T W E N T Y - F I V E
“There is nothing more dangerous than a girl who is aware of the flames inside her, and all the damage she can do.” ~ Nikita Gill
My senses returned much before I could lift the heavy-lidded eyes, but the dizziness held me back. The strings of events, slowly, began to accumulate in my mind and shot me straight into a panic mode.
The hushed voice around me was familiar; in fact, too familiar to spark a fire through my veins.
Unfortunately, the events of my life were too doomed to be thought otherwise. After years of walking away from men for they wouldn’t ever see me past my golden shell of a lifestyle, I chose Lorenzo for being different.
Perhaps, he turned out to be too different.
As I slowly opened my eyes and tried to open my mouth to speak, I realized it was drier than cotton, and only a groan slipped out, dragging all the attention to me.
And my throbbing brain, cotton-coated mouth wasn’t the only thing—my hands were bound by chains, spread on either side like a sacrifice on a cross, while my bare knees scraped against the cold floor.
“You’re awake,” the bloody fucker stated plainly, as I didn’t bother to tip up my head. To spare him a minuscule of my attention was a waste of my time and beneath my dignity.
The clack of his expensive shoes—bought on my family’s money, the family he betrayed in a heartbeat—resonated as he stepped forward and crouched down to my level. The sight of him flooded on my tongue with the taste of bile and acid.
I was angry than hurt.
Growing up, I had learned that everyone who isn’t yours—who isn’t your family—is going to stab you in the back one day or the other. He was my family—the man I had loved.
Lorenzo’s void face was so odd that it also seemed unfamiliar. Like I was staring at someone I never knew in the first place. With his raised hand, he held my chin in a tight grip to tip up my head as I blankly stared at him.
“Why?” That was all I could hiss through my clenched teeth.
Honestly, no explanation in the world would ever justify the act of betrayal nor would this bring me closure, but I simply wanted to know.
“You’re not worth it,” he replied indifferently. “They offered me so much more than your brothers would ever provide. So, it was time to kill the golden goose.”
The foul, metallic taste on my tongue grew intense at his words. I looked him squarely in those void eyes and spat him on the face. The wet clot hit his right eye like a perfect shot.
On impulse, Lorenzo pulled back his hand, clenched his eyes shut and turned his face away as I watched the hard jaw tensed.
“You worthless pig!” Every syllable was laced with the venom of hatred and disgust I could ever muster.
Anger clouded my vision, so much so, that I didn’t see his next move. His hand stuck my face so hard, my head banged against the wall and I immediately tasted the nasty tang of copper on my tongue.
The assault didn’t end there.
Rough fingers threaded into my hair and yanked hard to the point I cried out painfully.
“This is not your fucking home, princess. If you keep this up, I will beat the shit of out of you, then make a video of this, and send this to your beloved brothers and father. And if that doesn’t help, I will start slicing off your fingers—one at a time—and parcel them to Chicago.”
My eyes widened immediately. Not at his threat but studying the words. Parcel them to Chicago?
Where am I right now, if not Chicago?
Turning my face away, I pushed back as much as the chains allowed. Lorenzo’s face broke into a smirk as he mistook my silence as my capitulation. On my part, I thought it was a smart move, considering the situation. I didn’t know the specifics, but I knew my family well-enough that they would scour the ends of the earth to find me. And I had to keep myself alive until then.
“You are afraid, aren’t you?” He couched down on his knees to level his eyes with mine. “You are afraid your family is never going to find you. You are afraid of losing your high and mighty status of being a Romano.”
“My brothers trusted you,” I hissed through clenched teeth.
“That was their only mistake, and I am afraid you are going to pay the price for it, Sam,” he said coolly.
I shook my head with a smile. “You are going to pay for this. I might not live to see it, but I promise you—you will,” I vowed.
“Always so proud, so arrogant—like you and your family is some fucking God. But it is going to change now, baby.” He leaned into me, bringing his lips to my earlobes, and whispering darkly, “I am going to enjoy breaking you, and then I am going watch them fuck you—hard—just the way I know you like it, slut.”
The breath of him against my skin felt like nails against chalkboard—repulsive. I turned my head away but managed to hold off my tongue.
I had to buy myself some time.
A loud banging on the door stole our attention as Lorenzo abandoned me for the time being and strode towards the door. I, for my part, knew that whoever it was, wouldn’t bring good news for me.
Sure enough, three Hispanic men with a burly, rugged physique walked in. A common scorpion tattoo etched on the left side of their faces, and it didn’t take long enough for me to recognize these men. Cartels. Paps and Viktor have done their best to get rid of them off the streets of Chicago, controlling the manufacture and distribution themselves.
“Esta es la puta?” One of them asked Lorenzo, and he nodded. (This is the bitch?)
“We are taking her then.”
One of the men was about to approach when Lorenzo stepped up. “No. That was not the deal. I hand over this girl to Juan, personally, when I see those numbers reflect on my bank account. And not a second before that.”
A quick moment later, they affirmed, “Fine. But Jefe needs a confirmation that you won’t back out or betray him.”
“This isn’t confirmation enough?” Lorenzo asked indignantly. When the men exchanged doubtful glances, he sighed and shook his head.
I didn’t know why was I still holding onto the hope that this was all a nightmare, and it would end soon enough, or someone would wake me up. I should have known that reality was a lot graver than a bad dream.
“Alright, then. If Juan needs a confirmation, the visual must satisfy him,” Lorenzo assured and walked up to me with a vicious grin I was yet to figure out.
“Don’t struggle, and it will be over before you know it,” he told me, couching down and fishing out a pocket knife.
My instinct knew before I did as I scambled back helplessly, as much as the chains allowed. The effort was in vain, though. Lorenzo latched the fabric around my cleavage and slashed the sharp object vertically down. The ivory floral dress lay tattered, followed by the lacy bra underneath.
“Don’t do this, Lorenzo, please don’t,” I choked.
“I didn’t do anything; your brothers did this to you, Sam. They forced me to betray them,” Lorenzo replied without remorse.
I closed my eyes, tried to shut down my senses—or do anything that would not sicken me at that moment, but absolutely nothing was good enough.
“Enjoy the treat, boys, but no penetration or permanent damage. Save the best for Juan, please,” I heard Lorenzo’s voice over the raging roar inside my brain. To have the man I had loved once give me away like a piece of meat to be shared among animals was beyond the realm the sanity for me.
I lost track of time and understanding for what happened next.
Brutal pair of hands groped and assaulted every inch of my exposed skin like a property to be tried and tested before bought. At one time, I managed to kick one of the animals between the legs, even though I knew the bloody outcome.
And sure as hell, it was bloody, for I was bleeding and beaten beyond recognition. For the aftermath of an act of such intense cruelty cannot be captured in words.
Not for once did I take my eyes off Lorenzo. I wanted him to see that I cannot be broken, that I cannot be ruined, despite his best efforts to degrade me as a human being and use me as a pawn to gain leverage over my family.
I didn’t fight, cry, or scream. I endured not because I could, but because I had to survive. I had to live to see the day when the wheels would turn, and karma would find its course.
They say Medusa was cursed to trade off her beauty with stone, her gorgeous locks for snakes, but the truth was: it wasn’t a curse but her power. The power of a wronged maiden who had fallen prey to the greed and lust of the cruel God. So, she chose to be worshipped as a goddess among monsters so no one could ever ravage her again.
“I have to say this, Sam, it turned me on to watch them have at you,” Lorenzo admitted shamelessly, once the men left after satisfying themselves. He dipped his hand between my legs, cupping the sex. “If I knew this before, I would have let a few more men taste you. What do you think about that?”
Through the excruciating pain, I managed to tip up my head and look at him dead in the eye. And then I smiled the smile he was least expecting. “You know what will turn me on, Lorenzo? When I will tear you apart—limb by limb—and then feed you to the dogs.”
A taunting chuckle broke out of his expression. “I like that there’s still some fight left in you. Good for you, sweetheart, because you’d need it where you are going tomorrow.”
If I have to burn down the world to keep you safe, then I would do it—and without any regret. It was Viktor’s voice that echoed in my subconscious like a sacred hymn.
Then I heard Paps. If they ever tell you again that you are not my daughter, show them that I have raised a fearless woman, one who wouldn’t shy away from killing them.
“I don’t give a flying shit to where I am going. But I can tell you where you’d be: in a fucking shithole, and of that, I promise you,” I vowed.
At that moment, I knew the power that resonated within me. I might not have been a monster, but I was very well raised by them.
First of all, I apologize for the late update guys.
This Chapter was, so far, emotionally stressful to edit when I have been reading the news again and again about the recent case of the brutal rape and death of the 26-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad. (Those who don’t know, please Google the news.) It is disturbing and painful to know that human beings are capable of committing crimes more ruthless than wild animals.
Before I pray for the rightful justice, I hope, with all my heart and soul, that NO ONE should ever suffer like that in the first place. If we can’t be kind and compassionate, at least, let’s not be inhumane and brutal.