Prologue: The End and The Beginning
In a private room of a high-end casino, right in the heart of the city, with grey and pale blue filigree wall texture, were four young men and a young woman seated around a mahogany polished desk.
They had cards in their hands and clouds on their brows.
Even in their casual attire they undoubtedly looked ‘dressed to impress’ which was proof enough of their origins.
While every man on the table looked rather perplexedly to the young man with the turn, the lady on the table seemed bored and uninterested. She would eventually move her gaze from the cards to the clusters of colors hung on the walls that were the witnesses of ages. She had paid millions for those ugly yet classy artworks.
While the man in question would change his reaction with every second which thumped the heart in the room. After seconds which seemed like centuries, he looked up with knitted brows then with an engrossed expression shook his head, and gave his boyish smile. He threw his card on the table and leaned back on the chair with his hands behind his head, smugly.
“Sh*t went down, didn’t it!” Steve bragged with poise, “You are but a chick...”
Evelyn didn’t bother replying but instead rolled her eyes and with a ‘PAK’ threw her cards on the table, which earned a thunder stricken face from Steve and a sharp intake of breath from their peers on the table.
She snorted as others laid their chips to her and burned a cigarette.
Unlike Steve others knew when to give up and left the room, knowing what’s going to come. Steve was a techno-geek with deadbeat or dead-meat parents. Either way, he was a child popped out of a vacuum who shouldn’t even be legal in here.
“You’ve got a lot to learn, faggot.” Not even bothering to collect her winning prize, Evelyn just observed the boy she had practically seen grow up.
The smoke rings puffed faded in the immense fog of smoke, She was an icon to the world but only she knew, past her as*swaying there was hardly anything iconic about her deranged mind. Modeling to her had been a career to kill time; but she was nothing short of an AA but she wasn’t a junkie, not yet anyway.
It was nothing short of a marvel, what money and a little ‘persuasion’ could get you in this bleached world. She had adopted the boy when he was 10 and she wasn’t even sixteen then.
Her emerald eyes fell on the 19-year-old prodigy who was still studying the game that had been played. She rolled her eyes, the boy was like a brother she never had, annoying yet necessary.
Music blasting from the last floors did nothing to silence the echo of dread. The residents of the room were pretending. Both of them trying to engage their minds off the impending trepidation to befall them.
Dinara Isyanov- their only other family was missing. The Russians had summoned her back. After eleven years of quiet, now they had called her back on their lands. She exhaled a shaky breath. This time she may not return.
The syndicate was going through a shift in power- the nest generation was rising and bar the successor, she was the next in line.
In precision, a threat to the next Tsar.
It sickened her. They were waiting for a body bag to be delivered of the woman who had been their pillar for years.
She stomped her cigarette on the polished mahogany table and murmured under her breath, “I need to get stoned.”
Before she could stand up to leave to drown the night away a thump halted her.
They both turned to the door but realizing that it wasn’t making noise looked at each other. With widened eyes, they turned to the window.
Finally grasping it, they both leaped to the window. Evelyn stepped forward to open the window, and after getting frozen by astonishment, she stepped aside, revealing a masked person with a hoodie hanging on the window of the third storey.
When Evelyn stepped aside a leg with knee-high moto boots came in light and with it in seconds the owner of the boots. Noticing the frozen people the person blinked a couple of times and removed the mask.
Evelyn gasped, slapping her hands on her face in awe, “Oh Dear Lord, Dinara!”
Recovering from the initial shock they looked at her unblinkingly and Steve decided to break the ice, “Dina! You are okay. Did they let you go?”
Evelyn finding the opportunity stated in a serious tone, “I could have pushed you! Or shouted for security! If not for your unusual grey eyes! Are you CRAZY?! You barely escaped death…”
Her cold silver eyes settled on her and Evelyn shut up. The cruel beauty was every bit Russian, her look was enough to shut them up.
Listening to them with ennui, she pushed past Evelyn to sit on the chair with a thump. Her unwavering eyes stared in a distance, spiraling her inconspicuous thought process.
She dazedly brought her hand on her head to remove the hoodie but her hand halted on her head, with weariness she turned to Evelyn, “There are no CCTVs?”
Evelyn’s voice stuck in her throat and she shook her head, “No... there aren’t!”
Whatever haunted her was horrid but neither Steve nor Evelyn had the courage to question it.
With a sigh of relief, she removed her hoodie releasing a wet mess of raven black mane and unzipped her hoodie. She was definitely drenched in rain.
Steve took a cautious step in her direction, “Dina, did Igor set you free…”
The swishing of metal scraping against metal and clanking of the metal colliding with the woods froze him mid-sentence as he paled. With a thud, the screeching object landed on the table.
Evelyn let out a shriek and staggered back.
“I set him free... eternally.” Her monotonous cold calm tone shrieked against their ears.
On the table laid the bloodied infamous dagger of the Isyanov, the heirloom that can only part from his wielder in his coffin.
“You…You killed the successor? Are you crazy! You have brought your demise on yourself!” Evelyn stuttered in fear and disbelief.
The Russian beauty blank, depleted vicious eye set on her, “Right. I should have let him rape me then.”
Their syndicate ran with ancient rituals, just like Romulus killed Remus for unified power and rule. The Russian only permitted a sole heir to dictate and... breathe. They were barbaric and cruel yet firm in their ways.
She rolled her eyes at the predicament and stood up, “I came for a final farewell. So...fare well... without me.”
Giving one last glance at the boy she had saved from the tyranny of this world all those years ago, she gave a nod while his eyes clouded with a mist and throat clogged with emotions. He returned the nod.
She jumped out of the window and disappeared in the night.
Across the city, in the study of the Whites’ mansion, with grey and white texture embellishment, like its residents, the place was also giving off a gloomy vibe.
With a heavy sigh the man behind the desk declared, “In two months period you are to be espoused, till then you can wail all you want, but on the wedding day, I want you fu*king smiling.”
Hearing the stern voice of her father Serena’s eyes pooled in another wave of anguish, “Daddy, I..I....”
He cut her before her wail could form an entity, “Don’t start with your bullsh*t! I said you are marrying your fiancé and that is it. And now don’t go around weeping. You asked for it!”
The young wilted flower deserted on the floor couldn’t comprehend anything but her hazed mind conjured a blow of retort, her clear mind would never muster.
“You…You never asked me what I wanted! I have always obeyed you, Daddy, but I...” With tears flowing washing away the memoir of her helplessness she sat there resolute yet deflated.
In a stern voice, he queried coldly, “You have always obeyed me?”
Her electric blues eyes charged at the man, she had honored all her life only to end as a disgrace the first time she asked for a breath of fresh free air. In her designer taffeta dress, she felt like the cheapest woman on the planet—a woman who had a price.
Then without waiting for her reply he rebuked furiously, “Then obey me once more! He is a good businessman. Handsome, has money, and will provide well for you. What else do you want?!”
A man in question will only provide a lifetime of ridicule for her. In her six years of engagement, not once had he bothered to treat her more than a bystander, and to add to it, had humiliated her by cheating on her sardonically.
The man was the next leader of the Italian Mafia; cunningness, cruelty, treacherousness in his disposition was embedded as nature! How could he be anything but her ruin?
“I don’t love him, I don’t even like him, he doesn’t even look at me... Daddy, I... I want to find love, no matter if he is not all of these things you have listed...” She pleaded her case for the last time.
The man’s face turned scarlet in rage and he threw a hand on the table, making her flinch, “Serena! If you don’t marry him, then consider your old man dead for you.” He didn’t stay for any further comment as the conversation for him was already over. He walked out in angry strides, leaving a lament heiress behind.
Her jaw clenched, and her heart burned. He had walked right over her heart. Nothing in 24 years of life had ever been her choice. From her on-point manicure to every syllable that leaked from her painted lips, nothing was her own. She was no one but a perfect custom-made shell of a trophy wife for a man in power.
She didn’t stay there, she couldn’t. It was a life of imprisonment or a night of escape.
It wasn’t hard to decide. Serena, serene to her toe bones had never had a rebellious streak so it wasn’t hard to catch her father’s staff off-guard. In her hysterical state, she had hauled in the first car that she saw and went on the first road that her eyes fell on.
It hurts... It hurts a lot. To think that you do everything in your life to please someone. That the sole purpose of your life was to please someone, someone you look up to... that someone, for whom caring is far-fetched, who doesn’t even acknowledge your effort, for a matter-of-fact, your existence.
She was driving at an insane speed, something she never had; she didn’t know where she was going. She couldn’t even tell where she was coming from. She just knew everything was a blur. Her last 24 years were a blur.
No matter where this road was leading her to. That just didn’t matter. She wasn’t going to go back. There was no going back.
Wiping the stream of tears off her cheeks and rubbing her eyes harshly she tried to clear her vision to see clearly but then a bitter crazed laugh spluttered out of her mouth. What vision did she even want to see? Did she even know where she was going? Did she even have a place to go to?
On the empty dark tracks ahead of her, she only could see the long shadows of the trees on the sides mocking her.
The limited-edition taffeta silk gown she was wearing was damped, mudded, and torn. Her burgundy brown hairs were a mess and her face even worse, with mascara that was smudged and lipstick that was everywhere but on her lips, she looked like a faded picture of herself.
But that didn’t matter; nothing mattered, not anymore. Never... It was never enough, Nothing was ever enough and nothing would ever be enough.
She would never be enough. The voice in her head derided her.
I lived a life without a mother and with a father whose absence was better than his presence. Brothers that didn’t even acknowledge me. But they were not my brothers, they were my ‘step’-brothers. Yeah, that’s why I was never accepted. Who I even was? Proof of a crime... Illegitimate.
With a bitter chuckle, she conceived. What have I not done to be acceptable? Simply, I always did everything I was asked to. I never rebelled. I listened to every bullshit they spout. I did everything that they wanted and the way they wanted it.
I bent backward on their obscene commands, only to have a broken spine and no one to support.
But what do I get?..... Further rejection. But that is it, no more. I would never marry that God-forsaken Alessandro. I will not be dictated anymore. I will rebel today! Even if it is the last thing I do...
If I couldn’t get what I wanted, it just didn’t matter what I got... worthless! It is all worthless. Everything I have is worthless.
She was hysterical with clear madness in her eyes.
Wiping another spilled saltwater, she accelerated the already fast car, the road turned even blurry. She couldn’t tell if she still was on a road.
All she could tell, it was far from civilization. A no-man land. As if she wanted to compete with the speed of light, she further accelerated the car, the rush of air felt good, it felt free.
Free... She was finally free. She smiled through her tears, the beautiful torn petals blooming on her face.
With a deafening sound, she knew she crashed. But she never wanted to land but she still struggled for survival. She didn’t know what to live for so death didn’t matter. It didn’t matter. Finally, nothing will matter. It hurts but it is the last time it will hurt.
‘Last time…’ she smiled bitterly, she could tell her life force was leaving her, which was but a grimace, reflecting all the pain she had suffered while surrendering it in front of the dark to consume her. A whimper left her lips, all she wanted was a life with her own command to it but she didn’t deserve it. In a no-man land, no one knew she lived, and no one will know she died.
She heard voices, distant. insignificant voices. From somewhere unapproachable but her mind was too far engrossed in her final destiny to comprehend.