My name is Raffela Lombardi. I'm seventeen and I was raised by the mafia family. Paolini was my lifestyle. My everything. All that I ever knew was encapsulated on that street.
It was infamous for witnessing countless deaths, drug dealers, prostitutes, mafia wars and other dangerous crimes that couldn't be witnessed elsewhere. I saw all that I shouldn't at an early age and that didn't scare me even one bit. I knew
"This place is rotten as I'd remember it to be."
My dad was a mafia boss. He was the kind of man that wouldn't go easy even on his own daughter.
At the age of seven, I had so many bruises on my face, that someone could've easily mistaken me for an extraterrestrial being.
"I miss that old coot"
I inhaled the Marlboro cigarettes and stood at the edge of a pavement as I reminisced about the past.
He wouldn't care if he'd break my bones or make me bleed to death, given that he was a big fish in his business, he wanted me to be ready for the kind life he led.
And I don't blame him for that, things are never the same when you realise the importance of life lessons.
What he taught me was invaluable and probably not something other parents could do.
Needless to say I never had any friends, everyone was frightened since they knew which family I belonged to.
I wasn't bothered by that, everyone seemed biased and boring anyway. My family was enough.
I was trained to defend myself and my family. I knew various martial art techniques and how to shoot revolvers with 100% accuracy.
I knew how to kill both in theory and practice, but I never wanted to harm anyone, at least not until they deserved it.
When my dad was assassinated by the members of the Nosa Costra (Sicilian Mafia), my little brother and I were forced to move out to our cousin's place since our mother died while giving birth to him.
He's a stark contrast of my personality. You could say that he was pampered to a tremendous degree by dad who loved him more than anyone else in our family.
"Bonafilo, we have to go, we're gonna live with uncle and his family now" I said holding his tiny palm while he was bawling his eyes out. He never cried this much before.
After moving out, our life wasn't the sweetest. In fact it was quite nightmarish.
We were constantly being abused and mistreated by our cousins.
They hated our guts and it's all thanks to my father's reputation and relationship that was built on hatred and jealousy.
The moment when I lost my cool was when my uncle tried to hit my lovely brother with a whiskey bottle.
I almost killed him on the spot that day and I don't feel even the slightest hint of remorse.
Of course we had to flee from that place. I was forced to find new jobs so I could raise my brother and myself.
We struggled a lot for years until one day I found a job where I could make extra money.
I was appointed to a glorious location at Villa d'Este in Cernobbio. I worked as a maid in that hotel.
It's not the most prideful job I know, but I had no choice.
I was grateful that we escaped from that place, not because I couldn't take it, but I just couldn't stand seeing Bonfilio's sullen face.
I was lucky enough that I could even live in the classy place with my brother. I kind of missed the elegant life we had when my dad was still alive.
My night shift is almost over. I've cleaned and arranged this place for hours. Now it's time to call out and get some rest.
I look through the tall windows and notice glistening sparks of light that sway on the surface of Lake Como.
"I guess I'll take a moment to enjoy the prospect", I motivated myself as I was practically half-asleep.
I was too lazy to change my uniform, so I just went out, I needed some fresh air.
The chilly breeze felt refreshing, I sat on the edge of the lake's shore and lit my last cigarette.
"Not bad, but I need water" I uttered as I took my shoes off of my legs. I dipped my bare foot in the cold water and kept smoking the nicotine.
"Mmm, much better, water makes me feel alive". She was a huge thalassophile. She felt like submerging herself under water, but she gave up on that idea since uniform was still on her.
Her smoking session ended as she tossed the butt of a cigarette toward the trash can.
"Time to move my ass". She hoisted herself unwillingly, she really wanted to stay more, but she needed to feed Bonafilio.
When she came back inside she heard the telephone ringing.
Everyone was practically asleep and ringing had an ominous feel.
"Who the hell calls this late?", she picked up with a hint of annoyance on her face.
"Hello!?? May I help you?"
There was no response, just silence.
"Hello!? Is this a prank?". She was angry at this point and just before she was about to hang up she heard a weird noise and static, before a hoarse voice emerged from the speaker "I have your brother, and I will kill him if you don't follow my instructions, do you understand me?".
For the first time she felt terror on her skin. How could this even happen? "Who are you? Stop talking nonsense, my brother is in my ro-" before she could reply she heard a sound, no a cry. It was a young boy, it sounded like him.
"Are you sure about that? I had plenty of time to steal him away and if you wish to hear his voice, I'll let you hear his screams! Hahah", a psychotic laughter exploded from the telephone.
"You Bastard! What do you want?". He snorted derisively before responding "I left the letter in your room, follow these instructions, if you want to see your brother again".
She felt the sleepiness dissipate as she ran towards her room. She couldn't afford losing him. And all she could think of was how to save him.
The letter was there. And so were the instructions, she took her knife and slid it under her stockings. Feeling awfully composed she ventured to the meeting point.
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