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C1 Prologue


I pulled on sneakers as fast as I could and grabbed my phone, running out of the house.

"Dalia!" I heard my dad scream.

"Coming!" I replied running down the hall, past my sister and brother's rooms.

My dad wanted to take me somewhere. He said it was a surprise for just me since he wasn't around for my 14th birthday yesterday. My mom and siblings had been told to stay despite my siblings' protests. My mom on the other hand was fine with me leaving. She said I had finally grown up to be useful in this family. As the last born, that meant so much to me. My sister who was 16 and brother who was 19 had always overshadowed me. It was my time to shine.

My phone buzzed in my hands and I checked the message. It was from my best friend Violet. Even though I was the daughter of Andre Gates, the tech multi-millionaire in Mazadora town, she still treated me like no one did. Like I was a normal human being.

Violet: Ready for tomorrow?

We were having a picnic party of sorts at my school. Violet and I had planned to go together.

Dalia: I was born ready. If I miss this party, I'm surely dead lol

Violet: Ain't that the truth

"Dalia! I don't have all day!" my dad's shout shocked me out of my relaxed state and I rushed down the main staircase in the mansion, my dark curls swaying and my smooth mocha brown skin glowing under the lights of the chandelier.

Dalia: TTYL girl. I have to go.

Violet: Okie. Bye girl. Love you.

Dalia: Love ya too

I tucked my phone away, a smile on my face as I walked to my father who helped me into the limo. If only I had known I would never see my home again. Never see my siblings, my mom, Violet... I would have never entered that car.

* * *

"So, where are we going?" I dared to ask my father, excitement in my tone.

"It's a surprise Dalia," he said not looking at me but at his phone.

"Just give me a little hint. Please dad," I begged. I wanted to know where we were going. I hated being out of a loop. My dad looked at me and for a second, I thought I saw anger and hatred in his eyes, directed at me but it disappeared so I shrugged it off. He didn't hate me. I was his daughter, his blood. You don't hate blood.

"Fine Dalia. We are going to a place where daddy is going to exchange something small and meaningless for a lot more money than it's worth. Then, daddy is going to have some relief," he said in a cold tone that I too brushed off.

"So... you are going to work and I'm going to help?" I asked.


"What is the small meaningless thing you are going to sell?" I asked quoting his words.

"Something that was a big mistake. Don't worry so much Dalia. You'll know soon," I wanted to know now but he didn't seem like he wanted to tell me anything more so I just obeyed his command and stayed silent.

We drove through the city and out of town. Once we were a few good miles in the middle of nowhere, my dad turned to me. "Give me your phone Dalia," he commanded.

I reached into my pocket and handed it to him without question. He was my dad. I was supposed to obey. He rolled down the window and threw my phone out. My jaw dropped. I tensed, not wanting to yell or shout at him. I was powerless, I was a child and I was obedient and respectful. It is how I was raised. Parent word is law or suffer the consequences. So I sat stiffly as I sinfully cursed him in my head. He better be getting me a new phone.

Minutes later, we came across a warehouse. The limo driver drove us in and parked. Goosebumps spread on my mocha skin as fear slowly made it's way up my spine and centering itself in my brain. The car door opened and my dad got out, urging me to follow. I obliged. He grabbed my upper arm, leading me into the warehouse. It was old and the air smelt of chemicals. I sneezed more than once but my dad wasn't fazed. I wondered if being here was good for my health. Then I wondered if dad knew that I had -

I tripped and fell, my knees digging into the cold hard ground. "Ow," I groaned.

"Dalia! Get up now!" my dad harshly ordered and I quickly got to my feet. The pain in my knees combined with the fear and sadness I got from being snapped at made a lump form in my throat but I swallowed it down. I was older now, meaning I was stronger. I shouldn't – no – I wouldn't cry. I followed behind my father who was walking so fast, I had to jog at some point to keep up. I wanted to ask where we were going but his anger at me from earlier kept me silent. What was wrong with him?

We entered a room and there were three men inside. One was smoking a cigar. He had black greying hair and hazel eyes. His beard was a replica of his hair and the rings around his fingers gave him a dangerous air. He had a tattoo on the side of his neck but it was too dark for me to make it out. The other two men stood beside him, facing forward and completely stoic. His bodyguards I guess. The older man stopped smoking and then glanced at my father then at me.

I moved closer to my dad, trying to hide myself behind him. I was beyond terrified now and I just wanted to leave.

"Is this her?" the old man asked.

"Yes," my father replied. What was going on?

"Not ideal. She's not enough but not to worry. We'll shape her," the old man said, his Italian accent thick and rough.

"My money?" my father asked and the old man flicked his finger at one of the bodyguards who brought a briefcase forward. Opening it, there was a lot of money. Bundles and bundles of 100 dollar bills. My father slowly moved forward, inspecting the money then sealing the case shut and taking it.

"She's all yours," my father said as he backed away from... me?

One of the two men moved forward and grabbed my arm. My head snapped to my father. "Dad? What's going on?" I asked but he turned and walked away as another of the guards came and held my other arm.

"Dad? Dad? Dad?! Where are you going?! Let go of me! Dad!" I screamed. Tears started to spill and I wiggled, trying to get free. I kicked, bit, scratched and hit. No matter how much pain I gave them, no matter how much I screamed and struggled, the men never let go.


My head snapped to the side, my cheek stinging. It took me a while to register that the old man had slapped me and his rings had cut into my cheek.

"You my little spitfire have that flame inside you that personally, I don't like. Not to worry. Jordan will reduce that flame to nothing," the old man said. "Take her away."

I was dragged, physically drained to a black tinted van. I was bound, gagged and a black bag was thrown over my head. I was thrown into the van, rolling and hitting my back on what felt like a pole. My tears had long since dried. I couldn't cry anymore. I was hollow. A body without a soul. Nothing mattered in that moment and the next but my survival.

Because in that moment, I made a promise, a vow. The old man, my father, mother and siblings would pay. Even if it was the last thing I did.

I know I said you don't hate blood but that was a lie. Hate runs deeper when betrayed by blood.

And I'll make sure they know it.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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