Content warning: I don’t normally warn about my swearing because it’s everywhere, but this one gets very bad. F-bombs incoming – hide your kids. There are some crude references to sexual activities as well as some abusive situations and implicit threats that may be unpleasant to read. Please, tread with care.
The house that Lucia hid in was one Vittoria didn’t know about before, but Franco had been kind enough to provide an address. It belonged to a friend of the gang, which could be anything from low-life drug dealers to members of the town council. She didn’t think this was a drug den, though as it was nicely furnished, and it seemed like fresh air made it in here occasionally. Druggies didn’t usually open windows.
One nasty smell hung in the air, though. A sickening, floral scent that she recognised as Lucia’s preferred perfume. She always practically bathed in it, though maybe she had deliberately sprayed it everywhere to deter predators like her daughter.
Vittoria refused to let herself think about what she had to do. She had to be mechanical, like a robot, like Alessandro had always wanted her to be. It had always disappointed him how much she disliked the act of killing. After all, he was used to grown men who took pleasure in it and then he took on the task of training a frightened young girl who puked every time she killed someone.
Not this time, she swore. If there was ever a time to do it with no shame, no guilt, and no disgust, this was it. She had to do it right.
She didn’t call out. She tip-toed through the house, opening doors as she found them, but the house was quiet and dark. Upstairs was as quiet as downstairs, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t here. Vittoria grasped her knife harder and snuck forward, opening the door that was right in front of her. There was a bedroom behind there, a simple one with a double bed. But no Lucia, only the nasty cloud of her perfume mixed with another scent that was almost as unpleasant.
That was when she realised her oversight.
It hit her hard – a cloud of alcohol that enveloped her, then a hand that grasped her wrist and pulled her back. Then the voice.
“Hey, baby doll.”
Despite herself, she gasped and dropped her knife that clattered to the ground.
Gallo laughed. “Gotcha.”
“Funny,” she said. “Let go.”
She tried wrestling free, but he didn’t let go and though there was a playful smile on his face, his grip was crushing. Then he moved close enough that she could smell his smoker’s breath and whispered:
“Did you know that your crazy-ass mum could take us straight to Mancini?”
Vittoria reined in her body. She held back the no that wanted out, tightened all her muscles to stop them from shaking. But her voice was weak.
“I see. Didn’t know you’d talked to her.”
She tried getting free again, but his other hand dug into her waist and no amount of clawing at his hand could get him to let go.
“Oh, I’ve been spending a lot of time with her. You know, in between the bullshit, she’s a very interesting woman.”
“Great, I’ve been looking for her, so if you could tell me where she is, that would be great. Now, let me-.”
Instead of letting her go, he slapped a hand over her mouth and pulled her closer. His grip was like a vice, squeezing all the air out of her and if he adjusted his grip even a little bit, she’d suffocate. It wasn’t an accident. He even shut off her airways for just a few seconds, enough that her body started panicking and her breathing grew frenzied. Then he let go and whispered:
“He’s already dead.”
She couldn’t stop the violent start that shook her. The surge of fury was so intense, she broke free for a few seconds until he got her back under control. Gallo laughed, digging his fingernails into her face and her waist.
“Just kidding, baby doll. I had to check. See, your mum is so happy that you finally found love. It’s sweet, really. We tried telling her you were just acting but she’s got a point – four years, Lisa. That’s one hell of an act.”
“I’m one hell of an actress,” Vittoria said, though her voice was muffled by his hand.
“Oh, you are. We all bought it, except for the part when you wouldn’t fuck me anymore.”
“Plenty of women don’t want to fuck you, Gallo. It’s not because they’re in love, they just think you’re disgusting.”
He laughed and firmed his grip when she tried to break free again.
“Maybe you just lost your appetite,” he said. “In which case it won’t be a problem if I go kill him now.”
“Of course not. I’ll even join you.”
“Or I could do it alone and there’s no chance that you’ll be able to help him. I’ll go kill him first and then I’ll kill your kids and he has a brother as well, I’ve heard. Hell, I might kill that curly kid you’ve been keeping around when I find her. What was it her name was… Marta, right?”
Vittoria jammed her elbow hard into his stomach and tried to push away, but he recovered quickly, grabbed her again, and called for backup. A couple of the others came rushing to his aid and they secured her arms and legs while he covered her mouth and nose. He chuckled and held her close while her oxygen ran out.
“Fancy that,” he said with a chuckle. “The heartless bitch isn’t so heartless after all.”
He kept holding her tightly, whispering awful things in her ear until she passed out.
She awoke to a wail that sounded like the screams of the damned and she knew there was only one person who could make a sound like that. The words were hard to make out in between sobs, but she could assume what the gist was – my baby, my baby, my poor baby. Two seconds of being conscious around her mother and she already wanted to stab her even more – despite her not even being in the same room.
Stabbing her was going to be hard, though, considering the ropes around her wrists and ankles. They were tightly bound, tight enough that her hands felt cold and bloodless. She could only just fight her way into a seated position on the bed they had placed her on. The first face she met was Gallo’s.
She sighed deeply.
“You should have killed me,” she said, voice low.
“Trust me, I would,” he said. “But I think your mum might have a melt-down if I do it right now, so I’ll leave that for later.”
“Man, she’s got you whipped.” Vittoria laughed bitterly.
Why did it never occur to her that Lucia would snag Gallo? Truth was, she had assumed that since she had hated Gallo so much back when she lived at home, it would stay that way. But of course, she’d only hated him because he competed for control of Vittoria. Now that he was in Lucia’s camp, they were good. Which was bad for herself.
“Bet you don’t even realise it,” she told Gallo then. “She’s using you.”
“You mean the way she’s used me as a shoulder to cry on since her little baby died? Trust me, I used her as well – we both missed you, baby.”
Vittoria set her jaw. “Great, I really enjoy the mental image of you fucking my mother. Thanks for that, asshole.”
“That’s just in exchange for the mental image of you fucking some old man.”
Vittoria laughed. “Right, whatever. Look, for what it’s worth, I just thought you should know she’s using you, just like she used Alessandro and like she used me.”
“And I’m okay with that because she’s also told me a lot of interesting things. She saw through you – saw that you like the old man, didn’t she?”
She couldn’t think of anything to say to that and the silence dragged out long enough that Gallo’s nasty smile grew wider.
“That’s sweet baby doll. He must be a special guy to turn you into a pile of mush.”
Vittoria sighed. It was only a matter of time before someone realised. Though she had expected that it would be Gallo, whom she’d been spending time around. He was even more dense than she remembered.
“He’s pretty great,” she told Gallo, enjoying the flash of anger in his eyes. “And that pisses you off, so I’m guessing you’re not as heartless as you seem, either.”
She knew that hit a nerve when he moved onto the bed and grabbed her face.
“You’ll see, baby doll. Because I’m going to go kill the old asshole and then I’m coming back for you. Then when I’m done with you, you can join him.”
He laughed and gave her a slap to the face, just for good measure, then he stood up and signalled to the others that they were going to move out.
“And if you do that, you’ll end up dead yourself,” she spat. “Watching you trying to scheme is like watching a bad movie villain – you’re making every fucking mistake in the book. For once, stop thinking you know what you’re doing and fucking kill me. It’ll save you a lot of pain.”
“Don’t worry, your mummy will keep you company while I’m gone.”
Vittoria groaned. “Let me guess, she told you she can take care of me while you go kill him? Of course, there’s absolutely no way she’s going to disobey you and kill me the moment you’re out of the door. Stop being a fucking moron, Gallo, and kill me yourself.”
“I think I’m going to trust her a bit more than you, doll.”
“Big mistake. I only want her dead, but eventually she won’t have a use for you and then she’ll turn on you.”
He waved her off. “Whatever. I’ll be seeing you later.” Right outside the door, he turned to someone and said: “Your baby’s right that way, so…”
A screech interrupted him, and Lucia came sprinting into the room. She looked like a stupid little girl, standing at the end of the bed with red eyes, biting her fingernails. When she saw Vittoria, her face lit up in a big smile and she cried:
“Baby? I’m so glad to-.”
“Gallo’s gone and I know you’re the one who tried to kill me. Cut the crap.”
She had never seen the transformation happen, though she knew it had to happen sometimes. Lucia’s face became someone else’s. It wasn’t how she had imagined in her head – her mother didn’t smile wickedly or cackle while lightning crashed outside; her features softened into an indifferent expression. She looked normal. No sobbing or crying or wailing.
She said: “Sure, I guess it was hard to keep that up.”
Feeling lost? If you’ve forgotten previous chapters and need a recap you can find my recap page here. Be aware that it contains spoilers for the story.
Author’s notes: Hi guyssssssssss! I’m back after my long break and it feels awesome to be here again. The break has meant that I’ve discovered what is the game equivalent of crack for me: Slime Rancher. I started playing Wednesday and I’ve logged 13 hours in it – I can’t stop. The break has also meant that I’ve pretty much shot photos for the rest of this generation and I only have to write the rest. I’m so excited and even more excited to be doing generation 2. It’s been rattling around in my brain since the kids were born, pretty much, so it’s going to be a lot of fun to finally get started. I’m also going to start using ReShade for that – I decided to keep the pictures somewhat similar to the rest of the gen for AMVS, hence why I’ve only used it for photoshoots so far. Well, that’ll change for gen 2. I can’t wait!
Now that CoM is done and the sequel won’t be posted until I’ve written it, I’ve also had to consider what to do for the blog. Do I want to go back to posting AMVS every week? Not really, I have to admit. I like having the buffer of two weeks in case there’s something that needs adjusting or I’m stuck on a chapter. I was going to start writing another story – one that’s written by the seat of my pants like this, but I honestly don’t want to. With AMVS I tolerate the way this is going because I know I’m editing it, but the state of it is still a little upsetting and the idea of putting out another story while I write this, edit this, AND also write CoM 2 (that’s not the title – don’t quote me on that) – it’s too much. SO! I want to do other stuff on the in-between weeks. I’m talking photoshoots, world building extras for my stories, short stories, perhaps posts about writing; perhaps I’ll talk about books or games or tips for photoshoots/ReShade and so on in ts3. Maybe I’ll release a pose pack now and again. Maybe, if I’m in the mood and it’s finished ahead of time, I’ll post a chapter instead. So the plan is for me to still release an AMVS chapter every other week and then just… other stuff in between 🙂 I can’t wait!
Until then, I thank you for getting this far (I know both the chapter and my author’s note – hell, even my content warning – were wordy). I appreciate you reading and I hope you enjoyed it. I will see you next week for… well, whatever I’m in the mood for 🙂