01 | Menace
/ ! \ CAUTION / ! \
18+ | disturbing | dark | cannibalism | death | gore | sexual content | torture | explicit | sensitive material | mature | rape | non-con | NOT a love story!
MANY people feared death, a sad end of life, dragging the whole existence of a living being down along its path of departure into the all speculated unknown. Everything each individual had ever been and constituted them into the person we knew, their presence, their personality, their lifestyle, gone within a merciless strike once fate held no future plans for them to keep on existing in a society dominated by money and power. The only thing left of them were the strong fading memories stigmatized in our minds.
Once the distance of sorrow and happiness had increased throughout the passing time, we tend to forget them, pain and sadness we once cherished bitterly in our hearts, now covered up by the things that distracted us, that made us happy again.
Yet, life, the only word that was the strongest base for all living being on earth never meant happiness for everyone who had been granted to inhale the air of this world. Life was a conflict of its own, it displayed the warm and happy side it could guarantee. At the same time, it was a shameless liar, feigning something beautiful and compelling for the ones who could never reach it in their life time.
No worries. Peace. Happiness.
QUINN Ross, a twenty-year-old woman unluckily belonged to the poor souls out there who had faced the ugly side of life first-hand. With her parents being overly successful in their rising career, she was born into the upper class, the top of society’s hierarchy, and had all doors opened for her to fulfill all her dreams. However, that luck of living a life as carefree and easygoing as this didn’t last long as it had hit a negative turning point. She had missed the presence of the rotten fate coming for her, ready to engulf her in the sinful abyss.
There, behind seductive movements of alluring hips colored by colorful lights illuminating heavily from the ceiling and wolfish eyes fervently following the scantily clad features of female bodies. Behind the protective bar counter, there she stood, waiting patiently for her shift to come to an end. Four years had already passed since that bitter occurrence. From that time on, she had been initially forced to practice the profession as a performer at the strip club but it luckily didn’t happen as Jeffrey, the owner of one of the largest and famous strip club, thought of her as too unsuitable for this job. Nobody could blame him; Quinn was only sixteen years old back then.
Quinn never belonged to them, the performers, and there was no sign that she would want to be like them of her own accord. Out of all the women inside this wide building, she was by far the most innocent being of all, never felt the eager touch of a man nor ever landed in close proximity to drugs since Jeffrey had set her under protection; behind the bar counter.
The club was huge, a six-floor compound with more than fifty lounges and forty bars, graced with modern furniture of high quality materials. It not only attracted normal customers to enjoy their time, but was also the ardently loved hotspot for a small get together of extremely dangerous gangsters from around the world who had claimed lives for so many times, known to be ruthless and callous. She had seen them, the American Mafia, Sicilian Mafia, Russian Mafia and right up to Chinese Triads and the Yakuza. She had seen all of them passing her at times; always showing up for vital business held by bosses of different families. They proudly possessed that certain presence of intimidation, which worked efficiently, sending an icy sensation skittering down her spine.
Quinn observed them with her silver eyes, they had occupied an open-lounge that offered a huge circle of black, leather seats. Each of them radiated an overwhelming wave of warning although they displayed a rather nonchalant and benign sitting posture on their seats. Cautious eyes fixated solely on one another as though they wanted to be prepared in case their callous opponents had schemed to yank their guns out. The loud music reverberating from every corner drowned out their voices, only making her guess what they were discussing about.
Ivy, the face of the strip club was currently serving the redoubtable group since not everyone had the required courage to even near them. She was an individual that possessed a roaring confidence. Her beauty was entrancing, an obvious advance she loved to abuse; rebellious and seductive, every customer’s favorite. Quinn averted her eyes as she found it uncomfortable to watch any longer, rather focusing on drying off the shiny lowball glass glinting in her hands.
“Jeff, are you crazy?! Do you want to turn this place into a crime scene?”
A deep, familiar voice had lured her attention above the loud music erupting in the background. Monnet, another staff behind the bar counter was currently arguing with the decently overdressed club owner, Jeffrey.
“What’s your problem? You act like you haven’t crossed path with Mafiosi in here. You literally see them every day, why so bitchy about this one dude? Is it because he belongs to the ’Ndrangheta?” Jeffrey questioned with irritation lying heavily in his rough, smoky tone.
“He is the worst of all out there! Two days ago, he had obliterated another ’Ndrangheta family, which had hundreds of men because their Boss had an alleged affair with his girlfriend!” Monnet exclaimed to underscore her displeasure about the possible arrival of another Mafioso.
“So what?! That’s fucking standard!” Jeffrey retorted, patience fading away into the distance the longer he had to deal with his outraged long-term friend and employee.
Emitting an annoyed sigh, Monnet tried to reason again with a now charged rage in her actual monotone voice, “He’s a cannibalistic trougher that kills anybody regardless of their identity. He slices your body in half, rips out your still beating heart and eats it, raw! And when your eyes are captivating him, he’ll take them as well and add them to his collection!”
“Give me a break, woman! What do you expect this gathering of those people would be, huh? They aren’t here for fun. I just can’t kick him out once he arrives, whether you like it or not! As long you don’t interfere in their business, I guarantee you that your heart will remain as how it is,” Jeffrey countered lowly, pointing a richly adorned index finger at Monnet, warning her not to attempt something stupid that would cost her life. Quinn felt slight sweat slowly accumulating on her temples after she had witnessed the fierce conversation with arms trembling along nervousness that had been set alight within her.
“This won’t end without someone dying,” Monnet mumbled to herself, but it reached Quinn’s ears quite well as the distance between both of them wasn’t immensely big.
Quinn raised her gaze anew to only take in the sight of perplexed people before her, dilated eyes darting in one certain direction, literally clashing against the source of attention in their eyeshot. Wandering her pair of silver eyes to the side, she finally understood the circumstance. A tall man stood amid a paralyzed crowd. Behind him, a few serious-looking men with black attire hugging their overly broad form were standing guard like an indestructible barrier.
An ignited cigarette rested between his full lips, thick smoke smoldered out of his nostrils, obscuring his face shortly as it hovered slowly in the air. His bright jade eyes scanned every corner, annotating every small, unremarkable detail this current surrounding offered. The colorful lights landed on his black, silky hair that was slightly long, parting elegantly in the middle. In contrast to the other dangerous men on their seats, he was dressed casually, a jet black turtleneck embraced his muscular upper body, showing off his fine lines under the heavy lights. Into the bargain, black suit pants and a pair of stark polished leather shoes graced the lower part of his tall body.
Despite the music being the only source of noise, the dominating silence clinging thick to everyone’s tongue was extremely strong, even palpable in the now suffocative atmosphere. The group of Mafiosi had somewhat expected him, but whether he was really going to show up was vague to the point that they wrote off the idea. The black-haired man strode regally across the wide room, head held high as he had detected the stunned individuals in the distance. He occupied a vacant leather seat next to an older man and took a rich pull on his cigarette, releasing another clouds of smoke through his nostrils.
Quinn sensed the disdain and discomfort her female colleague gave off, sullen look falling relentlessly upon the daunting owner of those bright jade eyes. As if the worrisome expression Quinn had formed on her face was overly noticeable even when her colleague had her back displayed in Quinn’s direction, Monnet turned around to face the hazel-haired woman.
“Do you know who that is?” the black-haired woman interrogated, subtly tilting her head in the man’s direction to which Quinn answered with a frantic shook of her head.
“That’s Renzo Casagrande, the head of one of the biggest ’Ndrangheta family. This guy is batshit insane! Avoid him as good as you can,” Monnet explained shortly, her brown eyes meeting Quinn’s silver ones. “Take care of your beautiful eyes,” she added dead serious.
Quinn never drew a distinction between any of those attendees as she found all of them dangerous and cruel even though she didn’t know them personally, but their reputation was strongly prevalent. It erected the question of what he had done specifically to be differentiated from the other deterrent individuals inside this strip club?
She absently stared at him, observing his every move. He looked bored and annoyed, weary digits pressing and swirling against his aching temples as he lazily conversed with someone at the opposite side of the table, obvious boredom dashed along. Catching herself at observing too much once again, she tore her eyes away to avoid possible misconceptions.
“Quinny-baby!” Jeffrey exclaimed with joy in his tone, approaching her with a brown bottle glimmering in his richly-adorned hands. A cognac bottle, a very expensive one at that; its prize slung up in the air. “It’s for the new guest over there,” he said, pointing the black-haired Mafioso who had previously stolen everyone’s attention.
Her body-heat dropped savagely as she started to process what he demanded of her. “O-Okay,” she emitted an unsteady answer, taking the bottle with sheer hesitance in her hands.
Queasiness grew within her as she poured the bronze liquid into a cognac glass. She situated the glass on a metallic tray and started to approach the group of men, but couldn’t advance further as someone cut off her way. Eleanor, another performer who was distraughtly focusing on gaining the new customer’s interest didn’t let Quinn pass to convey the expensive beverage. She shoved her peach locks behind her shoulder, eyeing Quinn judgmentally, literally looking down on her although she didn’t do anything wrong.
“Give it to me. You’ll only chase him away with your…appearance,” Eleanor voiced derisively, raising an eyebrow to underscore the raw arrogance; a known attitude of hers.
Quinn was not a part of the performers hence the lack of reason to dress up just as them. The only object that would give away her affiliation with this business was the long staff neckband encircling her slim neck. However, no matter what she did, Eleanor would always find a way to talk Quinn down, even for just trying to do her job.
Not giving the hazel-haired woman a slight glimpse of chance to explain, Eleanor claimed the tray with force. She immediately turned a cold shoulder and made her way to Renzo whose motivation to keep on negotiating was melting away visibly, judging by how the mix of stoic and nonchalant expression switched into a vastly annoyed one.
Not even a minute had passed when Quinn averted her attention to the tumblers that needed to be sorted, a painful screech overturned the loud music, piercing right through her ears. She flinched in terror, silver eyes now flashing across the room to catch what was going on until her eyes halted upon the all familiar scene of highly dreaded men. Panic upheaved instantly. The discovery intimidated her. A tray clattered against the floor; the glass collided into fractions, and the bronze liquid stretched out in every direction, deluging the clean floor beneath it.
The still lit cigarette had been pressed against Eleanor’s right eye, smoke climbed upwards from the source of damage. Before her, the one who had done it, Renzo Casagrande. The menace in his jade eyes plumbed her very soul, drilling through it as though he was about to tear it away from her body.
THE outraged club owner gave her a succulent slap in the face with the back of his richly ornamented hand. Shiny sapphire rings around his long digits had become instruments of torture, leaving a dark, crimson color that stained Eleanor’s half bandaged face.
“Stupid woman! How dare you cross someone like him?” voice erupting with ire, he barked roughly at her. Jeffrey actually was a nice person, but once he acknowledged imminent damage to his booming business, that definitely went beyond a joke to which most of the staffs had to experience first-hand. “I’ve sent Quinn for a reason!” he yelled anew.
Despite the obvious dislike Eleanor had thrown at her, Quinn felt bad for her. Jeffrey turned to her abruptly after he was done beating the peach-haired woman, making her wince as she didn’t expect him to face her like this. She quivered from the bottom to the top, prepared to deserve the exact same punishment that had befallen Eleanor who was lying crestfallen on the floor. However, Jeffrey’s expression softened in the moment of eye contact, heaping guilt could be percolated from his aged face.
“Quinn, my dear. You know that I’ve always taken care of you and never let you do what you didn’t want. But this time, I beg you,” he paused, a pair of large hands cupping her face, “do it.”
That was what he had said. Do it. Truth to be spoken, Quinn had no idea what she was supposed to do, nor had a lead of who or what was awaiting her in that private lounge. All she knew was that the time had come when she couldn’t be protected anymore even though she wasn’t safe from the start.
Feeling utterly tiny in front of the door, Quinn tried to gather composure and knocked twice. A subdued humming from the other side reverberated eerily, implying her to enter. A lump stuck uncomfortably in her throat, her breath rattling heavily to her chest as a set of jade eyes had clasped her figure in their visibility. The healthy color of her smooth skin paled in the moment she figured out to whom Jeffrey had sent her. Quinn would love to swivel on her heels and run away, but she couldn’t, too afraid to face the consequence of reaching out for the escape. After what had happened to Eleanor, she knew better than to mess with him, unless she also sought to acquire a damaged eye.
On a dark leather arm chair, sitting posture as nonchalant as before – as though he hadn’t pressed a lit cigarette into someone’s eye – he eyed her intensely, taking in the comely sight of her. He silently commanded her to approach him, pointing his index finger between his spread legs. Quinn suppressed herself from grimacing in displeasure due to suggestiveness in his wordless demand, which still appeared absolute as she found herself moving slightly. She strode carefully and utterly slowly toward him. Renzo looked up at her with pure amusement settling across his lips as he had her standing between his legs, trapped in his personal cage.
Nervousness was squeezing the life out of her as soon as he clutched the inner side of her right thigh, slightly traveling upwards, making her shudder beneath his dooming touch. The nonchalant expression snapped into a sudden, judgmental frown.
“Pants, seriously?” he uttered with a subtle touch of Italian accent in his deep, husky voice. “I prefer something with an easier access such as skirts or dresses.”
His smooth words caught her off guard, leaving nothing but perplexity clamping to her mind. Renzo leaned back, eyes still glued on Quinn.
“Entertain me,” he dropped an order, challenging her.
“I-I don’t belong to the p-performers,” she blurted out without thinking about the outcome; that the given answer might not come up to his expectations. The black-haired male emitted a breathy chuckle.
“My lovely, lovely bacino [bacino=little kiss], what do I care?” he shot a sheepish question. “I always get what I want. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.”
The jade-eyed man stood up from his seat to be face to face, a gloomy shadow cascading upon her form; he was a wall compared to her. Her breaths accelerated frantically after feeling his air-cutting digits encircling her small neck, exerting noticeable pressure to showcase what he could do.
Emitting a satisfied sigh, his defined face neared hers. “Your skin is so pristine, smooth, and tight. I like it.”
Her insanely pumping heart dropped immediately in the moment her terrified gaze had fallen on an all dreaded object she had pleaded for her dear life not to be pointed straight at her. Its blade flashed strongly against the lights from the ceiling, a machete.
“He’s a cannibalistic trougher that kills anybody regardless of their identity.”
Renzo situated the sharp machete dangerously close to her neck.
“He slices your body in half, rips out your still beating heart and eats it, raw…”
The icy touch caused by its blade eradicated the hope she had kept in the very back of her mind.