Chapter Four, Part One, Rain Will Fall

It’s been a week since I was ‘brainwashed’. I lay on my cot in my cell with Shea beside me, laying a cool rag on my forehead. I’ve been sick for seven days – from the dart. My sister says that everything will be okay. She’s made some calls and there will be a visitor tonight. She hasn’t told me know it will be. Through my hazy memories of the last week, I caught the word Alex and Tin Can more than once and one other word that made me want to leap with joy: Rainy Day. Apparently she’s here, being held captive somewhere.

I groggily sit up. “You’re awake.” Shea says, hugging me close. “Let’s go get you cleaned up.” she says, standing up and holding me steady. “Shea… I can’t walk…” I say, already feeling a wave of nausea coming on from the dizziness. “Then… um…” Shea opens the door and says in an evil voice, “Guards, get your butts over here! Carry Alicia to the bathroom on floor 3, now.” Two gaurds step in and carry me up a flight of stairs and gently set my down on a rug. “Can you stand?” Shea asks when the guards leave. “Yeah… I think so.” I pull myself up and sway a bit, but, steadying myself, I take a few shaky steps.

Minutes later Shea has gone into another room talking to someone on her cell and I’m taking a warm bath. I think about stuff, like how I’m going to escape, where Rainy is, who Alex and Tin Can are, and who’s coming to visit. I hear a knock and a guard’s gruff voice says, ‘Time’s up, Mr. Sands wants to see you.” I roll my eyes and say moodily, “Okay… I’ll be there in ten minutes.” I stand, empty the water, dry, and pull on my uniform.

A guard escorts me to Mr. Sands’ office. “Ah, Alicia, how nice to see you.” he croons, smiling a crooked, evil grin. “Hello, Mr. Sands.” I say flatly, feinting my brainwashed self again. “It is time you are assigned a horse. She’s in here. You will use her to carry out Dark Rider missions and errands, here and on the mainland.” he explains, drawing back a curtain to reveal a cage with Rainy Day in it. I try to hold in my yelp, pleading with myself to remain bland and dull. As soon as I get Rainy, I can be myself again. “This is Dark Skies, your Dark horse. She has been infused with Dark powers for your use. Enjoy riding and using her – for ONLY Dark uses.” I nod. “Yes, sir. Of course, sir.” Mr. Sands frowns. “Take her now and get out of my sight.” he growls. “Yes, sir…” I mumble.

A black halter and lead rope is hanging in the cage Rainy’s in. I fasten it and lead her out. “Good girl.” I whisper, stroking her velvet nose. Instead of taking her to the straw corral, I find a room with straw, water, and grain. There’s a plaque on it that reads: DARK HORSE. Apparently this is the right place. I take off the halter and groom my pony. As I pick her hooves, I gasp in shock and fall back. Rainy’s legs and fetlocks are covered in cuts, bruises, and blood. “Someone whipped you…” I murmur. Carefully, I tear off a long strip of a rag I found and wrap it around a leg, then do the same for all the others. “I’m sorry, girl…”

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