Chapter no 12 – The Diamond

Hunting Adeline

“How’s it feel to be a failure?” a voice whispers from behind me.

It instantly evokes chills down my spine. I whip around, her face inches from mine, causing me to jerk back. My fist curls, tempted to send it flying into her fucking nose.

I was standing in my room, just about to unbutton my jeans and look at the damage, when she snuck up behind me.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” I hiss. She just stares at me with wide dark eyes, a smile frozen on her creepy fucking face.

I swallow, unsettled, and thoroughly weirded the hell out.

“I think the better question is what isn’t wrong with me,” she retorts, giggling as she does. She rocks up on her toes, her eyes gliding up and down my ravaged body.

Francesca took us out into the back of the woods—a practice run for the Culling. She and her men used plastic arrows to track us down, shooting them at us like we’re fawn running from a hunter’s hungry stomach.

The objective is not to get hit, and the burning in the back of my thigh is a constant reminder of how epically I failed. I came so close to succeeding, but then Sydney happened.

She was waiting for me and stuck out her foot right as I passed by, Francesca’s arrows nipping at my heels. I face-planted the cold earth, and by the time I got back up, an arrow was ripping through the air and piercing the back of my thigh.

It didn’t break the skin, but I can tell I’m going to wake up with a nasty bruise tomorrow. Though, I’m sure it’ll be swallowed up by the others when I receive my punishment.

“What the fuck did I ever do to you?” I snap, throwing my arms out to the sides. Her smile grows, the gleam in her eye a testament just how unhinged she is. “We are in the same exact situation. Why are you acting like this?”

“I heard Francesca talking about you soon after you got here. Said you were promising and might be her best girl yet if she can correct your attitude. Then yesterday, you went and got yourself raped, and I saw her face. I saw her almost step in. And she’s never done that for me or any of the other girls. But then—” she holds a finger up in the air— “Then, you punch Rocco and break his nose. He wanted to punish you for it, and you know what she did? She took the punishment for you instead. That’s definitely never been done for any of us.”

My brows knit, confused as to why Francesca would do something like that.

“She’s giving you privileges that we don’t get because she thinks you’re special. Well guess what, diamond, I don’t think you’re special at all.”

Doesn’t really matter what you think, does it, bitch?

I’m not exactly sure if Francesca will stand by her confidence in me now that I’ve failed the test today, but determination cements into my bones anyway.

If she sees potential in me—if she’s going as far as to protect me—then there’s a good chance I can get her to see me as a person.

We’re seen as cattle. Product to mold to perfection and then ship off to the highest bidder. However, the more she sees me as something other than just a price tag, the more she’ll soften toward me. That could mean letting her guard down. Letting information slip or getting privileges that could assist with my escape.

My thoughts race with the possibilities that could mean for me. I know that I won’t be exempt from the horror that comes hand-in-hand with human trafficking, but I might be able to save myself from some of it.

Sydney understands this, and maybe rightfully so, she’s not happy with it. There’s a power imbalance, and the other girls might start to feel the same.

“We’re all leaving this place,” I remind her. “Soon, we’ll be shipped off to whoever pays the most money, and how Francesca treats me won’t matter anymore.”

“It does matter,” she snarls. “I want to stay here, and she won’t let me now that you’ve shown up. You heard her.”

I set my jaw. Sydney doesn’t want to see the diamond shine because that means she’ll be expected to as well. And when we shine, that means we are

good enough to be sold. Francesca cares about one thing above all else— her reputation. And there’s only one thing Sydney wants more than anything—not to be sold—which must be why she acts out so badly and causes trouble. Her punishments are worth it, as long as Francesca never sees her as fit to be auctioned.

“Why do you want to stay here so badly?”

“Because it’s my home. I have nothing outside of this house, and I would rather be here than stuck with some fat, old man with a worm dick. And you are ruining that!”

I blink. Interesting depiction, but not entirely wrong either. “You get raped here, too, Sydney,” I point out.

She shrugs. “It’s not so bad. It’s what I’m used to and comfortable with.” Another blink. How one could settle into the life of being raped and beaten is beyond me, but she’s hinted at having nowhere else to go. This tells me a life outside of this house for Sydney is bleak. Nonexistent. Most

likely filled with nights on the streets and random men.

And I suppose being in a house with the monsters you know is safer than a man who paid money and believes they own her.

Men have this funny habit of thinking they’re entitled to women, especially when they don’t respect them. As if their respect is a determining factor on how women deserve to be treated.

At least the men in this house have rules and limitations on what they can do to us. Mainly mutilating or causing permanent damage. Men on the streets or the ones who buy us at an auction—they don’t have rules.

“So that’s it,” I say. “You’re going to continue to terrorize me because you want to cheat the system when none of us will get that option. Maybe it’s you who thinks they’re special when you’re not.”

She giggles a high-pitched sound that grinds my nerves to dust. And then she turns and walks away without a word, casting an indecipherable look over her shoulder.

Who we’re fighting over would rather see us shipped off to the highest bidder, and she’s not just causing me to fail a test, she’s actively inflicting trauma on me.

Abuse. Rape. Things that no human being should ever have to suffer through—especially in the name of jealousy or pettiness.

“You sabotaged me, Sydney,” I call out, causing her to stop in her tracks. “I won’t forget that.”

Keeping her back turned, she swivels her head to the side, and her hand drifts up and down the doorjamb airily, as if she’s toying with the thought as her fingers are with the wood.

Finally, she glances over her shoulder at me, a grin on her thin lips.

“You’re going to be a lot of fun, diamond.” She winks at me and then leaves, sashaying down the hall before she disappears into a room at the end.

I glare at her the entire way, and I know damn well she can feel the heat of it burning into her back.

The cunt is probably getting off on it, and the vindictive side of me will be happy to fuck her in the worst of ways any chance I can get.



Raucous laughter booms from downstairs, nearly vibrating the floor beneath my knees. Francesca and Rocco are the only two who actually live here, but he likes to invite his rapist friends over every day to shoot copious amounts of drugs in their veins and have their way with the girls when permitted.

Though, I suppose Rio and Rick have been practically living here now that they can’t be seen in public. I’ve been praying Rick makes it easy on me and leaves the house anyway, but the bozo is too fucking lazy and high off his rocker now that he has an endless stream of drugs coming in. He’s got the money to get his junk hand-delivered.

Regardless, they’re all fucking obnoxious, incapable of keeping their mouths shut and not making disgusting remarks anytime we’re in their vicinity.

Damn, what I wouldn’t give to fuck that tight ass.

Do you see the way it bounces? Imagine how it would look railing her from behind.

Jesus, her tits are to fucking die for. I can’t wait to fuck them.

Each word twists my stomach further and further, wringing my insides like a wet rag until it’s coiled into a knotted rope. Sydney’s words are the only thing keeping my teeth glued together.

Francesca has high hopes for me, and I need to do everything in my power to stay in that light, even if it means cracking my molars from the force of keeping my mouth shut.

Sleep still clings to my eyes while Francesca paces before us. Yesterday was the Culling practice, and I spent the entire night waiting for our punishment, but it never came. So, when she barged in my room at the ass crack of dawn, I hadn’t even closed my eyes yet.

“Etiquette is important,” Francesca begins, walking back and forth down the line, her five-inch heels matching the pounding of my heart.

She’s always ready to walk down a runway, and I wonder if she puts so much effort into making the outside look pretty because her insides are a cemetery of bones and decay. She should’ve looked into becoming a mortician with the way she’s so good at dressing up a corpse.

She stops before me, and I keep my eyes casted down at her feet. The tip of her shoe is scuffed a little. Wonder how much that bothers her.

“Look at me.”

My eyes instantly find hers, with no hesitation.

“Kiss my foot,” she orders, tipping out her shoe with the mark. Part of me wonders if she could hear my thoughts and is punishing me for it. Nevertheless, I decide it’s probably the She-Devil above. Now She just loves to punish me.

My immediate reaction is pure fire. My mouth works to gather saliva, ready to spit on her shoe instead, but I manage to refrain. Barely.

Hesitation races down my spine, and it takes physical force to bend my spine forward and do as she says, placing my lips gently on her dirty shoe.

“Now lick it.”

My lips twitch, threatening to curl into a snarl, but I do as she says and quickly lick it, dirt and lord knows what else gathering on my tongue.

I imagine it tastes exactly how her soul looks.

I squeeze my eyes shut, working to regain control over the screaming in my head, before I rise up again, keeping my eyes downcast. If I look at her, she’ll see death in my eyes.

As if sensing this, she bends at the waist and curls her finger beneath my chin, the cold metal of her ring seeping into my skin as she lifts my head.

“I know it hurts but hesitate again and your teeth will be kissing the floor instead.”

Swallowing down vomit, I nod my head and whisper, “I’m sorry.” She smiles prettily and straightens, satisfied.

“Each second you hesitate is another reason to punish you. Your master will expect obedience. Mindless little zombies, you will be.”

Sydney giggles, raises her arms, and moans like an actual zombie. My eyes widen, and none of us can contain the shock, staring at her like she’s insane.

Well, no shit, I guess. The bitch is insane.

Francesca snarls, storms to her, and slaps her across the face, the sound of flesh hitting flesh echoing in the room. Her head snaps to the side, strands of hair flying across her face from the force. Disturbingly enough, Sydney peers up at Francesca through her hair, another laugh releasing from her tongue.

Francesca bends at the waist. “You keep laughing, Sydney, and I’ll keep letting Rocco stretch your ass until my entire foot fits.”

I swallow, looking back down to the floor. She’s fucking certifiable, and I can’t help but feel a stab of sympathy.

Was Sydney an average girl before she was stolen away? Did she live a normal life, have a job, friends, and go out on weekends to find a fling?

Who was she before she died inside?



After an entire day of grueling training on how to serve our future masters, dinner is served in our rooms. None of us are allowed to eat together and I imagine it’s because they don’t want any of us becoming friends—joining forces and planning to escape together or some shit. The more alone we feel, the more hopeless.

We’re fed soup and crackers, a meager meal but something she claims won’t fatten us up. Apparently even sex traffickers are fatphobic and body

shame the women. Never mind that they can’t get pussy unless they quite literally steal it.

I’ve just finished eating when it sounds like Francesca screeches from below, the enraged sound echoing throughout the house. I freeze, slowly setting my soup bowl on the nightstand when footsteps pound on the wood, though, it doesn’t sound like she has her heels on. Her angry stride travels up the stairs and down the hall, my heart beating faster with each step toward me.

My door slams open, and she storms into my room, the doorknob deepening the crater in the wall from the force.

I flinch and jump up from my bed, heart racing as she stomps towards me and sticks her face in mine.

“You were doing so well,” she spits.

My mouth parts and I shake my head, speechless as confusion and adrenaline war in my brain.


“Don’t play stupid,” she hisses before backhanding me, fire lancing across my cheek and a gasp slipping free.

Instinctively, I grab my cheek, shock rendering me utterly paralyzed.

I look at her just as she shoves a shoe in my face. Or what used to be one. It’s the same ones she was wearing earlier—the same ones she made me kiss and lick—black stilettos with gold heels. Except now, the gold spike is cracked off at the base, barely hanging on, and deep scratches mar every inch of it.

“You did this,” she accuses. “You did this to all my fucking shoes!”

I shake my head again, eyes wide and protests falling from my lips. “I didn’t, I swear, Francesca. I didn—”

Another sharp slap to the same cheek cuts off my truth. Her chest heaves with anger. Heat radiates from her in waves, solar flares of fury lashing at me as she seethes.

Tears rush to my eyes, and I shake from the effort to keep them from falling. I don’t want to show an ounce of weakness. She’ll take the tears for guilt. My vision blurs and colorful words gather on my tongue. It takes several swallows to force them back down my throat.

“I saw the look in your eyes earlier, diamond. Don’t pretend like you weren’t planning my death. You’re a spoiled little brat and doing this—”

she shoves the shoe in my face— “will do you no favors.” “Fran—”

“Shut up!” she screeches, completely losing her mind. She grabs my hair and yanks me down onto the ground, fire racing across my scalp. I cry out; the sound quickly muffled when she shoves my face into the wooden floor and starts yanking down my leggings.

My eyes blow wide, and panic begins to override my senses. “Wait, wait, Francesca, I didn’t do it!”

She’s not listening, though.

“This will be the last time you disrespect me. Do you understand me?!” she shouts, finally getting the material down past my ass.

I twist, attempting to roll out of her hold, but her nails are clawing into my hip and forcing me back down. Still, I can’t stop fighting, not when she’s trying to spread my legs.

“Stop!” I yell, vision blackening with panic and a slew of tears.

“Get in here,” she snaps to someone, but I don’t see who. I only feel their weight pressing down on me, and my body truly begins to fight then.

“Wait, wait, please, please, I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it,” I sob, desperate to get away but unable to. The weight is pressing down on my head, preventing me from seeing or moving, but I can feel everything.

Oh god, I can feel everything. The broken heel of her shoe is being shoved inside me, and I scream as it tears me apart.

“Please, please, please,” I cry. I cry and cry and cry, but she’s past listening.

Her hands disappear, along with the weight of the person on top of me being shoved off.

Francesca is yanking my head back, forcing me to stare at her contorted face, nearly spitting with ire. She’s on her knees, eyes wild as she hisses, “Don’t you ever destroy my things again, or you will suffer much worse than this. I swear to fucking God, I will make you wish you were dead. Am I understood?”

Sobs rack my throat, slobber nearly pouring from my mouth as I cry out, “I didn’t do it.”

Rearing back, she slaps me across the face again, my ears ringing as she continues to mindlessly hit me, over and over until I’m breathless from the onslaught of pain.

“You fucking useless bitch!” she screams. She lifts my head again, but I can no longer see her through the rivers pouring from my eyes. Indiscernible pleas fall past my lips, but even I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.

“You know what happens when you become useless? You end up buried in an unmarked grave somewhere no one will ever find you.”

Finally, she releases me, nearly smacking my head off the wood. Immediately, my body curls in on itself, the foreign object still lodged painfully inside me, but I don’t have it in me to take it out.

Whimpers tear through my throat, so powerful that no noise is capable of slipping through, stealing my breath in the process. Francesca storms out of the room, leaving me violently shaking and bawling from the assault.

A mass comes back down on me, and my body uselessly flails, fists flying but making no contact.

“Shhh,” the voice whispers. The moment it registers that it’s Sydney’s, I fight harder, screaming at her to get off, but she’s too strong for me right now.

She’s completely wrapped around my back, her legs circled tightly around my waist and locked on my stomach while her hand pets my hair.

“Shh, it’s okay,” she whispers. “We’ll be together now.”

The little energy I had left dissipates, and the only thing I am able to do is sob.

Grabbing my hot, reddened face, she tilts my chin up. Just barely, I make out her wide brown eyes and a gentle smile. Almost reverently, she pets my hair and down my cheeks, staring at me as if I’m a prized possession.

“Welcome home,” she whispers.

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