Home > The Predator

The Predator
Author: RuNyx

This is the first book of the Dark Verse series. As the name suggests, everything about this world is going to be dark, brutal and raw. The characters, their behaviors, and circumstances are all a direct result of their world. Morality is grey and humanity is questionable. This is not a world of rainbows and butterflies. With each book, I will be exploring more of the darkness and the good that can still exist in it. However, if you have certain expectations of how a character ought to behave, certain ideas that are cemented about the good and bad, or if you aren’t fully ready to immerse yourself into this verse, this book might not be for you. It is dark and it is ugly. If you are not going to be comfortable with that, I sincerely urge you to pause. There are adult situations, explicit content, brutal imagery, and questionable actions. I have written this verse with a lot of love, and if you are taking this ride with me, I hope you enjoy diving into it.



When you gaze into the abyss,

the abyss also gazes into you.


-Friedrich Nietzsche



Tenebrae City, 1985


On a cold, dark night in winter, with the wind howling and the skies crying in sleet, two men from the Tenebrae Outfit met the two men from Shadow Port in the middle of nowhere. Though the two families had been rivals for over a decade, it was becoming bad for business. Theirs was a small world and they could not keep biting each other’s heads off when there were bigger, more lucrative ventures that could benefit them both. It was time to end the rivalry of a decade and begin a partnership for the future.

The leader of Shadow Port shivered under his heavy coat, not used to the freezing temperatures in his city in the west. The leader of the Ten Outfit laughed. They saw the sun even less than he saw his wife. Jovial conversation was exchanged. The man with each leader stayed a silent observant.

And then, the business was discussed. Weapons and alcohol - they were the face of the operation. It was time to begin a new venture, a first with the family. The leader of Tenebrae suggested the idea. It was a new trade, not common in the world yet, but had a great future and more money than they had dreamed of. The leader of Shadow agreed. The men vowed to keep it quiet, keep it a hidden trade, to let everyone think of arms and booze as their main business.

The Tenebrae leader opened up the trunk of his car. Two young girls, not more than eight years of age, lay there unconscious, unaware of what awaited them.

The leaders exchanged a small smile and shook hands.

“To the future,” one said.

“To the future”, the other echoed.

And thus, began the Alliance.



Present Day


The knife was digging into her thigh.

She was not supposed to be here.

The thought kept ringing through Morana's head on repeat, her nerves stretched taut even as she tried to appear aloof. Holding her full champagne glass aloft, she pretended to sip from it, her eyes constantly scanning the crowd. While she knew taking a few sips of the bubbly would do wonders to calm her frazzled nerves, Morana refrained. She needed a clear head more than liquid courage for tonight. Maybe. Hopefully.

The party was in full swing, hosted in the sprawling lawns of the home of someone in the Maroni family. Damn Outfit. It was a good thing she had done as much research as she could in the last few days.

Morana glanced around the well-lit garden from the shadows, seeing the faces she had seen in the news over the years. A few she had seen in her own house growing up. She saw the soldiers of the Outfit, milling around with stoic faces. She saw the women, mostly decorating the arms of the men they were there with. She saw the enemies.

Ignoring the itch from her wig, Morana just observed. She had taken great care to look like someone else tonight. The long black gown she wore hid the knives on her thighs, one of which had somehow twisted and was trying to dig into her. The bracelet on her hand had been a purchase from the dark web, with a hidden slot for an aerosol poison that wasn’t available in the market. And she'd tied her dark hair tightly to her head, donning a silky wig of strawberry blonde hair, her lips siren red. It wasn't her. But it was necessary. She'd been planning this night for days. She'd been relying on this plan to work for days. She couldn't screw it up. Not after being so close.

She looked at the mansion, looming behind the crowd. It was a beast. There was no other way to describe it. Like an ancient castle buried in the hills of Scotland, the house – an odd hybrid of modern mansion and primeval castle - was a beast. A beast with something of hers in its belly.

The cool air fragrant with the night blooms, Morana surreptitiously shook off the chills trying to lick at her skin.

The sound of a man’s boisterous laughter drew her attention. Eyes lingering on the built, grey-haired man laughing with other men in the north corner of the property, Morana studied him. His face was wrinkled with age, hands clean from where she could see.

Oh, how he had blood on those hands. So, so much blood. Not that anyone in their world didn't. But he had carved a niche for himself as the bloodiest of them all, including her father.

Lorenzo 'Bloodhound' Maroni was the boss of the Tenebrae Outfit, his career longer than four decades, his rap sheet longer than her arm, his cold-blooded attitude a thing of admiration in their world. Morana had been around people like him long enough to not let that shake her. Or rather, not let it show.

Beside Lorenzo stood his older son Dante 'The Wall' Maroni. While his pretty face could fool some, Morana had done enough research not to underestimate him. Built like a wall, the man towered over almost everyone, his physique solid. If rumors were to be believed, he had taken up a key role in the organization almost a decade ago.

Morana pretended to sip her champagne. Exchanging a polite smile with a woman who glanced her way, she finally let her eyes wander to the man who stood silently beside Dante.

Tristan Caine.

He was an anomaly. The only non-blood member to have taken the oath with blood in the family. The only non-blood member to be that high up in the Outfit. No one knew exactly where he was placed in the hierarchy, but people knew he was very high up. Everyone had theories as to why, but no one really knew for sure.

Morana took him in. He stood tall, just an inch or so shorter than Dante, in a casual three-piece black suit sans the tie. His dark blonde hair was almost a dark brown, sheared close to his head, his eyes a light color from the distance.

Morana knew they were blue. A striking blue. She'd seen pictures of him, always candid shots in which he looked surprisingly blank. Morana was used to expressionless faces in their world, but he took it up a notch.

While his muscular frame was attractive, it wasn’t the reason Morana couldn’t look away. It was because of the stories she'd heard about him in the last few years, mostly by eavesdropping on conversations, especially her father’s.

As the stories went, Tristan Caine had been the son of Lorenzo Maroni's personal bodyguard, who had died while protecting the boss almost twenty years ago. Tristan had been young, with a mother who had taken off after her husband's death.

Lorenzo, for reasons unknown, had taken the young boy under his wing and personally trained him in skills of the trade. And today, Tristan Caine was a son to Bloodhound Maroni. Some said Maroni favored him more over his own blood. In fact, word was, after Maroni's retirement, Tristan would be the boss of the Outfit, not Dante.

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