Page 16 of Corrupt Kingdom

“Listen, you fuck, do not question me.” My tone brooks no argument. Have I tried to fix it? Truth? No, I haven’t. Why? Fuck knows why. Maybe I don’t want to. Maybe I want to keep her all to myself.

I haven’t even tried to come up with a solution. I don’t tell him that, though. He’s clearly unhinged over his sister, and I don’t need the complication.

I wait for a few seconds and then speak. “I’m not calling regarding your sister.”

“Then why are you calling?” he replies without inflection, as though he’s come to terms with the fact that he has no power here and recognizes all the power is mine.

“Because you owe me. Regardless of anything, I fucking saved your sister’s life, and now it’s time to pay up.”

“What do you need?”

And then I tell him exactly what I need.

I imagine he’s wishing he never brought his father to my poker game.

8

Ivy

I expected him to storm the room—to show up and demand something I’m not willing to give—but he doesn’t.

He never appeared.

I should be relieved, but I’m more on edge. It’s like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Normally, I’m not one to be scared, but now I’m feeling petrified. The uncertainty is killing me. I would rather know what my fate is. Why I’m here. But seeing as I’m still alone, I know that will not happen.

Yesterday, I sulked for the rest of my night.

Today isn’t much better. I’m still sulking. A fact that I hate.

I am not that girl.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and right now, I’m having a goddamn pathetic pity party for myself.

I miss my mom.

I miss my friends.

I miss my brother.

I don’t miss my dad.

But other than that, I want out of this place, stat.

I walk around the large estate. It’s odd how it sits here vacant. It’s old, older than Cyrus Reed to have built, so he must have bought it, but for what? It reminds me of a smaller version of a medieval castle.

Except this one is located in Hell.

A small but nervous chuckle escapes my mouth as I realize I referred to him as Hades and remember that not only is his dog named Cerberus but also this island can only be accessed by boat.

It seems my host must have an affinity for Greek mythology.

Seems fitting as I do too.

No. We are not the same at all. One little detail doesn’t make us similar. No, I could never be like him.

He’s a monster who probably kills. And I like to give life, helping things grow and flourish. He probably stops the light. Blocks it with his large, powerful frame. Snuffing out life.

I tiptoe around the corner, waiting for his dog to attack. He knows I’m coming because he’s there, turning the corner. He must have some good hearing. I expect him to pounce, but he doesn’t. Instead, he gives me a large berth to walk.

He shadows me as if I commanded it, which I guess since Cyrus did, he’s just following orders.

My eyes roll of their own accord. Even though I have been here for a few days, I haven’t checked out the house much. I need to explore.

There must be a boat somewhere. First, though, I need to eat, so I head to the kitchen. Walking into the large pantry, I find slim pickings. Barely enough to survive.

He said I had food and water, but clearly, that’s a stretch of the truth. The food here won’t last more than a few days.

I grab bread and then open the fridge. If I thought the pantry was empty, this is post-apocalyptic. Not a stitch of food.

Great. I have bread and water. That’s not called food. That’s a form of torture in some cultures.

With my prison meal in hand, I take a seat. Better make it last since who knows how long it will be before I get more.

I take a small bite of the bread. He didn’t even include something to put on it.

What an asshole.

He really is the devil.

Conserving it, I continue to nibble. The slower I eat, the faster I’ll grow full. I just need to chug water and force myself to believe I’m not hungry.

As I eat the tiny morsels, I notice that Cerberus stands guard. Hovering by the table.

Against my better judgment, I rip a piece of my bread and hold it out to him in my hand.

He doesn’t move. Instead, he snarls. Probably trained not to accept food from strangers.

If only I could stick to my guns too.

“Cerberus,” I say to him, but he doesn’t look at me. He doesn’t even acknowledge that I’ve spoken. If I didn’t know better, I would think he didn’t understand. But seeing as with one command, in who knows what language, he’s followed me around, watched me, and apparently not eaten my scraps, it’s obvious he knows more than the average dog. What else could I expect from the dog that guards Hell?

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