The scepticism hadn’t quite vanished from Carlo’s face, even as he untied her hands and feet, she could see that distrust permeated all his features. When she was free and started to stand, she could see that he tightened his grasp on the gun.
“Started carrying, I see,” she said, feeling a little bit of pride – at least he learnt that.
He frowned. “Somebody made it a necessity.”
She waved him off and changed the topic: “I think Marta is out there. Knowing Gallo, he caught her and decided instead of just killing her, he’d drag her along and use her to draw you out. He’s not the brightest.”
“You know him best – tell me what to do.”
She wetted her lips and took a deep breath before saying: “I have part of a plan, and to pull it off, I need that gun.”
Carlo let out a snort. “You’re pushing it a little, Vittoria.”
She held out a hand, her eyes begging him to go with it.
“I know. But I think I stand the best chance of getting to him, and I’d hate to go out there without a gun.”
“Out there? Are you insane?” As if to emphasise his point, another few bullets sailed over their heads and lodged themselves in the walls. “How many people with guns are out there right now?”
“A lot. And like I said – I have part of a plan. I need you to distract them. If you draw them that way,” she said, turning and pointing to the other side of the room. “I’ll go out through the window. If I find Marta and make sure she’s safe, I can take Gallo next. He’s an idiot, so I can handle him.”
He shook his head, but said nonetheless: “And your mother?”
“Without Gallo and the rest of the gang, she’s out of allies and when we’ve taken care of this, you can ship her off to fucking China or something. She’ll be powerless.”
“I remember saying once that you’d be the death of me,” he said, handing her the gun.
“If I play my cards correctly, you won’t get a scratch on you.”
She weighed the weapon in her hand, checked the magazine and took a deep breath. Daggers had always been her weapon of choice, but then then there was the old adage about bringing a knife to a gunfight – this would have to do.
“Vittoria…” She turned to Carlo who had gotten up on his knees and looked tired, defeated. “Stay alive. Please.”
“No,” he said, eyes dark as they bored into hers. “Stay alive. We can’t go back to the way things were, but you will stay alive, you hear me?”
“Yes, sir.” She smiled and added: “I love you.”
It was like watching a sunrise when he smiled at her and said he loved her, too. Vittoria grabbed a hold of the gun and moved towards the window, hoping that she wouldn’t disappoint him.
If it wasn’t for the stupid rock, Marta would have made it. She did exactly as Vittoria said and ran to the bus, as fast as her legs would carry her. She was proud that she didn’t even cry, until the stupid rock appeared out of nowhere and tripped her. The fall still played over and over in her head – the dirt in her mouth and the sound of footsteps mixed with Gallo’s stupid laughter.
Her palms and knees still stung where the skin had been scraped off, and stupid Elena, the red-headed woman who had a weird thing with knives, made her arm hurt, too. She tried getting it free and earned a hard tug in return.
“Stop pulling, you little dumbass,” Elena said, flashing the knife. “I’ve already told you – I’m going to cut your fucking ear off.”
“Shut up!” Gallo shouted. “I fucking told you – no hurting the kid until we’re back. I want her to see it.”
Marta stopped pulling, still wishing she didn’t have to hold her arm at that unnatural angle. She didn’t like Elena. She liked Gallo even less, especially when he looked like he did now, all furious with lines on his forehead and a vein that throbbed at his temple.
There were many others here, of course. They had their guns out and shot at the house. Marta wasn’t sure who lived there, but she didn’t like the shooting. Gunshots were much, much louder than in movies, and she was also more scared than kids were in the movies. They always said something smart or funny and made the ruffians really mad, but when Elena glared at her like that, she was too afraid to say anything.
Just then, they heard someone calling out, and it made the vein on Gallo’s head throb.
“Around the house!” He called at the many men with him, and then they all ran. Marta had heard them say that Carlo was in there, and she hoped that didn’t mean they were going to kill him.
“Fucking stop pulling, you little shit.”
Marta hadn’t noticed that she pulled at all, but she had been trying to see around the corner, to see if maybe Carlo was back there. If he saw Elena pulling on her arm, maybe he would stop her.
“S-sorry.” Marta hated how little her voice was.
“You’re goddamned lucky Gallo is so weird,” the red-head said. “He’s been fucking obsessed with Lisa since she left. Otherwise, I think he would’ve killed you. Actually, if he doesn’t get it over with, I might do it myself.”
Marta blinked away tears and Elena rolled her eyes.
“What, you’re going to cry now, baby?” she said, tone mocking. The dagger in her hand shone in the sunlight. “You should stop crying so you can die with some dignity. Or do you want Lisa to see you cry while you’re dying?”
There were more gunshots and Marta wished she could cover her ears. Actually, she just wished that they would stop shooting. But the bullets kept on flying and she kept crying, making Elena more annoyed by the second.
“Seriously, fucking stop it,” Elena said.
But Marta couldn’t. The gunshots were loud and she was scared. She wanted her daddy, but he was gone, and if she couldn’t have daddy, she’d like it if Vittoria was here. They were going to kill Vittoria, too, and they were going to kill Carlo and Marta herself and she wasn’t sure what it even really meant. She was full-on sobbing.
“Shut the fuck up, kid!” Elena screaming, raising a hand.
The hand froze and so did the red-head. Her entire body seized and blood sprayed on the paving stones.
Marta’s mouth formed a big O, but no sound came. She had blood on her hands. There was a lot of blood and it flowed towards her shoes. Before she could scream, though, someone grabbed her middle and pulled her back with a hand covering her mouth. She gasped and tried to scream, until a calming voice said:
“Marta, it’s okay. It’s me.”
Vittoria released her mouth and Marta spun, hugging her. She sobbed into Vittoria’s shoulder.
“You’re alive!” she cried.
She shushed her and smoothed her hair and told her it was all okay. “You need to get to safety.”
“What about you?” Marta whispered.
“Don’t worry about me. The library’s right next door. Go in there and lock yourself in the bathroom until it’s over. Don’t come out until I or Carlo come get you, okay?”
Marta didn’t like Vittoria’s voice right now, because it was just like last time Vittoria had said goodbye and said that she would be okay. She had the voice grown-ups had when they said something that wasn’t true. But Marta promised, and then she hugged Vittoria tighter.
“It’s over soon, little sloth.” Vittoria held her out in front of her. “I promise.”
That at least sounded honest.
Gallo’s voice boomed at them, and Vittoria stiffened.
“Run,” she told Marta. “Run. Go!”
She pushed Marta into a run and then she lifted her gun and aimed at Gallo. Marta didn’t see more, because she did as she was told. She turned her back on the pool of blood that smelled weird like metal and on Gallo’s voice that bellowed over the empty square and on Vittoria who used her gun to protect her.
The door to the library slammed, and Vittoria ducked back into cover.
“Come out, Mancini!” Gallo screamed, his voice almost crazed at this point.
He must assume it was Carlo out here, because he never called her anything but Lisa or his stupid nicknames.
Vittoria peeked around the corner again, and this time he saw her. She knew, because his face twisted into fury as he dodged her next bullet. He screamed for his men to go for her.
They had been on the way, even before he said anything, for just then one of them rounded a corner, gun trained on Vittoria. She spun on her knees and fired off, then broke into a sprint. If she could get to cover, she could get Gallo. He was angry now, and that made him even dumber than usual.
However, she had only just rounded the corner when she was toppled by the weight of him.
He had given up on his gun and instead pressed her to the stones. His grip on her wrists was like a vice. Vittoria groaned when his other hand gripped her throat.
“I am really tired of you running, Lisa,” he said.
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 note: Hi guyssss! Welcome back to Monte Vista and to what I promise is the last cliffhanger (… of this generation ha, ha). And I can say that for sure, because the generation is completely finished and this and the two final chapters are scheduled for posting. It’s a little weird and melancholic for me… it’s been a long, hard process writing this one, and though I can’t say I’m 100 % satisfied, it still holds a special place in my heart. I’m really excited for you guys to read the rest!
Another thing I’ve been doing is changing the titles and all the featured images to now read Monte Vista Stories. I did nearly all of featured images twice, because the usual image editor I’ve used for adding text since the beginning of the story has been updated and now turns text blurry and distorted, so that was a great update. I went over to another, though, and I think they turned out well.
Because I’m currently on a bit of a kick with the CoM sequel, I went through my old posts about the magic system and the facts page to make it fit with the new stuff. I don’t think I’ve contradicted myself (too badly). I also added in a little fact on the facts page that I wanted to add all along, but forgot – I’ve been kicking myself ever since, but now it’s finally there, ha, ha 😛
I think that’s it from me for now. Thank you for reading if you made it this far, and I’ll see you for the next post!
EDIT: I’m being spammed like crazy lately, so if your comments end up in spam, I might not see – there are like a thousand spam comments right now and that is NOT an exaggeration. Ugh.