Chapter 1: You Only Live Once
Someone once said that you only live once, but that’s complete fucking bullshit.
If I had a dime for every time someone who was supposed to be dead wasn’t, I’d be one rich motherfucker. I’d have more money than Donald Trump and Bill Gates combined. I’d be able to bathe in one hundred-dollar bills and throw cash into the air like it’s rain. Hell, I’d even be able to wipe my ass with it.
But alas, I never got a dime every time someone lied about their death, which resulted in me being poor as fuck. My family had money at one point in time, but then my parents had to go and die. The little money they’d left us had been divided equally between my two older brothers— greedy bastards. I didn’t get a penny of that blood money, which may have explained why my taste for blood and vengeance grew as I got older.
I thought that one day my brothers would include me in the family business— illegal or not— but it never happened. They wanted me to go to college and get a real education. Which really meant that they wanted me to drown in student debt and lose my perfect physique to the notorious freshman 15.
I would’ve rather died than go to college. It was too run-of-the-mill for me. I wanted to live an extraordinary life, not an ordinary one.
And if I couldn’t be a part of the infamous family business, neither could they, which is exactly why my brothers were tied up in the back of a van at midnight. I was going to kill them, as soon as they woke up.
Don’t get me wrong. My blood lust wasn’t just out of greed. It was out of need. A need to get revenge on the two people that had ruined my life. I’d get retaliation, even if it was the last thing I ever did. And it very well could be. Vengeance is a dangerous game that not many people win.
I’d drugged the both of my brothers with a strong dose of devil’s breath and heroin to knock them out for a few hours. It’d been eight hours since then. Fortunately, the dealer who I’d gotten the drugs from said it was normal for the stimulants to leave their victims unconscious for several hours at a time.
Lily had woken up two hours before everyone else, and somehow, she’d gotten the gag out of her pretty little mouth. She only screamed for the first ten minutes or so, before sending a string of violent curse words in my direction. I had to admit I liked the way she went from help me to fuck you. I found it both brutal and erotic at the same time.
I liked my women with a dark side. Despite popular belief, Lily had a heart of coal, even if it looked like she had a heart of gold. Maybe I’d keep her around long enough to become my sidekick or side bitch. You know, whichever she’d prefer.
“Where is he?” She asked viciously, referring to her good ole daddy. She’d been quiet for the last couple of minutes, but she couldn’t go that long without talking. Unfortunately, it was a drawback that wasn’t working in her favor. I wanted to kill her just so she would shut up. “I know he’s around here somewhere! I saw him earlier. Where is he at?”
“Over there, Red.” I pointed to the ground, about twenty feet away from where she was currently sitting.
“There’s nothing over there.” She tilted her head to the side, squinting her green eyes to get a better look. For a girl who was tied up from the neck down, she didn’t seem bewildered or frightened. She was more irritated than anything else. Now that was something that I actually liked about her. Being afraid was for pussies. “I don’t see anything.”
“That’s because he’s underground.” I shrugged my shoulders, rolling my neck sideways. “I hit him in the head with a shovel and buried him alive. There’s only one person in this world more annoying than you and it’s your father. He had to go.”
Before she could ask why I said, “I may hate my family and everything they stand for, but that doesn’t change the fact that your dearest daddy killed my pops. And besides, once I take over the family business, I’m going to have to deal with retaliation and revenge all the time. I consider this practice. As you Americans say, practice makes perfect, yes?”
“I think that only applies to normal hobbies, like sports, or arts and crafts.” She stifled a laugh, shaking her head back and forth. I could tell something vile was about to come out of her mouth and I had the slightest urge to cut her tongue out before she got the chance to say it. “Don’t you think it’s kind of hypocritical that you kill my father for murdering yours when you’re about to kill your own two brothers? It’s not about retaliation or vengeance, Emmet. You’re just psychotic. You literally put the hot in psychotic.”
Did she just call me hot?
She spoke my name with such animosity and bitterness. It was like she was saying the devil’s name instead of my own. She was insulting me instead of compromising with me. I admired the fact that she hadn’t embarrassed herself by begging for her life, but there was no way in hell that I was going to tell her that.
“I never said that I wasn’t crazy.” I narrowed my eyes at her, wondering if she thought that would actually be an effective insult. If she wanted to offend me, she was going to have to dig a lot deeper than that. She hadn’t even scratched the surface of what got to me. “In fact, I’m absolutely insane and I love every fucking minute of it.”
“I’m surprised you killed my father.” She exhaled through her nose, unaffected by the death of the man who created her. When it came to him, she harbored no emotion but hate. In some ways, she was just like me. She didn’t even realize how similar we were. If opposites attract, similarities must crash... and then burn. “I figured you two would have been partners in crime or best friends forever.”
“I don’t do forever, Red. I do temporary.” I snorted loudly, waving dismissively at her voluptuous figure. Maybe that was the real reason I hadn’t killed her already. Although, she wasn’t a size 0, she was easy on the eyes. Some would even say she was pretty. Only some, though.
“Call me red one more time and I’m going to break these ties and give you a black eye.” She regarded me with a bitter smile, giving me the death stare. The longer she glared at me, the harder my dick got. I was thankful for the midnight hour because it masked everything in sight. I didn’t want to explain my motives to her, let alone why I had an erection.
“How about spaghetti sauce?” I stared at her auburn hair, thinking about how fitting that nickname was. Her copper locks fell around her bruised face, hiding the hollowness that had taken over her once green eyes. “Is that better?”
Her sudden frown told me that spaghetti sauce was worse than red itself. Maybe she would like carrot top better than the last two.
Before I got the chance to test out the popularity of another nickname, I heard a slight rustling from inside of the van. It was parked in an unoccupied parking lot only a few feet away.
My demeanor instantaneously changed when I’d thought that my brothers might have woken up. I’d gone from calm and relaxed to being ready to fuck shit up. I didn’t have any time to lose or waste.
I held the firearm with a tight fist, ready to light someone up like the fourth of July. I stepped toward the van cautiously, each and every one of my steps filled with violent purpose. Nothing was going to stop me now.
However, I was quickly disappointed when I was met with a two-hundred-pound man who’d taken way too many steroids for his muscles to be considered natural. He was blocking my path. Most people would’ve been frightened to be met with a man that looked like the terminator, but I wasn’t perturbed at all.
He jumped back when he saw the gun in my hand, letting out a girly shriek. His scream of terror really didn’t fit his outside exterior at all. Thus, another reason why I couldn’t be bothered to be afraid of him.
“Get that thing the fuck away from me!” He frowned at the revolver, letting a tear fall down his olive cheek. His sudden show of emotion had me laughing hysterically and relentlessly. I waved the gun in his face, taking it off safety mode. Maybe he’d piss his pants if I kept this up. Now that would be one for the books. “I already got shot in the stomach once! It’s not happening again, motherfucker!”
In the midst of all my chuckling, I noticed Lily’s emerald eyes go wide with shock. Maybe she thought Falco was coming to finish her off for shooting him in the gut. If I were him, I would’ve had no qualms about killing her.
But Falco was a much different kind of monster than I was. He didn’t take his prey out with a quick bullet to the heart. He made them suffer for days on end, over and over again. If I hadn’t been standing here, acting like a barrier between the two of them, I’m sure he would’ve had her on her knees with a knife to her throat.
“I thought you were dead.” Lily whispered bitterly, eyeing him suspiciously. “How’s your beer gut doing? Can you still hold your alcohol?”
Like I said before, no one ever really died here. It was like a soap opera for fuck’s sake. The only people who were going to die and stay dead were my brothers. As soon as they woke the hell up. It’d been close to nine hours now and I was growing impatient.
A part of me thought about killing them while they were still asleep, but I dismissed that idea quickly. If I did that, I’d be showing them mercy. I needed to exterminate them when they were awake, so they could feel every ounce of pain that they had inflicted on me over the years. Maybe that was harsh, but I was simply giving them a taste of their own medicine.
“A doctor sewed me up.” Falco replied through clenched teeth, his hands tightening into fists in front of him. “I’m as good as new. In fact, I’m better than ever.”
“I’m surprised you found a doctor willing to touch your chubby little—"
“SHUT UP, FIGA!” He roared at the top of his lungs, ending whatever sentence she was about to complete. He was seeing red. Pun intended. His chest swelled up and down, looking like a boxer getting ready for a match. “If you don’t shut up, I will fuck your throat so hard, you’ll have no other choice but to be quiet.”
“Try it and it will be the last thing you ever do.” She smiled keenly, not fazed by the air of sadism that surrounded him. “I shot you in the stomach last time. This time, I’ll go for your skull. I don’t think you’d survive again.”
“Bacha ma culo!” He charged in her direction, but I tripped him by extending one of my legs forward. He hit the graveled pavement with an indispensable sound, eating rocks on his way down. He may have chipped a tooth or two. He was lucky I didn’t pull all of them out for disrespecting her. I was the only one who had the authority to insult people around here. “What the hell was that for?”
“Play nice, idiota, or don’t play at all.” I kicked him in the side for good measure, aiming to bruise his lungs. “I’m the only one that gets to kill anyone, sì? Get that through your thick skull, before I put a bullet there instead. You won’t have to worry about her doing it because I will.”
A puff of withheld air escaped his throat, but it turned into a wheezing cough. Apparently, I’d him a little too hard. Oh well, he would live. I should’ve kicked him in the nuts instead, though.
“When is Maxemilio coming?” He stood up from the ground, dusting off his dirty slacks. I felt my lips pull into a disgusted frown. There was nothing sadder than seeing a Gucci suit get stained, whether it was with blood, dirt, or mud. My grimace faded when I realized it was probably a knock-off anyway. Men like Falco, followers not leaders, couldn’t afford designer clothing. “I think you broke one of my ribs. I need medical attention and some pain killers.”
“The only true pain killer is death. Would you like me to put an end to your misery, Falco?”
“No! I just meant that you hurt me. I don’t want to die. I want to live.” He panicked frantically, looking for an escape route. There wasn’t one. Even he couldn’t outrun a bullet. “That’s why I asked to see the doctor! I think my ribs are broken. It’s getting hard to breathe.”
“You’re lucky I didn’t break more than a couple ribs. As for Maxemilio, he’ll be here when he gets here.” I shrugged absentmindedly, putting on my best facade of indifference. On the inside, I was anything but careless.
Max’s tardiness was grating on my nerves too. I knew he had to leave the estate without looking suspicious, but it didn’t take nine fucking hours to do that. The only reason someone would take that long to get somewhere was if they weren’t coming.
Maybe he’d been killed.
On the off chance that he was still alive and breathing, I was going to teach him a lesson about the importance of time management once he finally showed up. He might have been my cousin, but I obviously had no problem with killing my own blood. They say blood is thicker than water, but water runs clearer. The people closest to you are often the ones who hurt you the most. At least you can see through strangers.
“The doctor is in on it too? Go figure.” Lily let out a defeated sigh, seeming more annoyed than surprised. I couldn’t blame her. It was hard to keep up with. No one was loyal these days. “You can’t trust anyone these days, can you?”
I was going to answer her question with an honest no, but I was sidetracked by the dim headlights that moved along the abandoned side street, coming toward us.
They headlights belonged to a black Mercedes that was more than a couple of years old. Maxemilio had only owned the car since the previous year. Although, it might have been new to him, the car wasn’t new at all. It was one of the few things my brothers had ever gotten him as a gift and it was used.
They were avaricious with their money, which had been another good reason to kill them off. Max thought so, too, which is exactly why he’d agreed to help me take them out. And all for a small lump sum of one hundred thousand dollars.
Of course, I had no intention of ever giving him that money. I’d kill him before he ever got a penny from me.
What I failed to realize was that I was becoming a lot like my miserable brothers. In fighting the enemy, I’d become just like them. A part of me thought that it was endearing that I finally had something in common with them, even if it was only one of the seven deadly sins. Gluttony.
Max stepped out of the car, still wearing the blue scrubs he’d had on earlier. I never understood why he’d want to be a doctor when the fashion was just atrocious. It was one thing to wear plain jeans and a t-shirt, instead of a suit, but scrubs were completely unacceptable. I could’ve disowned him on his fashion choice alone.
“Have they come down from the drugs yet?” He asked inquisitively, as if he actually cared about whether or not they had come through or overdosed. The sooner they died, the sooner he got paid, or so he thought. “The effects should have worn off by now.”
“Let’s go see.” I reached for the keys to the van that were in my back pocket. Once I found them, I threw them at him. If he thought they were awake, it was up to him to find out. He caught the silver keys in his small hands, almost losing them. “Why don’t we go ahead and get this party started? Go get the guests of honor and bring them out for us.”
He raised an eyebrow, seeming hesitant for a moment’s timing. When he noticed the glare that was plastered on my face, he picked up his pace and headed for the vehicle without another warning. I didn’t have to tell him twice.
His hands were trembling when he went to unlock the back doors of the van. He was shaking so much that I thought he might drop the keys, but he managed to keep a hold of them. I couldn’t help but wonder how a surgeon could help anyone with such frantic hands. How did he get anything done?
A couple seconds later, he swung the doors open barbarically. They hit the side of the car, swinging back to assault him in return. That’s when he dropped the keys on the ground, not bothering to pick them back up.
He stood there with his thin mouth hanging open, like he’d just witnessed something truly unbelievable. Instead of asking him what was wrong, I decided to walk up and take a look for myself.
When I got to the place where Maxemilio was standing, nothing could’ve prepared me for what I was about to come face to face with.
I expected to see my two brothers lying dead in the back of the van, foaming out of the mouth from a possible drug overdose, but that’s not the scene that was waiting for me. Hell, I would’ve rather seen that than the reality of what was in front of me.
There was nothing in the back of that damn van. They were gone, having disappeared into thin air. They two of them had fucking escaped.
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