To make up for having to push back the release date to July 20th, take a look at the first chapter of The Destruction of Sevyn!
They said that the number seven meant completeness and perfection.
At least, that was what my parents thought when they named me that. To them, I was their perfect little girl who could do no wrong, but they didn’t know what I was capable of. They didn’t know the guilt that I carried for seven years. And they definitely didn’t know about the cutting sessions I still had when they thought I was “cured” from my depression.
I definitely wasn’t the perfect angel they thought of me to be.
There was something about emptiness that was haunting, a spot you couldn’t fill no matter what you tried to jam inside of the void. Drugs, self harm, the dicks of many men. Nothing took away the gargantuan amount of guilt that sat inside of it, but yet didn’t fill the emptiness. Especially not this moron rutting away on top of me.
“Fuck, Sevyn, you’re so tight,” he moaned as he pounded into me, but I barely felt a thing. Aside from the emptiness and numbest that I felt most days, the man hardly had a dick to feel in the first place. Women around town didn’t call him Micro Marco for no reason, but he was a warm body to occupy my thoughts for the time being. I glanced over at the clock on the nightstand and noted that it was 12:14 in the morning. Just three more minutes, I thought to myself. As well as having a micropenis, he didn’t last very long either.
He was handsome at least. Muscular build, a head full of soft, dark hair, and the warmest dark eyes I’d seen on a man. He used to supply me pills and marijuana when I used to do them a few years back, but now he was set on keeping me clean because he “loved” me. We weren’t exclusive to each other, but he was a good guy whenever I decided to finally settle down. Unfortunately for him, I was incapable of love. The last time I’d loved someone was back in high school, and when he broke my heart in ways that couldn’t be overcome, I vowed to never fall for anyone else. Now my life consisted of fucking random men, a shit ton of therapy, and cutting sessions.
I winced when his hand gripped my upper thigh, his fingers pressing along the fresh cut I’d put there moments before he’d arrived. His callused hands probably didn’t feel the marred flesh and I purposely kept the room dark so he wouldn’t see them. It wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have tonight and the sooner he finished, the sooner I could get him out of my bed.
“Fuck…fuck…it’s coming,” he groaned, his hips stuttering as he quickly pulled out and jerked his tiny cock over my stomach, streams of his cum tainting my skin. I rolled my eyes as he panted above me. “Did you come, babe?”
“I was almost there, but it’s okay,” I lied, giving him a small smile. I barely felt anything to even get anywhere near the edge, which probably showed on my face with the way he frowned at me. “Really, I’m fine. I’m just a bit distracted right now.”
“It’s not too important.”
“Does it have anything to do with why you’ve started cutting again?” he asked, his voice soft yet accusing.
I sighed deeply. “It’s not anything I want to talk about, Marco,” I ground out as I tried to sit up. “Maybe you should go.”
“I’m not going anywhere until you talk to me. What’s going on with you?” he asked, his beautiful brown eyes filled with concern. The streetlights that peppered downtown Miami shined in the window of my condo, illuminating his face in a yellow glow. His eyes searched my face for an answer that I couldn’t give him. The last thing I wanted was another lecture on how I was being paranoid and reminders that Luther was dead. It was only rumored that he’d killed himself; no one had any confirmation. My parents hired a private investigator who couldn’t find Luther anywhere, but also couldn’t find a death certificate, grave site, or any indication that he’d been cremated either. He wasn’t dead, contrary to what people said, and the recent murders of old classmates didn’t bring me any kind of comfort either.
“I said I don’t want to talk,” I snapped. “It’s getting late. You should go anyway. I have therapy in the morning. I’ll talk to him about it.”
His thumb lightly brushed over my fresh cut, his brows furrowed. “You know he can’t hurt you, right?” he murmured.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“The guy you’re afraid of. He can’t hurt you. I won’t let him hurt you.” He looked back up and met my gaze. “I can have guys posted around your building and—”
“I don’t need a babysitter and I’m not afraid of anyone,” I retorted, but with the way my voice shook as I spoke, I knew I hadn’t convinced him. “I just…two of my old classmates were murdered recently and it’s been a bit hard to deal with.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said. “Were you close to them?”
They were friends of mine back in high school, but I wouldn’t say we were close. We just ran in the same group; we were popular rich kids, which was probably the only thing we really had in common. Josh, Tyler, and Hunter were jocks that my friends called “The Three Stooges” because they were idiotic guys who only got girls with their good looks, money, and athletic ability. They had about as much personality as a wet plank, but were still popular in our school, which made them the guys to want to be friends with.
If they were any other person, their deaths wouldn’t have affected me so much. But I couldn’t shake that eerie feeling that their deaths were something bigger than just a random murder and too much of a coincidence.
“Sevyn?” Marco called out as he caressed my cheek. “You’re always disappearing into that pretty little head of yours out of nowhere.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled. “No, I wasn’t really close to them. It’s just sad when someone I know dies.”
“What happened to them?”
I shrugged. “Josh was beheaded,” I started. Marco squinted at me for a moment before he snapped his fingers.
“Yeah, I heard about that on the news a little while back. And the other dude they think was related to him in some way was shot, right?”
I swallowed hard and nodded, but I knew how the police actually found him. One of my best friends, Rebecca, had a guy she’d dated once who worked in the police department. She used his affection for her to get any information she’d wanted and asked about Tyler’s death after she’d slept with him. While he was shot, it wasn’t in a normal way. A shotgun barrel had been shoved into his ass and shot through his body. No fingerprints, no evidence, no witnesses, and no leads. Same for Josh’s death. The police were no closer to knowing who was going around killing these “stand up men of Miami” and quite frankly, it put me on edge because there was one fact that stood out.
Josh and Tyler were killed seven days apart from each other. And if I were right about my theory of this being connected to me somehow and someone was back to make us all pay, that meant Hunter would be on the news in the coming days.
“Well, like I said, no one is going to hurt you, beautiful. I’ll make sure of it. My guys and I will take anyone out that even hints at wanting to cause you harm,” he promised, grabbing my hand and kissing the back of it.
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. He irritated me in ways I couldn’t explain. His “guys” only consisted of him and three meathead men that were built the same way as him and just as moronic. They couldn’t protect a raw egg from hitting the ground, let alone protecting a human. Marco always talked of himself as if he was this huge king pin that ruled the streets of Miami, but he was only a petty drug dealer who worked as a bouncer at the club we’d met at in the first place. I doubted he’d be able to protect me from whoever was doing this when the time came, so his words went in one ear and out the other.
“Well, thank you for wanting to keep me safe, but I’m fine,” I said, giving him a small smile. “But really. It’s getting late and I have therapy in the morning, so we should call it a night.”
“You know I can’t leave until you get yours, Sevyn,” he murmured as he moved down the bed and settled in between my legs. While the man couldn’t fuck to save his life, he definitely made up for it with his tongue.
I bit my lip the moment his tongue touched my clit, a mixture of pain and pleasure consuming me as he also squeezed my upper thighs. His dark, hungry eyes watched me as if trying to navigate my expressions like a guide to determine how to please me. I rolled my hips against his tongue and while I saw Marco’s face between my legs, I couldn’t stop thinking about the one guy that held my heart in a way that no other man ever would. Anytime I was with another man, I still thought about him. It was strange how you could both love someone with your entire being but hate them at the same time for what they did to you. I supposed the latter feeling was mutual because he now hated me, too.
And I couldn’t blame him for his reason why.
Marco jerked me out of my thoughts as his rapid tongue assaulted my clit, pleasure gliding along my nerve endings as I rocked my hips quicker. I was so close to the edge yet so far. The build up was always there but I just couldn’t reach the top that I needed to. Once I was frustrated enough, I gripped his hair tight and did what I’d always do. I moaned, pulled his hair and bucked against his face to pretend that I’d had an orgasm just so he’d stop and get the hell out. He suckled my clit for a few moments more and I pretended to twitch, purring in hopes he’d think I was satisfied. He peppered my inner thighs with kisses before he finally slid back up my body and planted a firm kiss on my lips.
“Always so wet and sweet,” he whispered. I gave him a small smile.
“Now I’m really tired,” I murmured, covering my mouth while letting out a pathetic yawn. He chuckled and kissed me on the forehead before getting off the bed.
“Okay, okay, you don’t have to keep hinting that you’re giving me the boot,” he said. I watched his naked form move around in the dark as he gathered his clothes. “When can I see you again?”
I propped myself up on my elbow with a sigh. “I’m not sure. I have a lot of things to do this week and my family is dragging me on vacation. Said I needed to get out more.”
“They’re not wrong,” he said with a smirk, pulling his boxers back on. “I hardly even see you at the club anymore.”
“I just haven’t been in the mood to go out lately.”
“Is it because of the murders that’ve been happening?”
I shrugged. It was a number of reasons. The murders, my growing paranoia, the fact that Logan’s death anniversary was quickly approaching and bringing back my crippling depression along with it. “I just haven’t been in the mood,” I finally said.
“Fair enough.” He pulled on the rest of his clothes and walked over to the side of the bed, still buttoning his shirt. “You know you can call me anytime you need me, right?”
I nodded. “I know, Marco. You tell me that every time I see you as well as in a text message every single day,” I mentioned with a sarcastic grin.
“You don’t have to be an asshole about it,” he said with a chuckle before leaning down to kiss me again. “I’ll call you later.” I nodded as he started to walk away but he paused and looked over his shoulder at me. “And answer when I do. I’m sick of talking to your voicemail.”
“I’ll do my best if I’m not too busy,” I said. “Promise.”
And though he nodded, we both knew I was lying. I only called him or answered his calls if I needed him, otherwise he went straight to voicemail where I’d delete the recording without even listening to it. I got out of bed and followed him through my condo to let him out. He turned and blew me a kiss before winking at me, a chill running down my spine. I quickly closed and locked the door and leaned against it as my breaths came in quick, my anxiety almost crippling me. It was such an innocent gesture that sparked so much fear when that one particular memory came to the forefront of my mind. No matter how much I tried to block that time out of my life, the devastating guilt and memories of everything always wormed its way into my current thoughts. Sometimes I wondered if it was my spiritual punishment for what I'd done considering that I practically got off without so much as a warning. And honestly, I would've rather served time for my actions instead of dealing with the mental torment that I dealt with now.
I hadn't seen Luther Evans since the trial, but he was always on my mind. Just the thought of him sparked my fear ever since he winked at me in the courtroom, planting that tiny seed of promise and fear before he was pulled away. It was only a wink; he never said a word to me but that sinister grin on his lips and a simple wink was enough to rock my entire world. After being friends with Logan for years, I knew very well what Luther was capable of. Growing up, no one dared to mess with Logan or her friends because everyone knew of her big brother that was nicknamed Lunatic Luther. He'd mellowed out a lot over the years but when Logan died, the lunatic within him returned. And when he winked at me in court seven years ago, I knew deep down in my soul that this wasn't over.
It was far from over.
I padded back through my quiet condo and headed to the master bathroom, turning on the hot water of the shower. As I waited for the water to warm, I studied my reflection in the mirror. It was so easy to pretend you were fine when you really weren't. My light brown eyes appeared to be full of life despite the fact that I felt dead inside. Thanks to spray tanning, my soft, tanned skin gave the illusion that I'd been spending my days on the Miami beaches near my condo instead of my actual reality of being holed up inside my home due to paranoia. My lean, curvy figure hadn't changed despite the multiple times I'd trashed my body with drugs, emotional eating, and self-harming tendencies. People usually thought I had it all just by looking at me, but the only thing I had was the blood of my ex best friend on my hands.
Stepping into the shower, I hissed as the hot water hit my fresh cuts. I wouldn't complain though; pain seemed to be the only thing I could feel these days. I scrubbed my body until my skin was raw and red, pausing when I heard my phone ringing from my bedroom. Probably Marco already, I mused, rolling my eyes as I massaged shampoo into my hair. But the phone didn't stop ringing. After one call stopped, another would come in. After the fifth call, I frowned. Considering how late it was, I didn't know who else would be calling other than Marco, but five times back to back was pretty excessive, even for him.
I ground my teeth and rinsed the shampoo from my long, black hair before turning the water off. A sixth call came through as I yanked a towel from the towel rod and wrapped it around me. Strolling out of my bathroom and into my bedroom, I grabbed my phone from my bed to see Rebecca's name on my screen.
"Bec, do you know how late it is?" I muttered as I cradled my phone between my ear and shoulder as I moved around my bedroom to get ready for bed.
"I know, I know, and I'm sorry. But I think you'd want to know this," she said. I paused when I caught the trembling in her voice.
"Is something wrong?"
"So remember when I told you that I'd asked Donovan to keep me updated on cases that were similar to Josh and Tyler's death?" she started.
"Yeah, and?" I asked. My heart raced in my chest. If she was calling me this late—and back to back at that—then I already had a feeling as to what she was about to tell me.
"They just found Hunter's body," she exclaimed, slight panic and fear lacing her voice.
I nearly dropped my phone at the news. I rushed over to flip on the light switch and moved to look at my calendar. I'd marked their deaths on my calendar when Tyler was killed, mostly to try to convince myself that it wasn't a coincidence and that they were random murders. I looked at the names I'd written in pencil and the dates I'd written them in:
April 1 - Josh C.
April 8 - Tyler F.
April 15 - Hunter Y. ?
I'd told myself after Tyler’s death that the fact that Tyler was killed seven days after Josh felt like a sign of some sort. My parents, therapists and friends told me that I was being paranoid as they usually did whenever I expressed my fear about something happening to me. But as I looked at my calendar, I couldn't shake the thought that I'd been right all along, especially after Hunter's death.
Which happened yesterday, on April 15th, just as I'd assumed it would if my theory was right.
"Sevyn?" Rebecca called out, breaking into my thoughts.
"Y-yeah, I'm still here," I stammered, tearing my gaze away from the calendar. "Um, does he know what happened?"
"It's bad. It's so, so bad," she said and sighed. "Donovan said Hunter was literally ripped apart. Like his arms and legs were torn from his body."
"Jesus," I murmured, anxiety creeping over me as I ran my hand through my wet hair.
"Yeah. He said this one was one of the most brutal scenes so far."
"I seriously think it's Luther," I blurted out.
"Sevyn, we've been through this—"
"You guys don't get it," I snapped. "Isn't this a little too coincidental? I mean, hello, last month was the month where I was found not guilty for my part in what led to Logan's suicide seven years ago. And now seven years later, all three guys who raped Logan are now dead and were killed seven days apart. Does that not sound like some kind of warning or sign?"
"You sound like one of those Youtube conspiracy theorists," Rebecca mused, which pissed me off to no end. "No one has seen Luther in years. He's even rumored to be dead. Besides, Josh, Tyler, and Hunter weren't the nicest people and it's probably some asshole that they pissed off that did this."
"Rebecca, as brutal as their murders were, it was definitely personal and done by someone with a shit ton of pent up rage. This isn't something that randomly happens to people to settle a score. I don't even think the mafia does anything like that!"
"I don't know, Sevyn. Even if your theory was to be considered, that would mean whoever killed them is coming for us soon. I don't know about you, but that's not something I want to think about."
But then I remembered Luther's wink back in court. I was unfinished business; we all were. Every single one of us who got off on our charges with a slap on the wrist were unfinished business.
"Bec?" I slowly said.
"Do you remember what we used to call Luther when we were kids?"
She was quiet for a moment. "You're really starting to scare me, Sevyn."
"I really think it's him. You need to tell Donovan to at least look into Luther," I said as I sat on the side of my bed.
"No one's seen Luther in years, Sevyn," she said again. "The only person that's worried about him is you."
I sighed deeply and pursed my lips. This wasn't a battle I'd win with anyone. Ever since I had my breakdown years ago, everyone spent so much time trying to tell me that everything I was afraid of was only in my head, as if they weren't legitimate. It was pointless talking to anyone about it because they all said the same thing. No one's going to hurt you, Sevyn. Your fear is creating scenarios in your mind that aren't true. Are you taking your meds as you're supposed to? The meds should've stopped those delusions.
"I guess you're right," I finally said, no longer wanting to talk. "I have to go."
"Night, Bec," I said and hung up the phone. I flopped back on the bed with a sigh, staring up at the ceiling. Regardless of what anyone else said, I already knew who was behind it and it was only a matter of time before he got to me.
I unlocked my phone screen and called my mom, continuing to stare at the ceiling until she answered.
"Sevyn?" she said sleepily. "It's very late—"
"Hunter was killed last night," I blurted out.
My mom released a soft sigh, the shuffling on her end of the line signaling that she was sitting up in bed. "I'm sorry. Was this a friend of yours?"
"He was one of the guys that raped Logan," I forced myself to say. "Along with Josh and Tyler, the other guys murdered recently."
"That's terrible." She was quiet for a moment. "Do you need to come here? Or should we come to you? I don't want you to spiral again."
"I think it's best if I come to you. I don't feel safe being alone right now," I murmured, tears burning my eyes.
"No one is going to hurt you. I understand you're scared, but you're safe. Whether or not Luther is alive, there's still a restraining order against him. The private investigator is still searching for his whereabouts as well."
That's what makes him so dangerous, I bitterly thought. The fact that no one knew where he was made this whole situation even more frightening. He could pop up at any moment and at any place and no one would be prepared for him.
"Well, for my peace of mind, I don't feel comfortable being alone tonight," I finally said after a short bout of silence.
"Of course. You know your father and I are here for you whenever you need us."
"Thanks, Mom. I'll be there in a few."
"I'll get a room made up for you. Call me when you're on your way."
"I will. See you in a bit," I said and hung up with a sigh. An unfamiliar ringtone sounded from somewhere under my bed, setting me on edge.
I slowly moved down to the floor practically holding my breath but sighed in relief when I saw that it was just Marco's phone.
"Great. Now I have to see him well before I want to," I muttered, just as a heavy knock sounded on my front door. "Perfect timing."
I quickly pulled on panties and a long purple t-shirt that stopped in the middle of my thighs. Picking up his phone, I padded across the heated wooden floors through my condo and unlocked the door. "I literally just found your—"
My words ceased to exist as I looked up into Luther's angry eyes. He still looked as he did seven years ago. Dangerously handsome, clean shaven, athletically built. His dark brown eyes were hard on me as he took a step forward.
"Long time, no see, Sevyn," he stated, his menacing voice making my skin crawl with fear.
"You're not supposed to be here," I whispered. My brain screamed for me to try to close the door, but I couldn't get my body to follow through.
"And you're not supposed to be a free woman, yet here you are," he taunted. "My sister's in the ground and you're treated to an ocean view condo downtown and living a lavish life. Must be nice."
"You...what?" He took another step forward, now making it impossible to close the door. "You're sorry now?'
"Yes," I whispered. My body involuntarily trembled as his gaze slid along my form, his eyes softening when he met my eyes.
"I've waited seven years to hear you say that," he murmured, the earlier anger dissolving from him. His shoulders sag as he bowed his head. "It was bad enough to see everyone get away with what they'd done; it was even worse that you didn't even appear remorseful about it."
"I was," I said, my voice finally coming back to me. "I didn't want that for her, Luther. I swear to you, I didn't think things were that bad for her."
"You didn't think things were that bad?" he repeated, frowning. "A video of her rape was posted on the school's forum and she was expelled for it while the guys got away with it for being 'exceptional athletes with potential' and you don't think that was bad?"
I swallowed the lump of guilt in my throat. "You're right," I murmured. "I should've stopped it and I didn't."
"Of course you didn't. You only fanned the flames and made it worse," he said, his voice flat. After a few moments, he sighed. "But anger won't bring Logan back. All I can do is forgive you and move on."
My eyes widened at his words. "I...thank you," I stammered. "I know I don't deserve your forgiveness—"
"You don't," he interrupted. "But despite everything you did to her, Logan wrote in her suicide note that she forgave you. You were the reason she felt her life was no longer worth living and yet she forgave you."
Tears burned my eyes as I looked at him. That definitely sounded like something Logan would do. Always gorgeous, always naive. She always saw the good in people, regardless of how they treated her or others, claiming that everyone had a story that made them the way they were. You had to be a special kind of evil to hurt someone as kind, pure, and loving as her. And since I was the one that initiated the entire situation, it made me the worst of all.
"Did you kill the guys?" I forced myself to ask, my heart hammering in my chest. He shook his head.
"No. I only just heard about it when I came back to town yesterday, but I wish I had," he ground out, a dark look passing over his face before it disappeared again. "Anyway, I have to go. Sorry it was so late."
"It's fine," I said, giving him a small smile. "If you ever want to talk, you can stop by or whatever."
He smirked at me. "I'm not even technically supposed to be here, remember?"
"Oh yeah. The restraining order," I murmured. "I suppose I can't hug you either, huh?"
"Why would you want to?"
I shrugged. "You look like you need one, I guess," I said. He stared at me for a long moment, so long that I started to feel uncomfortable. "I'm sorry. Forget I said anything."
"No, you're right," he said and ran a hand down his tired face. It was then that I saw the extent of what Logan's death had done to him. He looked weary, probably from years of anger, grief, and loss—all of which I caused. "Maybe I do need one."
I closed the space between us and slowly wrapped my arms around his neck. He tensed under my touch at first before he stiffly brought one around arm around me. His cologne smelled of cedar wood and cinnamon, reminding me of times I'd spent with my first and only love.
"You know what I always admired about you, Sevyn?" Luther murmured as his arm around my waist tightened.
"How gullible you are," he whispered just as a sharp pain pierced my side. I gasped in shock and let him go, looking down to see blood seeping through my nightshirt. "Did you think I came here for some kind of fucked up forgiveness pow wow?"
I stumbled backwards, clutching my side. Luther calmly closed and locked the door before stalking toward me. With the condo still dark, I stumbled into furniture as I walked backwards, never taking my eyes off of him.
"Alexa, turn on the lights," I panted. The lights clicked on in the living room, revealing the bloody box cutter he held in his hand.
"Did you think I'd never come for you?" he asked, a sly grin on his lips. "I promised my sister that I'd make everyone responsible pay for what they did to her."
"So, you killed them," I ground out, my side burning like crazy.
He shrugged. "Wasn't it obvious?" he replied and charged toward me. I squeaked and took off, running into my bedroom, shutting and locking the door behind me. Luther banged on the door a few times before everything ceased. I pushed my dresser in front of the door, wincing in pain as my side throbbed at the exertion. Once it was in place, I grabbed my phone from the bed and quickly called 911.
"One...two...Luther's coming for you..." he sang outside the door.
"911, what's your emergency?" a bored operator said upon answering.
"Y-yes, I need help," I rushed out, panic strangling my voice.
"Three...four...gonna skin a whore," he continued.
"What's the problem, ma'am?" the operator asked.
"Five...six...you're last on my list..."
"A man I have a restraining order on is in my house. I've been stabbed," I said, tears rolling down my cheek.
"Seven...eight...time to meet your fate...."
"What's your address, ma'am?" the operator said. I quickly gave her my address, listening hard for Luther but no longer heard him singing. "Police and an ambulance are on the way to you ma'am."
"Thank you," I said, just as my front door slammed shut. Everything was silent for a long moment. My bedroom lights were still off, the living room lights still on, but I didn't dare move the dresser in case he was actually still in the house. My heart hammered so hard in my chest that I could almost hear it beating in the silence that surrounded me. I forced myself to the bathroom, lifting my shirt to see my bloody wound. I grabbed a box of gauze from under the sink and went to work trying to clean it as best as I could. Sirens sounded in the distance, relief flooding me as I held gauze against my wound to stop the bleeding. I put the peroxide and extra gauze back under the sink and stood upright, a firm hand covering my mouth and a strong arm across my neck.
"Nine, ten, now you'll die my friend," he whispered in my ear. The balcony door. He went through the balcony door of my living room and entered through the door leading to my bedroom. I met his eyes in the mirror, fear paralyzing me as I watched him slit my throat. He let go of me and I fell to the floor with a thud. The last thing I saw was him looking down at me, a satisfied grin on his lips.
"See you in hell, bitch."
I jumped awake with a scream, falling onto the floor. My heart pounded in my chest so hard that it hurt. I felt my neck and checked my body for injuries, only to find that I was still wrapped in my towel from last night. I ran a hand through my tangled, dry hair and rested my head against the bed.
"It was just a dream, Sevyn. Just a fucked up dream," I murmured to myself as I willed my heart rate to go down. I reached back and felt around for my phone, opening my call log. I'd talked to Rebecca, but I never called my mom. I must've fallen asleep staring at the ceiling.
I pulled my knees to my chest. Whether it was a dream or not, I knew one thing.
Luther Evans was coming for me and no one would be able to save me from him.