Choose Me or Lose Me - Book cover

Choose Me or Lose Me

Michelle Torlot


When I woke, this wasn’t where I expected to be. If I was honest I didn’t expect to wake up at all.

My face was resting on something hard and cold. Stone or concrete. I gingerly opened my eyes, taking in my surroundings. It was a square room. The walls were solid concrete as well as the floor.

Except for a small window near the ceiling, which wasn’t actually a window at all, but bars. The door was similar, made of thick metal bars. A cell of some description.

I should have listened to my step-mum. If I had, I wouldn’t have ended up here.

It had been a long trip. Cooped up in a plane for over eight hours, then another four hours by bus. It had been my dads idea. I was going to take a gap year after before.

I’d wanted to go backpacking round Australia, but my dad wasn’t keen. Instead he suggested a trip to see Maria, my step-mum. We’d always got on great. Maria was American.

When they first met, they were hopelessly in love. But Maria didn’t adapt well to city life. She was used to the big outdoors, mountains and forests. She begged my Dad to go back with her.

He was always a city person. Star-crossed lovers he would say. They still loved each other, I was sure. They just couldn’t be together.

When they separated I kept in touch with Maria, she was the only mother I had ever known. She kept asking me to visit, so when my dad suggested this she jumped at the opportunity.

They even shared the cost of the fare. The first thing they had agreed on in years.

When I finally arrived, I really wanted some fresh air. Maria agreed, but made me promise to stay clear of the woods. I didn’t know why, but I agreed anyway.

I just wanted to stretch my legs for ten minutes anyway.

As usual I got distracted, I heard the sound of a stream so I decided to investigate. I hadn’t gone very far into the woods when I realised, and was about to head back.

That was when I heard a growl behind me. I wasn’t sure what it was, you don’t get many growly animals in suburban England.

Glancing over my shoulder I had seen a massive grey wolf. I kind of freaked. I’d seen pictures of wolves and TV programmes but they were never as huge at this. I shrieked and ran for my life.

I didn’t get far before I felt something crash into my back, sending me flying to the floor. I let out a sob as I felt warm breath on my neck, and heard another growl.

It felt like a heavy weight was pressing on my back. It didn’t take a genius to realise that I was pinned down by the massive wolf.

That wasn’t the worst of it. I lay on the ground with my cheek resting in the soil. I could barely breath due to the pressure on my back and my panic.

That was only made worse when I saw another wolf out the corner of my eye. This one was huge as well, but was a dark brown colour. I let out a sob, and screwed my eyes shut.

They would have stayed shut if I hadn’t heard an almighty crack. When I opened them I saw two large bare feet where previously the wolf had been.

Glancing upwards I realised the man was naked, not only that but huge, at least six and half foot, with muscles the like I had never seen.

My mind struggled to comprehend what I was seeing. So it shut down. My eyes rolled in the back of my head and I welcomed the darkness.

Now I lay on the cold concrete floor trembling. Not with cold, I kind of welcomed that I could feel something like that. It grounded me. The realisation of what I had seen, what I thought I had seen.

Then heard footsteps, I closed my eyes. I couldn’t bear to look. Afraid of what I might see. They stopped outside the door. I took in a breath and held it, hoping that whoever it was would go.

Then I heard footsteps again, they were retreating. Who ever it was, or whatever it was had walked away.

I let out the breath I had been holding and opened my eyes. There was no one outside the door. I swallowed hard and took a deep breath.

I was too close to the door for my liking, so I scooted as quietly as I could to the farthest corner of the cell.

As I leaned against the wall I winced. My back hurt, it felt hot, the coolness of the cold wall on my bare skin eased the pain. I hoped it was just bruised.

I shouldn’t have been surprised after having half a ton of wolf on my back. Yes it was definitely a wolf, just a wolf, nothing else. I tried to convince myself.

But I knew what I’d seen, I couldn’t unsee it. I was just trying to convince myself that I’d imagined it. In reality I knew I hadn’t. Normal wolves didn’t drag you into a cell.

I pressed my knees into my chest and wrapped my arms around them in an attempt to stop me from trembling, it didn’t work.

I was still wearing the clothes I had travelled in. Cut off jeans, a crop top and some trainers. If I’d been wearing something more substantial, maybe my back wouldn’t have been hurt so bad.

I pressed myself a little harder against the wall, ignoring the pain, when I heard the footsteps returning. I couldn’t see much, just a huge silhouette of a man against the barred door.

Then I heard the footsteps retreating once again. I glanced up and who ever had been there was gone.

I unwrapped my arms from around my legs and let them slide down. I wrapped my arms around my chest, to try and ease the pain I was feeling in my chest.

“Breath Megan,” I whispered to myself, as I closed my eyes.

They quickly snapped open when I heard the sound of metal scraping. I quickly put my hand over my mouth to stop myself from screaming.

I stared at the man who entered the cell, silently praying that he wouldn’t get any closer. He was massive. I knew I wasn’t very tall but he towered over me.

He was completely dressed in black, his tight fitting tee-shirt showed his bulging muscles. He could have snapped me in two with a flick of his wrist.

I ignored the pain in my back as I pressed myself hard against the concrete wall.

He looked at me and frowned. I immediately looked at the floor.

I heard him sniff the air.

“Food,” he huffed, as he put a metal tray on the floor next to the door. Then I heard the sound of the door scraping closed and a loud click.

I didn’t look up until I heard the sound of his footsteps retreating.

I had no idea how long I had been here. I’d arrived at Maria’s house around four pm. She said she would prepare food while I went for a walk.

By the empty feeling in my stomach, and the light coming through the barred window, I guessed I had probably spent the night here already. Maria would be panicked I was sure.

I wondered if she had contacted Dad, or more importantly the police.

I stared at the tray, I desperately wanted the food, but I couldn’t find the courage to move towards the door. Instead I buried my face in my hands and let my tears flow.

Trying to keep my sobs as quiet as possible. I didn’t want to alert the guard, or cause him to come back in here if at all possible.

He must have been on some sort of patrol, as I heard footsteps a while later. He grumbled something under his breath, and I heard his footsteps retreating once again.

I rotated my body slightly and leant my head against the wall, my back was now to the door. I wrapped my arms tighter around my body, to try and stop the shaking.

I kind of wished the wolf had killed me. It would be better than this. This unknown fate.

All I could think about was my life back home, how I wished I’d gone backpacking in the outback now. It would have been a darn site less dangerous than this.

I froze as I heard the door open again. I didn’t turn to look this time. I couldn’t bear to. Not when I heard the footsteps come closer.

“Are you not hungry little human?” a deep voice asked.

It was different to the previous one. It scared me more, the fact that he called me human, meant he wasn’t and what I had seen was true.

I whimpered and shook my head quickly, not daring to look at the new monster that was close to me.

He hummed.

“It’s really quite good,” he urged.

I didn’t move. I couldn’t, I was frozen in place.

I heard the sound of metal scraping on concrete. It wasn’t the door, I could tell.

“How about I move it a little closer.”

Then I heard him shuffle backwards. I sensed he wasn’t as close as he had been before.

I glanced over my shoulder. A metal cup and plate were only about a foot away from me. I turned my body slightly. I could see him standing just inside the doorway, watching me.

He was huge, larger than the previous man. He stood there shirtless. His bronzed skin showed the outline of every single muscle and veins stood out on his biceps and forearms.

His dark hair was slicked back on his head as he stared at me expressionlessly. His chiselled jaw sporting just enough stubble to give him that rough sexy look.

I probably would have been impressed if I wasn’t so terrified. Right now muscles meant strength, and strength meant he could hurt me, kill me even. I also realised what lurked beneath.

His whole demeanour screamed dominance. Was he the one in charge? Did he hold my fate in his hands?

I quickly grabbed something off of the plate and snatched it towards me. I must have looked like I was some timid animal. I sniffed what I had taken, it was a piece of chicken.

I quickly ate it without really tasting it, I just needed to feel something in my belly.

I heard him hum, and then I heard his footsteps as he retreated from the doorway, and closed the cell door.

Each passing moment I was feeling more like a caged animal. Maybe that was what I was, to them.

There were other things on the plate. A bread roll and a cob of corn. There was no cutlery, nor anything to wipe my hands on, so instead I licked them clean. I had no idea if I would get fed again.

Maybe this was my last meal. I grabbed the metal cup and drunk down the contents. It was water, I was grateful for that. My throat was so dry I would have drunk anything.

I put the cup on the empty plate and slid it across the floor so that it was closer to the door. The last thing I needed was someone coming in to get the plate and getting near me.

I’m sure they would eventually but right now I was too panicked to think about it. Instead I curled up in a ball in the corner, my knees tucked into my chest, and rested my head on my arms.

I closed my eyes.

The stress of my situation must have exhausted me as I drifted off to sleep without even hearing anymore footsteps.

I had no idea how long I slept for. I was surprised I had slept at all. When I woke I was shivering, not with fear but with cold.

I couldn’t understand why I was so cold, when I could feel the sweat almost dripping from me.

That wasn’t the only thing, my back felt like it was on fire, and every single joint and muscle felt the same. I’d never felt in this much pain. Then the realisation hit me. The food, the drink.

They’d poisoned me. He’d poisoned me.

Then I heard it. It was faint, but I recognised her voice. Maria.

I tried to sit, but my head spun and my vision blurred.

“Maria!” I yelled, but my voice was barely above a whisper, “help me!”

The effort was to much as I fought the darkness that was bearing down on me, all to no avail.

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