Adrenaline rushed through my veins, giving me a vital boost. Within 20 minutes, I had to reach Don Gattuso, otherwise I would never be able to settle the score. The night was damp and the smell of spring invaded my nostrils. A wave of despair took over as I realised I would soon lose the opportunity to appreciate the little things in life. I chanced a final mournful glance at the idyllic Sicilian coast, then stormed up the neat gravel path into the estate.
A brute of a man guarded the ornate doors of the Don’s mansion. He was using an outdated mobile phone, by the sound of it he was trying to convince some whore to accompany him later that night. Usually a man of his stature and disposition would frighten me, I would not allow it to happen tonight. Without hesitation, I pulled out my piece, a customised .44 revolver. I aimed my gun at the sleazy bastard’s head and fired suddenly. The sound of the miniature explosion comforted me for some reason. Deep-hued claret doused the once-exquisite doors, a signpost showing me that I was one step closer to my goal. I recovered the mobster’s Glock and carefully opened the doors. It was clear that the Don was expecting me, I would only have one chance.
The hall was almost too quiet. I was convinced that I could see shadows fleeting between the gigantic marble columns. I realised that it was probably my mind shutting down, just as the doctor had warned me. It was uncomfortable enough to put me off momentarily but my stubborn motivation finally took over. I slipped from column to column, making sure to keep in the shadows. I could see two guards at the top of the stairs, armed to the teeth. I would have to wait until one of them left. After a few moments filled with paranoia and raw fear, the larger man ambled off, most likely headed to the toilet. I slinked up the shadowy stairs with precision and care that would put a ninja to shame. I slipped by the daydreaming henchman and arrived on the second floor. The décor was a lot more homely here, which disconcerted me. I had never thought of the Don as a human…never mind the type who owns battered old cabinets with clear sentimental value. I decided it wasn’t worth dwelling on and proceeded towards the Don’s quarters. As I hurried down the now-illuminated hallways, I heard the most heartbreaking sound possible. A gun’s safety had just been removed inches behind my head. I put my hands up as I was apprehended. Using the mirror hung on the opposite wall, I recognised the gargantuan Italian who had left for the toilet previously. He circled around me in an aggressive fashion then came to a stop in front of me.
“Who the f**k are you?” the man growled, flecks of spit hitting my solemn face as he spoke.
“Look, I’m going to die very soon, I just have one request.” I said in what I hoped was a convincing tone.
“Damn right you’re going to die soon. Well, you’re lucky I’m an honourable family man, you could’ve been caught by one of the other guys, they’d rip your face off just for kicks. What’s your request?”
I relaxed a little as I realised this man was clearly a meathead with something to prove.
“I’ve never been in a fight. I’d like to experience it at least once before I die. What do you say? I give you my word, you can kill me directly afterwards.”
I stared into his eyes intensely, hoping he bought it. If he didn’t I had no hope of reaching the Don.
8 minutes left.
“Are you crazy little man?! Fine…guard duty is stale tonight anyway. Let’s go.”
As soon as he dropped his gun to the floor, I went straight for the jugular. The henchman caught on surprisingly quickly, gripping my arms to prevent me from clawing his throat off. Unluckily for him, I had already put the pressure on with a savage grip. I was in a frenzy now, slashing chunks of throat off with my fingernails alone. Once the thick crimson waste had formed a substantial pool in the once-immaculate carpet, his body went limp and I got up. Looking at his empty shell of a corpse, I felt an itch of regret. This man had clearly worked hard to be at peak condition for fighting, yet he had been overpowered by a smaller man with an ounce of determination. I finally snapped out of it and kicked down the door to the Don’s office.
Here I was, face to face with Don Gattuso, three minutes to exact my revenge. The office reeked of corruption and blood money. The Don glanced up from the book he was reading without a trace of surprise on his obese face. Fleshy folds created by a few too many Bolognese dishes mocked me effortlessly.
“Ahh well, if it isn’t Mr Gardner! To what do I owe the pleasure? I’ve been looking forward to meeting you ever since I worked with your son.”
I began to feel weak as I slowly raised my gun. I had to make the shot soon although my trembling hands would make it infinitely more difficult. I was close to losing my nerve, but I had little time, so I carried on with the plan I had meticulously formed in my head months before.
“Don’t mention my son’s name again Gattuso, you should’ve been stuck on a spit roast a long time ago.”
Gattuso gave a leering smile as he retorted, “Oh, well, he was a lovely boy. Shame he f****d up on that last contract, he might still be alive. Now, let’s get down to it. Do you still have the strength to pull that trigger Mr Gardner, or is this going to be another wonderful anti-climax?”
Sweat was pouring down the grip, making the gun difficult to hold. I could hear guards making their way up the hall. This was not the death I had planned for him but it would have to do.
“I hope Satan rapes you when you arrive, it’s only deserving for a disgusting f****r like you!”
I pulled the trigger, Gattuso hit the floor. I was getting increasingly light-headed. Falling to the floor with a faint that was far from graceful. My final sight, the spray of claret and new “piercing” that would adorn Gattuso until he finally rotted away. My final thought was guilt, I had enjoyed this man’s death an uncomfortable amount. I heard the muffled sounds of footsteps as the guards realised their loss, sounds of shouting that sounded as if they were coming from a distant party.
As my consciousness rapidly escaped me, I felt better than I had done in years. I knew I had few precious breaths left but I had managed to wipe out my last gnawing regret. My eyes started to force themselves shut and I felt no reason to struggle against them. My mouth twitched into a tainted smile as what would be my final gesture.