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Episode 1: Rumblings in the Bowels of a City


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#1 Godfather

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 03:19 PM

The Complete Tales presents: Tales of a Lifetime Episode 1
or
Rumblings in the Bowels of a City



---

When I was a kid, this city didn’t have a name. That’s because no-one talked about it. At the time, there was a saying: To open your mouth is to invite a face full of pie. We were raised with the knowledge that we hadn’t seen nothing, we hadn’t heard nothing, and we sure as hell weren’t gonna say nothing more consequential than what the weather was doing.

Ten years ago, you didn’t talk about traffic, because the Family owned the roads, and you didn’t insult the Family. You didn’t talk about celebrities, because the only names you knew were those of the Families. You didn’t talk about the ball game, because every Family had their team, and to back one over another was to court disaster. And you sure as hell didn’t talk about politics. What was there to talk about?

That all changed about ten years ago, now, when the Man rode in through the city gates one day in a big white Cadillac. Said he’d been sent from the chiefs to clean up this town. Declared war on the families, shot old Bobbie Fiorelli dead when the fool pulled iron on him. Didn’t take long for the Families to declare war right back at him, but the Man came powerful and just got stronger. We didn’t think he’d last a month. He’s lasted over a decade, and he’s still going strong.

This city ain’t clean, but it’s getting cleaner. The Man did two things when he came to our city. First thing, he gave us freedom of speech. Most of the old people still won’t look you in the eye, much less tell you what they think of Georgio Pirello, but some of us younger men made ourselves a newspaper, to tell the truth with. We started it when I was 15, and I’m 23 now, so that must be eight years gone, and if there’s ten people in the city who don’t read it then I’ll be amazed, even if most people are afraid to be seen buying it or reading it in public.

Second thing the Man did, was give us a name. Ocean’s Peak, we are now, and that’s all very well, but old habits die hard. For me, this’ll always be the City, a city without name.


---
A newspaper clipping, Febuary 28th, 1928, taken from police files:
----

OCEANS PEAK TRIBUNE

MAN DINES WITH PIRELLI AND FIORELLI PATRIARCHS

Can an agreement be reached?



By LANCE CAPRI
Yesterday, the Man, Ocean Peak’s political leader, was seen dining in an up-town restaurant with Oliver Pirelli and Mario Fiorelli, the heads of the city’s largest and most active criminal families.

The unlikely party was seen dining at Estoban, the restaurant owned by Louis Fiorelli, the disowned member of the Fiorelli clan who later married a Piorelli daughter. Although the family outcasts have not been seen in the city for many years – probably on pain of death – their business interests in the city are maintained and kept neutral by a personal friend.

Speculation has been rife about what the Man would have to say to these mob leaders, and what they would have to say – together – to him. The pair have had a long running dispute over…

---

Yeah, I got lucky with that. I happened to be at the right place at the right time, with my camera. That was about a month ago, and I’ve been the toast of the office ever since.

Surprisingly, though, neither the Man nor the families have even attempted to pay me a visit, which makes me suspect that something even bigger’s going on. Come to think of it, the Man was at the opening of the Barbican arts centre on Monday, but Oli Pirelli and Mario Fiorelli have both been quiet since that photo hit. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen them about at all, which is strange… they’re usually about, and I don’t know what to make of their being quiet all of a sudden. They’re powerful men, and powerful men have a lot to be loud about.

Still, I’m sure they’ll turn up. Men like that don’t get misplaced for long.

#2 Godfather

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 07:59 PM

March 29th, Fiorelli Residence.

Rain and wind. Thunder and lightning. Food and discussion. A meeting. A meeting of importance. A meeting between families. Families united by destiny. Pirelli and Fiorelli. Women and a few men. Servants serve. The familes talk.

"How long has it been?"
"About a month."
"Not a word?"
"Nothing."
"Are we worried?"
"We wouldn't have a crisis meeting if we weren't,"
"What do we do?"
"Are we sure something's happened?"
"We'd have heard something by now. A telegram I'm sure."
"So what do we think has happened?"
"The Man."

A gate creaks. Wind rustles. Grass trampled. Bolts pulled. Lights fail. Silence and nervous whispers. Doors burst. Tommy's thunder indoors. Staccato bursts light dead faces. Screams overcome shots. Running footsteps. Tears stream and sting. Doors fly open. Chasing footsteps sound. Nursery rhymes fall silent. The nursery door opens.

"Save the children!"

A scream. Red flowers of blood appear on a white dress. Children scream. The door closes. The click of the lock like the click of a gun. The nurse pushes the children along. Down dark corridors. Moonlight and rain enter through a newly opened door. Childrens tears disappear in rain. The door closes. A chatter of gunfire.


The children stood, rain pouring down soaking them to the skin, alone and scared. Many were crying. Some were in shocked silence. To stand still was to die. They needed to move.

#3 Dystopian Rhetoric

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 08:26 PM

Thomas ran. There wasn't much else he knew how to do. He was scared, probably more so than most of the others, and in the end he couldn't take it. And ran, breaking free from the nurse's watch.

He ran, and cried out the names of his siblings, his eyes and fists clenched closed and filled with rain and tears.

Everything blurred that moment, the shouts and screams of the others and the assailants, the rain, the fear. The fear pounding inside his head in time with the rain outside it, he had to make it stop.

A hole in the hedge on the edge of the grounds provided that escape. And for Thomas, it was over.

But he never looked back. This was something he would always remember, that would always fill him with shame. He never looked back. He never even tried to help them. Never checked to see if they were alright. Never even cared for anything but to escape, to live, to preserve his own life.

#4 Janek

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 08:49 PM

J staggered through the driving rain. What was going on?

His parents had put him into the nursery with the other children of The City (as his parents had always called it) - they only said they were "busy." They didn't mention where. He didn't think they were in that same building. Surely they'd have visited him occasionally if they were there.

Then the bad men came. There were bangs, there was shouting. The nice lady was pushing them along, outside. She was scared. Even at a young age, seeing the panicked look on her face had alerted J that something was seriously wrong.

He had to find his parents. Maybe they'd be home by now. They were just busy, right? They'd be at home.

Wiping tears and rain from his eyes, he slipped away from the rest of the children, and broke into a slightly clumsy run, towards his house a couple of blocks away.
Ah! Harvard University! The special jail where people with too much math are imprisoned forever and forced to teach each other about poems.

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#5 Jen

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 09:00 PM

Sophie stood. Shocked, scared, worried. Tony clung limply to her arm, as if it was the only thing that was keeping him from falling to the ground. Her eyes were blinded by the rain and she had to keep pushing her thick black hair out of her vision.

People were shouting and screaming and the children were scattering every way imaginable. If only Antony were here, she thought, he’d know what to do. There was a tug on the un-Tony arm.

“Sophie,” a small voice said, “I’m scared”

It was Adie, littlest of the Fiorellis.

“It’s alright Adie,” Sophie said, it was all she could think to say, “We’ll think of something. Look, there’s Paola, she’ll know what to do”

The fifteen year-old eldest Fiorelli girl came running out of the rain.

“Nanny Reggio says we must run away,” she said, breathless. Sophie looked up at Paola and suddenly felt more afraid. She’d never seen the sensible girl so frightened.

“What’s happening?” Sophie asked, as Paola stooped to pick Adie up.

“I…I don’t know,” Paola said, jumping as a series of retorts echoed through the rain, “But we must get away”

“What about Mama?” Adie asked as she gripped Paola’s wet arms. Sophie pulled Tony closer to her as Paola led them off into the rain.

“Oh, she’ll come and find us,” Paola said, with a false smile, “That’s what Mama’s always do”

“What about Vito?” Tony whispered in Sophie’s ear.

“I don’t know, Tony,” Sophie said, “I didn’t see him”

The four Fiorellis ran away from the big house, not looking back.
---------------------------------------------------------
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#6 innoQnti

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 09:52 PM

"Marco... I'm scared," Antonia said grabbing him, "Where are the others running to?"

"Um, I really think we need to get out," Jorro said moving around and grabbing each of the Pirellos and gathering them round, "We have to stick together. There are bad men in there and we want to get away okay. Stick together, please."

They all looked at him, Serpico looked the most scared.

"Come on!" Jorro shouted and pushed them forward. And they ran. They ran somewhere. Away. They ran away because they were all beheld with terror. Some more than others. But none knew quite what was going on.


And behind them, in the rain, fear persued them.
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#7 Jachap

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 09:53 PM

Vincent lay still.  He felt cold; an immense chill, emanating from his very core, spread and squirmed under his skin; making his hair prickle.  He put a hand to his face.  There were droplets there, still warm.  In the darkness, he wiped at them.  Blood.

The others had left him, rushing past him in the darkness as he lay, sprawled next to his father.  He felt betrayal, a strong, dark, immature emotion, rising through the nausea that filled him.  

Tears stung the backs of his eyes, tiny blades, poking.  There had been a man, coat flapping, illuminated only by the muzzle flash of his tommy gun. There had been a long, jagged scar across his left eye, the pupil discoloured and blotchy.  In the strobe light of the firing gun, Vincent had seen his expression.  There had been rage there, real hatred unleashed, yet, worse, enjoyment.    

Vincent, lying there in a spattered squall of blood, knew as sure as his own name that the man had been laughing.

#8 Stickman of Doom

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 10:22 PM

Marco tried to comfort Antonia, but didn't know what to say, or how to say it, he had always thought that Jorro was better at that sort of stuff. He decided that he would leave the rest of the Pirello's and go to Tony's place, he'd been hanging around there a lot recently and it felt... safe, safer than anywhere else that Marco could think of right now.

So there he ran, then he remembered it was his birthday soon, and remembered the pistol that he would get from Tony. This was his most comforting group as he left the group of Pirellos and ran down a back alley. Jorro tried to stop him and he could hear the younger ones crying, but he left them, at least for now anyway, he would see them later...

#9 The Jackal

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 10:26 PM

They ran from the house, out of the gardens, into the woodland, to the boundaries of the Fiorelli estate.

The limits of Fiorelli land was determined by a perimeter of simple rustic fencing, with a trench behind it which acted like a drainage ditch. In the beating rain, this ditch had become flooded, a milky ooze of mud and water.

Sophie led Adie through the trees by one hand while holding Tony's with the other. Paola followed behind, eagerly keeping pace while making sure neither of the younger children lost their footing in the damp floor debris or jutting tree roots.
Sophie stopped, turning to the others,"Over this fence and onto the other side, Ok?" she said, her soft tone barely audible in the rain. Shouting would have distressed the smaller ones, she thought.
Paola nodded quickly, taking Tony's hand and leading him to the fence.
"No," Sophie called, "I'll go first. It might not be safe" she said, taking Adie and making for the fence.
Paola ignored her, grabbing Tony and pulling him up as his small hands struggled to take hold on the drenched woodwork.

"Paola!" Sophie shouted, "Let m-"
There was a crack of branches, and a loud blundering noise. They all turned back. Sophie crouched down with Adie. Paola froze as a figure emerged, staggering and flailing its arms.
Vito stumbled forward, falling face-first into the mud. Sophie at once ran over and picked him up.
"Vito!" she called into his ear, "Are you alright?"
Vito half-stood, half-leaned on Sophie's shoulder as he struggled to speak. He wheezed and gasped, out of breath anf exhausted.
"I... ran.... thought you were...." his weight slipped from Sophie's wet clothes and he would've landed in the mud had Sophie not caught him.

Paola was by now over the fence, feet landing in clinging muddy water as she stood upto her shins in the drainage trench. She held Adie in the air as he pulled himself over the fence.
"Come on Adie, your turn now" Paola motioned with her hand to him. The young girl looked at Sophie and then at Paola, before dashing for the fence. In no time at all, she was up and over.

Sophie helped Paola help Vito climb over, before taking one last look behind her into the dark, leering forest. Then she leaped up onto the woodwork, swung one leg and then the next over, before landing with a splash in the waterlogged trench.
She climbed out up the embankment, looking at her siblings with eyes masking the sheer terror in her heart.

"Let's keep going."

#10 Jachap

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 10:46 PM

Vincent tried to slide out from under the arm of his father.  His side hurt, he felt like he was being kicked hard in the ribs everytime he moved.  Gasping with pain he dragged himself away.  

Moonlight glinted off the upturned eyes of his father and he shuddered.  That light... he almost seemed alive, but for the ragged holes punched through his chest.  Vincent crouched next to him and, crying in a great, gushing flow, ran a bloody hand down his father's face.

Remember...

"Come on Vinny."

Vincent looked up at his father, eyes pleading, "Can I stay?  Please?"

"No, Vinny.  Sorry.  Not this time," said his father, leaning down, lifting him up under the arms.  

Vincent said goodbye to the other children, quietly.

He didn't struggle as his father carried him out into the hall.  The elder Siviter's worn hands and familiar smell of cheap cologne and cheaper tobacco were an immediate reassurance.  He nuzzled his father's neck, inhaling.

"Aw, come on, Vinny, don't be such a girl," said his father, tenderly.  He paused outside the nursery.

"How is she?" said a woman in the hall.  One of Vincent's mother's friends.  

"Holding up," said Vincent's father.

"Her third," the woman said, with a smile.

"And last, I hope," said his father, mirroring her smile, the broad smile of a wry optimist, the smile of a man about to become a father anew, "I can hardly afford the other two as it is."

"You bring him up here, anytime," said the woman.

"Thanks.  I appreciate that.  We don't have anywhere else-"

"We look after our own," said the woman, firmly.  "And, anyway, he and Marco seem to get on."

"Yeah, he's a sociable kid.  Still, I had better get back to-"

The lights went off.  Screams.

"Save the children!" someone yelled.  Gunshots.

"Jesus Christ!" snarled his father, running now, Vincent's head bounced against his father's shoulder.  He stumbled to a door, opened it.  A blast of gunfire.  His father grunted.  Falling.... falling.... falling...


#11 Josh

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 12:34 AM

Jorro and Antonia looked at each other over Serpico's head. The rain was starting to fall hard now, and they knew they had a responsibility for their younger brother.

"Where do we go?" asked Antonia timidly.

Jorro thought. Although his elder sister, Piper, had been gone from his life since she married that Fiorelli boy, her safehouses were taught to the Pirello boys on their mother's knee. "Fat Bennies, on the corner of Forune and 8th," he said, and marched off, brother in hand. Antonia took one look back, then hurried after him.
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#12 Masked Dave

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 01:06 AM

The last wisps of smoke curled from the barrel of Tony's tommy gun. He sat down heavily, his ass hitting a chair more by luck than anything else.

Sweet baby Jesus. He thought, looking around at the bodies strewn around him. Being a regular heavy was one thing but this, this was a goddamn masacre.

One of the other gunmen swaggered to the table and threw his gun down onto it, sending the crockery flying in with a great crash that seemed tiny compared to the roar of gun fire still ringing in Tony's ears. The man picked up one of the recently deceased's glasses and downed the red liquid.

"Ah," he smacked his lips, "not bad."

"Women," muttered Tony, "they're all Women."

"Yeah, and some damn pretty one's too. Shame to waste 'em like this," said one of the other men, "course there's some damn ugly one's too."

At this a laughter sprung up amongst most the men that was sickening to Tony's mind. He looked at the man at the table, he wasn't laughing either.

"I wonder what they were all talking about..." Tony said, mostly to himself.

"Probably about why they haven't heard from all their husbands in so long."

Tony stared at him with a puzzled look on his face, "What?"

The man grinned, "You haven't heard? Don't worry, you will soon enough." He turned to the rest of the room, "Come on guys, everybody out."
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but it seems that whilst I am Amazing you are Ultimate."- Lu

#13 Jentastic!

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 08:06 AM

Karen O'Malley gazed out of the window, peering through the rain. She called to Victoria, her normally soft voice disturbing the peace. Victoria glanced up from the text she had been studying. She lifted one beautifully shaped eyebrow at her younger sister-in-law and her musical voice, when she spoke, held just a hint of reproof.

"Dear, what did we talk about?"

"Not shouting, Victoria. But... I'm sure I heard something from outside."

"It's just the wind and rain, dear. I think you're letting your imagination get the better of you. Perhaps it's time to go to bed - after all, Peter went a long time ago."

Karen, slightly abashed, stopped looking mulish and ran to give Victoria a hug. Jake put down the Ocean's Peak Tribune and bid his little sister good night. She ran off obediently.

As she crossed the room, Victoria knew that Jake was watching her and admiring her gentle, swaying walk. She closed the window, but left the curtains open, and lilted over to where Jake sat, still watching her. Victoria curled up on his lap and dropped a little kiss onto his forehead. He didn't seem entirely at his ease and looked anxiously at the window.

"Now, don't say that my handsome husband is suffering from an overactive imagination, too! Perhaps I should insist that you go to bed now, as well..."

Jake blushed slightly and gave his wife a hug, allowing her to take his hand and gently push him out of the room. Casting a cursory glance at the window as she walked out, Victoria smiled. Something was happening, she was sure, but she would find out soon enough. No need for Jake to know.

She turned the lights out.
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#14 Ednos

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 08:27 AM

Ednos crouched in the field behind the house, his siblings seemed to have forgotton him in all the confusion. It all seemed a blur in his head, the sudden darkness, the loud staccato of the machinegun fire, people shouting, screaming and then all the children were running. He follwed but lost them in the darkness of the night and so he lay, the rain puring down, cold , alone.

#15 Konstantine

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 09:24 AM

Stumbling through the rain, Konstance shouted for his brothers and sisters but to no avail. He would later find that they had left him, but that didn't remove the fear that it was he who had betrayed them. He remembered how he had begged their mother to let him attend the meeting, only to be told to stay. He had argued, but his mother's firm hand had saved him.

He could hear a child's voice in the distant, and stumbled clumsily through the underbush of his family's estate to avoid it, he wasn't going to be much help to anyone in this state. He moved, as quietly as his fourteen-year frame could carry him, towards the front of the family house. If the men were chasing the children, they were less likely to search around the house. He managed to reach a bush on the lawn before he noticed the crying vincent silhoetted through the shattered doorway. After a moment's indecision, Konstance decided to drag him out of the open. He stood up and darted towards the door

#16 Serpico Pirello

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 10:02 AM

The Pirello's were hurrying down the street heading in the general direction of 8th Street. Serpico kept squeezing Jorro's hand for comfort. Serpico wasn't up to this, they were going too quickly for him. He looked up at Jorro and saw grim determination. He was soaking wet, been woken up and was hungry.

With the unnatural strength that God grants to young children when they want something desperately, Serpico planted his feet, jerking Jorro to a halt.

"I don't want to go," he said, raising his free hand to his eyes and wiping the rain water from them.
"C'mon Serp, we have to."
"No!" he said firmly.
"You don't have a choice bro,"
"I want to go home!"
"We can't go home. C'mon we're just getting wetter standing here. You can have some coco when we get to Fat Bennies,"
"I don't want to go to Bennies. He smells. I want mommy!"

He started to sob. Jorro looked across at Antonia who shrugged. They'd never had to look after Serpico before: there were always nannies to do that for them.  Jorro picked up a protesting Serpico and put him over his shoulder and they started off again.

#17 Dystopian Rhetoric

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 10:22 AM

Thomas was, it must be said, not a child with the most common sense in the world, or indeed the immediate area, and so, rather than going somewhere that he knew, somewhere that you might expect a frightened child to go... he ran off into parts unknown.
But parts unknown for a small child isn't actually very far at all. And so he sat down by the side of the road, about 2 blocks away from the others and started to cry some more.
He'd been stupid, he'd run and didn't even know what was going on, much less where anyone else had gone. And now he was cold, and upset, and there was no comforting adult presence near by. Heck, apart from the dog that seemed to be trying to relieve itself on him, there was no-one particularly around at all.

#18 Antonia

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 10:32 AM

"Oh no," Antonia said suddenly grabbing hold of Jorro's drenched sleeve, "Our Ednos, he's gone Jorro. They've just all gone, they'll get in trouble."

Jorro looked around. He though for a moment. There was no time to think, "We'll have to find them later, let's just hope they are safe."

"Where could they go?"

"I don't know. Look... I. I don't actually have an idea what's going on, but I suspect and... and Father told me something about some man and. Look, we WILL find them, okay?"

Antonia nodded. It was really very dark now and the streets were empty. And dark. And there was rain.

"Which way now... dammit, I can't concentrate now," Jorro sighed and moved to the side of the street where there was a little cover.

"No, look Jorro, that alley, there, that gets us to Rondway Street, that's right near Bennie's," Antonia said pointing.

"Yeah, yeah."

#19 Ednos

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 10:48 AM

Ednos didn't know why no-one had noticed he was gone, this made him feel even more distraught. He heard the loud harsh stutter of an engine and saw a car pulling away from the house, speeding away from the scene of butchery. He knew he had to move soon, his clothes were soaked through and he was shivering uncontrollably. But he did not want to go back into the house , he saw the high walls, looming over him , the stench of death still fresh within. He pulled himself alng , half crawling half staggering to the edge of the woods that lay near the Fiorelli estate. He collapsed, exauhsted under the thick canopy of trees and fell asleep , the horrors of that night swirling around in his young head.

#20 Jen

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 11:21 AM

"Where are we going Sophie?" Tony whispered into her ear as they stumbled across the uneven land in the darkness.

"I don't know Tony," Sophie whispered back, her feet were aching and her right arm was going numb from Tony's tight grip. Paola was leading them somewhere, with Adie in her arms and Vito clinging wetly to her skirt.

"Palo," Adie's quiet voice good bearly be heard, "Where are we going?"

Paola stopped and looked back at her siblings. She wasn't sure where they were going, her only thought was to get away, Konstance would know where to go...

"Oh, Christ!" she muttered.

"Mama said we're not meant to curse," Vito said.

Paola looked at Sophie over the head's of the others and mouthed a sentence 'What about Konstance'. Sophie raised her free hand to her mouth in shock. How could they have forgotten their olde brother?

"We should go to Luigi's," Tony whispered to Sophie, "He'll know what to do"

Sophie nodded and suggested it to Paola.

"I guess we haven't really got a choice," she said at last, "And Uncle Luigi always told us we could visit when we liked"

She didn't need to add that it was likely that Konstance would show up there if he was...still alive.

"Come on kiddo," she said to Vito who had sat on the ground during the talking, "We'll go and see Uncle Luigi, I bet he has a nice big pie in the oven, just for us"

Vito stood up wearily and took hold of Paola's skirt. Paola looked around for a moment to walked off towards a haze of lights in the near distance. Tony renewed his grip on Sophie's arm as they followed their sister.
---------------------------------------------------------
I lost some time once...it's always in the last place you look for it. Violent Becoming Downtown, Olympus Town

#21 NoWave

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 11:51 AM

Tommy watched through the gate as the men with guns came back down the path.

They went out through the gate, barely even registering his presence.

As one of them went passed Tommy off hand recognised him as the one who had killed his dad almost a year ago.

He heard sirens across town getting closer.  He ran from the Fiorelli estate before someone could realise who he was.

#22 Tony

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 12:35 PM

Gently Victoria led Jake towards their bed, kissing him softly and deftly removing his shirt.  Jake returned her embrace passionately, clumsily working the clasp on her bra.  Slowly, luxuriously they sunk onto the bed, while outside the skies wept for the shattered Fiorelli family.

Jake lay awake, Victoria sleeping soundly beside him, her arm resting on his bare chest.  Their passion had subsided into pleasant dreams for her, but Jake remained restless.  Sirens were wailing in the distance and police whistles were drifting through the night rain.

Gently, to avoid waking Victoria, Jake eased himself from the warm bed, and Victoria's soft embrace.  She let out a quiet sigh, but did not wake.  Jake paused to look lovingly at her lightly moon-kissed visage, before slipping across the room to the part-opened window, picking up his pocket-watch on the way.  Clearly something was very wrong on the rain-washed streets of the city.  He looked down at this pocket watch, it was the only thing he had of his father's.  The gold filigree that chased its way around the silver casing reminded him of the elegant opulence of the city's finer hotels.

Gently he slid the window open further and leant into the shattered night.  All around were shrouded red-brick walls, dim street lights casting pools of light across the slick paving.  This house had been his parents and it, and the area it stood in, would have been beyond his policeman's wage had it not been bequeathed to him in his father's Will.  He cast his eyes around the quiet dark of the street.  Whatever troubles were splitting the city, they had not reached quiet Elm Avenue.  Sighing, he glanced at the pocket-watch again, 4am.  His shift at the station would be starting in a few hours.  He slid the window closed and padded softly back to bed, placing the watch back on the night-stand as he passed.  As he eased into the now cold bed, Victoria rolled gently towards him and rested her head in the crook of his neck.  Closing his eyes, once more at peace with the world in the embrace of his Victoria, Jake drifted into sleep.

#23 Janek

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 12:45 PM

Tears of fear turned to tears of relief when J reached his street, and spotted that the lights were on in his home. Both were washed away by the rain.

Wiping his hand across his face, he jogged towards his house, towards the people who would make everything okay again.

When he reached the outside of his house, he turned, and had some difficulty undoing the latch of the gate. "Slippy wet fingers" he thought to himself, unaware of (or deliberately ignoring) the fact that his hands were shaking.

Still, it was alright now. He was here. They always kept the house locked, so he'd go to the porch and kn-

The door was ajar.

Funny, not like mama and papa to leave the door open. Not like them at all. He paused, listening.

There was shouting inside the house. Men's voices. Not papa's. Banging, a crash. Something that could have been breaking glass. Then stomping. Several people, big people with heavy shoes or boots, coming down the wooden staircase. One of them was laughing.

J froze, caught by the porch-light like a deer in front of headlights.

"Papa?" he whispered.

Somewhere inside the house, a vase smashed. Probably the one on the table next to the stairs.

The door opened, and three well-dressed thugs walked confidently outside. J watched them from the relative safety of a bush; watched them leaving muddy footprints leading out from the house; watched the footprints on the path get washed away by the rain. One was smirking, another grinning manically. The other was still chuckling to himself.

The last man paused by the bush, turned towards it. J tensed, ready to flee. The man undid his fly.

The boy was paralysed with shame, rage, and fear, as urine tricked through the bush and onto his face.
Ah! Harvard University! The special jail where people with too much math are imprisoned forever and forced to teach each other about poems.

Sandwiches are better than people. You can put anything you want in a sandwich, and it won't complain.

You spin me right round, baby, right round, in a manner depriving me of an inertial reference frame. Baby.

#24 Serpico Pirello

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 01:00 PM

The alley was very narrow which at least gave the Pirellos shelter from the rain. Boxes, trash cans, garbage and cats littered the alley. Serpico was still whimpering over Jorro's shoulder.

"Come on," Jorro said stepping forward.

They'd gone a few steps when a couple of tramps with rage in their eye (or maybe it was just conjunctivitis) stepped out.

"Well looky what we 'ave here," said one

The other licked his lips.

"Kiddy burgers!" he croaked

Jorro and Anotina stepped closer together as Jorro put Serpico down. Serpico turned to look at the men, gasped before putting his arms around Jorro's thighs and burying his face in his elder brother's stomach.

"Shame we lost the barbecue to them French tramps on a hobo-exchange," said the other hobo.
"We can still gut them though, can't we?"
"Of course but I don't think we've time to put the tarp down this time."

#25 Jachap

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 01:02 PM

Vincent had left his father slumped on the carpet.  He didn't know how he was meant to feel about that.  It wasn't right... just leaving his father there but he didn't feel guilt, just sadness, a yawning chasm of sadness that completely enveloped him.

He stumbled down the hall.  Here and there, a contorted body lay, outlined with blood.  One of the skylights in the main entrance had been smashed and water filtered down through the broken glass teeth, dripping and pooling and splashing in a wide puddle on the floor.

He walked down the steps.  His side was festering with pain.  A bullet had hit him.  He had a horrible feeling that it had gone through his father to reach him.  Both Siviter's intertwined, shot simulatenously.  It was too momentuous a thought to ram into his small head right now.  A head full of violence and a growing dizziness.  

He was losing blood from the hole in his side and it really was a leak, draining the strength and energy from his small, weary frame.

He collapsed forward into the puddle, murky with dirt dragged down from the roof, floating with a mist of flecks and beagn to cry again.  He thought there had to be a limit to the amount you could cry, that, in the end, you would dry up.  As yet, though, he hadn't reached his limit.  The moonlight toying with the rainfall, casting mad, flickering lights on his face and all around him, like he was swimming in the shallows of a sunlit cove.  

Staring up through the indoor rain he saw another figure, similarly small, standing in the entrance.

"Vincent?" said a quiet voice.

"I'm here," he said, eventually.