|Chapter 2: Something Broken|
Covenant could not speak. Grief contorted his features. He went to Joan's side. Fumbling over the knot, he untied her left wrist, released her arm. Instantly, she clawed at him, straining her whole body to reach him. He evaded her, caught her forearm.
Linden watched with a silent wail as he let Joan's nails rake the back of his right hand. Blood welled from the cuts.
Joan smeared her fingers in his blood. Then her hand jumped to her mouth, and she sucked it eagerly, greedily.
The taste of blood seemed to restore her self-awareness. Almost immediately, the madness faded from her face. Her eyes softened, turned to tears, her mouth trembled. "Oh, Tom," she quavered weakly. "I'm so sorry. I can't-- He's in my mind, and I can't get him out. He hates you. He makes--makes me--" She was sobbing brokenly. Her lucidity was acutely cruel to her.
He sat on the bed beside her, put his arms around her. "I know." His voice ached in the room. "I understand."
"Tom," she wept. "Tom. Help me."
"I will." His tone promised that he would face any ordeal, make any sacrifice, commit any violence. "As soon as he's ready. I'll get you free."