Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Vengeance is Mine Part 6 by Dellani Oakes
With a gurgling groan, Marco fell to the ground. I drove his knife into his chest, though he was already dead. Suddenly, the place was full of police. I shuffled into hiding, sidling toward the back door.
“Steady, lads. Police!” someone bellowed.
The lights blazed on and the screaming started. One of the women had spotted Marco's body. In the confusion, I was able to slip out the back and leave. Rather than looking for Luigi, I headed back to the cemetery. I had no desire to go to Camille's home. For the moment, I was free of her manipulation, and I hoped to stay that way. With luck, she could not compel me from a distance. I supposed I would find out soon enough, if she summoned me.
I spent the rest of the night, as well as the day, in my crypt. However, at sunset, I felt a tingle at the base of my spine. It was not quite unpleasant. In fact, in life, I might have felt it oddly stimulating. It was accompanied by the urge to visit Camille.
“By all things damned,” I fumed. Rising from my perch on Charles Marmont's headstone, I walked into the city.
Camille's door was unlocked when I arrived. She seemed strangely satisfied when I entered.
“I had to come on foot. One can hardly summon a cab in my condition. Besides, I have no money with which to pay.”
“I see you did my bidding.” She tossed the daily news upon the table.
The headline read Marco Bartolli Brutally Slain in Police Raid.
“They can call it that if they wish. I slit the bastard's throat and stabbed him in the chest with his own knife.”
“Good, now you can find his brother.”
“That won't be as easy. It was merely a fluke that Marco was at the warehouse. If Luigi has a brain in his head, he'll go into hiding.”
“Then you must find him.”
I put my hands on my hips, tapping my foot. “I'm not Sherlock Holmes, Camille. I cannot deduce his whereabouts.”
“But I can. His brother died last night. Tonight, they sit vigil with him at Saint Mary's Church, but a stone's throw from here.”
“You wish me to commit murder—in a church? By all the saints, if I was not damned before, I will be then! How can you ask such a thing of me?”
“I am giving you the chance at revenge.”
“You are giving me the threat of irrevocable damnation!” I bellowed.
“Go!” She twisted something in her hand and I turned around, heading stiffly out the door.
The more I fought it, the more awkwardly I walked. It was starting to draw attention, so I followed the compulsion rather than battling it. The time would come when I exacted my final revenge. She might think she could control me, but now that I'd seen what she used against me, I could, perhaps, combat it. I'd spotted a crudely fashioned doll in her hands. It was a fair representation of me, in that it wore a suit and had a shock of hair that I assumed she got from me. Otherwise, it was featureless. I had heard of such things whispered about, though had never seen them used.
The church was lit from basement to belfry. People streamed in and out. How was I got get inside and kill Luigi with every criminal in the city walking the streets? I saw many of my old competitors, and compatriots, going inside. I would have to find a place to wait and get to him later, after they left. I knew, if he followed custom, Luigi would sit all night with his brother. I presumed that my mother had done so for me, though that was during my spate of darkness. How I longed for that nothingness. I had not noticed it at the time, but I surely missed it now.
Hours passed, it grew late. People left the church in small groups and pairs, wandering back to their lives. When I sensed that most of them were gone, I mounted the steps to the church and walked inside. Stopping to dip my hand in holy water, I wondered if it would do me harm. Chancing it, I crossed myself. My skin did not boil or melt, my bones did not catch fire and I wasn't sent, screaming, unto Hell. Satisfied, I walked boldly into the sanctuary.
Luigi was kneeling in front of the cross, head bowed in prayer. I heard the familiar Latin spilling from his lips, though I did not join him in his litany. Marco's coffin stood nearby, the occupant pale and still. The nasty gash I'd put in his throat was stitched to near invisibility and he wore a high, stiff collar to cover it.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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