ZERO (EXCLUSIVE 3 CHAPTERS)

Zero

Once upon a time I met a girl, I loved her with everything in me. My love was something that happened so sudden, like a real fairy tale. She was my beauty and I her beast. When she stared in my eyes I was lost in her black soulless depths, forgetting the soul I didn’t see. When Beauty looked into my HEART I saw the future in her cold stare.

Her body was my glory, I ignored the weapon it showed me. I was obsessed in the slope of her curves, the movement of her hips as she put one foot in front of the other. Her touch blinded me. When Beauty touched me she woke the beast, called to the killer and hummed to the sniper, until she was where my heaven began and my demons ended.

I remember the day when just a glimpse of her gutted me in the chest. Beauty was where my madness sang and in less than a month I was hers.

My pops once told me that every man has his falling point. Every brother has a day to mourn.
I thought I mourned when I put my club brothers to rest in the ground after our second tour. I convinced myself I mourned when I lost the woman I almost called my wife after she chose a needle over my vow and overdosed on crack.

FUCK, I thought I mourned when I almost lost my blood brother but nothing takes the stakes like it does now. Nothing better compares to mourning than the agony I feel at the betrayal of the one person I gave myself too. The woman who made sense of my madness.

“How could you!!.” I scream in to the nothingness of cold stagnant air. A foolish man looking for foolish answers. Hoping to hear a voice I would never hear again.
Once upon a time I met a girl, I loved her with everything in me.

My love was something that happened so sudden, like a real fairy tale, she was my beauty and I her beast. But Beauty had a secret, another life, and in the end she betrayed me, and chose him.

There is no description to the betrayal I feel, to the hollowness I endure.

Darkness, once just an entity, now my home. This blackness, here is where I see her. On the hillside looking over the water. I still feel her essence, still taste it on my tongue in the air.

And if I really stop and stare at the darkened water I see the silhouette of her body that I once convinced myself was shaped just for me.

The taste of the burn down my throat brings the numbness I force upon myself from bottoming a bottle of shitty whiskey. This is my coping mechanism.

“BEAUTY.” I yell from the top of the hill.

“BEAUTY.” I keep thinking, like a foolish man, in love with a foolish thought of a girl that was all fake, that she will slip out of the water like a siren.

And have the craziest story to tell me, explaining why she betrayed me, why she used me. Why she chose him over me.

Time goes, as it always will, passing, stealing my darkness which is now my home, from me, to fool us with the sun, its light. I hate this time, morning, sunrise, because then reality sinks in.

There is no more pretending that she is here. I can’t convince my eyes the reflection of the moon is her shelter. No, I am forced to remember our last night together. I am reminded of who she is, a trained killer, a wanted fugitive who used me to kill my brother.

Who played me.

“Zero, it’s time to go brother.” I feel Knight’s right arm slip under my left side as the sun brightens my small reprieve. I should expect him by now, it has been two weeks since Beauty left.

Fourteen nights of sitting on this hill, drowning my sorrows, hoping to catch a glimpse of her.

Fourteen mornings since Knight has picked my drunken ass off this hill and taken me back inside to what was once my home now just my own personal hellish reminder of her.

He gets me up, my bare feet and stiff legs protesting from finally changing position.

“I keep saying I ain’t no kid and still you keep comin’.” I tell him as we begin the slow walk back to the four story face brick building we call our clubhouse.

Most of my weight is shamelessly on the brother. Truth is, I would probably be rolling down this hill if it weren’t for him.

“And I keep saying that you need to cool it with the booze, if you were a kid I would have belted your ass the first time and made sure you listened.” I snort.

Tightening my arm that’s gripping his neck.

“You won’t even kill a bee, how the fuck are you gonna belt a kid.”

“That’s because the bee is innocent, just minding its own business, a naughty kid is minding everybody elses.”

He points out as we continue our trek back down.

“You need help man,” I shake my head as I voice out the obvious. Knight’s way of thinking should really be evaluated.

“As long as my name is not Killer or Texas I think I’m good, are we going to the kitchen or straight to the shower.”

“I could do with a meal.” I tell him, and we change direction toward the back door, where the kitchen is located.

“Left overs or eggs?” Knight asks me as he pushes the kitchen door. And it feels like a sucker punch to the gut as I enter this kitchen. It brings back memories of Beauty, scrubbing the floor, her body shaking on the ground from her terrors. I should call her Beggar now as morning comes, as reality washes over my clouded fog, because that was her name she chose, Beggar.

When I met her that was exactly what she was, a woman who lived on the streets. Maybe that is why I convinced myself that she wasn’t a danger. Maybe it is the reason I let my guard down.

The kitchen door separating the dinning area from the kitchen swings open. The big beef of a man named River, with slight leathery skin from riding the hard way through life, stares at Knight and I with his wide awake deep blue eyes that says more than he probably would.

“Where the fuck is Mercy? I got a lead on Beggar, we got church in ten.” My drunken state leaves Knight’s hold and I casually lean on the center table with my elbow digging into the marble slab, as my legs cross over each other.

Knight steps in front of me and I notice the brother has his hair open, to his shoulders, and he is wearing his training pants and gray army sweat shirt that is wet on his chest area and under his arms. He was training.

That meant one thing- Killer was here.
“She’s fetching After and Falon in Barfa, should be back in an hour or two.” Knight says, as he slips a band around his hair.

River looks at me, from top to bottom. I know what he sees. My black sweatshirt is messed with alcohol stains. Dark denim pants dirty from the floor and my feet, bare and naked as I feel standing in this kitchen.

“Church, let’s go.” River gives me a once over before he turns and marches from the kitchen.

Knight turns to me, “You good to go?”

“I’ll live.” Knight steps in next to me as I take my drunken ass to the other side of the house. When we get to the steel door that is open, Knight moves in front of me, taking the steps before I do.

I know what he is doing, fucker, he is making sure if I do fall it is on him. The name certainly suits the ass, Knight and shining fucking Armour. I follow him down the steps wordlessly.

The familiar faces that are my brothers and one of our patched women, Venus all look at me. Spade sitting behind my chair, where I walk toward now, gives me a chin lift. Knight goes to the other side of the basement we use for church and plants himself next to Texas.

Texas drops his hat and covers his face as Knight starts talking to him about something.
Venus plays with her long hair as she flirts shamelessly with Snake, while he watches her as he plays with the snake tattooed on his cheek. Everybody knows in this room that the two are never going to fuck. Snake put her off limits when he found out she was a doctor. Didn’t blame Venus for trying though, brother didn’t get the name because of the tattoo that’s for sure.

Bull is still the same has been of his old self, still mourning the loss of his wife, still huge and scary, looking at the cemented floor trying to find answers that ain’t never gonna show itself. Well, minus the joint and add in the blue eye and cut brow.

Yeah, guy mouthed off to Killer. Killer doesn’t like it when the brothers disrespect him, more so when he feels he is right and the other guy is wrong, (which is all the time).

River shook his head when he saw Bull two nights back, and shrugged the thing off, saying Bull caught Killer at a bad time.

Recently everyday since Beauty left is a bad time for Killer.

Everyone gives him a wide berth. Good thing he’s following River because I don’t see the two of us making chit chat.

Killer’s change in behavior has me questioning whether he really has no feelings or is it an exception when it comes to my woman.

Well, can’t really say she is mine, technically she is Lucca’s. She is his fucking wife. When my blood brother, Thorn told me this I couldn’t believe it, it was the worst fucking news I could have heard at the time. It wasn’t just the icing on the cake it was the knife that cut the cake.

Killer makes himself visible from the shadow. And it isn’t the first time he gives me a chilling glare. It could mean a thousand things but we both understand it for what it truly is. Since the news about Beauty and my blood brother, the club has separated.

Not only are the guys still nursing their egos but now we are divided. Most of us, myself included want Beauty found and punished for what she did.

Killer and a few others believe she is innocent until proven guilty. Isn’t my brother’s injury that she inflicted proves she is guilty enough. Apparently not.

National sent their own personal man to help find her. River is the guy who came from national. I have never gotten too close to him, but I know Killer and Snake were both on missions with the man. He was the one who brought the two youngsters into the club.

He hasn’t stated which side of the totem he is on, but I get the feeling that he is hiding a fuck load of things that we should know.

Storm walks in, our new acting president. No one minded him as our vice when Rounder was his good ole self. Storm is definitely a leader and maybe one day he’d make a great pres, but that day isn’t now.

Only fuck up with this is that nobody has the balls to tell Rounder to step down besides Killer and Texas. Killer voiced his opinion loud and clear, many times over. Texas just doesn’t give a fuck about club politics.

The rest of us have our own emotional ‘garbage reasons’ as Killer pointed out as to why we don’t say shit. Only thing with that is, now that the club is divided we need a solid president to keep us in line.

A house full of killers who are all itching for a fight is a bad no go zone. One of these days things are going to explode. I feel it deep in my bones, same like how I took one look at Beauty riding behind Storm and new shit was coming. It is coming all right. Coming big time.

The knife is planted by Storm in the table. Church is now in session.

“So what do we have.” Storm asks looking to River who is seated on my left.

If people asked me I would say River and Storm should change places, the guy is someone we listen too. River is slightly smaller in beef than Bull, but the guy is solid muscle, and his face is one of those you just have to think second about. He might lack in the personality department but can’t say the guy isn’t funny at times. He has what I call dry humor. You either get it or don’t but you ain’t gonna see the man smiling. Well, I did watch him laugh for a good hour when he first came. He was watching the footage of us getting ours asses handed to us by Beauty.

He and Killer both found it amusing. Guess they wouldn’t have been so thrilled if they were there.
When I found out River was the one who sent us to Kanla when the drug cartel decided to use this place as their waste ground I took a few moments to let it set in. The guy said he hasn’t been here in seven years. From my own experience the only man who never returns home for so long is a running man. Question is was he running to something or running from someone.

Either way I wanted to know more about our National Sergeant at arms.

River sighs, before he gets up and faces the rest of us, “Next week the Outfit are having their annual business meeting in New Orleans. Sanati has to attend, if he doesn’t he will look weak. With Deno taking over the front rows of the Famiglia, Sanati can’t afford to be perceived as skittish because his wife is a Demarco. It’s bad for business. Our informant tells us that the rumor of his wife belonging to the famiglia has already spread around. Not sure how he plans to keep her in line but we know she should be there.”

“Deno will chat to the Capo dei Capi. No one knows for certain whether the famiglia is going to retaliate or if they plan on protecting Amariya.” Killer informs us.

“So is that your way of saying you changed your mind about her.” I question him as he steps back into the fucking shadow.

The room quietens, and I keep my glare pinned on the dark shadow as the ghost takes a step back out, “It is my way of saying you’re a little bitch,”

I fling my chair back as I jump to my feet. The room erupts as Spade grabs me from behind and River takes a step in front of me blocking my view of Killer.

No one touches Killer but I have to give River credit for keeping his position as Killer comes closer to me. His deep blue eyes are staring coldly at me. His face snarly, like I make him want to hurl. It just pisses me the fuck off. I want to hit him, even knowing I am too pissed to fight him off if he decides to beat me up.

“I’m not the one screaming out her name on a hill top, too pissed to even talk properly, so don’t sit your drunken ass down questioning me when you keep lying to yourself.”

“Enough Killer.” Storm bellows.

“Somebody needs to tell the fucker, I don’t see you doing it President.” Killer glares at Storm, not hiding his dislike of the situation that is our president.

“Killer, enough.” River’s voice seems to resonate through Killer’s thick head and the ghost walks back to his shadow.

His words don’t leave me even as the sight of him does. The ghost watches, he sees it all. I have always fitted the position of enforcer for a similar reason, but the ghost never talks unless he has a plan.

That is something I learned about Killer. He always has a plan. Every word, every move is made for a reason. I stare at his shadowed form, my mind on what exactly was he up to.

Church goes on for another half hour as we talk about finding Beauty and the opening of our Club. Which apparently Daisy Jane, the owner of another club and also River’s cousin wasn’t too happy about.

I take in pieces here and there, but most of the time my mind is focused on the ghost.

Beggar

My story has never been my own, it always belonged to somebody else, another person playing front and center.

Me- Always the passer-by. Not many people know my story. Most have never asked. I mean why should they? I am just the beggar on the street. I’m the skinny dirty girl, way too skinny.

She must be a drug addict most people say, a whore. How many of them actually considered the truth, I was hungry. How many stopped and rolled down their automated windows and actually gave me that fifty cents, or dollar.

Not many.

Because How could I possibly be hungry. People see me as the drug addict whore they want to see me as. None of them stop and consider that I was a kid at one time, born from a mother, innocent and clean just like them. Naked just like them. No, because the world judges. We are categorized to fit people’s naive minds.

And I, the skinny hungry girl am categorized as the whore, the drug addict and the other sick shit that people think up and point at me. Telling their kids about how these street junkies get by, scaring them with lies to justify the evilness in their own mind. That is what people see when they look at me, Beggar.

Well, at least they did.
Months ago, I met a group of bikers. They called themselves Satan Snipers. I saved their princess Falon by killing two guys who wanted to rape her.

The Enforcer of the club, Zero, took me with them that night. My life changed FROM that very first night. I had a hot shower, my own bedroom, and three full meals a day. Life was great.

Storm, the Vice President and I became fast friends. Knight, Spade and Snake were my teachers. They taught me to fight, allowed me the opportunity to be like them. Guess they didn’t know I was already a deadly weapon. A wanted killer with a few targets on my back and a bounty on my head that was so large, sometimes it had me asking why couldn’t I just hand myself in.

But life never worked that way for me. Even death was too easy these days.
Killer, the man in the Clubhouse that saw me for who I was from the very day. A woman without a soul, never batted an eye lash of who I was.

He became something in my life, something that had questioning shit I didn’t want to be questioning. And Zero, the scared scary Enforce of the Club. The man who owned the last piece of me. He took that final piece of humanity I had in me, and I never stood a chance.

He made my demons livable with words I knew he could never keep. He was one who forced air into my lungs when I forgot to breathe. He held me when just a touch proved too close to hell. Zero taught me life, something I forgot I still had, and for that short while I pretended I could be his.

Now he hates me. For good reason, that I can’t fault him. He thinks I knew his brother was his brother. He thinks I used him to kill his brother, Thorn. Zero believes that I will kill his brother. And while most of what he thinks is wrong, the most important part of that is the truth.

I will kill Thorn. Not because I am the sick killer the Satan Snipers probably think I am, but because I don’t have a choice. I have to do it for her.

There are days when I think about them all, The Satan Snipers. They opened their home for me, took me in, trained me. For a while I was happy. Things seemed better. Way better. So much so that I forgot my monster who haunted me wasn’t just a monster but a man who would stop at nothing to get his possession back. Me.

He wasn’t just my monster, he was my husband and the Boss of the Outfit.

A man willing to do whatever it took to get me back and he did. He kidnapped two of The Satan Sniper’s women. I knew what he would do to them and he knew I knew. I couldn’t let that happen. My intention was to leave the Clubhouse quietly but that didn’t turn out as well as I wanted. But when does anything turn out the way I want, never.

So I traded myself with the women and gave myself to the familiar monster I knew. My husband, Lucca Sanati.

“Amariya.” The scream bellows through the long stretch of trees. A familiar voice, sending familiar chills down my body. There was a time, not many years ago when my name on his lips made me blush, and my belly flutter. Now it serves as a reminder of how cunning a demon is.

A voice made to seduce a woman, a face sculpted to obsess her. And a black soul made to frighten her.

“Where the fuck are you?” He yells again, and the three guards stationed to watch me like the dog he has now made me SCREAM, “Here, boss.” Like the puppies they are.

He comes through the rows of trees, THEN stands there, a few feet too near with his hands on his waist. His cuff links gone from his white crisp shirt. The fabric, now rolled up to reveal his hairy arms. His deep olive complexion glows under the New Jersey sun as brown hazel eyes I once looked at like it held all the answers to my problems stares at me.

Over these past months, I notice he does that a lot. Stares, I hate it. More when I have no option but to look right back at him.
“It’s time to leave.” His words say one thing, but his sharp angular face conveys something darker. I know exactly what he wants to do to me right now for sitting outside. Defying his orders to stay with him at his stupid party. The one good thing was that I was back in Washington. Closer to a lot more than I was in New Orleans.

I touch the shock collar on my neck- A reminder that the blue silk dress wrapped around my body and fancy silver shoes attached to my feet is just a bluff- A lie. Before now, he has kept me in a bedroom- Naked. The shock collar around my neck is just one of the things he has used over and over again, torturing me with attempts to get me to reveal to him a truth.

That truth is neither here nor there. A truth I refuse to even think about. The honest story about her, my daughter, his only child.
Our child that I keep telling him didn’t survive.
It wasn’t that way initially. First he tried charm, and I admit that I considered falling for it and giving in. But my survival instincts wouldn’t let me be so stupid. It didn’t take him long to got fed up with my bullshit, because that is exactly what it was ‘bullshit’.

I took pride a few weeks after than in stabbing him in his sleep with a nail file he so eagerly handed me to clean my nails with. That led to me finally getting collard. After that it was a few attempts here and there in the past months that eventually got me from living in a fully furnished room with a warm bed, sleeping next to my monster.

To an empty room, naked and cold just like a stray dog.
Lucca insists it is my fault, he has convinced himself that he is teaching me a lesson and eventually one day I would smile and look back on this time as a small wrinkle in our story.
That just tells me how fucked up he is, because I rather live in an empty room, sleeping on a cold floor. Not only am I away from him for those hours but it reminds me everyday of why I keep my silence. It reminds me that I need to live to finish what I have started.

An unfamiliar comfort is a worse torture than the familiar struggle I face.
“Amariya, vieni, e ora di andare a casa.” Amariya, come, it is time to go home.
I should argue with my husband, that is what normal married people do, but I don’t.

Our marriage is not normal. He is the sworn enemy of the blood that runs through my veins. It is why he turned around and showed me who he really was. I once hated my family, the blood that was my own for this very reason. Now I am glad for it, because I see him, I don’t see the potential of what he could be.

I should make a scene now, it is what a kidnapped woman would do. But I am not kidnapped, I am a prisoner, a willing one. This is my life. I had years running from this man, and months loving him. I know Lucca. The best thing I can do is bide my time. His men that raped me are now all dead except three. He hunts them down, a way to try and redeem himself for leaving me naked in a ditch, to the onslaught of his fucked up men, that claim to be made. But a made man has honor, his men have none.

He doesn’t realize, he is worst than them. Torture, rape it is all the same. He raped me too, claiming I was his, and I lived with it because I never had anyone show me another way. It became my living hell. He knew who I was and he still made me love him, showing me a side to him that he knew a homeless beggar like myself wouldn’t even dream of. Someone who cared.
I was fooled by the two nights I had in his bed where he showed me gentle.

My mind believed he was my savior, and my body believed he was my owner. Only he wasn’t. Lucca was my rapist, my tormentor and abuser. The worst of them all, because even knowing all that, I still loved him.

When I told him so, he spat on me, and choked me, ‘SCREAM BEGGAR, YOU FILTHY DIRTY BEGGAR I SAID SCREAM.’ Then he fucked me and threw me in a pit where he left me.

I screamed and screamed, until his men came.
Now he barely touches me, besides for the occasional knuckles on my cheek, which is still too much contact. I say nothing to his touch, not wanting to push him. He is almost close to snapping. And as long as his men stay away from me, I see it as a win.

Though, a few nights back he mentioned that skin privileges as he calls it will be shared as soon as ‘the biker’ is dead. He means Zero. I know his reason is all bullshit and that there is more to his reason. And I fear when that reason loses its appeal as everything else does.

I get up and go toward him, drop my eyes as he would want and wait for the other six guards that are supposed to be hidden. I saw them long before I sat down on this cemented seat watching the waterfall.

“Still not talking I see, don’t worry il mio sudicio mendican’te, soon I will have you screaming.” Lucca whispers close to my ear as the guards surround us. And it is now my body shuts down. My thoughts of the idea of normalcy I once got to have with the Satan Snipers gone from my mind.

The walk to the Royals Royce Lucca always goes on about is silent as the words in my mind. We drive back to my prison that is his home.

The bright yellow monstrosity of a house is almost as grand as the white house I’d managed to see from the road a few times too many, promises happiness and a family environment. It is as fake and misleading as its owner.

The white three meter high electric gates open up as the four guards stationed to the front walk to the side allowing us entrance. Their black suits and machine guns make me sick to my stomach. They remind me of the man next to me.

Fake, a fraudster,mobster and a monster.
Lucca’s phone rings just as one of the guards open my door and wait for me to get out. I head toward the double white doors as the housekeeper Magdelaine opens it.

She is a thirty five year old woman. Married to one of Lucca’s soldiers. I say she is fucking lucky to be in this house and not raped or harmed continuously like the few women I have seen in this place. She shows me pity as she looks at my collar before dropping her blue sullen eyes to the floor. Lucca doesn’t like anyone staring at me. He husband once backhanded her when she first did it.

It was a reminder that nobody in the outfit is safe. Not even a fucking wife.

The navy colored tiles that closely matches her eyes and beige walls goes well together. The Sanati Palace is designed to attract even a dulled eye like my own with its sculptured art adorning the walls. Rich red fancy furniture that is handcrafted and shaped in designs I have never seen until I got here are placed everywhere.
I don’t waste a second staring at the décor that is designed as an advert for hell. I rush up the stairs to my room, knowing if Lucca found me downstairs, it would only anger him. If there is one thing that I know about Lucca is to placate him is to be obedient.

And until three weeks ago when my last attempt at killing him went to shit that is what I have done. I don’t hope for anything, I wait for the window, that split second when I know I have a good chance of killing him and escaping. It is how I hunted all my previous kills.
Once I’m in the room, I strip out of these clothes. Lucca calls it the white room. As everything including the tiles are all white. There is no bed in this room. I sleep on the cold floor. In the corner where there is a dog blanket and small pillow.
There is no mirror or headboard. There is nothing in this room besides a gray t-shirt Magdelaine snuck in for me and a jeans that are two sizes too big she stashed in the bathrooms ventilator that Lucca broke out of anger a month after I got here. It was the day he stabbed me three times in my legs with the same tin opener I stabbed his arm with.

One of those wounds are just centimeters from my cunt. It was the day I lost it. The day I told him I hated him, how I slept with Zero, I said a lot of things that day. It was my daughters birthday. A daughter I would never hold, or see because of him. I once told him that she didn’t even have a chance, I wasn’t lying, my daughter never stood a chance the day she was born. Her life was over, before it ever really began.

It was a good thing when he broke the ventilator, because for the past few months Magdelaine has snuck me other stuff, like knives, two grenades and a rope. The woman was no fool. She knew the risk of helping me, but didn’t care. She was one of the few people that made me believe that maybe the world wasn’t that fucked up after all.

I go to the bathroom and fill the bath. The one good thing was that I had hot water and a bath tub. He didn’t keep that from me. I stare at the camera knowing one of his sick men are probably watching me right now. I don’t feel shame, that was raped and beaten out of me years ago. Lucca knows that and he uses it.

After my bath, I dry with the small hand towel and walk toward my small corner where I sit,knees to my chest, hair falling over my face, hands on my toes. Head to my knees but it doesn’t touch, it mustn’t and then I begin the wait and with it my mind wonders to the past. The day I met Lucca, the day I fell in love with my monster.

Five years ago

The streets of Washington is silent right now, more colder than the few nights when I was stuck sleeping at the river. I hate sleeping at the fucking place.

I walk down toward the club this whore Patricia sent me too, bitch better not be wasting my time. I just turned sixteen with no education, no damn job. I’m living on the streets with no warm clothes, no food, fuck I don’t even know when is the last time I brushed my teeth before today.

The mechanism should be foreign to me by now. it would if I didn’t go to school when I was younger. made it to the sixth grade before life turned fucked up and my mother died of cancer. I was twelve and thrown in the system like the nobody’s kid I became.

I told the social worker I didn’t want to go, but what other choice did I have, none, that was what they thought.

I shut my mouth and took the burned hand I was dealt and stuck it out for a few weeks. Got stuck with a group of the meanest kids I have ever known, I thought the grubby ones at school were bad.
Janet, who was my social worker at the time, an African American woman who probably ate for three everyday proved that wrong the day she took me to that house. Except Ally, poor kid, I sometimes wonder how she’s doing. where she ended.

The other kids in the house were a bunch of fucked up teenagers. Luke was already selling pot. Gill expelled at just thirteen for stabbing his teacher in his hand, but even they were fucking angels compared to the foster father, David Fucking Dale. Asshole took from me, he raped me on the kitchen counter. I took a tin opener and sliced his throat. It was a good feeling. Left the fucker bleeding on the ground and ran, I didn’t stop running until I was in a bathroom at the train station. took myself back to the streets and here I am sixteen, still a beggar.

No dreams, no plans, just going with what life has thrown to me. Well maybe not too bad, I have started the infamous job hunting. been all over town these last few weeks, looking in every place I can find. Nobody is hiring.

Apparently I need a house address so I used one from the nicer parts of Washington hoping that would change their minds.

Patricia told me about this gig at this club called Bills, so here I am walking nineteen blocks, no food in my stomach, no water to help my thirst. My armpits are already sweaty even in the cold. at least I had a river bath, which was the best I could get. No way was I walking to the station like most homeless folks around here do. I have bad memories of stations, bad memories of a lot of places. Never-mind the river water was fucking freezing, and I got frostbite on my ass.

Never-mind that the old man sleeping under the bridge saw my naked ass.

There is a sense of peace in the darkness, a relief. my mother hated it. Then again my mother hated just about everything. Never saw her smile unless it was one of those forced ones she saved for the people who gave her a dollar.

Bull is an upper class fancy strip joint. As I get closer I see the rich men in their three piece suits walk in. I don’t need to be educated to know that those men are bad people. I have seen their kind before. My father is one of them. I was much younger when I hunted him down, it was the first time I saw him. And I hope not to see him again. I walk to the guard at the door, the Italian bald headed man is tall and broody. I wait the thirty minutes or more for my turn in the line and hand him my ID card.

“Hi, I’m here for a job.” I say in a loud clear voice. He looks down at my card and then at me. He stares a little too long at my old navy Sneakers that are riddled in holes.

“It says you’re sixteen, we don’t hire kids, come back when you’re older.”

“What.” I yell, pissed off when he shoves my ID card at me and calls next.

“Kid get the fuck out of here, this is no place for kids.”

“Patricia sent me here, I used all my money up getting this stupid ID to come here for a job.”

“Excuse me.” A soft masculine voice sounds from right behind me and I turn around to tell him to fuck off. I am caught with my tongue in my mouth as I catch the smiling face in my line of sight.

His hair is trimmed short, his face is so clean, his skin glows. I open my mouth and close it.

Thoughts of saying anything, muted as I stare awestruck at this beauty of a man.

“Hello, So what is a beautiful girl like you doing in this shit hole.” He is smiling, smiling at me, it is like my world is no longer existent.

“Ah, i.. i… A… came for a job.” I drop my gaze as I speak to him, my shy voice muttering and stumbling matching the inner emotions I feel right now, with this man in front of me.“Do you have a name?” He asks, and for some reason I look into his hazel eyes as I answer,

“Amariya.”

“Nice to meet you Amariya, my names Lucca Sanati.”

The sound of the bedroom door opening pulls me out of my mind. I don’t look up as I already know who is here. Even if I didn’t recognize the sound of his shoes as he walks toward me, I never could, but now I would know.

Not from the scent in the air of his cologne but from the evil aura of death that clings to him as a second shadow, a silent man, for a silent monster, the most evil of its kind.

“Already waiting for your punishment. Very good, but today I don’t have time. I need to leave in ten minutes so let’s make this quick, shall we, stand up and face the window.” This is the Lucca I know, this is the man who married me by force with a gun to my head, who left me in a ditch naked so his men could rape me and torture me with fire and metal rods. This is the man who lives in my hell.

My very own devil.
I do as he says. I don’t flinch as I once did when I hear him slide his belt out of the hoops of his pants. I don’t arch my back as he grazes my spine with the buckle. I shut my eyes, focus on the colors I see mixed between the blackness and I open my mouth as the first lash of the buckle hits my shoulder.

This is my monster, my familiar evil. The reason why I couldn’t be the girl for Zero or any man. Why I call myself Beggar.

Lucca Sanati is the reason why I chose the streets over my family, why I would never hold my daughter.
The buckle of the belt hits my shoulders, my spine, my hip bone, over and over again. It doesn’t stop. There is no words as he belts me. I am silent in this empty room, but my mind is screaming, my body is howling for this to stop. Saying that one gets used to this is a lie. No one gets accustomed to this type of torture, not even a filthy beggar like me. We just learn to bury it deep with in us, remember to breathe through it and understand that it is what it is.

A fucked up part of life. The blood drips and like he said I scream, but not to him, to myself. It is what it is. It feels forever, ongoing from day till night. Yet, I know only ten minutes has past, just then his alarm goes off and it is his time to leave.

I remain stationed as he said, he hasn’t given me permission to do anything else.

“Your food will be here in twenty, make sure you are bathed by then.” He walks out and the slam of the door drops my shoulders, allowing me to feel, even if it is the physical kind. When it comes, it is only then I crumble. My back bleeds, my shoulder blades damaged by the times they have caught the end of his buckles.

But rather me than someone else. I had five years to accept my monster, yet it took me a few weeks to be forget that I could never be freed from him. One man, with a scar under his eye, helped me believe that even if it was just a temporary relief of the cold hard truth that is my life. Physically I would have to do it myself, the only way to remove myself from Lucca would be ifone of us is death.

‘I said scream Beggar, scream, you filthy dirty beggar, SCREEEAM’

The door bangs open again and I jerk from my thoughts ready to do damage to anyone who walks in. Only it is Magdelaine and her eyes are frantic as she rushes to me.

“You have to leave now Mia, Lucca has left with Marone, this is your chance, you won’t get another one, please come.” She starts pulling me up from my crumbles position. If I had some humanity left in me one could say she was a witness to my fall. She flinches, noticing the blood that drips on the floor in splatter.

But I got to give her credit when she grips my upper arm and still helps me get up.

“Thank you.” I croak, even a filthy worthless beggar like me knew some manners. My voice though, it ain’t going to get better than what it was this afternoon when I last spoke to her.

My steps are dodgy, my back throbs from the beating it took just a while ago. Like I have five different heartbeats at the same time. I don’t bath as I normally do after my whipping. I allow Magdelaine to clean my wounds on my back with a face cloth. I slip on the gray t-shirt and jeans. My mind is blank in this damp scented bathroom. I can’t think even if I wanted too. My head feels empty.
She hands me my fake ID, a wad of cash and a black kids size backpack with the grenades inside.

“The address you wanted is on this piece of paper. Memorize it if you can. I am going to trip the lights in ten minutes you would have at least five to get out of here. Good luck Mia.” I nod, take the thick heavy rope and begin tying it around the window. My climb down is uneventful apart from my throbbing back and burning hands.

The night sky is alight with stars flickering across as the lights around the house get cut off, the air is cold and green with the amount of trees in the garden, I can smell the familiar smell of the outdoors. I hear the sounds of footfalls. It is my cue and I take it. I sneak around the small hedge trees as I spot two of the guards in the front of me armed to the knees in weapons. My back is burning as I feel some of the blood drip down my left side over my waist. When the men rush past me I keep my knees down and run to the other tree. I am still a long way from the gate and three guards left to fight before I make it out of here tonight.

Taking a long breath, I touch my jeans pocket with the money and ID to make sure it is safe. The lights come on and I pull the grenades out of the back pack, before throwing the empty bag on the ground. I pull the clips from the first grenade and then I run, my legs feel like they are taking twice my size because of the pain I am in.

There is no way to prevent the men from seeing me now. Only their deaths can save me. I throw the second grenade as the bullets go through the air, and I reach the code panel for the gates. I puncture the code for the gate, and scream as a fist goes into my back. The guard grabs my hair and I kick the side of his knee joint as hard as I can, something Spade taught me in one of our lessons. The guy screams, as his bullet gets me in the stomach. I am taken a few steps back as my stomach caves in with impact. At first it is a burning pain, then it is a numb ache that spreads, and hot, it is extremely hot.

He punches me once in my collar bone and the other in my face. I hit his nose with my palm and grab the blade strapped to his thigh, the blade now in my hand goes straight for the killing spot in his neck.

He drops down and I go to puncture the code again as fast as I can. The alarms blur through the house.

The men start running toward me at full speed. One tackles me to the ground, he stabs me in my ribs, and punches me over and over in the face that I am not sure how I do it when I slice his neck. I get up and fling a knife at the other one and he falls. Grabbing the nearest gun, I let fire loose. I can’t see much as my head throbs, my eyes swelling fast. Gunshots rain through the air, my ear ringing from the sounds. I manage to get most of them until I hear the sirens. The sound of cops approaching is Magdelaine doing and my chance to run which I do. And as suspected the men fall back.

I duck around trees and houses, my lungs feeling heavy. I don’t stop, even though my body is forcing me to slow down. Finally I slow down a good distance away from the Sanati Palace. I know I am shot a few times, my head is probably bleeding, my face is definitely swelling up, the stab wounds are bleeding, my ribs on my right feel sensitive and throbs like a beating heart, but the fact that I am still breathing is good news.

I hail a cab, the guy flinches at my movements and clothes, but quickly changes when I hand him a few hundreds and the piece of paper. “Take me there.” I croak. Days before I left the Satan Snipers Killer told me that if I ever needed a place to go, go here. I look down to the blood on my body. The ride is long, the cab driver is talking but I just know I am saying no, I tell him go.

Everything is a blur after that. I gag a few times on the ride. When I get to the address the driver opens my door and says something but I stumble out and crawl. Like most people he does help me a bit. He leaves me on the pavement in front of these big gates and presses the intercom then he is gone. I grip the gates and pull myself up just as it opens, then I fall down again.

It feel like I am going to die, but I can’t. I made it this far, I can’t die. Not yet any way.

After a couple minutes the gates close and I use it to pull myself toward the intercom that I press again.

“Who’s there?” The Southern twang comes through sounding familiar yet different. I met this girl twice and once she offered me help. I once thought she was just another false rich barbie but she was anything but. When Killer told me to come here if I needed a place I knew I would eventually. I groan as my the pain in my stomach gets worse, not sure if I am shot in my leg too, it could be it aches so bad.

“who ever the fuck you are don’t waste my time.”

“Help me.” I manage to say before my legs collapse. I am bleeding out, maybe she can’t help me.

Things are misty for a while, I feel so much pain, cold hands holding me. There is some dragging. A bright light, nice smell. I hear a lot of noise. Kylie Bray talking to me, after that it’s mostly flashes, some broken words here and there. Kylie, Deno, Marco, Vincent.

I am not sure how many days I spend laying in the bed, It feels like not enough but it could be days or weeks. Mornings blur, nights remain haunted with Lucca until Zero steps in them, his scarred eye piercing me with hatred that I wish to claw out my own throat.

At one stage I feel them tie me down, it is the moment where I wish to die, to finally just leave.
I keep hurting myself, I know this as she keeps screaming it to me. Kylie is always around, talking to me, even when she thinks I am sleeping. She sometimes tells me stories of famous people, the times she fucked up, her feelings for Vincent, she tells it all to me, but the saddest ones with the happy memories are always told about a girl named Diamond, when Kylie talks about her I can hear the pain in her voice. It reminds me of mine when I talked about my mother.

My evenings are spent listening to Kylie learning more about her in this time on a bed, than I am sure not many would know about the Texan girl, and slowly everyday my body heals. Everyday I breathe easier, with the knowledge that I am safe, that maybe I could see Zero again. It wasn’t a possibility before but now, I can say it for the first time since I was small and found out I was actually clever, I feel a thread of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Killer

Dear Beauty

I think I lost the number of times I have sat on this very mountain, with this very book , and pen writing to you. It’s been months since I’ve seen you. I admit for a while I was angry, hurting, I felt as if you betrayed me. Part of me still does. At least now I know why.

A few weeks after you left I didn’t see an end to this hell I was in without you. The club was divided. Some wanted you dead, others wanted you safe. But time does heal. At first I couldn’t breathe without a thought of you. My hate and anger was all focused on you in the day and my nights were spent mourning you, hoping you would come back.
Our new president River and Killer finally stepped forward and told us the truth of why you did what you did, they also told us about the deal your cousin made with us. Why they didn’t tell us sooner I wonder.
Falon tried to rekindle our relationship once I explained to her about you and I. But then I was adamant that I was a taken man, even if you did betray me. I guess my wounds were still fresh. And well I guess one can’t rekindle something that wasn’t really there. Before you she was what I knew, but the day I met you, you were more than just knowing, you showed me feelings. You brought out things in me that I left buried deep inside. I convinced myself that you were mine.
It took me leaving my family behind to see what you were always trying to tell me. You were never mine. We were on borrowed time. You always knew that he’d find you. Guess you always knew because of those chains you said that bind you to him. You once said that who you were wasn’t important but it became the most important part of why you left. He was your past, and I guess he became your future too.
Once I figured that out, I stopped questioning things, asking myself if you were here, how would I change things. If I could make it all be okay. Truth is, there is never going to be an okay. Our story was dying before it even began. Even if I wanted to fight, it would be a losing battle, you said so yourself.
My brother Thorn is set on revenge, he wants you dead and I am sure wherever you are the feeling is mutual. Why? I don’t know. Don’t care. You see before I left my club and my brothers and the women behind I made a promise like all of them, a promise to find you and protect you and that is what I would do.
Today I found out that soon I will be making my way back home, with another medal of honor for serving my country that I would put in a box and forget about. I am also returning home with a clear conscience. I am finally letting my feelings for you go. I’m going to move on with my life.
Time, it is a continuous reminder of life. When I was younger It was a reminder to live life. When I got older I found out that life could be lived in different ways. And I am choosing to live mine without you playing a front row to it.
We will find you Amariya, and you would be apart of us. You are apart of us, and like all the women in our club I will protect you as I would them. Until I have to protect my brother from you.
I hope you read this before you see me, because I don’t want you to be shocked when you see that I have moved on with my life. I met someone before I got stationed, she is really something. A good woman who helped me get through losing you. She is mine now, and I will be claiming her as soon as I get back. I also don’t want to leave Kanla and I don’t want you to either. I know Killer, Storm and the others are apart of you. And so am I. You have always been a strong woman, if anybody deserves happiness it is you. But that happiness just can’t be with me. I am hoping when you read this you would understand why I had to let you go. Why I can’t be yours.
You will always be my beauty and a beast that wasn’t meant for beauty.

From Zero

I read the letter that arrived on my bed this morning. Every word is his own fuck up. I don’t need emotion to know facts. The brother was actually letting her go. It didn’t bother me one fucking bit, nothing ever did really. I was born to be a shell, a born sniper. It is in my blood, a part of me. I don’t feel like others do, never did. Since Beggar I have realized I do feel something but it isn’t normal, nothing ever is. I feel protective, maybe it is my idea of love, I am not sure. If someone dies I won’t cry.

Growing up I could break my hand, fall off a tree, watch a person get knocked and feel nothing. When my grandma died I was the only one who just stood there dried eyed. My dad asked me to give a speech, I did.

I told them that we are all born with a timeline, just like the bread we eat and the milk we drink.

That if we don’t use all of ourselves up before death it is as shameless as wasting a mostly full bottle of milk when it could have been used for so much more than just drinking. My grandma used up most of herself.

From my paren’s love story that started with my father’s affairs, my mothers accidental murder when she knocked a drunken man, to my mother’s obsession with Marcus Bray and their only daughter, my sweet Kylie, to my Uncle and his scam artist wife who sold her child for money and eventually was murdered. My Grandma was there making sure her kids were fine. She traveled the world, seen and done things that she probably regretted.

Unlike me, I feel my life only ever had one purpose, fight for my country, fight for my family, and fight for my Club. And maybe one day I would be ready to trap a woman and get a wife who was happy with that, have a kid so my mother would happy. She once said if I had a kid she’d be happy.

My cell rings and I slip it from my pants pocket, “How many fuckin’ hours does it take to fuck one woman.” Mercy says from the other end of the line. Mercy transferred from our Ohio Chapter to stay here in Kanla a few weeks before we met Beggar, it only became official two months ago.

She used to be a special ops informant until her twin died four years ago after she got the wrong Intel and sixteen people dead. I call it bad judgment Our superiors said it wasn’t her fault, but one thing I’ve always known about Mercy was that she never believed in bullshit. And we both knew it was her fault and when she asked me I told her. She handed in her resignation a day after. Joined the club a year after that.

“Depends on the woman, tell Spade to hurry the fuck up. River’s bringing Hannah around, he wants everybody back here to welcome her.” Mercy and Spade have been handling the deaths that have been happening in Kanla. We normally don’t stick our noses in these things, but since River became Prez that has changed. It is our town and we need to protect it even if it means playing detective. With splitting the club between looking for Beggar, the club we are opening, our other businesses, charity events and now this needs a good structure plan and leadership. River is fucking good Prez.

“I like Hannah, she’s cool. Still waiting for that lead from the sheriffs office about the new body should be there in thirty.”

“Tell her that when you see her, and tell Spade to stop fucking Jo’s science teacher, River is going to bust his face when Jo fails science.” I end the call just as my cell rings again. This time a small smirk comes to my face as Kylie’s name flashes on my screen with a selfie she took a year back when I took her sky diving.

“Hey, how’s my lil sis, Are you stopping for a visit?” Kylie is the only one of my sibling who understand me, she helped me to pretend. She hated it when my mother cried whenever I got hurt and I would just look at her.

Kylie’s changed over these months, from her secret girl feelings for Vincent to her on going plight to pretend she is untouchable.

“That is what I want to talk to you about.”

“I’m listening.”

“There is no other way or easier one to tell you this so I am just going to blurt it out.”

“Okay shoot.”

“Beggar is here, at my house, showed up like over two weeks ago bleeding to death, the doctor, Vincent , Deno and Marco are the only other ones besides you and I are the only ones who know. But I don’t trust Vincent, he has been staying since she got here and while Beggar talks to me I sense she is keeping her guard up with him.

He also keeps asking when you coming, I told him you said in a few weeks, I just didn’t feel right telling him you didn’t know, I thought maybe you’d check the cameras and call but nothing, so hear I am calling you..”

I don’t comment on the camera story, “I’ll be there tonight, if Vincent asks stall.”

“Okay, she is on the second floor, I will leave the window open., she doesn’t know you coming, she keeps insisting she doesn’t want to talk to anyone, but I thought maybe if you or ZERO.”

“His moved on Ky, I’ll be there”
I dial River as I end the call with Kylie, “I am not helping you hide a body, call Spade.”

“Beggar is with Kylie, I’m leaving, you have my vote for Hannah, this stays between you and I for now, I’m calling in one of those favors you owe me.”

He is silent, and if it was anyone else I would put my phone off but River is a man that earned my respect so I shut the fuck up and wait till he digests what I just told him, “Keep her safe brother.”

Now I do clip the call. I shove my mobile in my leather pants, my eyes don’t need to look at my bedroom, it is perfectly aligned and everything in its place as it should be. My bedroom is designed for me, everything is placed in a specific place, including the only Parker pen that stands in a silver cup by my study desk which is four feet away from my bedroom door.

The stairs to downstairs are behind me before fifty seconds have gone, I grab my cut by the jacket hooks lining the front wall and my bikes keys.

Once I am outside I spot Spade and Texas. I give them chin lifts, ignoring Texas and his speculative eyes and swing my leg over my bike. I slip my phone out and dial Michael. My older brother.

“I was just about to call you, saw Amariya, she’s at Kylie’s.” I hear the fucker and his dry excuse.
Michael had cameras installed in Kylie’s place when she moved in. I bought her the house so she insisted it was me but Michael was the crazy one. So he knew the day Kylie probably opened her home to Beggar.

But we both already know that so as usual I say fuck all to point out the obvious, instead I tell him, “I need your jet.”

“Got a helipad like twenty minutes from the drop zone in Liston.”

“I need the jet, wanna take my bike.”

“Should be there in two.” He says.
“How’s my nephew. Hear you playing dad for two weeks.” I ask the question because I should. It is a human response, but to me it is another piece of a puzzle.

“He is David’s son, and he never shuts up how do you think he is.”

“I’ll pick him up this weekend, take him fishing. Hannah’s kid is about his age.”

“I will drop him myself, I meant to stop by and see dad.” And even my genius brother plays my game, telling me exactly what I wanted to know.

“Send my regards.”

“Send mine to Kylie and Vincent.”

“I’m not meeting Vincent, I’m sneaking in, then out, Kylie said there is no trust lost, my job is to protect Beggar, not worry about my fucked up brother.”

Nobody knows Vincent like I do. My brother is a fucking lunatic and the only reason he lives is because he is my family, and he has never gotten my other brothers or sisters involved in his shit. If that changes, I would put a bullet in his head myself. And that is only if one of his enemies don’t do it first.

I start my bike and I ride, with my bandana wrapped around my mouth and my helmet on I bend and curve to the bends and turns of the roads ahead. Soon I would see the woman who has me questioning everything that I have known all my life.

Copyright © 2017 Shan R.K

So there it is 😊 Zero will be released on 29th June 2018 Pre-Order today 😁

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