A strange sensation rippled down Vinnie’s spine. Like iced water, it numbed as it sizzled across the nerve endings leaving him unsure if he was being burnt or frozen. He tried twisting his neck to see what was dripping onto his back, but the ropes, expertly knotted, restricted his movement so effectively that he could see only the concrete floor on which he lay. The gag in his mouth felt like a billiard ball, effectively decommissioning his tongue
He held his breath, trying to listen. He heard only the pounding beat of his heart thudding in his heaving chest. A swinging light, somewhere overhead, cast irritating shadows on the floor in front of his face and added to his sense of helplessness. Taking a deep breath he half twisted, half rolled, straining to glimpse more of his surroundings.
As he wriggled and kicked he was startled into immobility by the very clear, very loud, double click of an automatic weapon being cocked. He lay still, hoping and praying it was for somebody else, anybody else. The sweat trickling from his hairline stung his eyes. Fighting the impulse to shut his eyes and pray, he strained his eyeballs in the direction of the sound.
His hair was pulled viciously from above and his neck muscles screamed in agony at the sudden shock. Despite the pain he used the added leverage to twist his head and was rewarded by a glimpse of a shoe.
A red shoe, a ladies shoe. His sense of trepidation deepened for somewhere, in the back of his tortured mind, the sight of those shoes rang alarm bells. He strained his eyes upward and caught sight of the pipe work that lined the walls and ceiling of his place of confinement. Snorting air rapidly as he waited the final verdict, his eyes wild with fear and panic he tried to speak. His words unintelligible as the gag reduced his pleadings to a meaningless series of grunts and gargles. The hand that gripped his hair viciously suddenly let go and his face crashed to the floor banging his chin and breaking his front teeth, the blood, mixed with saliva oozed out, saturating the rag that held the billiard ball in place.
‘Is that him?’ A deep masculine voice demanded.
‘Yes, that’s him.’ Vinnie recognised her voice immediately and he closed his eyes as the last vestige of hope deserted him. He began to sob, but a swift and painful kick in the ribs ended his pitiful utterances.
‘I’ll take care of this; you go on back up to the shop.’ The male voice said.
Vinnie’s eyeballs strained futilely to the left, he wanted so badly to see what he knew was coming.
‘There’s something I want to do first, give me the gun’ She said and the shoes presented themselves in front of his face again. She bent down and loosened the gag and Vinnie spat the saliva and blood streaked ball onto the floor. Kneeling beside him she leaned close to his ear and whispered,
‘Who’s the John put the contract on me?’ Squatting close beside his head she pressed the barrel of the gun painfully into his skull just behind and below the ear. Putting all her weight on the gun, she leaned forward as she waited for his reply. Vinnie spat the broken teeth onto the bloody concrete as he gasped for much needed oxygen, His voice croaked his barely audible reply,
‘Your Husband.’ He closed his eyes waiting for the inevitable. The pressure behind his ear eased as she stood up. Vincent closed his eyes and began babbling his Hail Mary. The crack of the gunshot jerked him like a hanged man, and the sudden weight of a body landing on his back knocked the wind from him at the same time as his bladder emptied.
The sound of footsteps rounded the prone bodies and he felt the weight on his back shift slightly, after two attempts, the body that was threatening to squeeze hi m to death, flopped into his field of vision. Vincent, still shocked, stared at the dead profile of Don Vito Carpescolli.
The sound of her heels echoed on the concrete floor as Maria Carpescolli, picked up the spent shell and walked slowly out of the cellar.