Episode 3: A Golden Age of Death
Posted 16 September 2004 - 09:50 PM
It was an idilic morning on Sicily and Serpico was contented. Having had an incredible dinner the night before and a dreamless sleep, he felt better than he had done in along time. The way the sunlight had fallen threw the trees had made him think of daylight stars on the floor. A stream, clear and babbling, ran nearby and Serpico had draped his feet in it for awhile, breathing in the fresh air and running his hands in the prickly grass. It was here that he saw Maria for the first time that day. He'd had his eyes closed, face facing the sky, his vision filled with the salmon pink of his eye-lids. When he opened his eyes he saw her.
She was like part of the beautiful landscape, the sunlight shining on her pony-tailed chestnut hair as she gracefully stepped threw the glass to the stream. She carried a basket of laundry to the stream for washing. She hadn't noticed Serpico until she was right by the stream. She started.
"Sorry," said Serpico, flushing and struggling to get the words out. He felt that his words were drenched in phlegm. Maria smiled and blushed. She set the laundry basket down and set to washing the clothes. Serpico felt self concious, felt he needed to say something. He watched her washing and felt his heart rise up his throat. He was slowly loosing his sense of thought. Eventually, he jumped up awkwardly.
"I... I... have to go," he mumbled rapidly, tripping over his feet as he walked away. "My mission, you know," Maria merely looked back, a sense of slight sadness in her eyes. Serpico was about to say something but then he just turned and left, concious of the fact that she was staring at him.
Posted 23 September 2004 - 09:51 AM
The following morning, the Man was idly sorting through his mail when he came across the inivitation.
He frowned slightly as he read it.
He looked at the front page of the City Herald. Unlike the Tribune, whic at least made a fist of journalism, the Herald was a rag, which was why the Man prefered to read it; it, at least, knew what people wanted to know. On the front page was Pirello and his woman, dancing a waltz; he looking for all the world like a psychopathic Fred Astere, she looking like a prisoner on death row with no hope of reprieve.
He pressed the buzzer on the intercom. "Get me Scopia," he said.
Posted 23 September 2004 - 08:12 PM
The Man's head gave a laconic shake, Pirello wouldn't risk having him killed at his doorstep, it would be too obvious. It would lack... finesse.
"Just be there to... bolster his arrangements. And try not to upset things, Pirello may be a rival, but ruining his wedding would be a blow beneath the belt"
The Man gave one of his smiles, the kind that actually reveal less of his thoughts than his blank expressions.
How frustrating, Scopia thought as he closed the door and resumed his vigil in the reception area, two problems and he couldn't even use his regular staff - all would be known to Jorro, what he needed was an agent who had been out of duty for a while.
Going through the files of employers, later in the day, he came across a name. Tony.
Posted 23 September 2004 - 10:28 PM
The castle was a silhouette in the morning sunshine. It stood on a hill, with the town winding around it. Serpico walked through the streets taking in his surroundings. He'd never been somewhere so historic. All the buildings he'd been in the US had be less than 50 years old. It was incredible to him to think how long some of these had been standing.
He paused in front of the church and marvelled at it. The low steps up to the ornate entrance were a pearly white and filled with a two families there for a wedding. Serpico watched the bride and groom emerge, smiles on their faces, hand in hand for the rest of their lives. Serpico thought of Maria.
'Maria Pirbright," he thought "that works. Now come on, don't be stupid. You've barely said five words to her. Yes, but the way she looked at me, there's something there and she is beautiful. Why would someone so beautiful ever consider someone like you?'
Serpico's thought meandered in this way as he meandered up the hill. He came across a café, outside of which two women were sitting talking. On seeing his unifrom they stopped and stared at him. Serpico smiled at them, which sent them into a huddled whisper. Next to the café were a couple of old men playing Rafa, a type of Italian boule. Serpico stood and watched them play.
One of the men, smartly dressed in shabby clothes, a cigarette dangling from his mouth noticed Serpico.
"Heh," he chuckled before continuing in Italian "Another stupid Yank come to watch the game, before getting bored because it requires skill and patience and not just brute force,"
The other man gave a wry smile of agreement.
"Actually, I find it fascinating," said Serpico, again in Italian. The two men turned and looked at him.
"Heh, a trained American monkey," said the first man.
"I don't know, look at him. Looks almost Sicilian," said the other.
Serpico frowned slightly at this. Another challenge to his past, it had made him remember the letter.
"What's your name Yank?" asked the man, letting his cigarette fall.
"Corporal Serpico..." he paused. He had been going to say Pirbright but though better of it. "Corporal Serpico Pirello,"
The men dropped the boule they were carrying and stared at him in amazement.
Posted 25 September 2004 - 10:24 AM
"Oh, God..." he said. "Did we...?"
Karen emerged from the bed sheets, with a confused smile. "Yup," she said.
Jorro stared for a moment, then shuddered. "I've got to stop doing that," he thought to himself. He turned on his heel and headed for the showers.
Karen bit her lip. They hadn't spent the night together at all. She had, in fact, crept into the mansion at about 5am, after spending the night on her own devices, but she knew that she had to force Jorro to avoid thinking about it, or he'd work it out in seconds. If there's one thing he won't think about, she thought with some satisfaction, it's me naked.
In the showers, Jorro tried to put the image of his fiance's nudity out of his mind. He had a big appointment today, and it wouldn't do to be distracted.
Posted 28 September 2004 - 10:11 PM
The two old men had been looking at Serpico, open mouthed and blinking rapidly, for about a minute before one of them spoke.
"Pirello?" he said stutteringly, choking on his own words.
"That's right," replied Serpico tentatively, unsure what was going on.
"Son of Roberto Pirello?" asked the old man, his eyes growing wider by the second.
"I... I don't know," replied Serpico, unsure of what to say. "I never knew my father."
The men looked at each other. They spoke in whispers briefly before turning to look back at Serpico. The one who had done all the talking so far spoke again.
"There is something we must show you. It is about your father,"
"My father? Is he here?" asked Serpico. It was the first question that came into his head. He was beginning to get confused. Up until five minutes ago he had been Serpico Pirbright. But he knew the Pirbright's weren't his real parents - the parents he didn't know.
"Yes, he is here."
"In the old castle, but we cannot take you there. It is still being held,"
"I know. That's why I'm here," said Serpico. "Do you know a back way into the castle?"
The man considered this, nodding his head whilst he thought.
"Yes, I do." he finally replied
"Can you show me?" asked Serpico.
"Yes, yes I can. It is down on the coast, so we can't go now. We must wait until the tide goes out."
Posted 08 October 2004 - 02:36 PM
"I want you to end it," The Man instructed. "I don't have any tolerance for those who betray me, and they've long outlasted their worth."
"I've got plans for them," Jed.
"You've had five years to play with them. Your revenge is complete. Keep the girl for your needs if you wish, but if somebody stumbles across the shelter it would spell disaster for me. I don't like loose ends."
"I suppose I could end it now. Justice desires to be done."
"Cut off his hand and bring it to me as proof."
Posted 09 October 2004 - 11:47 PM
Serpico blushed. "Hello," he muttered. She smiled at him. He could see her chest heaving - she's nervous, Serpico suddenly thought. Maybe, just maybe she feels the same way. Serpico then noticed she was carrying a load of wood.
"Need a hand?" he asked.
Maria paused before answering.
"Thank you. I made lunch if you want some."
"Yes please," replied Serpico, taking the wood from her and following her inside.
Posted 17 October 2004 - 03:53 PM
"So," asked Maria, looking up from her plate and flicking a lock of her hair from her eyes "what was it like, where you come from in America?"
Serpico considered this for some time. "It's both the most wonderful and worst place in the world." He remembered the warring familes, one of which he now knew he was part of. He remembered The Man and the oppression but he also remembered his real family, his friends and colleagues.
"How so?" asked Maria, staring at him, her eyes a pool of hazelnut.
"The people. They make Ocean's Peak. Everyone I ever loved until now is there. Yet everything I hate, is there too."
Maria thought about this.
"And the war?" she asked
"It's not that different from my job really. We have a war of sorts, between families. The only difference is they speak the same language. I'm involved everyday, picking up the pieces. Here on the other hand, I help create the pieces and it's you that have to pick them up. For that I'm sorry,"
"Don't worry. It's not your fault. We didn't ask for this war and we didn't ask you to come here, but you did and we are glad."
They ate in silence for awhile. Once she had finished Maria spoke.
"I wish I could see America, and where you are from."
"Maybe I'll take you one day," replied Serpico, before blushing and hoping he hadn't made a horrible mistake.
"I'd like that," she replied, blushing too and smiling at Serpico. Serpico returned the smile.
Posted 19 October 2004 - 08:22 AM
"You're unhappy with Jorro?"
"Yes." Karen looked ready to cry.
"Here you go."
Passing a small slip of paper to Karen, Victoria smiled reassuringly. Karen blinked, unsure. The rest of the evening was spent drinking some of The Man's best wine, and discussing the merits of having an affair.
As she got up to leave, Karen pocketed Steven's number and smiled.
It was midnight when Scopia knocked on The Man's door. Victoria answered. She looked the man up and down with a slight sneer.
"He's too busy to see you," she smirked.
The door slammed.
Scopia glared at the thick wood that had narrowly missed hitting him.
Posted 19 October 2004 - 03:03 PM
Sprawling in a chair in the nearby guard's quarters he phoned up an associate - told to put another tail on her trail - he wanted places, dates and every piece of ammunition that he could before acting.
A servant bought him a cup of tea, and he sat and thought - fingers tapping a tattoo on the table. He needed to stop her, or at least control her - for His sake. As for her husband... perhaps he would prove useful too...
Posted 25 October 2004 - 07:56 PM
Serpico's smile didn't last long. The door of the farm house flew open and in strolled the two old men from the village carrying submachine guns. They threw one to Serpico.
"Come on. We do this now," said one of them, the one who knew the way in.
"Is the tide down yet?" asked Serpico
"No, not all the the way, but it is low enough to take a boat and then walk through the cave."
"Shouldn't I go to the barracks and get the Marines?" Serpico asked, running through the process of checking his gun.
"No time. The men in the castle has just had their meal and they will be taking to sleep soon after. The three of us can take them. We have surprise on our side." The old man walked over and grabbed Serpico's arm. "Besides, you won't want soldiers around when I take you to your father."
Serpico looked into his moist eyes, moist like all old mens are. He saw no fear and more importantly no hatred.
"Okay, let's go," said Serpico following the men out of the door. As he was about to step out Maria cried out to him.
"Serpico!" she said in alarm. Serpico turned. She blushed and hurried to wash the dishes. Serpico smiled too, knowing now what he'd hoped for was true.
Posted 25 October 2004 - 11:21 PM
“…and I just think it’s incredibly interesting how so many of the men around here managed to avoid the draft. They can’t all be working for The Man, can they?”
Ah, now this was something he could talk about,
“Well its funny you should say that. I’ll think you find The Man has far more employees than you’d think he’d need. If you get my meaning.” He could tell by her face that she didn’t. “Just look around you, most of my clientele these days work for The Man in some respect.”
Adie turned in her seat, “Let me guess,” she said and gestured with a nod of her head towards a corner where a man sat, his arms spread wide, his head thrown back in a laugh with a busty blonde on each side of a suit so sharp it hurt to look at it.
The barman couldn’t help but laugh.
“Stevey? Nah! Though he doesn’t mind people thinking that, The Man doesn’t mind either, seems to appreciate the joke.”
“Yeah, if you wanna see what guys who work for The Man really look like, just take a gander over there.”
Looking where he’d indicated she saw a lone man huddled into the only dark corner in the place, if you weren’t looking you wouldn’t have even noticed him. Which was just what he wanted, to be left alone, to sit staring into his glass in silence. Brooding.
While she was watching the barman kept on, feeling on a roll.
“That’s what people who work for The Man look like. You want that glamour and noise of Stevey, forget about it. He couldn’t hack it. Only the naïve start working for The Man, none of them leave.”
“Why? Is he that bad?” she asked, shocked.
“Who? The Man? No! He’s the best employer in town. It’s the memories. They haunt them, make it so they just can’t do anything else. The Man’d let them leave, they just can’t face the real world anymore.”
“What his memories then?”
“Tony’s? He’s one of he worst. One of the first Peakers to join The Man when he arrived, working with the guys he brought with him. Got dropped right in the deep end.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” said the barman, lowering his voice, “you know the stories about how The Man was behind the massacre of the old families?”
“His first job.”
“No!” gasped Adie, a cold anger filling her veins. Sometimes at night she could still remember the horrible feeling of being out in the dark streets, alone but for her brothers and sisters.
“Thanks,” she said, getting up from the stool and walking away from the bar without looking back.
“Hey!” he called after here, “Where are you going?”
“To talk to him,” she said back.
“Ha! Good luck love, Tony don’t talk to nobody.”
but it seems that whilst I am Amazing you are Ultimate."- Lu
Posted 28 October 2004 - 12:10 PM
It was a stuggle getting down to the sea. They had to scramble down a rocky slope to get to the coast. Serpico slid down most of the way on his backside clutching his gun to his chest. Up above he could see the castle in silhouette and all was quiet apart from the lapping of the sea and the sound of tumbling rocks that had been dislodged. Serpico picked himself up and looked at the boat that was to take them to the alcove that was visible at the bottom of the cliff.
It was an old wooden boat that looked somewhat rotten. It was being rowed by a third man, whom Serpico had never seen before. They clambered aboard and started slowly towards the alcove.
"Okay," said one of the men, "Once we reach the alcove, be prepared. We know that the officers are asleep but we don't know about their guards."
"Won't they hear us fighting?" asked Serpico
"No, I shouldn't have thought so. Their is a huge amount of rock between us and the bed room."
A wave hit them and covered them all in water. Serpico spluttered a bit.
"So, can I know your names? I like to know who I'm fighting with,"
"I'm Umberto," said the man who had told Serpico about the entrance.
"And I'm Alfredo" said the second. Serpico nodded sharply before look to the alcove, which they were approaching.
Posted 28 October 2004 - 09:57 PM
Which was why he was so surprised when he noticed the pretty young thing working her way towards him.
“Hi,” she smiled, slipping into the seat opposite him. “You don’t mind if I join you, do you?”
Tony grunted something that was probably no.
“I hear you work for The Man.”
That got his attention, his eyes snapped up to meet hers.
“Yeah? And where did you hear that?”
They sat in silence for a couple of seconds.
“So…do you kill for him?” she asked, eyes wide.
Ah, thought Tony, that explains it. She was an excitement junkie. On the look out for a bit of rough stuff, some sort of rebellion against her straight-laced society. She didn’t look like one, and it was a shame. They never lasted long before moving on.
He leaned back in his chair, “Maybe.”
“Wow. So, how long have you worked for him?”
“Oh, about fifteen years I guess,” Tony said, scratching at the stubble on his chin. “When he first moved in at any rate.”
“Oh, I was only young back then.”
So was I, thought Tony. His mind drifted back to that dinning room. To the gunfire and the screams. He became aware that the girl had asked him another question.
“I asked if that meant you’d worked for him when he massacred the Fiorelli and Pirello women and children.”
A sudden horrified sensation swept over his body. It was the soberest he’d felt in years.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
“Adie,” she said, “Adie Fiorelli.”
Tony’s face grew ashen, “Leave. Now.”
“Why? I just want to know the truth. Did you murder my family?!”
It was only when the background noise stopped that she realised that she had been shouting.
“I said, LEAVE!” shouted Tony, standing up and throwing his glass against the wall.
Adie suddenly felt the hand on her shoulder and turned to see the barman, “I think you better do as the man says. Come on.”
Without thinking her hand snapped up and slapped him across the face. “I can show myself out.”
The barman watched her leave then turned to Tony, rubbing his face, “You alright? You want another drink?”
“No. I think I’m going home.”
but it seems that whilst I am Amazing you are Ultimate."- Lu
Posted 02 November 2004 - 01:14 AM
Serpico spat the salt water out of his mouth and cocked his gun as they approached the mouth of the cave. It was dark inside and given that the sun was at its fullest it was nigh on impossible to see inside. However, Serpico did see a cigarette butt flare. Knowing that they'd be a sitting duck in the boat he opened fire.
The force of the shots caused him to topple off the boat. Before he went under he heard a muffled scream and a thump, telling him he'd got his man. The gun hadn't made much noise, which had surprised Serpico until he realised it had a silencer. He'd seen guns like them once before he remembered but only carried by British soldiers.
Having braced himself for the sea he quickly got his bearings and swam towards the cave where the others were unloading themselves and their guns. Just as Alfredo kicked the boat away and as Serpico was pulling himself up onto the ledge a door opened. Reacting quickly, Serpico hurled himself up and into a small alcove in the wall. Alfredo and Umberto did the same.
Serpico peaked around the corner and saw another guard, obviously the partner of the one Serpico had just killed. Serpico heard the cry and the sounds of footsteps approaching rapidly after the guard oticed his dead comrade. Suddenly the steps stopped and there was a gurgling sound. Serpico turned the corner and saw Umberto holding the man up by putting his hand threw the gap in his throat he had just made, like he was holding a fish by the gills. The image sickened Serpico.
"Come," said Alfredo, rushing towards the door. Umberto dropped the guard into the sea and ran after him. Serpico did the same.
Posted 20 February 2005 - 12:36 AM
"He's in a bad way," muttered Sykes.
The tank commander looked from Vinny's shaking, convulsing form to Sykes. Vito knew he had to take over here. Sykes couldn't cope without Vinny. He was like a rudderless ship.
"I'm not leaving him," hissed Sykes.
"He's going to make this difficult. We need to get out of here. Fast. Quiet. Without drawing every German in this village down on us. Now, carrying him in that state, we can't do any of those things, can we?"
"We'll have to."
"Don't be so goddamn-" Vito stopped himself, "Fact is, Sykes, you can be as stubborn as you like about this, but... it's an impossibility. We have to be silent. We can't shoot our way out of this."
"Sure we can."
"Yeah? How many magazines have you got left?"
"You're thinking about this all wrong," said Sykes. "We don't go out by foot. That'd be suicide. Just because I'm infantry doesn't mean I'm stupid, okay?"
"Not by foot?"
"Why bother? When we've got transport right under our noses," said Sykes, a grin spread across his face slowly. He jabbed a thumb over his shoulder at the dark black shadow of the panzer through the window.
Vito realised he might have misjudged the little private.
"That's ridiculous how-"
"You're a wog, right?"
"You speak Italian?"
"Yeah. Passably. I picked it up from-"
"Then we might be able to get near one of those tanks. And if we can get close to one of those tanks... we can burst out of this shitty little village like a cork from a bottle. You get me?"
"Yeah, even so... with Vinny here-"
"We'll work around him. We have to."
"Because there is no fucking way I'm leaving him," said Sykes, determination flaring in his eyes.
Posted 20 February 2005 - 12:45 AM
Shut him out? Slam the door in his face? Victoria: too damn dangerous to be given the power over The Man. Smilingly grimly, Scopia finished the job and wrote a small note (sign it 'Glass', that should be obscure enough).
Leaving the building (check left, check right; stop, look, think, live - where did he read that?) he dropped them at her the door to her home and continued on his way. Piss him off? She'd learn regret.
Posted 20 February 2005 - 10:48 AM
They laid him in one.
He had become surprisingly lucid in the time they spent discussing the plan to get out and he winced with pain as they lowered him.
"Sykes..." he managed, through cracked lips, speckled with frothy saliva.
"Vinny, I'm here. But we gotta go, man. We gotta find a way out of here."
"Sykes... please... I can't feel..."
"Just lie here, Vinny. Try and sleep it off. It ain't so bad, really. Just try and sleep it off."
"I can't stay anymore, Vinny," said Sykes, seeing Vito's expression. "We'll be back. We'll be back soon. We'll get you out of here, don't worry."
"Don't worry," Sykes repeated it like a mantra as they slipped out of the back door, into the cold, all embracing darkness of the Italian night.
Posted 20 February 2005 - 01:35 PM
They had managed to gain entrance to the castle without being heard by anyone still alive. They made their way up from the cove, up a winding set of stairs. As they neared the top they heard laughing and joking. Umberto held up his hand and told them to stop. He motioned to Serpico to get ready to open fire. Serpico leant against the wall and aimed his gun. Alfredo kicked the door open.
The guards had been drinking coffee and playing cards and were totally unprepared. Serpico cut them down with a quick blast from his submachine gun. They fell onto the floor and onto the table, sending cups and cutlery flying. Umberto wandered in and looked at the hand (of cards) of the guard nearest to him.
"Eights and Aces. Spades and Clubs - how apt." he said. "As far as we know the officers are at the top of this turret. Serpio and I will go and deal with them. Alfredo - you take the gate house,"
"Will you be okay on your own?" asked Serpico
"I'm not on my own, I've got this," replied Alfredo patting his gun before rushing out.
"C'mon kid," said Umberto making for the stairs. Serpico followed.
Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:16 PM
Umberto, who didn't speak a word of English, ran on and put his shoulder against the door, which had closed quickly after the grenade had gone in. It gave and he stumbled into the room in time to catch the full force of the grenade in the face. His facial bones shattered and shrapnel tore out one of his eyes, broke his eye socket and finally lodged in his cranium having passed through the brain.
Serpico, horrified at what had happened did his best not to look at the floor. He fired a couple of bursts and took down three of the officers. The remaining one, injured himself by the grenade, put his unbroken arm in the arm. Serpico breathed a sigh of relief. He beckoned to the officer to go down the stairs. The officer did so and Serpico followed, closing what remained of the door behind him.
Posted 02 March 2005 - 05:28 PM
"Now," said Serpico, putting his hand on Alfredo's shoulder "Show me where my father is,"
"But Umberto..." said Alfredo "We can't just leave him there,"
"We'll get him after we've seen my father,"
"Okay, okay," said Alfredo, leading Serpico towards the back of the castle just as a group of GIs arrived in response to a signal from Alfredo after taking the gate house.
Serpico stood above the grave and read the head stone. He felt a pang in the pit of his stomach and a tear start to roll down his face. In the distance he heard the sound of machine gun fire. Then it all came flooding back. The rain, the gun fire, the women screaming. He remembered running through the streets with his brother and sister, their argument and being found by Mr Pirbright.
"How?" he somehow managed to choke the word out of himself.
"They were slaughtered the moment they stepped into the grounds," said Alfredo with a shrug. Serpico looked at the other gravestones, all inscribed with names he could half remember.
He reached into his pocket and felt the letter. He pulled it out and ripped of the envelope. A cordial invite. He looked at it for a second before putting it back in his pocket. He began to stalk away from the graves.
"Someone will pay," he said.