Home > Del Diablo (Stygian Isle)

Del Diablo (Stygian Isle)
Author: Natalie Bennett





My body felt as if it’d been dragged behind a train for miles on end. Scrubbing a tingling palm over my grubby face, I worked my jaw to cure its stiffness and peeled my eyes open, finding myself staring up at an unfamiliar ceiling. Memories of what had gone down in the last twenty-four hours came rushing back.

With a sharp inhalation, I slammed my hands onto ribbed concrete and hoisted myself into a sitting position, immediately feeling a cinch around my midsection.

I looked down, more of my disorientation ebbing away as I became aware of my surroundings.

“What the fuck?” I whispered, fingering the iron contraption someone had secured around my torso.

There was a thick chain that protruded from its center. I tugged to try and get it off, but both it and the contraption itself gave little resistance. Checking the rest of myself over, I realized someone had also dressed me in a nearly translucent white gown while I was knocked out. There wasn’t any soreness between my legs, so I was going to assume for peace of mind that I hadn’t been violated in that way.

I turned my head from left to right to loosen the kinks in my neck. Memories of what had occurred in the last twenty-four hours came rushing back as I studied the room. The walls just like the floor were made entirely of stone.

One lone window sat too high up to be of much help. The rays of sunlight attempting to shine through let me know it was no longer nighttime. There was an arched door at the far end of the rounded room--the only way in or out.

Nothing else was in here except a row of empty shelves that could use a thorough dusting. I wondered where the others had been taken, and if they were okay. The robed people had separated us with terrifying ease.

“Hello?” my voice filled the emptiness with a soft echo that was met with weighted silence. I reached down and began fumbling with the iron restraint again. I didn’t know what this thing was, I’d never seen anything like it before.

“Fuck,” I muttered, discovering an impression meant for a key. This wouldn’t be coming off without that. Taking hold of the chain again, I followed its length.

It was hooked on the wall, a more obvious lock securing it to a rounded base. There was no way to remove this thing without having a key.

A noise from just outside the door had my spine stiffening. There was a melodic jingle followed by the sound of a lock turning. I quickly maneuvered so that my back was to the wall, grasping the excess chain as if it could be used as some sort of weapon.

The door swung inward with a heavy groan, and a masked figure stepped inside.




Four Days Prior


From down the hall, a chair collided with a wall. The resounding clatter set my teeth on edge. They were in the dining room, which was approximately six steps away from my bedroom, so you’d think that would warrant common decency given the hour. It wasn’t any secret that I slept light as a feather.

I ignored the urge to get out of bed and go investigate what could be causing the commotion, staring up at my popcorn ceiling and willing them to shut up.


I threw an arm over my eyes and continued trying to ignore the inevitable.

“Adelita!” My sister yelled my full name a few seconds later, just as I expected her to.

With a deep sigh, I kicked my comforter onto the floor and swung my legs over the side of the bed. Smothering a yawn, as I grabbed my cell from its resting place and checked the time.

1:24 in the freaking morning.

I tossed my phone onto the bed and took my time exiting the room. After taking the six steps to reach my sister, I stopped and evaluated the scene in front of me.

Troy, my sister’s brilliant boyfriend, was hunched over the table with one hand clutching his side and the other planted in his mess of red hair. Isabel stood there in all black clothing trying to reassure him that, well, I didn’t know of what exactly.

Her outfit was a dead giveaway for what they’d been doing.

Troy’s clothes were much the same, but his skin-tight top had a long slit in a section of fabric that covered his torso. I noticed he was bleeding and couldn’t help but frown. If there was one thing that didn’t go with extremely beige carpet, it was blood.

“He’s ruining the floor,” I pointed out.

Isabel’s head snapped up and brown eyes two shades darker than mine narrowed in annoyance.

“That’s your main concern? Grab me the first aid kit, will you?”

“Yeah, it is. I don’t want to explain to our bitch of a landlord why we have your boyfriend’s life essence stained into the carpet,” I replied, turning to do as she told me.

I heard more cursing as I entered our bathroom.

Had this not been a common occurrence in our household I may have felt more empathetic to Troy’s situation. He had a knack for getting hurt even in the most laid-back scenarios.

I grabbed the plastic med-kit and returned to the main room. My sister was now in the kitchen with Troy, who was still hunched over. The ranch-style house was an open concept so you could see everything in its entirety, apart from the bedrooms off the small hall.

“Does he need an actual hospital, maybe?” I asked, passing my sister the kit.

“Hospitals mean questions,” Troy rasped.

I rolled my eyes. They were standing right in front of me, so it was safe to assume they’d gotten away. I didn’t notice any stolen cash or goods so whatever they’d been after hadn’t been obtained either.

I considered asking but they were both preoccupied with Troy’s injury. He winced as my sister began to lift his shirt. If he was hurt that bad, why did he come back here?

“You know, no one can ask you much of anything if you drop dead.”

This earned me a glare from both of them. An apology was on the tip of my tongue, vanishing the second my sister revealed what was beneath the shirt.

“You did all of this for a flesh wound?”

“Adel,” Isabel groaned.

“I’ve had papercuts worse than that.”

It was such an overdramatic display. His injury wasn’t anywhere near as bad as they were making it out to be. I watched my sister play nurse for a few minutes before I decided my presence was no longer needed, not that it ever was, to begin with.

I turned on my heel and trudged back to my bedroom.

Nothing out of the ordinary here, not at all. This was just another regular morning in the Asmo household.



The world is full of thieves doing everything they can to make a dishonest living, fucking people over in the process. I didn’t understand where the aspiration came from. Unless you were doing things Money Heist or 0007 style, what the hell was the point? And then to be an absolute idiot too?

Of the two of us, my sister got the book smarts, and I took the streets, which is why I didn’t have any idea what she saw in Troy or why she chose to participate in his pursuit of petty crime.

Their relationship was a terrible rendition of a romance novel. Prom queen and head cheerleader falling for the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks—it was so painfully cliché. Only, nothing about Troy was remotely attractive or mysterious. He was built like a Slim-Jim and reminded me of Bill Nye, but with jailhouse tattoos and red hair.

My sister could do ten times better.

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