’m not willing to trade today. I can still stand. I can still lift my head. I can still see clearly. I am not yet sick or weak enough to give into trading.

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