12 December, 2016
The wood paneled room vibrated with anticipation and hummed with whispers of both hope and dread. Nearly two hundred viewers were spread from the divider behind the lawyer to the balcony seats looking down at the scene. Journalist, News Reporters, Photographers captured the scene like vultures picking apart a dead carcass. The constant clicking of the cameras and the scribbling of notes put everyone on edge and made them fidget. This day could only go two different ways, and the viewers present today; the victims, could only stomach one of those outcomes.
A whirring creak echoed through the room, gaining alls attention to watch the eight people escorted into the room bound by shackles. Camera flashes exploded, reporters rattled off questions and the parents of those who were lost spat at them. The incessant banging of a gavel finally silenced the room, but it by no means put out the fire inside of them.
The shackled offenders were led to seats opposite the jury, their Lawyer standing by idly as if nothing were wrong. When the bailiff was moving to unshackle the first man the Judge banged his gavel again.
“Leave them on.” He ordered and pulled his glasses onto his withered face.
The bailiff pushed the growling men and woman down into their seats, the tinkling of chains music to many peoples ears.
“Today is the twelfth of December, 2016; the case of Illinois versus the O’Donnells.” The Judges voice carried to everyone, making their hearts race in their chests. “Present today is Fergus and Miriam O’Donnell.” The tall slim man with dark eyes ground his teeth and gave side eye to his wife, whom was a small woman with blonde hair and had silent tears rolling down her face. “Their sons: Aiden, Davie, Kenny, Carl and Craig O’Donnell.” All five looked alike; blonde, handsome and pompous. The veins in their necks and foreheads bulged in anger. “Lastly, Thomas O’Donnell, brother to Fergus O’Donnell.” A short fat man with a shiny bald head nodded to the viewers, making everyone uncomfortable. “All being prosecuted under several charges of smuggling, money laundering, bodily assault, amongst others.” People started screaming out offenses he wouldn’t yet confirm; human trafficking, kidnapping, rape, murder. However, the Judge did not silence them, he let them continue until they fell silent again.
The judge set down the list he had read from and looked to the Prosecution and Defense Lawyers. “After yesterday’s back and forth over what charges were to be tried during this time, I have reached the decision that only if the evidence coincides with eye witness reports or vice versa will I then charge anyone or state a crime that has been committed.”
There was much chatter amongst the people, but this was expected. The O’Donnell family were the largest Mafia organization in the state, no one wanted to get too ahead of themselves should they get off free.
“Prosecutor, call your first witness.” The Judge sounded almost bored, but the Defense Lawyer perked right up.
“Witnesses? I wasn’t made aware of any witnesses.” He ranted, his gaunt looking face appearing as a Reaper in his grey pin stripped suit.
“Only one witness, and no one but his honor was made aware of her.” The Prosecutor lilted, he had a trick up his sleeve and he was excited to show it.
“And why is that?!” The Reaper scoffed.
“Because Mr. Wise, I allowed it and unlike previous trials with the O’Donnell family… I don’t wan’t anyone getting cold feet about testifying, so sit down.” The man may have looked like a turtle, but the Judge was not to be trifled with. Reaper sat down, steam coming out of his ears.
With a blatant smirk The Prosecutor called out, “The Prosecution invites Ms. Ryanne Sybil O’Donnell, Fergus O’Donnell’s daughter, to the stand for questioning.”
Despite the chains Fergus and his sons jump to their feet, seething like rabid pit bulls. More camera flashes and reporters clamor, when a young woman is escorted into the room. The black turtle neck and skin tight black pants, cover her entire body, leaving only her hands and face exposed. Her bright blonde hair is pulled into a sleek bun, her brandy peacoat flaring behind her as each step she takes in her heeled boots echos off the stone floors. When she approaches the stand she places her hand on a bible, swearing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Ryanne sat down and looked at all the people before her, and they stared at her, the spitting image of Fergus, more so than his sons. High cheekbones, pouty lips, large eyes, strong jaw and a dimpled chin; the only difference was her eyes were green while his were so dark they could be thought to be black.
All eyes were on her, while her family’s eyes were full of hatred and threats, the others seemed to be begging her to tell the truth. She traced the scar on her left wrist with her right forefinger, following the raised skin that wrapped the entire joint’s circumference. Ryanne had heard someone ask her a question but wasn’t paying attention. Everyone thought she was hesitating because she was frightened to speak, but in truth she was relishing in the last moments of her life. For twenty seven years she had been Ryanne Sybil O’Donnell, daughter to Fergus Hugh O’Donnell the leader of Chicago’s Irish Mafia. The middle child to five other siblings, all of which wanted her dead at that moment.
“Miss. O’Donnell, please answer me. What crimes did you witness, committed by those present in this court room?” The prosecutors nasally voice made her grind her teeth, it was like nails on a chalkboard interrupting her perfect silence.
“Well, let’s see. Drug smuggling & trade, gun smuggling & trade, human trafficking, loan sharking, physical assault, sexual assault, piracy, arson, grand theft auto, breaking and entering, robbery, racketeering, and murder.” She traced the lines of her palms and waited for the next question, hearing a buzz of conversation around her.
“If I named each of the offenses that you listed could you point out who all here today was involved in each act?” At this she looked up at the man, he looked like someone her father would have had “Taken Care Of”. To think that he was standing in front of her alive two days into the trial was baffling.
“Yes, I could do that.” She said, then crossed hey legs and leaned back in her chair.
“Carl, Aiden, Davie, Kenny, and Fergus O’Donnell.” She watched her brothers seethe in their seats, unable to move in their shackles. While her father stared at her coldly, like she was nothing more than a pest to him.
“Carl, Aiden, Davie, Kenny, Thomas, Craig, Fergus.” Her Uncle Tommy, the greedy fat fuck, chuckled at hearing his name. Sadly, her youngest brother Craig just whimpered. It broke her heart to see him like this… like a coward refusing to repent.
“Aiden, Davie, Thomas. Miriam.” The gasps in the court room made her smirk so, she had to look down at her hands to hide her face and compose herself. For added effect she sniffed and blinked several times when she looked up again. She saw her mother, Miriam, was silently crying, knowing she would spend the rest of her life in prison. To be completely honest, the fact that Ryanne had inflicted that fear made her feel all tingly inside.
“Fergus, Thomas, Craig, Carl, Aiden, Davie, Kenny, and Miriam.”
The questioning from the prosecutor took two hours, just her confirming photos of crime scenes with her own eye witness reports. Identifying dozens of corpses, who killed them and why. None of it upset her, why would it? She had seen death in person, she had looked it in the face for decades. But today, it didn't bother her because on this glorious day she’d disappear and leave it all behind. She felt untouchable, like she was on Cloud Nine, until her families longtime lawyer, Scott Wise, approached her for questioning.
His beady eyes bored into her and he was speaking down to her as if he knew something she didn’t. So, she focused on his expensive watch to remind herself this man was on a payroll that was about to be non existent. “You named a lot of crimes. A lot of criminals, and a lot of victims. But you seem to have forgotten one criminal in particular… You.” He hissed at her. There were murmurs all over the court room, and for the first time her family looked like they were relaxed. She didn’t like where this was going, not one bit.
The pompous lawyer opened a file and threw down photo after photo in front of her. Each one evidence of her involvement in the family business. One of her standing by watching crates being loaded onto an unmarked truck. Another with her putting stacks of cash in a duffle bag while men held people at gun point. Then several of her pointing weapons at people, either mid-shot or or mid-swing with her family watching idly. He passed copies to the jury, and stared the people down.
“This woman wants to call my clients monsters?! Take a look at her past! She traded weapons, robbed people! Traded drugs!” He roared and was about to continue, but she began to laugh. The court turned its attention to her, seeing her laugh till she was almost in stitches. She held up the photo that was insinuating she had something to do with drugs.
It was her standing in the middle of a room full of men and her family, wearing only pants and a bra. She was nervously watching a man sat in front of her, as he taped bricks of cocaine to her torso. All over her body were bruises that were clearly inflicted on her, but what stuck out was that she was flat chested and wearing a training bra.
“I was twelve. I don’t really think being told, “stand still and we wont hurt you” counts as me being a drug trader.” She said coolly. Then she lifted more of the so called incriminating photos. “16, 14, 17. All you’re doing is adding child abuse and endangerment to the roster.”
“You’re a liar!” Wise yelled at her, spit pooling on his lower lip and his face getting red. As a child she once heard her mother raise her voice, and no one took her seriously because she screamed and screeched. Because of that Ryanne never yelled, she demanded.
“Objection!” The prosecutor yelled out.
“You are a liar,”
“Mr. Wise,” The Judge was ignored
“A thief, and a murd—”
“Enough!” Her voice echoing in the room, she could be just as dominating as her father when she wanted to.
“Do not interrupt me—” He spat his words at her.
“No. It is you who should not interrupt me. I endured beatings and training that would have broken the likes of you after ten minutes!” Ryanne barked.
“Miss. O’Donnell, please.” The judge spoke, but she held up a hand to him him.
“I’m not finished. My brothers were trained to kill first ask later, how to fight, how to run the family business. I was trained just the same, but rather than being given freedom like them I was beaten into submission and obedience. Why? Because how dare I break the O’Donnell tradition and respect of only baring sons, and be born a girl.
“I was a pet, a play thing! All of them, my brothers, my uncle, my father, even my goddamn mother would fight me. If I lost I would be locked in a room for two days with no food, but if I won four of them would jump me so I would remember my place. I have been chained, whipped and borrowed. I’ve had the barrels of guns shoved in my mouth by my own flesh and blood, but been denied death because then who would keep them entertained.
“Do you think you could have had that done to you? Could have woken up and gotten out of bed everyday? I was broken down and used,… but you know that. Don’t you Scott?” She smiled as the lawyer paled, remembering she had dirt on him too.
“So, call me any form of victim; abused, manipulated, whatever but the last fucking thing I am is guilty.” She turned away from the spineless guppy of a lawyer and looked her father dead in the eye. “Don’t you dare try to pin any of this on me, Fergus. Don’t even think about it, because what I’ve got on you, on all of you, is my life.”
For the first time ever, she saw her father and her family look empty…
It was a delectable sight.