It was cold in the warehouse. Not frigid, but that damp, persistent sort of cold that seeps into the bones and stays there. It was cold and it was empty. Just wood and cold and dampness and quiet – and a single buzzing light bulb, hanging over her head.
Her ankles were tied with coarse rope, high enough above the concrete floor that her feet, outstretched, could sometimes touch it and never find traction. Her wrists, delicate and slender, were wrapped in cold, thick, metal chains – chains so tight that they sent hairline fractures down the length of her arms. Her dress was torn, more torn, tugged down while she struggled, so that even with her arms over her head, one shoulder was bare, one breast exposed.
One ear was mangled at the end, all of it present, but unattached. The small cuts on her legs, stung, but did not bleed. Only her face, where they'd hit her, again and again, had given in. A tiny tickle bubbled to the surface of her cracked cheek and another leaked from the corner of her mouth, and the resultant powder, super-fine and sparkling white, disappeared into the cold, damp air of the warehouse.