Chapter 1

1997 Words
CHARLOTTE A cold breeze touched my trembling body after my landlord, Patricia, evicted me from my apartment for failing to pay my monthly rent. I lost my job in one of the town restaurants after the coronavirus pandemic killed many people here in the village where I moved five months ago because I was hiding from someone who was tracking me. I have nowhere to go because I have been living alone since I was a child. As I grew up in an orphanage, I had no parents or family members to turn to for support when I needed it. I just turned eighteen two months ago, but one of the country's mafia bosses who spotted me during my orphanage days wanted to force me to accept him and become his mistress, but I couldn't agree with him because I didn't want to be his bedmate, so I decided to flee, even though I knew he brought me for a thousand dollars from Sister Adreana and certainly looked and chased me wherever I chose to hide. My life was not easy following my successful escape from the orphanage. That place is a living hell for all the girls who live there, because we have no other choice but to accept our cruel fate without question. Sister Adreana will surely look for someone to buy for us once we reach the age of eighteen. She made money from it, and it has become her main source of income and a stable business. She is now known in an underground operation and on the black market for selling beautiful girls like me who are picked up from the street by the organization. "What are you still doing here? Didn't I tell you to leave this place and take all your filthy possessions?" Patricia yelled as she dragged me away from the small apartment I'd been leaving for a few months. "I'm sorry, Patricia, but I don't have any money right now," I hurriedly explained. "Please forgive me; I promise to pay you right away if I get a job soon," I begged because I had nowhere else to go and it was more dangerous for me to stay outside or live in the streets again. "Who would hire someone like you? Look at you, you're so unattractive and trashy!" she answered, trying to embarrass me. I bit my lower lip as I kept hearing her bully me and use those painful words against me. She had called me to do whatever she wants, and I can't do anything right now but listen to her rants. I don't want to say anything that may add to her rage because I'm still hoping that she'll pity me and give me another chance after this. "This is enough! I will not accept any excuses from you. Get lost and never return!" Patricia said it firmly. I looked down at my shaky legs and didn't respond. I blink twice to control the tears that are about to fall, as I don't want to give her another chance to disgrace me. The cold weather is really bothering me, and the snow is getting thicker everywhere. Winter has made life more difficult for everyone in this town. The sickness is everywhere, and many people are dying as a result of the virus and the cold weather. "If you step on my property again, I will call the cops and sue you!" Patricia screamed angrily. She entered the apartment and took all of my personal belongings. She threw it all on the cold, frozen ground, oblivious to the fact that I am a person who has nothing to use for survival at the moment. I know she won't change her mind based on how she treated me this time. Patricia wants money from me, and I don't have anything to pay her back. I slowly gathered all of my clothes and placed them in a black garbage bag. I'm not sure where to go, but I'll try my luck looking for any place to stay for the night. I returned my gaze to the small apartment building and took a deep breath before stepping my heavy and trembling legs. The night was dark, with only a few street lights on. I wasn't afraid of the dark because Sister Adreana had locked me inside the storeroom for more than forty-eight hours for disobeying her command, and after that, I became used to it. I was walking towards the nearby hotel when suddenly I heard a loud howl. I was taken aback but kept going after. I'm aware that there are many dangerous animals in the woods to the north of town, but they do not frighten me. I was more afraid that Sister Adreana's men would find me and hand me over to the old man, who only wanted my body. I could agree with her if I wanted to, but that's not the kind of life I'd want for myself. Another loud howl came from afar as I walked towards the nearby woods, where I knew I could find a hotel to spend the night. I know it's not close to where I am right now, but I don't understand why I can hear them even though they are far away. This is one of my abilities that I used to use whenever I was in danger. When someone comes to the orphanage looking for a woman to buy, I usually hide and stay somewhere I know I am safe until those unwanted visitors are gone. I was overjoyed to have this ability, as it is extremely useful to me. I'm not sure how I did it, because I realized I was special as soon as I turned fifteen. My vision was even clearer at night; I'm not sure how it happened, but it was unusual. I chose to hide my ability from anyone because I don't want them to have their eyes on me like they did before when I ran so fast that no one could see me and then vanished to a place where Sister Adreana asked me to stay because someone came to buy me. I was deep in thought when a car abruptly stopped in front of me, making me stop walking to check on them. I looked around for a place to run, immediately after I found out who they were, as I knew who the driver was and who the people with him were as I was very familiar with them. "Do you think you'll get away with us, bitch?" asked the man, who quickly jumped out of the car. A few men followed him, and in an instant, they were in front of me. When the man with a long gun and two goons tried to grab me, I tended to take a step back immediately to avoid them. "What do you want from me?" I asked angrily. "You!" the other guy, who had long, blonde hair, answered. "You can't get anything from me. I'm ugly and poor," I replied right away, trying to appear strong in front of them. "Except for your body, we require nothing from your possession. My boss wanted you, and he paid you a thousand dollars!" Sister Adreana sold me to their boss, so I knew he was telling the truth. That old man won't stop chasing me until he gets what he wants from me, but I'm not going to surrender without a fight. "I don't know what you're talking about," I hissed, trying to lie about my identity. "You can't fool us, Charlotte!" a tall guy replied loudly with a mocking expression on his face. "How did you track me down?" Curious, I inquired. "My boss has connections throughout the city, including this small town. You know how powerful he is, so don't waste your time running and hiding because you can't fool him no matter how much you change your looks and appearance," replied the leader, who was eying me and scanning my entire body. I was convinced that the man in front of me was telling the truth. They were able to track me despite the fact that I had completely changed my appearance. I wear a wig and a fake brace. I hide my long and beautiful blonde hair in order for them not to recognize me, but despite my efforts, they have found me. "Tell your boss that I am not his property," I shouted with full of determination. "He couldn't have me, and he certainly couldn't own me!" The men in front of me burst out laughing, as if I had said something amusing. They didn't realize I was adamant with my words and that no matter what happens here now, I'm not going with them, and they couldn't force me. "Get inside the car and stop talking, or I'll shoot you!" One of the guys firmly ordered while holding a high-caliber gun that is now pointing into my body with a serious warning. I gave him a bored look. I didn't respond to what he said as I was standing firmly in front of them. "Get in!" one of them shouted again, but I was still standing unfrozen. "I guess you all don't understand my words," I replied, looking at him solemnly. "I'm not going with any of you, and don't waste your time trying to persuade me; no matter what happens here, you guys can't force me!" They attack me as soon as those words leave my mouth. Someone grabbed both of my arms and dragged me towards the nearby car. In this situation, I realize that I am now in a critical situation. Nobody would help me, and I have no one to call for help. I have to do something to save myself. I was strangling to escape, but I did my best to survive. I used all of my strength to push the two guys, who were tightly holding my arms. I'm not sure how it happened, but I was so strong that they ended up on the ground. I didn't hesitate or regret what I did. I dashed into the woods without looking back, even though the loud sound of gunshots echoed throughout the vast forest and bullets were raining down on me. I know they'll kill me if they see me again and catch me. So I ran as fast as I could, hoping they wouldn't find me. While I was running, I could hear everything they said, including how they called me whatever names they wanted. They were all angry and frustrated to get me because their big boss had told them not to return without bringing me in front of him. Clearly, I am aware that my life is in grave danger right now. I dashed across the huge chunk of tree and leaped to the back to hide while I knew those men followed my directions to look for me. "That girl, she runs so fast!" A loud voice came from the men who kept on following me, as their main goal was to capture me and take me to their boss. "Find her, or else big boss will bury us alive six feet below ground!" One of them ordered it. Even though he wasn't in front of me, I recognized his voice. He was the leader of the group that is now looking for me. I'm not sure how far apart we are, but I'm certain that they were not close to my location, and I could clearly hear their conversation. "Bruno, activate the drones so we can track that douchebag," the leader said. Slowly, I crawled towards a nearby large stone in search of a safer place to hide beneath so they couldn't find me. If they use drones, they could surely detect any movement from the ground, so I considered hiding somewhere where they couldn't see me as my only option for now.

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