Marlon hadn't stood a chance against the red-feathered bird that flitted across his vision. Board games in the park with her friends. She'd laughed like she was being tickled maliciously, like she didn't have any control - like Neda when she was younger, and he'd run his fingers quickly over her ribs, making Ariela became jealous. The oldest son of the Caswell clan was allowed any freedom from their home, and he'd fly far, sometimes, under the guise of finding supplies. It was a thin, worn excuse, but the men wouldn't challenge, and the women couldn't. Marlon had found himself one city over, and liked the well groomed outdoors in the middle of the rising buildings. Teija was from here, and her moods reflected the transient souls and the artists that tried to live like their muses, he supposed. To think the city had engraved into her personality already. That day he'd not been undisturbed, enjoying his privacy among strangers. She beamed her light on him while horribly loosing whatever toss she attempted. He'd stayed away from home a few days longer, then, and learned her name and where she liked to play cards online. It was a simple matter of chatting her up after that. He listened well, and presented as lacking in any of her boyfriend's flaws. She'd refused to send pictures at first, and then given him her social medias. Now and then he'd get his own images, if she felt confident. He liked to think her heart was wavering, and that Laurent had simmering competition for her affections. It was supposed to be the scratching of an itch, talking to her. But exposure breeds possession, and greed is the default modern sin. He replied when she did, and followed her every documented movement. Handsome boy, up all night learning how she liked to play her digital hand. Sometimes he'd make other accounts, sometimes he was all her opponents in a session. In the private chatrooms he was proud to learn she didn't open up to anyone as she did MlonAce. Soon he was in too deep, deeper than his frustration at father's iron hand and mother's refusal to see him as man. He had taken to imagining Emma's expressions on Teija when he maimed her, hip to hip, for skipping out on chores to drink. She was young for her beauty, but too old for his village. That should have been that. Lovers unmade by time of birth. But he was an obsessive, proud man, and she was meant to be with him, belong to him. Lay exhausted in his bed with her cunt sore and her breath salt. It was a little matter, taking her, since her webcam had let him know about her habit of leaving her window open, so the city sounds could chase away her solitude when Laurent didn't spend the night. A limber boy raised among an abundance of women has a light footfall, and her room was on the first floor. He'd stolen her the night before her birthday, and she'd struggled against his hands. Light birds can't fly from the clutches of grown wolves. She said his name when he left her tied in the backseat and he looked back at her in the mirror to assure her. He liked to think there was some hesitation on her quivering lips after that, from how pleasing he was on her violet eyes. She pleaded prettily, and had her panic as she was driven from her home to his. It took quite some time, and he made sure to feed her along the way. He spilled her water down her chin, to her breasts on purpose, and he thought she might know. Eventually he came into the town with her, proud despite the wondering looks of his people. He carried her easily into the house, and kept her quiet with a rag on her pink tongue, until they were by the enforced door with the latch and the little invincible iron lock. She was tired of struggling after the long ride, but she found new powers then, with the promise of long-stretching privacy. "Now you wake up." he joked and shimmied the door open with his shoe so he could carry her bird bones inside. She had a mattress, of course, and bucket. Emma breathed through her nose like she would drown otherwise, knees on the mattress where he placed her. He put his forehead to hers and closed his eyes, drinking up her desperation with his hands on her temples to keep her frantic shakings still. He sighed in contentment and started undoing her ropes. Every time she tried to claw the cloth out of her mouth he slapped her wrists away. When she was free - he always made sure he was between her and the door - he finally claimed the gag from her eager lips. "You're going to stay here, Emma, aren't you?" With an admittedly picturesque man who stole you from your home and bed, and looks at you like you belong in his stable, and touches you freely and without question, and has no qualms in holding you down, binding you up, and now might leave you to your worst fear - solitude.