Sometimes she thinks that she may be dead.
Dead or dying. She isn't sure. She can feel herself tied to the bed, sometimes by restraints and sometimes nothing at all, just herself. She stares up at the ceiling and imagines a demon grinning down at her, dark all over, except for his teeth, white and shiny, and his eyes that burn like coals. He is what keeps her here, on the bed. At night he comes down and sits on her chest like a cat, pushes all the air out of her lungs. Snaps her ribs right in two with his weight.
There's no one there, Amber, Blondie always says.
She can't see him. No one else can but Amber, which is why she has to stay in bed. If she stays, he stays, and then he can't hurt anyone else but her. She knows these things. Her grandmother used to talk about demons all the time. Akuma. The name rolls off her tongue so easily. She knows his name. It's what keeps him tied to her, it's why he is slowly killing her. Because she sees him, and she knows.
When they sit in the theatre, he is there, slipping through the walls; she tears at the wallpaper and wood until her fingers are bloody and Blue and the other men lock her up, her arms wrapped around herself. She sits in a padded room and stares at the demon who sits across from her, grinning. She watches him and he watches her.
Once and a while, the static in her brain gets to be too much, and he has to leave. It's getting to be more and more often. She thinks that she is dying. Or maybe she is dead already. Who can say? She doesn't know what hell is. Maybe she has never left, maybe she has always been here. A nightmare life of being born with her red ribbon of fate tied to a demon. He has led her to this place, where her wrists are red from rope burns and her mouth is always dry and the men grunt and push against her with a hand on her throat and no one ever leaves and it smells like piss and bleach and death.
Hell. Yes, it seems fitting enough.