The weather was gloomy from the rain that had fallen the previous night and the cold still sent it chills against the skin. Nancy sat on the chair with a kind of amusement watching Jaycee deal with the hairs that had crowded his chin in recent times.
“It’s amazing how much hair one can grow in so little time,” he mutte red and slid the blade against his chin.
“I think you look good in it,” Mary commented and kept on watching him like it was her ritual. She had loved him as a boy and still love him as he was growing into a man. He still had that boyish smile behind those mass of hairs and though he kept the hairs unkempt for a long time, it took nothing out of him nor out of the love Nancy had for him. He was her only family now and it went both ways. He had only her too and maybe Oscar.
“Do you think he will recognize me behind all these?” he asked, circling his beards with the shaving stick.
“Williams?” Nancy asked and he shot her a look and shook his head.
“Yes, you are still the silly old you plus beards,” she replied and earned a smile from him, one she returned. He couldn’t smile without drawing her into it. They had stayed back in
shadows at St Mathews all the time, never intending for it to drag so long but it did and they couldn’t help it. He brushed off excess hair from his face and walked to her. He stooped and faced her where she sat.
“How many years had it been? A hundred?” he smiled and creased his brow. “Still I can’t get over that adoring look in your eyes, the one that have kept me going even when I just want to buckle up and die.”
She smiled a beautiful smile, one that the years had added to her other pretty features and she did look very pretty. Her light blue eyes behind the long lashes made him weak with affection each time she cast them on him. She shut him up with her lips and he responded, falling back into the couch with her leading him in between her laps. The boyish expression, the smile in his eyes and lips, she could never get enough each time.
Oscar cleared his throat loudly and they stopped. They looked at him and he grinned.
“Sorry to interrupt but have got news.”
August stood up and faced him, hands akimbo.
“Sup bro, why let the hairs go?” he asked, observing the trims he had done on the once bushy beard.
“Well, she said it got in between our kisses,” he smiled at Nancy and she cast him a glance, one she always did whenever he lied on her head.
“Okay now, I said no such thing,” she defended. ” I kinda liked the beard though.”
“So is my beard the news?” he asked.
“No bro, something much more important.”
“I hope it is, for you to interrupt us. We were gunning for a baby of our own.” he said with a grin, Nancy faked a cough.
“I’m hungry, that’s it,” he said and moved a few inches away from them, trailed by Jaycee’s eyes.
“One wonders how you have managed to survive so long, I should have killed you already,” August said and stood erect.
“Because you love me bro.”
“I had better make breakfast,” Nancy declared and got up from the couch. There was an air of approval between the two famished guys. She made her way out of the sitting room and Jaycee faced Oscar.
“Well?” he asked with a creased brow. Oscar shook his head.
“Couldn’t reach him, his phone didn’t go through.”
“Well, I don’t know. Maybe we should give him sometime before we call him again.”
“Well, I just felt I should remind him that he had a family here. Wouldn’t like him to forget his folks.”
He moved to the a chair and sat on it’s arm. He looked up at Oscar.
“You know it’s just me and him,” he muttered.
“And Williams too,” Oscar added.
“No, I am going to kill Williams. It would be just me and August, now, I can’t even reach him.”
Their worries seemed to fade temporarily away with the smell of Omelettes coming from the kitchen.
Williams lighted another Cigar and flicked the burnt match away. He dropped both his legs on the table and rotated sideways on the chair. He took occasional looks at the wall clock. Stanley was supposed to be there an hour earlier and he waited patiently. The time ticked 10:35 am and his door slid open. Stanley walked in, clad in heavy perfume and his neck rigged with shinning chains.
“You are late,” Williams reminded him and dropped the cigar in the almost full ash tray.
“I know, been busy with the boss,” he replied and moved over to a seat, opposite to the one Williams sat on.
“Cool, so what did he say, am I in?”
“Well, he’ll be glad to have you in his team but you’ll have to be patient,” he paused and gauged Williams expression. He saw nothing, he just sat there, looking at him. “Well, see, he would like to evaluate you himself but then, he won’t be around till next two weeks. That’s when you will see him.”
“Fine, just need to get busy. Been idle for a long while,” he said and picked up his still burning cigar from the ash tray.
“Still got some cigar?” Stanley asked and heaved himself up, stretching his hand to take the packet he was handing over to him. He pulled a stick and lighted it, sticking it into his waiting mouth.
“Soon bro, we would have the whole of Georgian to ourselves with st Mathews as our foot stool. Very soon.” Stanley declared
dreamily and shut his eyes, biting at the cigar between his lips oblivious of the burning stare that William was lavishing him with.
He sat on the bed, examining the gun over and over again. He blinked hard to let the mist of tears clouding his eyes go down his cheeks. They were blocking his views. He rubbed the back of his hand his nose and sniffed. He dropped the gun on the bed and ran his hands through his head.
He could never stop thinking of her. In his mind, he traced out the string of blood that ran down the side of her mouth, her nose. The dead look in her eyes as she stared back at him, the once beautiful blue eyes, all pale and cold and lifeless. Her smooth skin, all white. The memories hurt him as he stood up and ran to the wall, punching away at it and not feeling the pain or the blood as they covered his knuckles.
“Mary!!” he yelled and fell to the floor, pulling at his hair and sobbing violently.
“I loved you, Bleep I loved you and you had to go,” he sobbed and sniffed severally.
Marcela watched him pace the room and noticed he looked out through the window once in a while, like he was expecting visitors. He rarely looked her way and when he did, he barely spent time on it. She tugged at the rope on her wrists and her efforts went futile. She wriggled and jumped against her restraints, the chair only moved few inches with her body still strapped tightly to it.
“Please stop, you are only going to wear yourself out,” he murmured and took a seat facing her. Her eyes shot at him from where she was tied and he saw all the hatred she could never speak out in them.
“You have beautiful eyes, I love beautiful eyes,” he said and moved closer to her, stooping and looking her straight in the eyes.
“She had a beautiful set eyes too, Mary. Your brother killed her and all that beauty. Wasted,” he announced. She whimpered and cast him a pitiful look. He smiled and shook his head.
“You know her right? Mary?” he asked and she nodded.
“You know your brothers killed her right?”
She shook her head in the negative. He smiled again.
“Don’t matter though. People have always paid for crimes they knew nothing about. Like Mary, killed just because of a little fight between your brother and the boy she loved.”
He went back to the chair and sat on it. Caressing the glock he had laid on his laps. The door to the room opened and a boy came dragging a body inside. Their trailed mapped on the floor by the blood that was coming out of the body. Marcela made out her father’s stature and shook where she was tied, making muffled shouts. She could only tell it was him by his short, stout frame. His head was one bloody, disfigured mass of flesh.
“He wouldn’t die, had to club out his head,” Chris explain and Garvey nodded. He imagined Chris having a go at the helpless man with a golf stick. He was a good golfer and always had his stick handy.
“Thanks for the help man,” Garvey said and he grinned.
“Don’t worry bro, been dreaming of this day for a very long time. Since the day the man slapped my mom and told my dad he can’t do shit about it.”
Garvey smiled and turned to face Marcella again whom her eyes was heavy with tears.
Victor heard the clock chime seven times and tried to open his eyes. He realized it wasn’t easy. He tried again and it was impossible. He tried rubbing his eyes with his hands but they would never move. He pulled his hands with all his strength but nothing happened. He only felt the rope holding his wrists together. He realized he was also sitting and not lying on a bed.
Garvey pulled the blindfold from his eyes and smiled.
“Good morning,” he greeted with a fixed smile, leaning to be on the same eye level with him. “I really have to admit that you sleep like a dead man. Worked the rope on you all night and you didn’t even blink.”
Victor tugged at his restraints, trying to make a dash for Garvey but was held down by them. The ropes were stronger than he was.
“Don’t stress it bro, I have good enough experience with ropes, that comes from years of camping and making tents.” he smiled again, he did that often, and stood erect. “Someone wanted to meet you if you woke up.”
He moved to a seat at the corner and sat on it.
“You told me nobody was going to do shit about you killing us, that your father owned this town. You only care about yourself, about who you are and what your father is. You could have asked who I am, you could have asked who the Bleep is August Donatti and you could have asked what would happen to you if you messed with someone I loved.” August walked to his face and stood before him. He let him absorb the shock and surprise of seeing him stand there, alive. He moved closer to him on the chair he was tied to and tore off the mouth gag.
“You took something from me. Something I cherished so much. You took a family from me and now, yours are going to pay dearly for it.”
“Matt’s back bro,” Garvey said, looking through the window.
“Well unlock the door, he should be able to just walk in.”
Garvey walked to the parlor and pulled the bolt to the front door open.
Victor cast August a pleading eye and whispered an inaudible word.
“I can’t hear you,” August whispered and stooped.
“Please,” he repeated faintly and August smiled.
“I watched you helplessly that day, I begged you to leave her out of it. I said ‘Please leave her out of it’. Now it’s your turn to watch me murder everyone you love and feel so helpless about it all.”
Matt walked in slowly, followed closely by Garvey, the glock glistening in his hand. He stopped when his eyes met August’s. He let his mouth drop and switched gazes between his tied brother and August.
“You two shouldn’t have let me live,” August said.
“We can settle this man,” Victor muttered and pleaded with his eyes. August gave him a side look, one that sent the chills down his spine.
“What did you say fool?” he asked.
“We can settle this, as boys always do,” he repeated slowly, aiming not to displease him. August walked to where he sat and sent him crashing to the ground with a fierce kick to the chest. The chair to which he was strapped crashed from impact and he rolled to the side.
“We will settle it, not like boys do but my own way.”
Chris walked in on them, pushing Marcella before him, her hands tied behind her and her mouth gagged. Her face was a swollen from crying.
“No, August not her. She had nothing to do with this,” Matt pleaded.
“Yes, Mary had nothing with it, Jeane too and Harry, they were freaking innocent too,” he replied coldly and raised his gun, pointing it at Marcella. He didn’t think twice about it. He squeezed the trigger, twice. She fell long before the gunshots died down. Matt dashed at him with furry and he caught him on the left leg with one shot. He tripped to the ground and held his ankle, from where the blood sputtered out.
“I would have just shot you but you wouldn’t feel the pain that I have felt. I want you both to absorb it, all the pains I went through and the ones still ahead cos I will never ever forget what you took from me,” he stopped and sniffed, his eyes moistened as he stared at the two brothers on the floor. “I am going to give you the chance that you never gave me.”
He pointed his gun at Matt’s unharmed right leg and pulled the trigger again. He yelled from pain, almost covering the sound of gunshots that followed. Victor lay flat on the ground, dizzy with excruciating pain biting at him from where August had shot him in the leg.
“I am going to set this house on fire and you have little time to make it out. Good luck and your time starts now.”
“Just so you know bro, Matt called me that night, after they had shot you. I wouldn’t have been able to save you if he didn’t tell me, ” Garvey informed him as they walked out.
“A mistake he made. He shouldn’t have let me live. If not for them, Mary would still be alive, Harry Jeane too.”
They walked out of the already smoking building, the clattering fire rising above the wailings of Matt and Victor. From afar, everyone watched the building burn, waiting on the firemen. August watched with watery eyes, battling with the thought of the night he had watched his family wiped out. He became conscious all of a sudden, of the duty he owed to his dead family, Jaycee, Maria, Joseph. He kept replaying that conversation in his mind.
“Remember who took your brothers from you,” Oscar’s voice kept replaying his head. His lips quivered severally and from it, he was able to for two words, a name.
“Jaime Rodneck,” he whispered with the fire in his eyes.
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