Requiem City - Book cover

Requiem City

C. Swallow

Fresh Meat


I looked over at Harry, not sure what to do. He looked simply terrified.

I gulped. Then stood up and went over to a drainpipe by the edge of the roof.

I’m not sure what made me obey Hael’s command. I should have been running as fast as possible in the other direction.

But I wasn’t. I grabbed hold of the pipe and slid down it to the ground, where I stopped to get a hold of myself. Don’t show fear. Don’t show fear.

If he was going to have me arrested, fine. But I would hold my head up on the way to prison.

I marched over to him and glared up, straight into his eyes. He looked even bigger up close.

He raised a massive arm and I flinched, ready for him to slap me.

But instead, he held out his hand to me.

“Hael Dobrzycka,” he introduced himself. His voice was deeper than his brother’s, but not as gravelly. It had a nice silkiness to it.

“So?” I said, trying not to sound like I was shaking in my boots.

He just stared at me, and then he reached forward and grabbed my hand, swallowing it with his.

The moment I touched him, I felt a jolt of electricity shoot up my arm and into the pit of my stomach. It hurt, but in a weirdly good way.

And then I felt something shift inside me. But not like I was going to be sick.

More like there was a creature inside me who had been sleeping for a long time.

And now it was waking up and getting ready to come out and play.

Which made zero sense whatsoever.

Stop freaking out. Stop freaking out.

I repeated the words over and over again in my head as Hael Dobrzycka walked me wordlessly to see Elle. I still had no idea why he was here.

On the same day that I stole from his brother…

I should have run. Right then. The only rational thing to do was get the hell out of there, but I wasn’t thinking rationally.

I didn’t know if it was fate, or destiny, or whatever, but…

I felt drawn to Hael.

When he looked at me with those bewitching emerald-green eyes, it was like he was staring into my soul.

And that smug little smirk…

What was he doing here?

I didn’t know, but I had to find out.

Hael turned into Elle’s office, pulling me behind him. The corrupt bitch jumped up in surprise as we entered.

“Mr. Dobrzycka, this is such a pleasant surprise,” Elle said, flustered. “I…I didn’t expect such a late visit. I would’ve freshened up.”

“I don’t care about your appearance,” Hael said coldly. “I’m here on business.”

“About fun…funding?” Elle gulped. Without the Dobrzyckas’ money, she wouldn’t have anyone to pilfer from and feed her excessive lifestyle.

We sure as hell didn’t see any of that funding.

“I have an opportunity for one of your orphans,” Hael replied with an arrogant tone. “Someone to act as my new assistant. It would be an…internship, of sorts.”

“I could recommend several of our—”

“I’m looking for someone specific,” he said, cutting her off. “A young girl.”

“Oh,” Elle said, raising her eyebrow and smiling. “How young are we talking? Sixteen? Fifteen? Thirteen? There are plenty of girls here that might—satisfy your needs.”

My stomach wrenched tight, and I dug my nails into my palms.

That bitch—she’d sell any one of us for a damn dime.

“You misunderstand,” Hael said, shooting Elle a disgusted look. “This is purely professional.”

“Oh, of course. I wouldn’t suggest otherwise,” she said, trying to backtrack. “Who are you looking for?”

Hael turned wordlessly and pointed to me. Elle’s eyes went wide. Hell, so did mine.


In all my years of pickpocketing, I’d never once been caught. I didn’t think it was possible.

But a Dobrzycka was right here, wanting to take me away.

How had that Loch identified me? He only saw me for a split-second.

I was fast.

The fastest.

It didn’t make a lick of sense.


I thought of that engraving on the back of his sister’s watch. Making it stick out. Making it one-of-a-freaking-kind.

Dominic, you stupid sonofabitch.

He’d probably tried to pawn it off somewhere where they tracked that sort of thing. And the minute it popped…

I could put the rest of the pieces together:

The Dobrzyckas track down Dominic…

Dominic sells me out…

Yours truly is royally screwed~.~


Awesome. Just great.

As I sat in the back of the limo that was sent to pick me up in the morning, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself.

I was heading to an unknown fate. I had no idea what the Dobrzyckas had in store for me, but it felt like I was heading to my execution.

Now I was probably going to spend who knew how many of my remaining years behind bars. Everything I’d been fighting for. Every side-hustle and scam. They were all for nothing.

And the worst part was I might never get to see Darshan or Harry again. The only family I’d ever had.

Nothing stung more right now.

It wasn’t like I’d ever had a real family.

My parents? All I knew was that, in the two years that they raised me, they’d left me with nothing but a name—Madeline.

They’d just abandoned me like I was nothing. Like I was no one.

When I was six, Darshan decided to start calling me Maddie because I was “mad” all the time, and it just stuck.

Cause that was what I was.



Willing to do what I had to do to survive.

Looked like I’d finally gone too far. I was done for.

When the car parked, I felt resigned. I knew any second the doors were going to open and the police were going to swarm me and throw me in the clink while news cameras captured the image of the idiot thief who thought she could steal from the most powerful people in Requiem City.

So imagine my surprise when the doors opened and I wasn’t looking at the clink.

I was looking at a glass skyscraper that spiraled up into an open mouth, like that of a mythical animal. Instantly recognizable to anybody who’d grown up in Requiem City as Req Enterprises. As in the corporation run by the Dobrzyckas.

I didn’t know what fresh hell awaited me in that glistening building, but suddenly prison wasn’t sounding so bad.

The Dobrzycka brothers were known for being the most cruel, terrifying people in the city.

They were basically the mafia.

I didn’t even want to imagine what fate awaited me.

As I hesitantly stepped out of the limo, some private security escorted me inside. I’d never seen it from this perspective, and I had to admit, even though my life was probably doomed, the building was a thing of beauty.

We stepped into an elevator and rode all the way up to the 99th floor.


When the doors opened, all I could see was red. The wallpaper, the floors, even the ceilings of the hallway—all blood red.

The guards pushed me out into the corridor and then stood in the elevator as the doors closed, leaving me alone.

What am~ I supposed to do now?~

I took a hesitant step forward, looking left and right.

“Hello?” I asked the empty hallway, feeling like an idiot.

There was only one door at the very end of the hall. I wondered what lay on the other side. Would it be Hael’s sister Adara? I had only seen her in pictures.

Her purple-haired wannabe-punk ass didn’t scare me for a second. Hael and Loch, on the other hand…

All I knew were the rumors. That, as CEOs of Req Enterprises, they’d stopped at nothing to build their empire. Stepping on whoever got in their way and flattening them.

They were giants in both business and the physical sense, towering over everyone at nearly seven feet tall.

I braced myself and opened the door.

What I saw inside was the most beautiful, enormous office imaginable. Why any human would need so much space made no sense to me.

The glass ceiling seemed to go on forever, spilling into the sky. A fireplace so large it took up an entire wall.

Other than that, only a long black granite desk and an empty chair occupied the office.

Minimalist would be putting it lightly.

I thought I was alone, but of course, I wasn’t.

“Well, if it isn’t the little thief…” I heard a voice drawl. Slow, bored-sounding almost.

I spun to see a wall slide open and Loch-freaking-Dobrzycka stepped inside.

He wore designer sweatpants and a matching hoodie.

He smirked as smoke poured out of an ornate-looking dragon pipe.

The man wasn’t even wearing shoes. A billionaire and this was how he chose to conduct himself?

And just like that, I was curious.

I wanted to know more about him.

It was easy to forget how terrible a human being he was, staring at him and those electric green eyes he shared with his brother.

As he got closer, I noticed that they were almost reptilian.

“What do you want from me?” I asked defiantly.

He walked past me, disinterested, to lean against the granite desk, still smoking.

There was something...unnatural about the smoke. No matter how long he puffed, he never had to light it. As if he had a fire within doing it for him.

“For someone who was able to steal from a Dobrzycka,” he said, eyes flicking to mine, “you’re quite slow.”

Any interest I’d felt, however fleetingly, instantly evaporated. I felt my nostrils flare with dislike.

I was a good liar, sure, but I’d never been able to hide it when I hate somebody. He seemed to be reading my mind because his smirk grew wider, revealing his sharp teeth.

Smoke poured from his mouth. “And quick to anger. Are there any good qualities I should be aware of?”

“Says the man who robs the people in this city blind and treats everyone like gum on the bottom of his shoe.”

I couldn’t believe my own ballsiness. I’d said it before I’d had a chance to think through the consequences and quickly ducked my head down.

Loch swiftly stepped over to me and placed his leg between mine, causing me to spread them apart and blush.

“You forget that I don’t have on any shoes, little street rat.”

“Don’t talk to me that way,” I said, fuming.

“Is that not what you are? You’re one to talk about robbing. You took something that wasn’t yours. Stealing from me is one thing. But that watch was my sister’s, and nobody steals from my family.”

“I don’t know what you’re—”

I didn’t get to finish my sentence. I froze as Loch leaned forward, snaked a finger through the strap of my shirt, and pulled me close. There was something wicked about the way he lassoed me toward him with only the slightest effort.

And something exhilarating, too…

We were so close I could feel his hot breath dance across my skin, smell the smoke lingering upon his tongue. The scent of a forest fire…

“You’re a bold one, street rat, I’ll give you that.”

He smirked. “But lie to me again…and I’ll eat you alive.”

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