The Beginning Of The End
Angel - 8 Years Old
I barely contain a whimper as I keep my small clammy hand pressed tightly against my mouth. Small amount of lights pour into the crack of the closet door, feet beating against the floor harshly. There’s bad men here, bad men that want to hurt papa. I’d been asleep when I was yanked from bed and shoved into a dark cold closet, and papa’s frightened voice played like a song on a loop in my mind over and over.
“Angel, you must be quiet and listen carefully.” He whispered, wide eyes filled with terror as he shoved me deep into the closet and ripped clothes from the hangers and piled them on top of me.
“I know you’re scared, confused and you hate the dark, but I need you to stay in this closet. Don’t make a sound, don’t move, not for anything, not until I say so.” With a frantic nod, I squeeze my eyes shut and make myself as small as possible while papa closes me in.
Not even a minute after, the door was thrown open, and a voice so deep and sinister sends cold shivers up my spine. I remove my hands from my mouth and push them together, bowing my head and silently praying that everything will be alright.
“Alexei, you are a hard man to track. 11 long months you’ve been hiding, and I’ve finally caught up with you.” The deep guttural voice speaks menacingly. His unfamiliar accent is so thick I hardly understand him. The fine hairs on my arms rise as goosebumps spread across my skin.
“Stefano, man listen it’s not like that. They threatened me and my family, I didn’t have a choice.” Papa says in a shaky voice. His Russian accent becomes more and more prominent as his fear heightens, and mine grows steadily with his. My papa is a fearless man, he’d always be the first to scare the monster from under my bed and defend the honor of anyone.
The room grows quiet and the air is tense and screaming danger. A low whistle splices through the air before the voice is heard again.
“It’s not like what exactly? Were you really that afraid of the Germans that you switched sides? You know you could have come to me the minute they got to you. I am a reasonable man, am I not?” He asks, and I can hear more than one pair of feet shuffling as more people file into the room.
Biting my fists, I fight the urge to scoot closer to the door. I’d been curious all my life, too curious, and the need to see what’s happening is making it hard for me to sit still.
“They’d been watching my wife and child, Stefano. What was I supposed to do? He was there, at Angel’s school when Amara went to pick her up. You have to believe me. Please, spare my family and I will give back everything that you lost.” Papa begs and attempts to bargain.
My body wins the war with my mind at the mention of the man who’d come to my school. I can remember him so vividly, tall and scary with a bald head covered in black art. He’d just kissed my cheek and muttered softly in my ear in another language when mama approached me. The look on her face, that fear, forever etched in my brain. I climb from under the pile of clothes and crawl toward the front of the closet where there is a small crack in the door to get a better look at the bodies filling the space of the room.
Tears burn in my eyes when I spot papa. He’s on the floor on his knees, a gun trained on the back of his head and a large body casting a shadow over his back. I should have stayed in my spot like papa told me to.
The man scoffs and walks around papa without speaking for a moment. He never lowers his gun and his eyes never stray from papa.
“Why should I spare you or your family? You cost me the life of a dozen good soldiers and 16 million dollars in product and weapons. I have people rotting in graves and bodies scattered across the world and if not for my connections, my entire operation would have crashed and burned. So explain why I should spare your pathetic treacherous life or that of your wife and child?”
The man’s voice is raised several octaves, and my body shudders in sheer horror. I may only be 8 years old, but from the gangster movies I’ve snuck and watched, I feel like I am dead smack in the center of a scene straight from it. What has papa done? Who did he tell on? Who are these men?
Papa makes no move to respond, blowing out a shaky unsteady breath. From where I am. I can see his body shaking and dread fills me quickly. Why isn’t he saying anything?
“What can I do? Tell me and I will do anything. Just please don’t hurt them. They’re innocent in all of this.” Papa’s whispers, finally finding his voice.
“You want their lives spared? Okay, Benard, bring me the wife. Giovanni, you know every inch of the property, go find the girl.” The man says, dropping his gun to his waist side and plopping down onto the bed which creaks under his weight.
The room is so quiet a pin drop can be heard before the closet door is pulled open, slamming against the wall with a thud.. I scream and scramble backward as a boy, no older than 14 reaches into the closet and grips my nightgown, dragging me out of the closet. I scream and kick, trying desperately to get away from him before I am tossed carelessly at the feet of the man sitting down.
My head hits the floor and black dots dance around my vision. I feel dizzy and nauseous from the blinding pain that shoots through my body. Disoriented, wheezing, and in a daze, I glance around my room until my eyes zero in on papa.
“Papa, what’s going on? What have you done?” I croak out, my voice pained and my lungs burning. Papa can’t even meet my gaze, his eyes plastered to the ground and his hands trembling in his lap. My heart is slamming against my ribcage so hard I fear the rest of the room can hear it.
The man with the scary voice leans forward, making himself reach down to my height. His face is as scary as his voice, scars little his face and his eyes are pitch black where his pupils are dilated fully. His nose is crooked and his lips are curled into a sinister smile that reminds me of the cheshire cat from the Alice movie.
“I am Stefano Moretti Sr, you must be Angel. Sorry we must meet under such unfortunate circumstances, Tesoro. Your disgrace for a father here, has cost me a lot of money, merchandise, and resources. Do you know what kind of man he is? A bad man, no more bad than me, but a bad man no less.”
Sobs rack my tiny body as I cry a million tears. I am so afraid right now, I don’t understand anything that’s going on. My papa can’t be a bad man, he’s only ever protected me and mama, never getting angry or raising his voice.
I open my mouth to speak when the door is thrown open and a tall man in dark pants and boots comes in, dragging mama in behind him. Her face is tear stained, her night dress ripped down the middle, and her nose is bloody. The man with her has scratches across his face and neck like he’d fought an angry kitten.
“The little bitch put up a fight. Nearly scratch my fucking eyes out.” The man says, raising a hand and striking mama across the face so hard she falls in a heap on the floor.
Stefano sr. chuckles, his eyes shining gleefully like he is enjoying every moment happening.
“More balls than her own man, I love that in a woman. Amara, as pretty as always.” He says, standing to his full height and walking over to mama.
His figure looms over her, but mama tuts out her chin in defiance.
“Fuck you. He did what he needed to do. That German asshole could have done anything to my child.” She spits out, never cowering.
Papa always said that mama was a firecracker, too hotheaded and mouthy. He said one day her mouth and attitude would get her in trouble, and now that we’re here in this room with these men, I am more afraid than before. Nothing good can come from mama challenging this man.
“Tsk, such filthy words from such a beautiful woman’s mouth. One I’d had the pleasure of feeling wrapped around my cock plenty. Do you kiss your precious baby girl’s lips with that potty mouth.” He pouts, feigning hurt.
My eyes catch papa shift in my peripheral and before he can even move an inch, he is hit over the head with a gun by a man who looks exactly like Stefano Sr.
“What do you want? Just let us fucking go. You’re fucking scum.” Mama shouts, spitting at his feet.
The smile is instantly wiped off his face, replaced with a scowl so deep I shudder. With a closed fist, he pulls back and slams his fist into her face and a crunch resounds in the room accompanied with her own agonizing scream.
“That’s enough, bitch. You don’t know your place. You know what the fuck I want? My money, my drugs, my weapons, the lives of my fucking men. Can you offer that to me? Huh? No, you fucking can’t and neither can your piece of shit husband. So here’s how this will go, you will pay me in blood. A life for a life, you and your husband. And this pretty girl of yours, well we’ll just wait and see I guess.” He’s deadly calm, cold and calculated.
The color drains my mama’s face, and all her bravado disappears into thin air. Her body betrays her, allowing fear to pour off in waves around the room.
“Stefano, please. She’s only a girl, just a child. Don’t do this.” Papa begs, watching helplessly as the man pressed the gun deeper into his head.
I nearly flinch an entire foot in the air when a gunshot rings off. Warm cooper fills splatters in my mouth, and I gag, Mama’s body falls limply and I don’t recognize my own voice when my lips part and a strangled cry pours from me.
“Mama? Mama please get up, please.” I beg over and over, my body quivering. I try to launch my body at hers, but a teenage boy with muscular arms wraps himself around me and rips me back. I try thrashing in his hold to reach her but he’s just too strong. Until this moment, I’d forgotten he was even near me.
“È morta, fottuto idiota.” The man states, kicking her body around until she’s facing away from me.
(She’s dead, you fucking idiot.)
Papa’s seems to finally have found his voice as he cries out and rushes to her body. He cradles her in his arms and cries over her body, and I still thrash in the arms of the boy until my muscles burn from overexertion and I slump in his hold. He rubs my hair out of my sweaty face, shushing and cooing softly to me, but his words fall on death ears as I stare at my mama and papa.
“This is just too bad. She had such fire in her, and a pussy so tight. She would have been an excellent pet.” A different man says from a corner in my bedroom. Stefano Sr. scoffs, shaking his head before raising his gun to papa.
“What’s done is done, we have the daughter.”
Turning his body to me slightly, his soulless eyes study my slumped shaking form.
“Remember this, Angel. I am not a man to be crossed. I have no mercy.” With that, he pulls the trigger and papa’s head explodes, sending brain matter and blood across the room. The walls are painted red in clumps of flesh and blood, and my stomach turns.
“Take her to the car. I will be out shortly.”
Stefano Sr. snaps his fingers at the boy behind me. I shake my head and try to wiggle out of the boy’s hold, but a pinch on the side of my neck makes me wince before my body begins to feel like it’s shutting down. I whimper and try to fight against the wave of exhaustion that falls over me but nothing helps. My eyes droop and my body goes boneless as I slip into unconsciousness.
“Night night sweet Angel. Tomorrow is a new day.” A voice whispers to me before my mind completely shuts down and I fall into a deep sleep.