Ellen opened and closed the cover of the book she had in her hand. It had a worn leather casing with brown discoloration on the inside . The pages seemed fairly fresh but the writing was solid and fading. She double checked the shelf she managed to slide it from but it held no notable difference in topics. She figured the book was in the wrong section of the library and considered alerting the librarian.
The casing had no title or card filing. Most likely it was shoved onto the shelf in haste. Ellen decided to ignore her disturbed gut feeling and focus on what she originally came for now and head home. She slid the book into her backpack and grabbed two Calculus books on her way to the checkout area. She momentarily forgot to mention to the clerk and only remembered she had the book after exiting.
Her next stop was home, a rooftop studio apartment gifted from her parents. Both her mother and father were well-known lawyers and due to her steady grades in college, they decided to give her her own space instead of a dorm room. She hailed a cab and quickly one came to a stop.
“15 Ardenne Street, Apartment Building J” she stated as she climbed in the back seat.
The driver nodded, ensured she was strapped in, then took off.
Ellen settled into her seat, knowing she should be thinking about Calculus but couldn’t get the leather-bound book out of her head. She pulled the book from her bag and opened it again to investigate.
On the inside of the cover, his handwriting was scribbled over the center in red “No one will see the truth” paired with “Only I can see what’s real”. The words made no particular sense to her but she continued checking. The back of the book held a small picture of a woman. The back was inscribed with “Adira, mother” in black ink. Ellen was beginning to wonder why the different use of ink. The paragraphs were in blue, the inscriptions in red and everything else in black.
Maybe he stays organized like me? She thought.
She flipped back to the front and eyed the first log.
April 11th, 2002
Fuck fuck fuck!
Daniel messed up. I gave him one order to follow and he still managed to screw up. Why did I have to be tasked with preparing this clumsy idiot for the family business? Today’s target was Jameson Marley, VP to the tenth largest gang in San Francisco, The West Mob. He was set to visit the police station today, keeping up with their local bribery of the police.
Jameson was responsible for interrupting one of shipments a few weeks ago and now he was giving information to the police. The last thing I needed was a snitch that wasn’t even a part of my ranks. Daniel was set to handle the situation but only made it worse. Jameson, in error, killed his usual meetup cop because Daniel shot at him. In the end, he got away.
Tonight, I had to take care of the issue myself. Usually, I tried to avoid getting involved due to business being more important, but I had every other member focusing on the shipments and the sale. I found Jameson hiding out in an abandoned warehouse and dealt with him there.
I mutilated his face. I ripped his throat out. I even had the time to leave his entrails in a disturbing art form on the floor. I also took the time to remove his fingerprints and soaked each hand in acid. For now, he’d be unrecognizable to his friends and to the police. I try to contain my anger but it gets out anyway.
The taxi driver’s voice shook Ellen from her thoughts. She paid him her fare and shuffled out to the sidewalk. Up the elevator to the top floor and stumbling into her apartment, last door on the right. She pushed the door open, slammed it shut and slid to her knees. MW was sick, she thought. She understood his anger was necessary but maybe Daniel could have handled it better if he was given a second chance. She felt her head starting to spin and threw the book across the room. It was a bad idea reading it in the cab, even worse to be reading it at home alone.
Better to start studying.
She breathed and pulled to her feet. Sliding her books on her study desk, she settled in and began going over her notes from class. They were fairly easy but no matter how she tried focusing, her mind always trailed back to MW. A few problems that normally took an hour, stretched to four. Ellen closed the book on her final equation and sighed. A shower would be good.
She was creeped out.
He creeped her out.
Throwing in a few petals and a strawberry bath bomb, she settled in the tub and relaxed her head on a folded towel.
“Come on out”
The prison guard unlocked the heavy cell door and beckoned to the prisoner who was currently sitting on the concrete floor with folded arms. His back was turned to the guard with his number 12 in bold print facing the cell door. The guard waited as the man rose to his feet and walked toward him with outstretched arms. The guard snapped a pair of handcuffs to his wrists.
“You’ve got a visitor” he chuckled.
The prisoner smirked slightly. “Any idea who it is, Garrett?”
The guard stopped laughing. “Who’d you hear my name from, huh?”
The prisoner shrugged and walked toward the waiting area. He knew his way around even though he rarely had any visitors. He was allowed one visitor every two months but his friends in the industry knew better than to come knocking. He wondered who it would be today. He stepped into the well-lit room and saw a man sitting at the table.
“Your lawyer, Edward James”
The man introduced himself quickly, adjusting his tie and glasses.
“I assume you know who I am then?”
“Mr. Williams, pleasure”
Marcus settled into his seat and Garrett unlocked his cuffs.
“5 minutes” Garrett informed both men and left the room.
Edward leaned towards Marcus and smiled.
“It’s good to see you man,” he said slowly. The two men exchanged greetings and stared back at each other. Edward was actually his second in command of the family business while Marcus, keeping everything in order while he was incarcerated. The two had bonded in their teenage years and the friendship remained strong. Together they had managed to grow one of the largest gangs in Italy, The Ndrangheta. But seeing how he was here, Marcus assumed the worst that his brother was in charge for this little trip to see him.
“How is business?” Marcus inquired. Getting into a fight here wasn’t a good idea. He decided not to ask.
“The community still respects you as the Ndrina - ‘man who does not bend’. They’ve taken vows to remain loyal to the family and continue their support. A new shipment should be coming in soon with over 100 customers lining up.” Edward glanced around the room for any cameras. “The rest is as usual”
Marcus nodded. “After ten years, I didn’t think I’d miss your ugly face. I need you to do me a favor. The Judge handling my appeal, his daughter can be a good leverage for him to let me out of good behavior.”
Edward smiled. “Well that’s a good thing”
The air in the room then became tense. Marcus leaned forward and whispered.
“Also, have you located my log?”
“No, no sign of it at the house. Are you sure you didn’t leave it somewhere else?”
Marcus knew it was stupid to keep a log of all his missions. He knew the danger it posed if it fell into the wrong hands, the perfect evidence for half of the other crimes he had committed over the years or gave alibi to. But it was the only thing that kept him sane, expressing his emotions in a civilized manner. Edward sensed his friend’s discomfort and sighed. The last thing he had remembered was hiding it somewhere out of the house.
“We’ll find it. Don’t worry” Edward sighed.
Garrett then came back and proceeded to handcuff Marcus again.
Edward waved him off and headed to the exit. Marcus gave him a good idea of what to do but he didn’t expect the daughter to be a child. She was a 4 year old Cinderella with doe eyes. Edward was against killing children so for now, he’d play a role he wasn’t versed in. The child didn’t flinch when he came for her.
No questions asked.
It was too...easy
Despite this, Edward looked at the bright side. Other important things demanded his attention. It was best this was quick and easy.