I present to you the first chapter in its entirety. I am also enclosing the disclaimer. Please read before proceeding. Asheligh and I are so excited about sharing this emotionally charged, controversial book. It took a lot of courage for us to write, but we are looking forward to rustling the feathers in the literary world with this novel.
As always, thank you for your continued support, encouragement, and belief in both of us. Carpe fucking diem.
Readers, please note that this tale has graphic depiction of abuse including but not limited to; rape, physical torture, emotional abuse, murder, strong language, sexual degradation and humiliation, unconventional sexual practices, and detailed descriptions of several mental disorders. With that being said, we know that there are many dark books out there that have similar content. However, this story is an emotional mind-fuck that will have you questioning all your morals and your ideas of normal.
If you are the least bit frightened, you should be. We understand as the authors that we were taking a big chance when we decided to tell this story, but every writer tells tales for different reasons. We write what we fear, for thrill, and for things that we are not supposed to discuss.
This is not a romance. This tale is not about love. It is about goodbyes and manipulation in many forms. So, if you feel like you can continue reading, we hope that you enjoy this book. As always, thank you so much for your continued support.
Ashleigh and Mary
She wore pangs of despair like flowers in her hair.
People always talk of normal. What is normal anyway? I can’t say I really believe in it. I have memories, dreams, and other recollections from my early life, but they are bloody, bad things that would put most people’s nightmares to shame. I often wonder if they are real or a mirroring image of what I wish, because they are far from the normal I live within now.
The last time I was loved was thirteen years ago, the day my mother died. Now at seventeen, I still remember the distinct way she smelled of stale alcohol and cigarette smoke. Her scabbed up track marks along her bony arms used to scratch my naked back when she would give me a rare hug. Her broken Russian was slurred and her hot breath on my tiny ear sent shivers down to my little toes.
Looking back, that was the only kind of love that I ever had. “Я тебя люблю, gypsy girl,” my mother would get the courage to murmur to me in broken Russian when no one was listening and my father wasn’t watching her like a hawk eyeing its hungry prey. I love you, gypsy girl.
But the love that she had for me only lasted four years. The little things I remember from my mother both terrify and delight me. I wish I wouldn’t remember. I wish I could turn into the same kind of cold-hearted man that my father, Pavel, is. Glassy eyes, broken heads, and bleeding hearts are what make up the last memories of my mother. Bloodstained, matted curls on the dirty pavement made up the last kind of lullaby I was sung. Since, Pavel makes sure to fleck off pieces of me day after day, siphoning my soul into the depths of hell next to him. No matter how much he tries to get me to be like him, I will never leave my little dysfunctional oasis.
I am not him. I am Svetlana, a lost lamb who gets fed to the wolves every single day, night after night only to torn and wounded and sometimes left for dead. Still, I overcome the abuse, the blood, and the horrific acts that are done to me, only to hobble away while licking my injuries. What for? I hope to one day understand what all this means. I exist to be a punching bag. Others are created for love. Me, I was made for hate. Until I understand what it all means, I can only survive. Surviving is all I have been doing since I was born.
I am waiting for the day the lamb turns into a fierce lion, but I fear my days are numbered. As time passes, my father gets meaner and meaner. It was only a matter of time before I was thrown into the fire of harshness to burn like my mother. I was twelve when I started hustling the streets like my mother in the impoverished part of the city that I call home in Hunts Point, Bronx. I never expected to still be alive today. I am still trying to decide if that is a blessing or a curse. I am thinking the latter of the two is the answer. A curse. Most days, I think that my father is keeping me alive to punish me. I’m surprised he didn’t kill me the day he removed my mother, Marta, from this world, kicking my little four-year-old brain in and tossing me, like toxic fucking waste, into the metal grave like he did my mother.
Every time Pavel’s eyes meet mine, I swear I can feel a piece of myself dying inside. My heart stops moving and I can’t breathe. He can gain control over me with one simple, terrifying look. One that has remained the same since as long as I can remember. His eyes are as blue as the bluest sky and his pale skin is almost translucent. His light blonde hair is always a matted dirty mess. His large nose is crooked and he is always messing with it when in a nervous withdrawal.
There is a wall so thick before his eyes; it scares me to think what is behind them. To try to understand what kind of things he holds back is petrifying. His stance is nothing short of intimidating, as he stands at a good six-foot tall. His knuckles are always cut up from his constant abuse. I am certain they wouldn’t know what healing would feel like. His face shows the cruelness he has lived within for years since being in the States, providing scabs from picking and excessive wrinkles from the harsh elements in which he has lived. I don’t know much about my parents and what their lives were like in Russia. Part of me hopes that they had happy times before they were tainted by the ugly here, but something in my gut tells me that a man like Pavel isn’t capable of being decent.
I am different. Completely different than my father and he makes me understand that by the utter hatred he has towards me. I suppose I accept it because that is all I have known from Pavel. It is how he treated my mother, and it’s how he is towards the other whores, though I am usually the worst. I can recall Mother telling me that I was her gypsy princess because my brown hair and chocolate eyes were those of her gypsy ancestors. I thought that gypsies were from another part of the world, but what do I know. I am just a street-hustling whore.
Again, the love and memories that I hold onto are grueling. Part of me wishes I could become the same kind of monster as my father as I watch him beat, murder, rape, and torture countless women day after day, but I can’t bring myself to be there yet. He is a pro at being a ruthless criminal. It’s sad that the crimes he commits wouldn’t go unnoticed in other parts of the world. He has worked his way up the chain of being a small time pimp in one of the biggest prostitution hubs of the city, yet most of the money he makes, he spends injecting into his collapsed veins as we sleep on top of cardboard fucking boxes next to dumpsters in hopes of finding halves of cold leftover burgers wrapped in sticky paper.
That is why my job is so important. Cash flow for Pavel needs to be steady. When he starts to come down from his high, rage consumes him. Everything becomes my fault and hatred is all that he knows. Sometimes, I can’t blame him, considering the shit we are surrounded by, but the other half of me is angry at him for not loving me. I wish he would, but that isn’t the way the world works.
That is not who I was born to be.
I must have been asleep as I am shaken awake by the jolt of the train. I feel a pair of icy eyes on me and I know what this means. The feeling that I get when my father looks at me like that means business.
The screeching of the metal wheels on the train track sends shocks of electricity through every cell of my body. I wish I could stay nuzzled on the fiberglass seat of the subway, because at least it is warm in here. I don’t have a coat on and it is getting colder with each passing day. I hate when I know that winter is fast approaching. Long days seem longer when you are working your ass off trying to get a truck driver from one of many distribution places to fuck you because your father needs drug money.
But he declines because your tits aren’t quite big enough for his liking. Unfortunately for me, it has happened more than once. On the awfully cold evenings, as much as I hate having sex with men I don’t know, or anyone for that matter, there were many times I prayed for it just so I could regain the feeling back in my toes and fingers.
Like all things, it never lasted.
Father’s stare sinks deeper inside of me. I can feel him burying his claws deep inside of my heart. If emotions could be acted out, he would surely be yanking me up painfully as he sat back and watched, all the while mocking my pain.
This is my normal.
I have no choice but to sit up and provide my father the look he expects. His eyes send fright straight to my belly and I have to remain stone-faced. This is all part of my life. The only kind of life I have known.
“Вставай, шлюха!” Pavel yells.
Get up, whore! One of his most used lines.
I stand up, listening to his demands. I straighten my aged tank top, unaffected by what others think. I am surrounded by fellow prostitutes, drug runners, and people who rely on the 6 train for a warm night’s sleep. The twenty-something year old Hispanic man that is huddled in the seat across from me is shaking back and forth, chanting out in Spanish while pointing to different people on the train. He is definitely out of his mind, but nothing short of what I see on a daily basis. I look over to his right and see a girl younger than me clutching her swollen belly. Our eyes meet and her stare makes me sad. Our looks understand one another without words and I make myself turn away, knowing that her blue eyes were more sorrowful than I could handle, let alone my own life. She couldn’t have been more than thirteen. A swift kick to my lower leg knocks me out of my sad stupor. I look to Pavel while he gives me a disapproving look, gritting his teeth together at me like a famished dog hungry for meat. I shake my head yes, knowing that if I do not provide some sort of response, he will hit me. Pavel doesn’t care if there are people here are not. People don’t tell other people’s stories. Not when you are stuck in your own dread, spending forever trying to find a way to trudge out of a normal that is suffocating.
“Money, Svetlana. You make me money tonight.”
“Yes, Father,” I respond with my eyes down, showing him respect that he doesn’t deserve. But I give it to him, because that is what I was trained to do.
Yes, Father. Always the dutiful daughter.
His broken Russian and awful English are all that I have been around. Accompanied by the people that are constantly buzzing around me, I learn words and take them in. I like words, but I don’t speak often. If I had dreams, I would do something with words. But my destiny holds something different. I possess the same kind of talents that my mother, Marta, did. I am a whore. A stupid, stupid whore.
I dismiss thoughts of my mother and look down at my wrists. The discoloration of my skin is obvious as black and blue bruises mark my olive skin. Memories of the fat truck driver who fucked me in his cab overtake my thoughts. He was insistent on tying my hands above my head so that I couldn’t touch him or bat away his abusive hands. I couldn’t say no. I had to do whatever he wanted to make sure and please him to get paid or Father wouldn’t get the drugs to keep him halfway happy.
I am a gypsy princess. My thoughts are a jumbled mess as I stare at my olive colored wrists.
The metal on metal causes jerking and I stumble forward into my father. His body is as cold as a winter’s night and he is as hard as a brick wall. Shudders of terror run through me, but I brush it off because I have a job to do. A very important one that means getting Father the money he needs to feed his drug habit.
“Watch where you go, whore.”
I exit the train car 6 as we arrive at Hunts Point Boulevard. An old, black man yells out in front of me, jingling a can and pleading for change. I wish I could tell him I am no help and that I am just as hungry as he is, but my father would beat me and him too, so I look away and try not to care. The pregnant girl walks quickly past me; her disappearing body into the shadows of the night leaves me uneasy. Something in my heart tells me that her story won’t end well. I shake my thoughts free. I hate when I overanalyze everyone around me; I wish empathy was a trait I didn’t possess. I have a job to do. One that I have come to master since I was twelve-years-old. I have to do what comes next. I push my mediocre breasts out and pucker my lips as I try to shake my hips from side to side. My outfit is appalling, but pussy is pussy. At least that is what my father tells me. Pussy be pussy, Svetlana. Learn to like to fuck. Make your pussy get wet. Men like your dirty cunt more. You learn, learn good, girl.
I feel a swift smack on my bottom and I bite my lip hard. The copper taste of blood makes my stomach swirl and ache for a decent meal. I momentarily allow myself to dream about a soup kitchen, their watered down chicken broth and stale bread is like a heaven that I never get to enough of. It has been nearly 48 hours since I have eaten something and my skinny body is starting to feel a decline. But, death is always lingering. I would feel empty without it. I don’t turn around because that is something that my father would do to hurry me along.
Instead, I pick up my feet and move quickly up the stairs as the air gets colder on my bare shoulders with each passing step. A pair of strong hands wraps themselves around my waist and I forget to breathe. I half expect snide comments from my father about my thin build and my lack-of-curvy ass and hips, but his chants are absent. For the first time, I wish for them.
A yank brings me backwards on the stairs as I feel my right leg twist on the concrete while I am being dragged down back to the hum of people that haunt my thoughts. The voice that I was craving to hear seconds ago starts bellowing loudly in the background. Evil is so thick in the air, it could crack like glass. Something in my gut is telling me not to look up and see the man that has a hold of me, but I feel myself being magnetized by an emotion I am not familiar with.
I turn my head as I am greeted by a forty-something-year-old black man. His skin is sweaty and he’s huffing like he’s been running from someone. Or maybe he was running for me. It doesn’t matter because the cat has found the little mouse, and it’s ready to eat. He offers me a smile, but I immediately know it is not one that is of comfort or kindness. His yellow teeth and alcohol-breath make my mind erase the thoughts I once had of food. Others around me continue to remain unaffected, because this world is chaos and that kind of disorder is something they are all used to. Junkies and fellow prostitutes go about their business as my father moves them along with his laid back hand gestures as he talks out of his head in Russian. So much is happening at once, I find it difficult to process. Am I the only one to care inside of my skull? Do the people that stare and judge my torn and tattered clothes want to save me? I want to scream, to fight back, to run, but what good would that do? Only to be delivered to some juvenile detention center and fed to a different set of wolves? This is who I was born to be. This is what I was trained to do. I need to put the softness away and let myself continue to do the one thing that I was destined to do.
I relax into the man’s grasp while his lips curl over his teeth further in a grateful smile. His grip around my waist tightens as he pulls my small frame into him. His erection presses into my belly and the only thing I hope for is a condom. My brain doesn’t function normally as I prepare myself to be taken by a man that I do not want, but when HIV is so prevalent, a condom is the only thing I care about right now.
“I paid ya Daddy good money for this pussy. Ya better not disappoint, little girl.”
Though enamored with words, I find myself tongue tied now. No response would make this right as my father sits back and watches while a man twenty-plus years older than me preps himself to fuck me. I look over the large fellow’s shoulder and watch as trash dances from the wind of the recently departed subway car, the heavy steps of people still going to and fro. Dirty white, five-gallon buckets line the tunnel, making me remember times when I couldn’t find a restroom and was forced to piss and shit in plastic containers, hoping to dodge the train before it came. The throbbing in my leg brings me back to my hellacious reality. Gulping hard as the man’s hands leave me, I contemplate running, to where or to whom, I don’t know. I am only certain of one thing. This is not going to end well.
I part my lips for a brief moment, thinking that I may have the right words to speak, but stop myself as a hard blow meets my cheek. I fall to the cold dirty concrete, feeling it tear into both my palms while I tried to brace my body from the fall. My long brown hair that my father hates is tugged on violently as I am forced to look into the eyes of my abuser. I hate this part, preparing to be taken by a man that I don’t wish for. You’d think that after five years of being in these situations, I could travel far away to a place where I could become detached. Too bad it doesn’t work that way. Every part of my sensory system is magnified by a million. My vision, hearing, taste, and lastly, feeling.
I look to the man’s eyes; the stark whites hold evidence of what my father craves as little hazes of red plant themselves around. The grin from before is absent and is replaced with the man clenching his jaw tightly. My mind wanders to a place as I try to disassociate myself from this terrible situation while I think to what got him so angry. Then again, Hunts Point is full of many vile assholes. Maybe I am the abnormal one.
“Is that pretty mouth of yours not gonna answer me?”
He pulls on my head further; I am surprised my neck isn’t snapping in two. I move my lips to talk, but I am breathless. He frees my hair and I crawl over to the tiled wall, bringing my knees up to my body. I can feel my father watching. If I don’t give in and do what this man wants, I will pay.
‘Men like girls, Svetlana, not women. Learn to like it, too. We make more money that way if men know you real, I teach you to get wet pussy and be a good whore like ya Mat’ Pavel would say to me.
I zap into the current and think back to that statement. It is what will save me. If I don’t act like I want it, or enjoy it for that matter, then Pavel could very well kill me. Fuck, why do I even bother living anyway? Humans are creatures of selfishness; they don’t have the ability to understand that sometimes dying would be better than living. It is the fear that holds us back. All I do is trade one fear for another. Not sure what good that does, but I am his girl and still I listen.
I unfold my legs and stand, popping the button to my torn and tattered jeans. Panties are a luxury and one that I don’t have. I push my jeans down and pull my tank top up, exposing my bare breasts.
“Damn, girl. I am gonna tear that shit up.”
I offer him a made up smile. If he only realized how many times I have heard that line. I am taken day after day, time after time, yet still my little heart continues to fight in this fucked up world. I was created as my soul was doomed from the start. Perhaps God had made a deal with the devil the day I was born. Freedom won’t find me. Even if it does, I will always be stuck within the restraints of this. Things are the way they are for a reason. They can’t always be explained.
“You a whore and prolly ain’t got checked for AIDS. I’m packing, don’t worry, fucking slut,” the large man says to me, pulling out a shiny condom packet.
I want to fall to my knees and thank God above, but gratefulness is never what it seems. The fellow exposes his huge erection and sheathes the condom over it. He closes his fist and I back up to the cold wall, the aching from my leg soon to be the least of my worries. I look to the steel beam, once again and focus on something else as my eyes trace the letters of the HP in the distance, reminding me of home sweet home. The shadow that I can never ignore lurks in the background as his laughter returns wildly.
“Don’t take easy on girl. She likes it rough.”
Pavel emerges from the trembling glowing lights with his hands in his stained jean pockets. He is always looking, watching, judging.
“Good thing, sweetheart. I like a little blood and gore to go with my whore.”
For a few seconds, I think I am going crazy as I see the man before me transform into a beast. Maybe that is my dysfunctional brain coping in its own fucked up way, but his lips curl over the top of his discolored teeth again and they seem sharp enough to kill. His closed fist meets my cheek and the familiar taste of blood enters my mouth. Pain starts from my toes and works its way up to my head.
I welcome it and swallow it as it temporarily calms my grumbling belly and thoughts of food and water. I stumble but remain on my feet. The hard as steel fist that punched me, meets my face once more and my knees give out. I fall to the cold ground and wonder how many minutes the man has before another train comes by to load people.
People. Yes, there are people around but they don’t care. I am in the shadows at the end of the platform. They hear commotion and may see it, but this is part of the chaos here. This is the normal. The man is putting on one hell of a show and I am the act.
“Scream, I will fucking kill you in front of your father.”
Grumbling from his throat interrupts the throbbing from my head as he spits on me. I understand his point; I am trash, a no one, a whore basking in his soon-to-be gore. But, get it over with already.
“Stand,” the monstrous man commands.
I oblige, quickly standing so I don’t get another punch to my already swelling face. My vision is turning double and my head is pounding. I am doing everything in my power to get through this so that Pavel gets his money. Then we can find an alley so I can sleep.
“You ain’t no virgin, girl. But I wanna play like you are. Let’s play ‘Big Daddy pops little girl’s cherry'.”
I turn my head slightly to the side, unsure what he means. He takes one hand and slams my body against the wall again, gripping my neck tight enough for me to see stars, but not tight enough for me to lose consciousness. His free hand grazes down my belly and to my sex. I expect his fingers to enter me, but expecting is the biggest mistake when being a whore. There are no rules, especially when you belong to someone else.
“Blood and gore for my little whore.”
He shoves my knees apart and sticks four fingers inside of me. I gasp out loud as a tear sears through me. I am dry, but that doesn’t slow him down. The friction only causes him to grin more at me while he shoves four fingers higher inside of me. Overwhelming discomfort rips through me and I can’t remember ever being violated this badly. I pray for death as he jabs his four fingers in and out, in and out, in and out over and over again until my blood covers his hand.
When he is satisfied with his damage to my sex, he releases himself and I want to huddle into nothingness and cry. I can’t remember the last time I wanted to sob like this, but right now I want to. This man has cracked me open and now I understand that maybe I never want to be put back together again.
“Ah, there ya go, girl. Seems Big Daddy could pop that pussy cherry after all. Now, eat it.”
My eyes grow wide while my mouth hangs open. He sticks his blood covered fingers into my mouth while ramming his dick inside of me. The distant screech of the subway car is welcoming, but even that wouldn’t stop this man. I am surviving hell on earth. With each passing thrust of his hips, I am swimming deeper and deeper into a place that I crave.
Releasing on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks on August 7th.