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Among the echoes, p.1
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       Among the Echoes, p.1

           Aly Martinez
 
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Among the Echoes


  Among The Echoes

  Copyright © 2014 Aly Martinez

  All rights reserved. No part of this novel may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted without written permission from the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. If you would like to share this book with others please purchase a copy for each person. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.

  Among The Echoes is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, and occurrences are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, events, or locations is purely coincidental.

  Cover Photo by Jeremy Landis at Embracing Beauty Photography

  http://jeremylandisband.wix.com/embracebeautyphotography

  Cover Design by Ashley Baumann at Ashbee Designs https://www.facebook.com/AshbeeBookCovers

  Edited by Mickey Reed at I’m a Book Shark

  http://www.imabookshark.com

  Formatting by Stacey Blake at Champagne Formats

  http://thewineyreader.com/champagneformats/

  WARNING

  Other Books

  Dedication

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Epilogue

  Coming Fall 2014

  Acknowledgements

  About The Author

  WARNING:

  This content contains material that may be offensive to some readers.

  Including sexual abuse, graphic language, and adult situations.

  Other Books by Aly Martinez

  Changing Course

  Stolen Course

  Parakeet Breath,

  Without you there would be no Slate, Leo, or even Erica, my books would be boring, there would be no twists, and Sarah would be sane. Thank you for talking me off a ledge more times than I care to admit by gently telling me, "Uh, this sucks." Thank you for rewording odd sentences and saying, "This is cheesy." Thank you for actually responding to my two a.m. questions with answers like, "Cottage cheese and birds." Cottage cheese is pretty scary. Thank you for sending me random messages that say things like, "What if…" then documenting, in great detail, how you think the book should end. The plan worked! I can't imagine going through any part of this writing journey without you, and thankfully I won't ever have to. You are amazing! Now, start writing.

  "Kill her."

  "No! Please! I didn't see anything!" I scream, backing into the corner.

  "We all know that's a lie." His accent curls over the paralyzing words.

  "I swear. Please, I won't tell anyone."

  "You got this, Marcus?" he asks the large man with long, brown hair and an evil stare.

  "I got it," he confirms, raking his eyes over my body with a scary calm.

  My stomach rolls as I glance to the man who is no doubt going to kill me. His disgusting smirk is unmistakable, and it lights my body in a rush of fear.

  "Stop. My family knows where I am. I gave my boyfriend the address before I left. They will come looking for me," I lie, wishing with all of my soul it would somehow miraculously become the truth.

  "You are full of shit. We never would have chosen you if you had a boyfriend." The man in charge smiles pridefully.

  "I do! He will look for me."

  "No one will look for you. Sadly, my love, that's the only reason why you are here right now. No one besides elderly Rich and Margaret Lane from next door even know you exist. When they see the moving truck tomorrow morning, they will dismiss you as nothing more than just a passing memory." His grin grows even wider.

  "No, wait!" I frantically try to formulate a plan or angle that will end with me alive, but his final words come all too quick.

  "Kill her," he repeats roughly as his partner rushes forward.

  "Please." I fold down, curling into the corner, desperate to escape his touch.

  "She's attractive. Take her to the boys for a little fun first," he orders while tossing a cigarette onto the carpeted floor and walks from the room.

  "They'll look for me. I swear they will!" I fight against his every touch.

  "You fight and I kill you now. Your call. You come willingly, you see tomorrow. I promise you that," he says with a thick Spanish accent while holding my eyes. He curls his lips in annoyance and disgust as the tears finally escape.

  I hate him, but tomorrow is more than I had a few seconds ago. I don’t know what will happen if I go with him. I'm not questioning that he is absolutely going to kill me. The real question just became: how long do I want to live?

  It feels like years that I've been here, but I think it's only been a day. I honestly have no clue. All I know is that I'm bound to a bed in a dark room. I know it’s a house based on the silence. There are no sounds from apartments above or below us. No neighbors coming or going. No one to hear me scream. With the exception of bottles of water being brought in randomly and the man who occasionally ushers me to the restroom, I am completely alone.

  I've long since been stripped naked. My hands are tied to the top of the bed, my legs spread wide and anchored to opposite posts on the footboard. I'm exposed for anyone who happens to pass by. While no one has touched me yet, I can hear the parade of footsteps passing through the room. I can feel the prickle on my skin that lets me know someone is watching. Always watching.

  The door opens, and from the light in the cracked doorway, I make out a man's silhouette. I've never seen him before. He's older and heavy, and the stench of a cigar wafts through the room. I try to memorize his features so I can give my description to the police. Maybe. If only I live long enough to get out of here.

  He pulls his lips tight, biting his bottom one and moving my way.

  He walks over, assessing me. His disgusting eyes drag across my body. I know from the look on his face that this man is not here to help me. Just as I get up the nerve to speak to him, he reaches out and roughly twists my nipple. I cry out in pain, but the real tears flood my eyes as he drops his pants. If I had some silly notion of making it out of here unscathed, they vanish.

  I made the wrong decision. Dying would be better than what I know is to come.

  "You make her bleed, I make you bleed." I hear the voice of the man, Marcus, who brought me here. "Save some for the rest of us."

  The rest of us.

  A sob catches in my throat.

  "I won the first fuck." The new man drags a finger down my body as I squirm, unable to escape.

  "Please let me go. I'll do anything you want if you let me go." I hysterically try to reason with him. I'm not lying. In this moment, I would give this disgusting man my body willingly if it meant that I’d live through this nightmare. Survival is the only reward that could come from this.

  "Shut up." He slaps me across the face, forcing my pleas to go silent, but the tears still slide from my eyes and into my ears. "Marcus, I want her on her knees!" he yells, and the door opens again.

  "Not happening. You go first, but I'
m the only one who gets her ass. You so much as dip a finger in what's mine and I will rip your dick off and fuck you with it myself." Marcus spits on the floor and cocks his head with a challenge. "That's the rules. Take it or get the fuck out so I can take it."

  I turn my head to face Marcus, praying he will take pity and release me, but his eyes only flash to me long enough to take in my freshly busted lip. He storms across the room and, without warning, punches my abuser maliciously in his mouth, knocking him to the floor.

  He leans down into his face to drive home his point. "She's fucking bleeding! I warned you, Johnny. I fucking warned you!" he shouts just before kicking him in the stomach.

  "She wouldn't shut up!" Johnny yells back, holding his stomach.

  "Who the fuck cares? Let her scream. The rule was don't make her bleed. Now I'm gonna get blood all over my cock while she's sucking it. Get out. You're done." The injured man stands with his nostrils flaring as he exits the room.

  I breathe a sigh of relief, and Marcus swings his head to mine. His dark eyes should terrify me, but somewhere deep inside, I feel a sick safety with him—the man who is supposed to kill me.

  It must show on my face because he gently shakes his head and calls out, "Lee, you're up!" before striding out of the room.

  The hours that follow fade into a blur. I wish I could lose consciousness as man after man rapes me, stealing pieces of the woman I will never be able to find again. At first, I fight, screaming with every thrust, but as my voice begins to crack from hoarseness, I find a deep, dark place within myself—a place I never knew existed. I hide in the welcomed darkness.

  "She's all yours," I hear the most recent man say as he leaves the room.

  I steel myself for yet another round of filth, but as I open my lids, I meet the chocolate-brown eyes of Marcus. My body relaxes, but bile creeps into my throat when I remember what his turn means.

  "Shut the fucking door!" he shouts over his shoulder while unbuckling his pants.

  I squeeze my eyes closed, preparing for the worst.

  Surprisingly, my hands are immediately untied. I should run or at the very least fight, but I'm too weak. I haven't eaten since I was brought here, not even to mention that I'm a third of his size. I’m well aware that there is no sense in trying to fight him, but I have to give it at least one shot before giving in to the culminating darkness once and for all.

  I barely even move my arms before he grabs them and flips me over. My legs are still tied and my ankles cross as he spins me to my stomach, pinning me against the bed.

  "Scream," he whispers in my ear with a low rumble.

  I shake my head, unwilling to give him what he wants. I might be powerless in every way, but my voice is my own. I won't give him that.

  "Erica, scream or you get us both killed."

  I'm startled by the use of my name. I turn my head over my shoulder to meet his gaze, and finally, I'm not the one pleading.

  "I'm not the bad guy. I need you to scream and make it believable."

  His eyes flick to the door, and I give it everything I have left. I let out the blood-curdling sound I have been holding in since I gave up on myself. But I only do it because, for the first time since he took me, I have hope. It may be a horrible sound to others, but to my ears, it's a rejoice.

  "I'm going to let you go. Don't make this difficult. I will do whatever it takes to subdue you, even if that means hurting you." He looks down at my bruised and battered body, shaking his head with disgust.

  I nod, acknowledging his words. But I’m confused and not completely certain I can follow his orders.

  He unties my legs and drags a blanket from the chair to cover my nudity.

  "Here." He pulls a protein bar from his pocket and places it in my shaking hands. "Eat. We don't have long." He grabs a water bottle off the nightstand next to the bed and drops it in my lap.

  "Are you going to kill me?" I ask, but he doesn't respond as he begins to quietly pace around the bed. "Please just let me go. I won't tell anyone."

  "Eat," he gently urges while sitting down on the edge of the bed.

  I'm starving. And even as my stomach threatens to revolt, I know I need this. Who knows when I will see my next meal? If ever. I unwrap the bar and hastily devour it.

  "Here." He pulls a small tube of lube from his pocket.

  At the very sight of it, I jump away as if it were a weapon. Pain rips through my tattered body when my legs painfully close together.

  "No. I won't touch you. I just need you to take this and rub it all over your ass. You need to make this look legit. Go ahead." He turns his back to me as I sit frozen, holding the lube. "Erica, please! I don't have time for you to figure this out. Do it!" he growls, never turning back to look at me.

  Completely unsure why I'm following his directions, I open my legs and carefully apply the lube. "There."

  "More," he says, still not looking. "Rub it all over your ass, cover as much as you can reach. If you were fighting me, that shit would be all over the place. Rub it on your hands and touch places on your body, including your breasts."

  "What's going on?" I ask while squeezing the lube into my hand. "Why are you doing this?"

  "Because I'm going to help you. It may not seem like it now, but I'm here to help you," he whispers, facing the wall.

  "I'm done." I cover myself again with the blanket.

  "You tell anyone about this and I will kill you on the spot. No questions asked. No help. You understand?" He turns to face me, and suddenly, my savior disappears and the dark man who put me here returns.

  Unsure what else to do, I nod.

  "Lie back down. I need to retie you."

  "No!" I shout as terror consumes me.

  He grabs my arm, and even though I kick against him, he easily slips back on my restraints.

  "There's just one more. I'm sorry," he breathes, pushing my hair out of my face.

  "No, don't leave me. Please. I can't go through that again. Marcus!" I scream louder than I've been able to muster all day.

  "Not one fucking word."

  "I can't take it again. You said you wouldn't kill me, but that is what you just sentenced me to. I can't take one more man. I don't have any pieces left to give." I barely squeak out the words over the dry heaves.

  He moves back to the bed, leaning forward on his knuckles to speak directly into my face without so much as even a hit of an accent. "I want to tell you that you'll be fine, but I can't do that. I don't think anyone will be fine after something like this. However, I will not let them kill you. I give you my word on that." He holds my eyes, begging for me believe him.

  The tears stream down my face as he unzips his pants, tugs them down his hips an inch, and walks away. He tosses the lube on the floor next to the bed and opens the door.

  "Marcus, please!" I scream after him. He's not much, but he's the only hope I have.

  "Looks like somebody likes my cock," he laughs, walking out the door.

  "About fucking time," I hear a man with an accent growl from outside. "We killing this one?"

  "Yes, sir. But I'm doing it myself. Dom, gave her to me."

  "Well, you don't mind if I have a little fun first? Right?" He walks into the room with Marcus hot on his heels.

  "Sir, I promised Aidan he was next."

  I look up to find Marcus standing behind the new man, his eyes nervously flying around the room. Tears once again make my vision swim as the realization hits me—he’s powerless against this new man.

  The older man prowls over to the bed, settling between my spread legs. His hands roam up and down my body. I don't look at him. I can’t. Instead, my eyes stay focused on my evil lifeline silently watching in the doorway.

  "Sir, allow me to get her cleaned up for you. The men have been at her all day. Hell, I just fucked her myself."

  "I can see. Lube, Marcus? I didn't take you for such a gentleman."

  "I'm an ass man. It’s kind of a necessity." He fakes a smirk and offers a shrug, trying to play
it cool, but even I can tell he's uncomfortable.

  "I'm sure Dom wouldn't mind if I made this one my own. He knows I love to play with the pretty ones," he purrs.

  Marcus's eyes go wide just before the pain erupts over my legs.

  A scream tears from my throat as I look down to see him slicing the tip of his knife up the inside of my thighs, over my sex, and down the other thigh. I lose focus and beg for the darkness to take me. The sound of a gun deafens me, and the body of the man who just mutilated me falls lifelessly on top of me. I drift away, praying the light never returns.

  "Move, Erica." Marcus’s voice breaks through the ringing in my ears.

  I open my eyes to find my hands and feet suddenly free, and the dead man has been shoved off me. I’m covered in blood, but I dive into the arms of the man who was once my captor. The same man who is now rescuing me.

  There are shouts behind the door, and he shoves me into the bathroom. He closes the door, but I can’t go back to the dark. I keep it cracked, watching as the bedroom door splinters into pieces. Marcus opens fire on the three men sprinting in with guns raised.

  I quickly close the door and move toward the single window, but the searing pain between my legs leaves me unable to walk. I fall toward the window, pushing against it only to realize it has been sealed shut. Panic ricochets through my mind as I try to work out an escape, but I just can't focus with the sounds of gunfire banging from the other side of the door. Finally, with one last pop, the room goes silent.

  "Erica, open the door. You can’t get out the window."

  My emotions bubble over, and I stumble helplessly back to the door. I don’t know Marcus, but I have no choice but to trust him.

  He walks in, throwing the blanket around me and scooping me into his arms.

  He carries me from the room, stepping over the bloody mess of bodies. I bury my face into his neck so I don't have to look at the carnage.

  "I want to go home," I whisper. The adrenaline fades from my system, leaving me with the shakes and tears I thought I had long since run out of pouring from my eyes.

 
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