Insatiable Crimes

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• 15 •

X E N A

Fifteen lashes for incompetency.

The words echoed in my head, doubling, tripling over till my vision trembled at the edges.

My hands held onto the leather firmly, flexing it in my grip. Just looking at the instrument in my palms made me nauseous. I’d already been acquainted to the burn of lashes three times before in my life. The last time I whipped myself raw, I was fifteen.

After that I never made any mistakes.

Until now.

I steely watched the flinging extensions bounce. If I leaned in closer, I was certain that I would be able to see my own blood stain from years back.

To make sure I never forget.

Stripping myself of the skin tight dress, my jaw clenched when the cool air met my exposed skin.

I don’t give myself time to prepare. My arm swung.

Eyes open, I counted the seconds, waiting for the pain to register.

It did.

Nine strings of leather rained down onto the uneven skin on my back, one after the other, in perfect synchrony. The previous coldness was replaced by red hot pain. Not a word escaped my mouth.

One lash turned five, five lashes turned ten.
I could feel the cruel air brush past my newly opened wounds, burning the lashes with an intensity I’d tried to forget. Blood ran down my back, slipping down my skin, painting my back red.

And the pain kept going worse.

It didn’t matter that I knew it by heart. I knew the way my body responded to the whip— hell, I had every level of the physical pain I’d encountered in my life memorised, and the lashes of a whip didn’t even come close to the top five.

But it burned.

Pain overtook my senses, as my back went lax against the rain of polished leather.

I didn’t stop at fifteen. I couldn’t stop at fifteen.
Pain was good, I reminded myself. Pain helped me think.

My eyes burned with unshed tears, back stiff as a rod. I took all my aggression, all my confusion, all my anger out on my body. Maybe it wasn’t healthy, but it was a coping mechanism. My coping mechanism.

It was the last few lashes that did it for me.
My brain conjured up Vincenzo’s smug face. The cold turn of his lips.

What would he say if he was here, right now, watching me torment my own body? Maybe he would be amused. He had full right to be. ‘Serves you right’ would taste just right on his tongue.

The next strike was brutal. It was harsh, and unrelenting, and this time I couldn’t repress the sounds that left me. I vocalized my pain, the sound of my very weakness.

It was repulsive. Appalling. Sickening.

My weakness was sickening.

In that moment, I disgusted myself.

The Vincenzo in my head laughed in cold delight. Weak, his voice was silk in my head. Deadly silk. And I agreed.

So, fucking pathetic.

The whip fell off my hand, as I carefully crouched down, breathing in through the anguish.

My tears— another fucking weakness— streamed down my face, their pace steady, leaving the coldness of regret behind. My throat felt heavy, but my jaw stayed clamped, refusing to let any other pathetic sound escape my mouth.

The tears were never ending, the pain was sheer agony.

But there was something different this time.
The need for revenge was still there, only this time it was raging, fucking consuming. I could feel the thirst of torrent in the next gulp of air I breathed. It was bitter on my tongue, burning in my mouth and threatened to claw off my throat.

I shrugged on my dress, not even wincing as it rubbed against my thawed off skin on my back. The coldness of my blood seeped into the fabric. I’d never been more thankful of my wardrobe choice being all black.

Moving carefully, I lightly flexed my shoulder, feeling the damage.

It was needed.

I left the instrument on the marble floor— now stained crimson, knowing it would be wiped once, nowhere near clean, and put back in my armoire.

It was a reminder of a sort. To keep my wits with me next time.

My father’s words were clear. He expected me right at the basement. I could disinfect the lashes later on. I straightened my back, feeling the full burn of my wound.

It was nothing I couldn’t take.

I walked.


V I N C E N Z O

“Why are you here?” The American don sat leisurely on the seat which was once occupied by his daughter.

Not for long.

I preferred the daughter’s company better. At least her face didn’t look like a shrivelled pickle, sucking on the insides of a lemon, raw.

“We both know Mr. Romano that you cannot fool me as easily as you fooled my naive daughter.” He grimaced.

My mask of cold indifference felt tighter. He was good. I couldn’t underestimate him.

But this time, the reins were in my hands. Not his.

Yet the familiar feeling of helplessness seeped in. I pushed it back before it could gain control over me. I wouldn’t allow it.

I smiled. “So you’re telling me that Mercedes isn’t after you?”

I had upper hand on both, father and daughter.
My lower abdomen was still in shackles, but in that moment I had more power in contrast to them.

And was I going to enjoy toying with the information.

Alexei did not like my upper hand, judging by the sneer he suit me. “Why are you really here?”

It was quiet.

“You know why I’m here.” One sentence. 5 words. And he remembered it all.

The Don’s eyes flared with anger. Getting up, he vividly cursed, drawing circles around me with his pace. A pathetic attempt to scare me off. I crossed my ankles, waiting to see where his little temper tantrum would lead us.

“I have told you before. I’ll talk to her. I need some time!” My chair was kicked from behind.

My teeth gritted with my own anger. It took a moment for me to control my harsh breathing, to drop the cool façade again. “Time is something you do not have, Alexei.”

“You will address me with respect, boy.”

The last person who called me ‘boy’ was made to be chained against the wall, insects crawling over the cuts and bruises, eating him from the inside. Chewing the flesh apart as his screams bled for mercy.

Mercy he did not get— my father.

“Free me of my chains.”

“I do not take orders from you,” His teeth gnarled angrily as he looked down upon me.

My own gaze narrowed. A second passed. Then two. Three. His eyes shifted.

I smiled. “My chains, if you will.”

Even a fool could sense the order in it, rather the plead.

He had no choice. He knew he was lower than me. He knew he could never be me.

And he knew that his pathetic attempt of trying to scare me away would bite his ass in the future. Repeatedly.

He picked the saw. I waited, straightening.
The chains of my abdomen loosened, slinking to the ground with a loud clank.

Free, at last.

Just as he was particularly close to me, my hand reached up and grabbed the collar of his pristine shirt. He stilled in my steel grip, eyes narrowing to mine. The barely withheld fury in mine was enough to make him look away, as he stood still in my iron clad grip.

This time, it was the other way around.

A total of a minute passed with so many possibilities— different variations of how I could make the motherfucker pain the most passing through my head. I could choke him. Too messy for my taste. My trigger finger twitched.

Even looking at him brought old memories back. Memories of the past that would do better stay where they were. Fucking buried in the past. Not in my head, leeching me off all my sane thoughts.

“You want to know why I’m here?” My hand tightened on his collar, robbing him off his next breath. He choked, beady eyes widening. But he didn’t try to step away.

And why would he? I knew he fucked up. He knew he fucked up. I smiled, running my tongue over my teeth.

“I want my repayment, That is why I’m here. And I won’t leave without it. Non me ne andrò senza di lei.”

Jostling his face away from me, the rasps of his breaths became background noise as I smoothened the creases off my suit. Wincing at the sudden change in my head, I paid my splitting headache no mind.

Food wasn’t a priority for me. I could go hours more before collapsing.

“Where is she?” I looked around her little torture chamber, studying minute details. Like how there was a drain every few metres to flush in blood and discharge of her kidnapee’s. Thoughtful.

I shoved open a drawer, the one she’d taken out her equipment from, and studied the insides. My mother used to say that one’s weapon choice spoke a lot of their character. From what I’d witnessed, Xena preferred her knives. After all, her signature look was carving a crooked X on her victims disposed bodies.

Violent creature, I thought with amusement.

I, on the other hand, preferred the cold barrel of a gun as my drug of choice. One shot to the heart and the scent of a clean death, most of the time. Then of course, there were other times. Times where I took the extra mile to make the death as miserable, as prolong as possible.

No mercy either ways.

Invading through her knife collection, my fingers crossed around the girth of a Glock pistol, loading the magazine. I pocketed it, half listening to Alexei’s drone.

“— deal. She doesn’t know as of yet.”

I did not have time for this. “Where is she?"

His palm slapped the table. “Fucking hear what I’m trying to say.”

A moment passed.

Too bad I had a low tolerance for bullshit. Xena’s gun from my pocket fit well in my palm, trigger cocked.

“You really need to stop testing my patience, stronzo.” I pulled the trigger, watching the caliber disappear in his shoulder.

Something sudden caught my attention, and I turned my head, pistol still aimed at the asshole.

She’s glaring at me with enough animosity that it almost causes my grip to slacken. Gone were the sarcastic aloofness. This was a woman with vindictive wrath on her mind.

Just my luck I was on the receiving end of it.

Her tone was sharp. “Did you just shoot my father?”

me 🤝 writing broken af characters

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since i don’t want to make this a/n long, read the caption of my latest ig post, handle—
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