The man tried to scream, but I never gave him a chance. It took me hours to be satisfied.
And when I was done, he was no longer breathing.
May this be a lesson learned.
Run, keep running, I told myself.
Escaping wasn"t easy. I had planned it for years but never found the courage to actually do it.
But tonight I had to escape from the nightmare I"d been born into.
My father never cared. It didn"t matter that I begged him to listen. He always turned a blind eye. My father only cared about his profits. After all, he was the Boss. The Italians, the Famiglia respected him. He was the feared leader.
And I was just a pawn in the cruel game.
I had no choice, no will. No respect. No love.
I had nothing.
My engagement to my father"s second in command hadn"t been my choice either. After all, what choice did I have at sixteen"
At twenty-three, after all the years of torture I went through by Alberto"s hands, I decided to escape. For years, I wished my father would put a stop to the violence against me, but it never happened. Alberto did whatever he wanted with me.
I was just a toy for pleasure and for pain.
After he left me bloodied and beaten up from yet another torturous night, I crawled out of the bed and climbed out the window. No matter how much I thought of it and planned for my escape, it wasn"t easy. Nothing was ever easy.
But I still ran for my life.
Whatever was left of my sanity depended on it.
I heard yelling behind me, snapping me out of my thoughts.
"No. No. No," I gasped, panting. I was almost off the property, my legs burning as I ran.
Run, keep running.
I just needed time, but the men were closing in on me.
"Miss Ayla. Stop. Stop," I heard one of them yelling behind me.
Shuffling deeper into the forest, I forced myself to move quicker. I pushed hard, running until my body felt like it was breaking. I was already bleeding badly.
Everything hurt, but I kept going. Only my escape mattered.
I kept running into the darkness until the screams of the men faded away. When I couldn"t hear them anymore, I stopped and leaned against a tree.
My safety wasn"t guaranteed yet, but I had to rest. My heart was pounding and my legs were shaking too hard for me to continue.
But when I heard a noise to my left, my eyes widened and I pushed myself from the tree, taking a few steps away. The sounds got louder.
Without sparing another glance in that direction, I turned away and started running again, praying that I would find someone who could help me. There must be a good person left in this cruel world.
When dawn approached, I was too tired to keep going. I was no longer in the forest, but at the side of a deserted road. I knew my father"s estate was on the outskirts of New York City. He"d said something about one day ruling the whole city. But for now, it belonged to someone else. Someone more powerful than him.
Limping along the side of road, I continued until I came across houses.
A sigh of relief escaped my lips. I was safe. Someone would help me.
I walked over to one of the houses and knocked softly at the door. An old woman opened the door and gasped at the sight of me. Before I could say anything, she slammed the door in my face.
My eyes widened and I stared at the closed door in shock. What"
My fist came up to knock again, but I saw something else from the corner of my eye.
Alberto"s men. They were walking around, looking for me.
With my heart in my throat, I quickly hid behind the house. As I tried to figure out my next plan, lights flared around the corner. I looked to my left and saw a black vehicle slowing to a stop.
I stood still as a large man stepped out of the car. He was wearing a black suit, similar to what Alberto and my father wore. I couldn"t see him well, the darkness hiding his face. He went inside one of the houses.
Looking back at the car, I made up my mind. After making sure that Alberto"s men were not looking, I quickly walked away from my hiding spot and ran toward the car. I pulled on the handle of the back door.
The door opened. Tears of relief blinded my vision and I hiccupped back a sob.
I looked on either side of me, making sure nobody saw me. My path was clear when I climbed into the car and closed the door behind me.
My body folded into itself as I crouched down between the seats, trying to make myself as invisible as possible. My eyes closed as I tried to calm my breathing.