Sempre redemption, p.55
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       Sempre: Redemption, p.55

         Part #2 of Forever series by J. M. Darhower
Page 55


  “Of course not! He’s my godson!”

  “But you don’t deny you wanted my wife dead? You don’t deny you had your sister murdered? You don’t deny you were in bed with the Russians? God, how sick does a man have to be to make his own family slaves?”

  “She was supposed to have a good life!” Salvatore spat, losing control of his temper as he reached for his gun. Carmine cursed and backed up a few steps, nearly tripping over a chair. “Frankie begged me to let him have her, the fool! He begged me to let the child live! He’s the one who failed! He treated her like crap! He let his son have his way with her! She would’ve been better off dead!”

  “Is that why you never went to Blackburn, why you always sent us?” Vincent asked, no hesitation in his voice. “You couldn’t look at her, knowing what you’d done?”

  “You’re wrong!”

  “And is that why you were so insistent on seeing Haven when you visited? Why you were elated Carmine fell in love with her, why you wanted him to vouch for her? You’d finally be family again!”

  “Shut up!”

  “You thought it was redemption! They were possessions to you! And you had the nerve to ask me if she’d been worth it, if she was worth all the pain I went through, if she was worth everything I lost, and you’d been the one to do it to me! Did you enjoy that? Did you get off having so much power over everyone?”

  “You’re delusional!”

  “And you’re disturbed! You’re a traitor!”

  “How dare you accuse me of that! You, who has been feeding information to the Feds? Tell me, Vincent, how does it feel to be a rat? How does it feel to break the oath you swore? How does it feel knowing you’re going to die for it?”

  Vincent stood frozen for a second before a sinister smirk turned the corner of his lips. “You first. ”

  The bang of a gunshot ripped through the night air and Carmine recoiled, realizing his father had pulled the trigger. He covered himself defensively as Salvatore stumbled backward, the bullet ripping through his shoulder, and dropped his gun as his arm went limp. Flipping the patio table over, Salvatore ducked behind it as Carlo returned fire. Vincent shot again, hitting Carlo’s thigh with a bullet, making his leg buckle, but he managed to stay upright and shoot back.

  A bullet from Vincent’s gun hit the table Salvatore hid behind, ricocheting off of it and flying in Carmine’s direction. He ducked as soon as he heard it hit and it whizzed past his head, barely missing grazing his temple. “Fuck!”

  “Carmine!” Salvatore yelled, barely audible above the sudden rampant gunfire. “Kill him!”

  Carmine didn’t know what to do. He slowly pulled his gun out, his thoughts frantic as he fought off dizziness. Kill or be killed. He knew how it went. If he didn’t kill his father, Sal would kill him next.

  Before he could consider aiming at anything, another gunshot ripped past him. Carlo stumbled backward, blood pouring through his button-down shirt. He tripped and fell, his body trembling as he clutched his stomach. Awful cries escaped his throat as Vincent closed the distance between them, firing off more shots in anger. Two rounds went through Carlo’s arms, disabling him, and another bullet ripped through his kneecap as he tried to drag himself away.

  Salvatore jumped up and grabbed his gun again before ducking out of the way. Vincent was clearly on a mission, his expression grave as he crouched down and grabbed Carlo by the collar. He shoved the muzzle of his gun in Carlo’s gaping mouth and pulled the trigger without hesitation. Blood splattered, the back of Carlo’s head exploding, and Carmine couldn’t stop the scream that reverberated from his chest as violent flashes of his mother overwhelmed him.

  Vincent looked at Carmine with concern, his eyes scanning him quickly, assessing for wounds. “Get out of here, son,” he demanded before turning to Salvatore, who had taken shelter by the back door. He stood but didn’t have enough time to aim before Salvatore shot at him, a bullet hitting Vincent straight in the chest. He grunted and staggered but stayed on his feet to fire back.

  “Carmine, it’s an order!” Salvatore yelled, continuing to shoot, but his aim was off. “Do it now, or I’ll kill you!”

  “Don’t threaten my son!”

  Salvatore’s words gave Vincent his strength back. There was a commotion as he steadied himself, the back door of the house bursting open and guys running outside. Corrado followed behind them but froze, taking in the scene as Carmine released the safety from his gun.

  Corrado noticed the movement. Raising his gun, he aimed at Carmine.

  “What the fu—” he started, unable to get the entire thing out before his uncle pulled the trigger. The bullet grazed the back of his right hand and he cried out, dropping the weapon and grabbing the searing wound. It felt like it was on fire, throbbing painfully as blood dripped onto the patio.

  Corrado sprinted toward Carmine and tackled him, shoving him onto his stomach on the ground, his low voice demanding. “Don’t move. ”

  Standing, Corrado haphazardly fired across the yard, the bullets deliberately flying past the target. Vincent turned and fired a wayward shot toward Corrado, his aim just as bad, before ducking for cover around the back of the house.

  Salvatore and the others shielded themselves near the back door, as Corrado and Carmine hunkered down to the side with a clear line of sight. The gunshots slowed to a trickle as they reloaded, the rest of the men filtering out to come to Salvatore’s aid.

  Carmine watched his father drop his pistol, clutching his heaving chest as he staggered a few steps. Vincent shrugged off his coat then, revealing a small Uzi hanging by a strap around his shoulder. The blood rushing through Carmine made him light-headed, his vision blurring as tears flowed down his cheeks.

  Vincent bowed his head and made the sign of the cross, his mouth moving furiously as he spoke to himself. Praying, he realized. His father was praying.

  “No!” Carmine screamed the word as realization dawned—it was a fucking kamikaze mission.

  Vincent turned, his eyes falling on him briefly before he stepped into the wide-open yard. Corrado dropped to the ground instantly, roughly grabbing Carmine as he tried to get to his feet. He pinned him down with his body as the loud spray of bullets ripped through the night. It was deafening. Carmine’s head thumped ferociously with every loud bang as the frantic explosion of gunfire lit up the yard.

  Carmine screamed, begging his father not to go through with it, but it was too late. There was no turning back. He had made his bed and he was prepared to lie in it . . . he was ready to lie in it.

  But Carmine wasn’t fucking ready. He never would be.

  He tried to push Corrado away but his uncle wouldn’t budge, shielding him as the spray of bullets flew all around them. Two guys dropped nearby, their bodies convulsing, and others ducked for cover to fire back. In the midst of the chaos, Carmine lost track of who was where, bodies dropping and people running, painful screams mixing with the gunfire.

  A shot ripped through Vincent’s stomach and he stumbled, his finger leaving the trigger briefly as he lost his grip, giving the others enough time to recover. They fired in succession, a bullet tearing through Vincent’s shoulder as another one struck his calf. He dropped to his knees, swaying as he tried to stabilize himself. Vincent pulled the trigger again, more people hit with the wild spray of bullets.

  The gunfire stopped abruptly as the cartridge was spent. Vincent shrugged the weapon off his shoulder, letting it drop to the ground. He sat back, his head dropping and body shaking as he stared at the trampled grass. Someone stood up near the house and Carmine panicked because his father was unarmed, but Corrado reacted instinctively. He fired off a shot, the bullet hitting the man straight in the temple.

  Carmine yelled for his father but Corrado shoved him farther into the ground, busting his face on the concrete to silence him. He cursed, blood seeping from his nose, as sirens blared in the distance. Someone yelled, “Police!” as others fled, scrambling to disappear int
o the night.

  Corrado finally let go of him when the crowd dispersed. Carmine pushed away from the ground and glanced across the yard as his father crawled toward the side of the house. Corrado started toward him as Vincent stopped at the corner, sitting back on his knees as he grabbed his discarded pistol.

  “Vincent!” Corrado yelled, panic in his voice.

  Vincent glanced in their direction, the breath leaving Carmine when he saw his father’s face. The color had drained away, his skin the ashy pale hue of death, his eyes dull and lifeless.

  Vincent said something quietly, not loud enough for Carmine to hear, but whatever it was made Corrado’s footsteps falter. The sirens grew louder and Corrado shook his head, stiffly, angrily, but Vincent nodded with determination.

  “Get out of here, Carmine!” Corrado yelled.

  Carmine started across the yard toward them, ignoring his uncle, but nearly buckled from fright when his father raised his gun and pointed it below his chin. “No! Dad, no!”

  Vincent’s eyes drifted closed, his finger shaking violently on the trigger.

  Corrado bowed his head with a long sigh, his voice quiet. “Perdonami. ”

  Forgive me.

  Without hesitation, Corrado raised his gun and squeezed the trigger. A hoarse scream vibrated Carmine’s chest, painfully clawing its way from his throat, as the final bullet tore through his father’s skull. Vincent dropped backward, his body limp on the grass. Carmine collapsed at the same moment, unable to move any farther as sobs rocked his body.

  Corrado walked past him and approached the pool. He grabbed Carmine’s gun and took his own, wiping them off with his shirt before dropping them into the deep chlorinated water. His eyes scanned the property then, surveying the carnage. Bodies were scattered everywhere, puddles of blood all around.

  The sirens wailed louder, lights flashing as police raided the property. Corrado raised his hands in the air and dropped to the ground before they had to tell him, and Carmine rolled onto his stomach to assume the same position.

  Carmine was in a complete daze as they were handcuffed. Corrado lay beside him in the grass, muttered to himself in Italian. It took a minute for Carmine to register that he was praying, and Carmine lost control of himself at the sound. A loud sob escaped as they placed a sheet over his father’s lifeless body, blood soaking through and turning the crisp white to a vibrant red.

  Carmine tried to silence his cries when they pulled Corrado from the ground to lead him away, but it was senseless. He was distraught.

  “Seven deceased, including Dr. DeMarco,” an officer said. “Still waiting on confirmation of the other six. ”

  “Get a move on it,” a second man responded, his voice vaguely familiar. “Anyone inside?”

  “Just the trafficking victim DeMarco said would be here,” the man said. “The girl wouldn’t speak to anyone, though, so we don’t know who she is. ”

  “Give her some time. She’ll come around once she realizes she’s safe. ”

  Footsteps approached, the familiar voice calling Carmine’s name. He glanced up, coming face-to-face with Special Agent Cerone. He crouched down and unlocked Carmine’s handcuffs, sighing as he grabbed his hand and eyed the wound. “Get the medic to come look at his injury, please. ”

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