I was running as I laughed. There was something about being able to run freely that cleared my mind. It was one of my favorite things to do, even if I wasn’t very coordinated. The moon lit up the tall grass, but I knew that I would end up tripping and falling. I always did even when I was focused, and right then I was laughing too hard. I could hear the footsteps following me, which only made my laughing fit even worse. I turned my head back, which was a mistake, and I was falling to the ground. I caught myself with the force right before my face hit. I turned my head to the side as I heard a thump next to me. I pushed the grass down that was blocking my view and was instantly greeted by a smiling face.
“You need to learn to use the force more. You would be less likely to fall.”
I continued to laugh as I let myself fall down to the ground the rest of the way. I kept my face turned towards him, watching his face in the moonlight. He was still breathing heavy after out impromptu run. His raven hair was splayed out across the ground around him.
“I was being chased. Kind of hard to focus.”
His face became more serious as he rolled to his side to look at me.
“You could be chased during battle, Aurora.”
“Me? No.” I laughed. “I’ll always face my enemies. Square on. No running needed.”
The end of this memory was supposed to be him smiling and telling me that I was beautiful when I was stubborn. He then reached forward and gently brushed the hair out of my face as my cheeks flushed. Suddenly things started to change in a way that was new to me.
His eyes turned red and a sick smile spread. His energy turned sickly and wrong. I started to scramble away from him, unable to unlock my eyes from his.
“You’re wrong, Aurora. You will run, but I’ll catch you. And when I do…”
I tried to get up and run, but I felt his hand pull my ankle out from under me. He climbed on top of me, pinning me down.
“I’ll kill you.”
He growled it in my ear as I felt my sight go black. I let out a scream as the pain overwhelmed me.
The scream carried over into my consciousness, waking me up. I groaned as my muscles contracted from the effort of trying to jump. I wiggled my fingers trying to get some type of relief. The straps on my wrist were tight, but I was still able to wiggle a bit.
Every time I woke up, I made an effort to get the blood flowing. I didn’t think that I would be able to walk after being strapped down for so long, but I didn’t want to lose use of my extremities either. I lost track of the cycles that I was strapped to the damn table, but I wouldn’t ever give them the information they wanted. It didn’t matter how many beatings or torture they put me through.
I was almost thankful for the strap holding my head in place. It made my neck sore, but it meant that I couldn’t actually survey the damage done to me. They had droids, troopers and officers all in there trying to get information. I was sure that every bone in my body had been broken at some point.
I laid there focusing on the pain instead of how shaken up I was over the dreams. It had been at least fourteen cycles since anyone had been in to harm me, but that was when the dreams started. The dreams made it easy to remember the cycles, because they left me shaking. I couldn’t ever seem to forget them, and each one added onto the fatigue. I figured that was a new way to try to break me. My body didn’t matter to me. Pain didn’t phase me. I had learned at a very young age to work through the pain.
I was rubbish at working through my mental torment though.
The only thing that I could focus on was just how damn tired I was.
My eyes had started to flutter shut, despite my attempt to keep them open. It felt relieving to move what little parts of me that I could, but it also made me exhausted. My captors had hooked me up to tubes for nourishment and hydration. It kept me alive but weak enough that even if I found a way to get out of the straps, I wouldn’t make it very far.
“You are a particularly strong being, you know. Most of those we capture give up information within a few hours.”
I opened my eyes to see the red headed man that usually watched my beatings standing above me. I blinked and licked my chapped lips, trying to prepare to speak. It had been so long since anyone had spoken to me.
“I to-told you. I won’t tell you anything. I won't do anything you command either.”
“Hmm. Yes. You did say that.”
He crossed his arms behind his back and looked at me almost as if I were an experiment.
“Then why is it so surprising that I have yet to crack?”
“Oh, you have started. Our Supreme Leader has made sure of that.”
I let out a painful scoff as he moved down towards my feet.
“Only children are bothered by nightmares.”
“Ren seems to think the particular route that they will be using is going to work.”
“Ben has always underestimated me.”
He let out a laugh as he moved back to my side.
“Don’t let him hear you calling him that, child.”
I grit my teeth. The man staring at me couldn’t have been much older than myself. Probably born into a rich family and appointed as a leader because of his last name.
I resented him calling me a child.
“Ah, did I touch a nerve? Would you prefer I call you prisoner?”
“Unfortunately, I am not in the business of making you comfortable.”
“I can clearly see that by the straps digging into my skin. I mean I understand keeping a prisoner uncomfortable, but did you need to have your men strip me down first?”
“You are an obstinate little thing, aren’t you?” He grinned.
“Some would find that endearing.”
“I am not one to find much endearing. Unless you wanted to answer all my questions right now. That may possibly be considered endearing.”
I let out a soft laugh and moved my eyes back up to the ceiling.
“That is what I figured. I would wish you a good evening, but I doubt that will be possible.”
“Thank you for the kind words.” I snarked.
I heard his footsteps as he walked out, leaving me alone again. I wiggled my body, wincing as the straps dug into my skin. I figured that the more I moved the tighter they got, but it was hard to not try to shift and move. Meditation had gotten me through the beginning, but I couldn’t afford to fall asleep anymore.
As I fought to keep my eyes open, all I could think about was just how damn tired I was.
I was tired of the straps digging into my skin. I was tired of the beatings and torture. I was tired of the masked man that used to be my rock standing by as I was ripped to pieces. I was tired of waiting to be saved.
I was honestly just tired of existing.
It didn’t matter though. I had to continue fighting. I had to keep pushing forward and holding strong. I had no idea what was going on in the rest of the universe, but I knew right then my purpose was to stay strong.
I just had to stay strong.
I was running as fast as possible as my chest heaved. It felt like I had been running forever. Normally running had been exhilarating for me, but I felt nothing but terror. I was tired of running, but the darkness following me kept me moving forward.
I ran down the hallway that seemed to stretch on forever. I pushed through the pain and my lungs that I was sure were literally on fire at that point. The further I ran, the more I noticed that there was a light up ahead. I pushed myself even harder, knowing that the light would always be able to fight the dark. Even if small battles were to be lost, the light would be my saving grace.
I felt a smile spread across my face as my body found its second wind. The darkness was falling back as I moved forward. The light was almost blinding as I got closer. I felt a laugh bubble out of my chest, out of relief. I started to slow, knowing that it was almost over. I wasn’t sure if it meant death or salvation, but anything was better than the black tendrils trying to pull me back.
I saw a hand reach out, finally, to help me the rest of the way. I reached out, letting joy wash through me as our fingertips touched. I blinked into the light, trying desperately to see my savior. I smiled as I tried to still move forward.
Suddenly, the hand gripped tightly onto my hand as I felt another grab my other wrist. I winced as the grip tightened onto me, crushing me. I cried out as I felt my bones start to bend.
“You thought you could get away from me so easily, Aurora? The light can’t save you. There is nothing but darkness.”
My heart sank as I heard the words come from his voice modulator. His towering frame came into view as he walked me back towards the tendrils that were now dancing around my ankles, getting tighter and tighter.
“Just give up. It’s so much less painful if you would just give up.”
He paused briefly before he pushed me back. I clawed in the air, desperately trying to hold onto him to stop my descent. I cried out in pain as the tendrils pulled me deeper and deeper. The dark was suffocating but all I could see was Kylo Ren watching me fall deeper.
Give in child. Just give in.
“I can’t! I won’t!”
The pain will stop as soon as you give in.
Before I could answer, the tendrils pushed into me deeper. I screamed out in pain, just wanting it to stop. I begged for it to stop but it just hurt more. The more I struggled the more it hurt.
I woke up to tears streaming down my face. My whole body was on fire and I could feel the blood running down the now open cuts from the straps holding me down. I let the sobs wrack my body as I tried to calm myself down.
The nightmares had been relentless no matter how long I tried to stay awake. The moment I would let my eyes shut, I would be thrown head first into pain and torment. I was trying to stay strong but the exhaustion was finally getting to me.
I heard the door open and knew I should try to stop crying. The tears just kept streaming down my face as I stared up at the ceiling. The footsteps stopped as soon as they got close to me.
“Get her up.”
“Yes, Lord Ren.”
I felt the straps fall off me as the troopers released them. Sobs continued to escape me, no matter how hard I tried to stop them. I screamed out in pain as the troopers dragged me off the table. All the blood flow was returning to my body just as much as the cuts were being aggravated.
“Bring her to the Supreme Leader immediately.”
“Yes, Lord Ren.”
My hair fell in my face as they dragged me forward. I tried to move my feet to keep up, but I couldn’t get them to work.
“Supreme Leader wants to see her bleeding and naked?”
I turned my head to the side to see the ginger standing there next to Kylo Ren. I shuddered, having the memory of my nightmare flash through my head. I couldn’t shake the feeling of his hands crushing mine.
“She isn’t a doll, General Hux. She is a prisoner and will be treated as such.”
The troopers dragged me down the hallway, pausing just long enough to let the Monster and General lead the way. I gave up trying to move my legs, opting to just let them drag me. We got to the door and I realized that we must have been moving slowly, because we were being waited on. I almost felt ashamed for being waited on, although it was their fault that I was in that condition to begin with.
The doors opened and Kylo Ren grabbed my arms, taking me from the troopers. I flinched, still reeling from the damn nightmare. I felt as if I were being dragged to hell by the creature all children were told to fear as they sat around a fire. As we moved forward, I heard Snokes laugh ring out into the room. I picked my head up as much as I could, though it wasn’t much to be proud of. He still looked just as hideous as I remembered, if that was even possible.
“Drop her there, apprentice.”
I crashed to the ground, barely able to catch myself with my hands and knees. My long hair was matted but still somehow fell around my face. My whole body was shaking with all of the effort I was putting forward.
“You walk among the living, Aurora! Well, barely I see.”
If I could have spit venom at that point, I would have.
“Are you feeling alright? You seem a little.. weak.” He sneered.
“I am.” I said quietly.
“You are what? Weak? Tired? How have your dreams been treating you?”
I forced myself to pick my head up to look him in the eyes as a sick smile spread across his face.
“Oh, if looks could kill. There is still so much fight left in you, child.”
I grit my teeth at the name. I was a fighter, and here I was reduced to nothing but a bleeding mess.
“Oh, dear Aurora. You came to me so strong and full of life. Now you look as if you’ve fought off an entire army. What happened to you?”
I grit my teeth, not wanting him to ever see me that weak. I felt tears sting my eyes from the pain and embarrassment. It wasn’t bad enough that I had been tortured, but now here I was absolutely exposed as well. I wondered what Master Skywalker would think of me, seeing me so low.
“He would think that you gave it your all. But I am sure that he would still ask for more of you. The Jedi never seemed to be understanding of pain and anguish. It’s always about their order and their code.”
I looked back up at him, letting the tears stream down my face. The salt stung the wounds, but it was honestly nothing in comparison to the shame I was feeling.
“I know it hurts. I know every part of your body is screaming in agony. You yearn for a bed and a good nights sleep. You wish you could smile and laugh again. You miss your darling Ben and the future you dreamed up.”
I dropped my head back down, afraid to look at him more.
“I can give you proper food and a bed.”
“I need nothing from you.”
“Clothes? A shower?”
“And what price would I have to pay? How many innocents would I need to slaughter in your name?”
“Just do as you’re told. You do whatever Kylo Ren tells you to do. Renounce the Resistance, Master Skywalker and the Jedi. Submit yourself to your new master and the First Order.”
“You’re asking me to be a slave? To give in to the Dark side and be a slave to your.. your lap dog?”
“I’m telling you it’s how you will survive.”
I growled in frustration, trying to will my body to stand up.
“Think of it as being a guest here.”
“A guest with chains.”
“Our slaves live better lives than our prisoners. Aurora, anyone with an ounce of self-preservation would do what I am telling you to.”
“I won’t give you any information. That hasn’t changed.”
“You don’t need to. You have other ways of being useful.”
He was promising me a shower, clothes and even a bed. Real food. I hated the fact that it even sounded remotely appealing.
“The nightmares will stop.”
“How can I believe anything you say to me?” I whispered.
“You don’t have any other choice. Either choose to go back to the table, or to a warm bed. It is your decision and you must live with the consequences.”