This story takes place in a world not unlike our own. In the 3000s, the United States government was deep in debt and barely hanging on. Many cities grew chaotic without the firm hand of the law, and a terrorist group was formed among the violence. They called themselves Interitus, and they blamed the government for all of the nation’s problems. Whenever Interitus killed, there was one goal in mind: to take the government down. Sadly enough, they succeeded.
On April 17, 3012, the president and his cabinet met at a diner in Castro Valley, California—a place thought to be obscure enough that no Interitus would think to check there. What the president had not anticipated, however, was that Interitus might have an informant. During the meeting, a bomb went off in the diner, killing everyone inside and around it—including important government officials.
With so many dead, the rest of the government was easily obliterated.
Groups similar to Interitus formed, but alliances were easily broken and safety was temporary. The newly-formed packs fought each other for supplies and food, taking vital materials from family and friends. Inside the packs, people often fought for control. No one stayed leader for long, and anyone in any position of power was eventually stabbed in the back.
Interitus remained one of the most violent packs, hunting down the others and torturing them. Unfortunately, the other groups were shifting constantly and staying alert just enough so that even Interitus couldn’t rise up and reform the government.
Instead, the packs fought each other every day for 20 years.
Then Denman was born.
His eyes and hair were as black as the night—but blacker. His soul was darker than his eyes. He was violent and deadly and took everything he wanted. Although he was thin and young, Denman had an aura of hate surrounding him, so strong that almost every pack had heard of him; and most packs had been on the receiving end of his anger.
Although there was no government and no laws, there was one unspoken rule to live by: don’t cross Denman.
Denman made himself at home in Interitus, feeding off the darkness that could be found there. The main base of Interitus was the old White House, and Denman claimed a room for himself. Even the terrorists from Interitus avoided him as much as possible—Denman had a ferocious temper and it was said that he killed sometimes for information; but most of the time, for pleasure.
When Denman turned 30, his thirst for power grew. Already, he was the unofficial leader of Interitus, so Denman felt that he needed a supporter by his side, instead of all the slippery snakes who wanted his position.
And one day, Denman found her
He had just returned from a fight with a different pack, and was climbing up the stairs to the room in which he stayed. Denman was holding a bloody sword in his right arm, and his eyes were gleaming with hate and bloodlust. If any of the Interitus had stayed in his room while he was out, there would be blood spilled.
Denman lived for this excitement.
When he slowly pushed the door open, Denman was surprised to not see any muscled men with scars on their faces and weapons in their hands. Rather, there was a single woman, sleeping—sleeping!—on the dirty floor without any weapons.
Her hair was golden and long, and though hairbrushes were more valuable than food, the hair seemed brushed and cared for. The sleeping woman was also wearing a dress—a white, long gown that seemed to have been kept in some special case, for there were no wrinkles or tears, and even the bottom of the gown was pure white. The woman’s shoes, which were slightly covered by the dress, seemed to be black stilettos. In a world where nothing could stop a random stranger from stealing from you or killing you, this woman should have been dead.
Denman laughed a cold laugh at the thought of what he would do to her, and the woman sleepily opened her eyes.
Seeing the man clothed in all black and holding a long sword standing above her didn’t seem to strike fear in the woman’s heart. Instead, she laughed a chilly laugh back at Denman. “I was waiting for you to show up.”
Denman narrowed his eyes. This woman was tricky, and definitely not to be trusted. “What do you want before I kill you?”
She laughed again. “Oh, you won’t be killing me. My name is Anise, and I’m here to make you a deal.”
Denman pretended to consider it. Instead of answering, he quickly swung his sword through the air, aiming to cut Anise into two. However, Anise had tricks up her sleeve as well. She jumped up gracefully and turned away from him. When Anise turned back, she had a pistol in her hands.
Just like a hairbrush, pistols were an important and very rare tool that could be traded for almost anything. Or stolen for free.
Anise obviously had connections.
Denman lowered his sword. He smiled cruelly. “So you are a sneaky one. What is your deal?”
Anise smiled back, but there was a hard glint in her eyes. “I want a child.”
These words took Denman by surprise. Children were a burden, and only the toughest, richest people ever wanted any. Why would you want a child when the food he eats could be yours? And you have to protect him when you could protect yourself? Any children of his would be put out on the street and left to die.
Denman analyzed the smiling Anise. She was obviously crazy, but she still had her pistol aimed straight for his heart. “How does that relate to me?”
Anise looked Denman up and down. You have power. You have fame. You are dangerous. I have power. I have possessions hidden. I am dangerous. Our child could tip the balance of these gangs and rule over us all.”
Anise did have a point. But she was not to be trusted.
“I will work with you for now,” Denman answered in a cool voice. “But you try anything—or do anything I do not approve of—and you will wish you were dead.”
Anise smiled wider. “Oh, I already do.”
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