It was dark. Ida's head swam through a thick sea of confusion while her lungs heaved as if she just emerged from its murky depths. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light about her, her muddled mind finally latched onto reality. It came as a bite to her skin, like a cut of a knife, an overwhelming fear that stabbed straight to the bone: they found her.
They found her. They took her.
They had her.
"Oh Gods," she whispered, her voice shaking from the thudding in her chest.
Just then, the door opened. Ida barely had time to realize there was a door at all. She had the fleeting thought that she now wished there wasn't. From all the fear that surged in her from realizing where she was, she feared more who was about to come through that door.
"Dear," said the woman who entered, clothed in blood red. Her voice was as velvet as the clothes that draped over her. "I want it back. Would it give it to me?"
Before the woman finished her words, a white-hot lash whipped against Idella's cheek. It was not paltry whip to the suffering of horses or laborers, but one conjured through minute, calculated magic. There was no warning, no crook of the arm or scowl. Just pain. Sudden, white-hot pain and blood on her cheek. The woman hadn't moved. Her sharpened mind alone was enough to cast the awful spell.
Ida screamed in pain and crawled to the corner of her cell. A few reactive spells instinctually came mind to counter the lash or assuage the pain, but fear soundly dissipated them all, like shattered glass to a cast stone. Still, she uttered no words and aside from the initial scream, she held back all the whimpers that pleaded to pass through her throat.
The woman spoke again. "My book, Idella," then came the whip, striking Idella's upraised arm. "The book," she repeated, striking again, hitting a curled-up leg. "My book," she said again, her voice unchanging from its dark velvet. The lash hit again.
The horrid pattern repeated again and again and again, unabating.