His Queen: Chapter 15

MIRABELLA

“I’m here, Mirabella.”

The sound of her voice wraps around me like a blanket. It’s warm. Comforting. And I don’t ever want it to go away.

“Everything’s going to be okay.”

“Momma?” I press my eyes closed tighter, cast in complete darkness.

“You need to be strong, okay?”

“I can’t.”

“Yes, you can. I know you can.”

A shivering cold wraps around my ankles, prickling my skin with a thousand icy needles. Fear is running rampant in my bones. My panicked breaths hardly have oxygen reaching my lungs.

I gasp when warm, soft hands touch my cheeks, a gentle brush of fingers setting me at ease—at least a little bit.

“You need to listen to me, Mirabella.” Her voice drops to a desperate murmur. “You have to be strong. Don’t open your eyes. And don’t let them in.”

“I’m scared,” I whimper, sniffing as hot tears sting the corners of my eyes.

“I know you are, and it’s okay. Just don’t let that fear control you. You have to stay strong. Remember that you’re my brave little girl.”

“I don’t want to be brave,” I cry. “I don’t want to be here. Please take me away from here.”

“I wish I could,” she says, and it hurts when I feel her lips against my forehead.

“I want to see you. Please, can I open my eyes?”

“No,” she urges. “You can’t open your eyes, Mira. If you do, it’ll take you, and I will never get you back.”

“What will take me?”

“The red haze.”

“What red haze? Momma, I don’t understand.”

“Listen to me. Please, Mira. You have to fight.”

“I can’t.” My tears burn like molten lava down my face, and everything hurts. Even Momma’s touch is starting to sting.

“Promise me, Mira!” The urgency in her voice has me swallowing hard, gritting my teeth. “Promise me you will not stop fighting.”

“Momma, please.”

“Mira!”

I sniff, sucking air through my teeth. All I want to do is open my eyes and look at her. I know if I look at her, I’ll feel safe again. Home.

“Promise me you will not stop. You will not give up. Please, Mirabella. Please promise me.”

My sobs are coming out like choked cries, my throat raw. “I promise. I promise I won’t give up.”

“That’s my brave little girl. Remember, we keep our promises.”

“Yes, Momma.”

There’s a violent tug at my back, and I’m being pulled through the air, out of Momma’s reach and away from her.

“Momma! No!”

“Don’t give up!”

I jerk awake, flames searing down my back, leaving aching bones and sore muscles in their wake. My mouth is dry, and my head throbs. I’m disoriented and dizzy as I push myself up with my palms.

Confusion clouds my thoughts.

Roses.

Baby’s breath.

Rain.

The van.

The pungent smell of smoke.

My eyes snap open, fear slamming into my gut, knocking the wind right out of me. It’s dark. Too dark. But I know I’m naked, my trembling hands hesitantly brushing my side.

I don’t see or feel any walls, but I’m claustrophobic and shaking. The air is too stale, my lungs refusing to be sated with my shallow breaths. My heart pounds inside my chest as reality starts to trickle in.

I’m trapped.

A presence shivers across my spine, and I can feel someone’s eyes on me. Watching me. Haunting me.

“Hello?” My voice is weak and hoarse as my head continues to throb, and I wrap my arms around myself. “Is anyone there?” Silence greets me like a vacuum, swallowing my words. “Please. Where are my clothes?”

I’m trying to stay calm, to think rationally. But panic is escalating with each passing second. I force myself to sit up on what feels like a mattress beneath me. My mind is racing with all the terrible things that could happen to me in this situation, and I’m barely able to breathe.

Suddenly, a low rumbling laugh resounds from somewhere close by, making me jump and scream out loud before quickly covering my mouth with both hands.

“Mirabella Del Rossa,” a voice whispers close by in response.

“Who are you? Where are my clothes?” The words escape on an unsteady exhale past my trembling lips.

A chuckle—deep and throaty—echoes through what must be some kind of cellar or basement space where I’m currently being held captive.

“Dear, little Hummingbird,” says the same silky voice. “That’s what he calls you, isn’t it? His Hummingbird.”

“Don’t call me that,” I snap, the saltiness of my tears exploding on my tongue.

“Fine.” A flame cuts through the darkness, and I see the glowing embers of a cigarette being lit. The flame disappears, and the burning tobacco brightens with fiery orange before dimming to a simmer. “Let’s call you birdie, then.”

I try to claw at something, a blanket or a sheet, anything I can cover myself with, but there’s nothing. “I need my clothes. Give me back my clothes,” I demand.

The figure steps into my line of vision, and I can make out a dark silhouette with broad shoulders. He takes a drag on the cigarette before exhaling smoke in long tendrils that curl around his head like serpents.

There’s a loud thump, and I’m suddenly blinded by harsh lights bursting through the darkness. I cover my eyes, shying away from the light, then blink rapidly, a slicing pain spreading through my skull. But as my vision starts to adjust, the figure in front of me becomes clearer, and with it comes a chilling recognition.

“Nunzio,” I whisper, my stomach instantly filled with concrete.

He steps forward, shadows dancing across his features. “I see you still remember me,” he says in a steady voice, but there’s a vicious ring that grazes over my flesh.

“How could I forget?” I spit out bitterly, pulling my knees up, trying my best to hide every inch of flesh from his eyes. A man stands a few feet behind him, covering the closed door, a gun holstered on his one side, a large knife on the other.

“Well, I’m certainly glad to know I made an impression,” Nunzio says.

“It’s not a good one, I assure you.”

“All that matters is that you remember me.”

“Give me my clothes.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that.” His leering gaze drops to where my arms cross to cover my breasts, then sucks his bottom lip between his teeth. “See, you’re a feisty one, and I need your cooperation, which means I need to weaken that confidence of yours, hence why you’re naked.”

“Did you touch me?”

A smirk tugs at the ends of his lips. “Not yet.”

“What do you want from me?”

He shrugs, his shoulders moving beneath his thick black trench coat. “It’s not so much about what I want with you—although I can certainly think of something.”

“Screw you.”

“Now, that’s an entertaining thought.” If his tone were a living-breathing thing, it would have scales and a split tongue.

I shudder at the thinly veiled threat in his voice. “If you lay a hand on me—”

“You’ll what?” He moves closer, his demeanor threatening. “You’ll fight me? You’ll kill me?”

I press my back flush against the wall, shivering from the cold, pressing my heels deeper into the old, dirty mattress.

“You’ll get your husband to kill me the way he killed my cousin?”

“Felix tried to rape me.”

“But he didn’t. He barely fucking touched you.”

“Because Nicoli stopped him!”

“Nicoli had no right!” he growls, his hard tenor cutting through me like glass.

“I’m his wife. He had every right.”

“Now that’s where our problem comes in. The night he killed Felix, you weren’t his wife. Were you?”

I can hardly swallow, my throat instantly turning to sandpaper.

“I knew the Del Rossas were full of shit,” he continues. “Something just didn’t add up. Up until that night, you and Nicoli were never seen together. No one knew you were together. But after he killed Felix, your faces were fucking everywhere. You were suddenly the golden couple of the fucking city.” He takes another drag of his cigarette and exhales through his nostrils like a bull ready to charge.

“Check our marriage license,” I say. “The date is on there.”

“That marriage license isn’t worth the paper I wipe my ass with, sweetheart.”

I bite the inside of my mouth, the metallic taste of my blood spreading along my tongue.

“Let me go.”

“Unfortunately, that’s not an option right now.” The way he drags his gaze down my body sends chills down my spine. He licks his lips as if he can already taste me, and it sends a bout of nausea through my stomach. “But I’m pretty sure Nicoli isn’t complaining about having you as a wife, laying claim over that body of yours.”

“Stop,” I bite out.

His dark eyes flash. “Oh, birdie. ‘Stop’ and ‘no’ are two words you should never say to a man like me.”

My eyes rapidly scan the dimly lit room. The walls are painted an off-white shade that casts a muted light across the room. Other than the mattress I’m huddled up on, and a bucket in the corner, the room is empty. There are no windows, and the only source of light is the single bulb hanging from the ceiling. Shadows seem to creep in from every corner, giving everything an uneasy feeling.

“There’s no way out, birdie,” he warns. “So don’t even waste your time trying.”

“Nicoli will find me,” I say shakily.

“Oh, I have no doubt he will.” He steps closer until he’s looming over me menacingly. The scent of alcohol coming off his breath is disgusting, making my stomach turn. “But in what condition will he find you? That’s the question.”

Fear explodes in my chest, adrenaline bursting through my system as he reaches out, but I jerk away, swatting at his hand. “Don’t fucking touch me,” I hiss.

Nunzio’s nostrils flare, then he grabs my face, his fingers pressing painfully in my jaw. “You are mine now, birdie. I will fucking touch you when I want to.”

“No! Let go of me,” I yell, frantically hitting at him, clawing at him, wanting to break his skin. His arms are everywhere, and it’s like his body doubled in size as I try to fight him. “Don’t fucking touch me!”

“I love it when they fight,” he growls with a menacing laugh.

My breaths are panicked bursts of air, and my bones violent as I try to get away from him, his hands burning my skin like branding irons.

I try to scurry away, jerking my legs to the side, but Nunzio grabs the back of my neck, fingers digging painfully into my skin as he yanks me back and slams me into the mattress, air exploding from my lungs. His hand is around my throat as he pins me down with so much force, I’m sure my back will break.

“I wasn’t planning on doing this today,” he spits out, his lips pulled back as he keeps me down. “But your fight has my dick real fucking hard. Now is as good a time as any,” he sneers, his vile breath slithering down my cheek, and I’m thrashing, kicking, desperate to get free. But he only squeezes harder until I’m no longer able to breathe. My hands are on his wrists, scratching and clawing, needing him to let go so I can get air in my lungs. But he doesn’t let go, not even a little bit, and the lack of oxygen robs me of strength.

He drags a finger down the side of my face, his leering gaze following the movement until it stops at my mouth, his thumb pressing hard against my bottom lip, and I tighten my grip around his wrist.

“You’re a beautiful woman, birdie. Men just have to look at you, and their control shatters.”

I want to scream. But I can’t. He’s choking me so hard. It’s as if my tongue is swollen inside my mouth, my throat burning. But my body doesn’t give up, my hips lifting off the mattress, legs kicking and my mind screaming.

“Grab her legs!” he yells, and my eyes shut, hot tears streaming down.

Please, God. No. This can’t be happening.

Two strong hands shackle my feet, pinning my legs down.

No. No. No. Please.

Something cold encircles my wrist, followed by a clicking sound, and Nunzio finally removes his hand from my throat, leaving me gasping for air. My throat, chest, lungs, everything is on fire, and I’m still coughing violently when pain shoots up my arms, every muscle pulled taut as he cuffs me to a metal bar above my head.

“Stop,” I cough out, and I hate how weak I sound. “Don’t touch me.”

“Don’t touch you?” His dark brows slant inward, his evil intentions painted all over the lines on his face. “Birdie, I can do whatever the fuck I want with you.” He drops his palm to cover my breast, and a bitter taste explodes in my mouth. I’ve never experienced anything as revolting as his touch, and it turns violently in my gut.

“I told you, you’re mine now.”

A hiss slips from my lips, followed by a tormented moan as he squeezes, then tugs at my nipple.

“No one is here to stop me. No one is here to save you from me.”

I react, pulling at the restraints as I try to lift myself and spit in his face. I’m not sure if it’s a moment of bravery or insanity. But he grimaces, removing his hand from my body to wipe my spit from his cheek, his eyes turning into orbs of the darkest obsidian I’ve ever seen, and it scares me to the core.

There’s a moment of utter silence. It’s like the world stops for a split second that drags on for eons. My thoughts are frozen as I watch flames burst across his face, and warning knocks against my chest, confirming my worst fear is about to happen. God, this can’t be real. This has to be a nightmare. My lungs go tight, trying to find air when the only thing around them is fear and dread, the blood in my veins begging for help that won’t come. Not now.

Ice blasts and shatters through my insides as Nunzio grabs my waist, the other man’s hands gripping my ankles, and I’m being jerked around violently, my arms twisting awkwardly as my face hits the mattress—pain shooting to every corner of my body.

I cry out when my legs are spread open, and no matter how hard I try I can’t close them. I can’t get them to fucking close.

“Let’s see if you’re one of those sluts who pretend not to want it when their pussies are weeping at the thought of being taken against their will.” Without warning, his finger is inside me, violent and forceful, a scream tearing out of me.

“Stop, please!” Tears spill from my eyes as I try to fight. “Please don’t do this!”

“That’s it, birdie. Scream for me.”

Nicoli.

‘Scream for me, Hummingbird.’

“Looks like you really don’t want this. Maybe a second one will lube you up for me,” he taunts, and I choke on my own screams when he forces a second finger inside me, and I’m sure I’m dying. I must be dying because nothing has ever hurt this much.

“Don’t!”

“Lucky for me, the less they want it, the more determined I am to give it.” He pulls his fingers from my body, and I hear what sounds like him spitting. My legs get jerked farther apart, and Nunzio slaps his palm against my sex. “Nothing a little spit can’t fix.”

“Please don’t. Nunzio, please. I’m begging you. Don’t do it. Don’t do it! God, please!”

“Let’s see if your cunt is worth Felix dying over.”

The weight of his body crushes me, and I’m gasping, the stench of his musk cologne mixing with my terror. The taste of blood bursts through my mouth, tears and snot dripping past my lips.

“Please. Please. Please!” My sobs are violent. Desperate. It fucking hurts. Everything hurts.

He squeezes his hands into my waist, tighter and tighter until I’m sure my bones will break. It’s like I have no control over my body, squirming, thrashing, screaming even though I know it’s no use. Nothing can stop this. Nothing.

“That’s it, birdie. Keep begging.” Nunzio’s laughter rings in the air like a demon dancing in a thunderstorm, taunting me as I scream for mercy.

“God, no! Please stop!” My screams slice up my throat like razor blades, and I start to gag when I feel him at my entrance, my stomach lurching up my throat, choking me.

He moves.

I clench my eyes shut.

And I die.

Brutally.

Painfully.

Obsolete.

He’s inside me. I can feel him everywhere. I’m sure he’s slicing me wide open, tearing through me like paper. It has to be. Why else would it hurt so much? I’m choking back my own vomit, my body fighting against the pain, my tears flooding my cheeks like blood poured from my veins.

His vile grunts fill my ears like the devil’s laughter, and his hand is on my head, forcing my face into the mattress.

I can’t breathe. I don’t want to breathe. Please don’t let me breathe.

“Jesus, birdie. Your pussy is tight.”

Something breaks. It’s my mind. I’m sure of it. I hear the snap, feel the severed tether of my sanity. And my body goes numb as the violation overwhelms me with an emptiness that grows with his every movement. The pain becomes a paralyzing grip that squeezes tighter and tighter until I’m no longer there. Like every ounce of life is being torn out of me by his thrusts.

“Oh, don’t give up on me now, birdie. Fight!” he yells, pressing harder, suffocating me.

Let me die.

“Fight me!” His grunts grow louder. More rapid. His thrusts deeper, harder, tearing me open from the inside.

“Fight me, birdie!”

My lungs burn.

My body burns.

I’m nothing but flames.

Let me turn to ash.

And then…nothing.


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