- Meet The Girls
- Meet The Guys
- Chapter One
- Chapter Two
- Chapter Three
- Chapter Four
- Chapter Five
- Chapter Six
- Chapter Seven
- Chapter Eight
- Chapter Nine
- Chapter Ten
- Chapter Eleven
- Chapter Twelve
- Chapter Thirteen
This story is NSFW! This chapter is rated Mature for adult language, sexual content, references to graphic violence. This means that this is intended for audiences 18 and up.
Abuse (Physical, Emotional), Allusions to Child-Harm, Human Trafficking
Just as quickly as happiness was found, it was cast aside. Such was the cycle Eli faced. She sank her claws into whatever refuge was given to her. Teeth bit into the floorboards, keeping her still until the Devil came to grab her ankles and drag her beneath.
She treasured moments stolen with Yui. She reveled in the seldom-found tenderness with Damien. But those were mere moments of fancy. A whimsical departure from the nightmare she lived and breathed.
Landyn’s summons came to her like a warning shot. Canonfire in the night, alerting her to what would soon be another battle. His army would march, and it would be just her on the enemy’s side. She was growing weary of being strong. Tired of keeping her spine straight when the weight of his affections threatened to crumble her.
As always, she was given no preamble to what they would be doing. He told her how she was expected to dress – this time, practical. It was a relief to open her door and see no parcels waiting for her. No jewelry to slip over sore flesh. No dresses to cinch herself into.
Slowly, painstakingly, she forced herself to change from out of her pajamas. A pair of black jeans was easily found at the front of her closet. A tattered t-shirt that had seen better days was soon pulled over her frame. The threadbare fabric reminded her of a better time. A simpler time. It had been a gift from Aria when they had first started dating. Eli pretended to like a band she knew Aria favored. It had been an awkward moment between the pair as she clutched the shirt to her chest and smiled apologetically. Eli confessed her sins, relieved only when Aria cackled her amusement.
It became her favorite shirt.
The pattern had been established long ago that she would lie through her teeth to placate her lovers. Back then, she only had to fear disappointment. Little did she know that there were hurts far worse that could be bestowed upon her.
Her cell phone chimed in her pocket. Followed soon after by a second. A third. She knew it was Landyn without glancing at the screen. Her spine had gone rigid, her jaw clenched.
Every part of her being demanded that she take her time – one sleeve of her leather jacket shrugged on at glacial speed. Then the other.
Instead, she denied herself the quiet rebellion. Her jacket was shucked on hastily, her boots laced and zipped within seconds.
Damien’s eyes followed her as she emerged from her apartment. He looked just as wary as her, his expression stony as he took in her appearance. If there was relief to be had, she couldn’t see it. Especially not when he averted his eyes and stared at the wall opposite her.
It shattered her in a way only the denial of affection could. She wished that she could see his smile soften. Wished that they could exchange some words of comfort before she descended the steps to Hell. But they couldn’t. Not with Landyn’s eyes and ears everywhere. Anything out of the ordinary was reported back to him, and the guard positioned beside him was the only one she hadn’t managed to sway into her corner yet.
Averting her gaze, she plodded down the hall, her footsteps far heavier than they usually were.
The elevator chimed. The doors swung open. With a deep breath, she forced herself to cross its threshold.
She tried not to think about how the elevator moved. How it descended too quickly for her liking. It felt like an anchor had been wrapped around her ankle, and she was rapidly falling through murky waters. She might find peace at the bottom of the ocean. Surrounded by other bottom-dwellers and predators. Then, perhaps, in the final moments, before water filled her lungs, she’d find her kind. Others like her, too hideous to live above the waves. Too malformed from the pressure of the world to ever ascend past the dark.
The doors swung open, and she plummeted into a world of smiles and pleasantries. Landyn stood at the entrance, dressed similarly in dark denim and leather. He offered his hand to her, smiling brightly as if the world revolved around her. As if he loved her. A lie that sent shockwaves of misery through her insides.
Their hands met, their fingers laced. Pinpricks of wrongness crawled their way across her skin, leaving pooling wounds in their wake.
“Where are we going?” She asked as they stepped out onto the sidewalk.
As always, Landyn insisted on getting the door for her. He remained mute until she slipped into the backseat and climbed in after her. He sat too close to her for her liking – his thigh brushing up against hers when he settled.
“We’ve been tasked with a new operation,” he said vaguely.
Eli’s jaw tensed, her expression hardened. “Your reward?”
“Of course,” he grinned, his fingers combing adoringly through her hair.
She resisted the urge to flinch, but only barely. If he noticed, nothing played out on his face. He had a remarkable ability to be oblivious while simultaneously being completely aware.
“What are we moving?” She asked as the car started its slow crawl out of their parking spot.
“More of the same,” he said, his hand finding her thigh. His thumb traced along the inner seam of her jeans, edging too far upward for her liking.
“Mhm,” he watched as the strip passed them by. Flashing lights and tall-reaching buildings swelling up on either side of them. Traffic was as Hellish as ever, ensuring that they had more time than either could wish to sit in uncomfortable silence.
The Devil was keen to fill it, waffling on about vague details of his new gift. He was pleased with his promotion – elated in his father’s burgeoning trust in him.
Not in him, Eli realized. But in her. Which was likely the condition in which he was even afforded this new opportunity.
Her stomach twisted in apprehension. She had never done well with unknowns. But there was the added layer of wrongness. In the revelation that her sins were not done with her, despite how desperately she was done with them.
“You seem… off today, my love,” he said, brushing her hair away from her face. “Are you worried about something?”
“No,” she said, forcing a smile. “I’m not worried about anything.”
He watched her for a long moment, his expression disbelieving. “Good,” he offered at long last, though he was visibly hardly convinced. “The last thing we need is for you to have cold feet.”
By the skin of her teeth, she managed to bite back a barb about how they were frozen. No good would come of her mouthing off to him. Once the flames of his temper were stoked, it didn’t matter where they were. The apartment, a car. He had taken out his frustrations on her in the past, and she had no desire to make this ordeal more punishing than necessary.
The Devil continued his rambling. This time about more inconsequential things. The weather. The changes in Vegas – the ever-evolving city. Before long, they had slipped out of its confines and traipsed across its borders. First, into the residential neighborhoods and, next, deeper into the desert.
Her eyes tracked the various turn-offs, remembering all too clearly how to get to one warehouse or another. With her eyes closed, she could point out where their weapons were. Where their drugs were. Where their people were.
It felt like lifetimes passed before they finally arrived at their destination. A tan structure swelled up amidst the landscape, barely noticeable until they were right on it. Dust and sand kicked up around their car, obscuring their view of the dirt road behind them. Around the furthest side of the worn exterior were a few vehicles. Trucks, chiefly. All of which she recognized belonged to her least favorite people.
Gritting her teeth, she waited for the car to stop.
She wondered how far she would make it if she made a run for it. They were quite a ways away from the city. The nearest town was a far journey. But, given her preternatural speed and her robust nature, perhaps she could make it there safely. Thirsty and hungry, but safe. Away from Landyn and the life he had dragged her into.
His voice came to her as if spoken through water. Her eyes barely focused on him when she turned to face him.
“What is wrong with you?” He growled, gripping her roughly by the chin.
Pain lanced up to her temples, grounding her in the present. Her teeth gnashed viciously together as he shook her.
“I’m sorry,” she managed, the heel of his palm pressed terrifyingly close to the front of her throat. “I was just daydreaming.”
“About what?” He snarled.
Fight. Flight. Befriend.
“Our last night together,” she purred, her hand smoothing along his thigh. “It’s been a long time since we were together like that.”
His eyes grew half-lidded, his scowl quirking upward in a predatory smirk. “It has been,” he murmured, leaning close to her. She could taste his breath and felt her insides twist. “I wonder whose fault that is, hm?”
Her jaw ticked, her smile twisting into something ugly. Ugly enough that his grip tightened on her before she could unleash the venom building behind her teeth.
“Don’t play games with me, Eli.”
“No games,” she said, her tongue tracing her lip as she leaned forward. “I’ve got a lot on my mind.”
The protest was there on his lips. The condemnation that he was the one who shouldered the weight of their obligations.
“I worry about you,” she murmured, pressing her neck into his hand as she leaned closer, her nose brushing against his. “I worry about what all this new responsibility means for you. For us.”
“Don’t worry,” he breathed, his hand snaking to the back of her head to tangle painfully in her hair. “I have all the time in the world for you, Mate.”
The words felt like lava in her veins. Disgust threatened to bubble up her throat and into his when he kissed her roughly. His tongue invaded her mouth, leaving no part of her unexplored.
God help her. She kissed the Devil back with equal fervor, allowing him to believe that she wanted his sins as badly as he was desperate to give them.
Their kiss broke after an agonizingly long time. They paused to catch their breath, his hand disappearing to his lap to adjust himself.
“Whatever has gotten into you,” he started, his expression morphing into a devilish grin, “I like it.”
The facility was toured, leading down corridors of rust and decay. They were told about the ‘product’ and the schedule they hoped to achieve. They spoke in vague terms, seemingly all too cowardly to acknowledge out loud what they were doing. The lives they were ruining.
But Eli could not look past it. They were moving people. Human beings would be holed up in these cells while one of their associates auctioned them off to the highest bidder.
Some were sold to them – for meager prices. Others were abducted off the streets. It didn’t matter to them. Just so long as they could turn a profit.
Her stomach twisted in knots as she looked at a tiny room, set up with cots with unicorn and rainbow sheets. Their tour guide boasted about the extra care put into their accommodations, and Landyn praised him in equal measure.
Elizaveta looked on horrified, her hand braced against her stomach when she realized just who they were selling.
Her mouth gaped open, pinpricks formed behind her eyes. She shuffled along numbly after them.
“Here they are, boss.”
She felt her insides turn to rot when she saw them – quietly crying, covered in grime. Helpless.
Her vision went black as she lost her lunch on her shoes.
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