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The time draws near, and she feels the anxiety building. Her palms moisten; her lips parch. Her heart beats a staccato rhythm, echoed in her ears. The air around her is cloying, the heat oppressive.

She tries to breathe deeply, only to find her chest more constricted with each inhalation. She looks for an escape route. There is none.

Her captor thinks her beautiful at the worst of times, and so in a rare act of kindness toward him, she has made an effort to look her best. This guise - this costume and painted visage - has all been arranged for his pleasure. Her legs buckle slightly under the crushing weight of his will; so overpowering, she knows it will bring about her demise.

Despite her delicate frame, her footfalls pound the earth with the weight of a thousand sledgehammers. She feels his presence, edging ever closer, and knows she cannot let him sense the fear that dwells within her breast. Any second now, he'll appear before her and the life she has known will cease to exist.

How did she get here?

The time has come. She goes to him a willing victim the lamb, choosing her own slaughter. The world collapses upon itself and she is oblivious to all, save for the murderer standing before her. She wipes away tears and turns to him, resigned and accepting of her fate. A breathy monotone emerges from somewhere, someone, deep inside. With measured speech, she opens her mouth and seals her doom.

"I Do."

Story by:

Jaycie Meredith

2 September 2014