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Empathy (Empathy #1)
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They say some people are born with decreased activity in the front central lobe causing them a deficiency in empathy. Maybe that’s true about me but whether I was born this way or created in a moment of evil, empathy was something I didn’t possess until her green eyes met mine in the mirror and I couldn’t take her life.
I didn’t want to feel, didn’t want this woman in my life complicating how I lived but she was there at every turn. Sent to haunt me for my sins. Her light so bright she provoked a shadow from everyone she touched. When a job turns bad quickly altering my life forever I’m forced to feel. When nothing is making sense I’m forced to face truths I never would recover from. When life drowns you in its cruelty you don’t know which way the current will drag you or who you’ll become once you re-surface.
Warning: This book will mess with your mind. It is a very dark, sexy, twisted romance novel. 18+ only.
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MY BIRTH NAME IS DAMIAN. Fitting, really, or so I’m told by the woman who named me.
“You’re the devil’s son,” she would spit at me, pointing a shaky finger in my cheek in a drug induced haze whenever I refused to bend to her whim. I can still feel the impression of her fingertip where her nail broke the skin. I go by Blake now; it’s my middle name, chosen by the midwife who brought me back from the dead. My mother couldn’t wait for me to be out of her womb, expelling me too early from her body with the cord wrapped neatly around my neck, almost robbing me of the life I’d been gifted by a drunken fondle in the back of a truck.
They say some people are born with decreased activity in the brain; a cold spot in the front central lobe. Where most people have activity, a hot area giving them feelings, emotions and enabling them to love, there are a rare few who have a cold spot, affecting their ability to feel emotions, empathy. There are theories that serial killers have this cold spot. Psychopaths. That’s why they lack the ability to connect, to care.
I don’t have feelings the way most people do. I may be one of those people/psychopaths. I don’t know. What I do know is I can fuck the woman who claims to love me and leave her before the sweat’s even dried on my skin, knowing she will cry herself to sleep. I can supply my mother with cash to fund her drug habit, hoping this will be the final hit to send her to the afterlife and… I can kill without remorse.
My emotions are corrupted, have been since my life changed in a single night. My ability to give a shit is absent. I don’t care about anyone with the exception of my kid brother, who is the sole reason I became a killer to begin with. Maybe I would have killed no matter what. Some people are born predestined to become evil, to mark the world with their darkness. Some paint the world in techno color, I paint it in red; blood red.
Can circumstances change us? Can the evil doings of others force us to change the path we’re on? To alter the warmth in our souls? Can they dim our light, making us cold, dark, evil? I don’t know. I’ve questioned this before, but now I accept this is who I am. Just like we cannot choose when the sun will rise and when it will set, I could not choose my destiny. It was mapped out for me. When life drowns you in its cruelty, you don’t know which way the current will drag you, or who you’ll be once you re-surface.
What I do know is, my emotions switched off when I came home from a party at eighteen years old, fully expecting a beat down by my Step father for coming home drunk after telling him I wouldn’t be home that night. Instead I found him in my eleven-year-old brother’s bed. I literally felt myself change. A flick of a switch. If there ever was a warm spot, it turned cold in that moment with the rest of me. Reasoning became impossible, questions I never thought I would have to ask raped my once placid mind. Shutters came down inside me, closing over the windows to my soul, changing me forever.
The muffled cries of my brother, muted because his head was pushed into his pillow while his own flesh and blood, the man who created him, the man supposed to protect, love and cherish him was naked above him, changed my direction in life; mine and Ryan’s, creating my step father’s fate in the process.
I didn’t even flinch when I walked up silently behind him. The drunken haze cleared, nothing but rage burned in my veins, a blood red fog clouding my vision. Rage wasn’t an emotion in that moment, it was an entity grown from the darkest depths of my being, vibrating through my skin to be released. Nothing felt more right than allowing it to take control, seek retribution for the abuse we were born into, to let it consume the boy who once lived there, devouring any human part left of my soul.
The darkness I harbored deep inside that we all have under the surface took control. I gripped his head, and with all the strength I had, I twisted until I heard the loud pop, click, snap, whatever you want to call the sound of his neck breaking, ending his life and shutting off his switch to the stained soul inside him.
I dragged his warm, sweaty body away from my brother, out of his room, closing the door behind me. Alcohol and sweat seeped from his pores, assaulting my nose and making my stomach twist with more hate than I knew possible. I dropped him at the top of the stairs and nudged him with my foot. His lifeless body thumped down, landing in a heap at the bottom. The man who gave my brother life, who had been all I knew as a father figure was now nothing but a decomposing body. If I could have killed him again and again, I would have, without hesitation. I went to the shower and turned it on before going back to my brother’s room and scooping up his trembling body. I put him on his feet, told him to shower and promised no one would ever hurt him again.