Friday, April 8, 2011

Succession - A Short story

The Wooden boxes were lowered into the ground and then slowly covered with mud. The priest was reciting some of the prayers he had learnt before coming. 'He doesn't care',she thought. 'I'm the only one left, the last in the family'.
Two days ago, both her father's and her brother's bodies were dropped at the door of their mansion. Gangsters, obviously, have many enemies. There were no more heirs to the family business. She was in charge now. Guns would replace make-up, gun-holster, purses. She began to walk away from the grave when she heard a voice calling behind her. It was Tommy, her father right hand man. He had risen through the ranks pretty quickly, and at 30, he was only a year older than her.
"Hey Liz, wait up. Everyone's still here. Where you going?', he asked.
"I need some time alone. I need to think about what to do now. Please don't send any bodyguards after me."
"So you've made up your mind. You're going to take up the family business. I mean it's unusual for a........"
" Woman? I know."
"Elizabeth, you do know that we are probably on the brink of a gang war right? You think you can handle it?"
"I was ten, when my mother was killed in a gang war. Two days ago the rest of my family was killed. I don't think a gang war can be much worse",she said and walked outside onto the road. He decided to follow her just in case. She was walking on the footpath when a van drove up beside her. The doors opened and two pairs of hands pulled her in. Tommy prepared to remove his gun, when he heard two gunshots from within the van. He started running towards it, when suddenly the doors opened and Elizabeth jumped out. " Marino's men, I think", she began to say. "Tommy I want you to prepare a list and go after each and everyone who might be behind this and father's and Danny's murder. Leave no one. Get Marino to the mansion personally. He has to be taught that honesty and dignity are required in the business. There are two dead men in the van. Leave them there as a warning to everyone who is against us. And one last thing. If you ever follow me again, I will kill you", she said and began walking away. And for the first time in his life, Tommy felt scared of Elizabeth.
By the same time, next week, the gang war was in full flow. Old and new alliances were formed, enemies were being killed off one by one. Those who remained neutral, were frightened into ever going against them. Elizabeth, herself, coordinated all the activities from the mansion. Tommy was in charge of all the activities which she directed him to carry out. The entire city had begun to go up in flames because of the gang war, with more and more bodies piling up on the streets everyday. The police of course, on the payroll of the mob bosses did nothing. There was constant activity in the mansion. Elizabeth was with the arms dealer, personally selecting weapons. " We need heavy artillery dammit, it's a gang war not a duck shooting competition. Make that ten of the 47s and twenty 8mm Mausers," she said. Just then Tommy came in. "The Delalandes are either dead, or have fled back to New Jersey. We burnt down their operations and shot Zavier for good measure," he said. "Good, but it's not over yet", Elizabeth said. Tommy's phone began to ring and he excused himself. Few minutes later he came back. "We've got Marino."
Elizabeth entered the room. In the center was a bloody man, stripped till his waist. He was on his knees and he was tied up in rope, all covered in bruises. Elizabeth asked Tommy to remain in the room while the rest of the men stayed outside. The door of the room was shut and the interrogation began.
" Were you involved in their murders", Tommy asked and began to kick him.
" No, no. I wasn't. Why would I kill Joseph, and Danny...Danny was still young. Why would I do it?"
" Because they were your biggest competition. Ours was the only family more powerful than yours."
" But we had made a deal. To prevent the newer families and businesses from eating into our businesses we had decided to collaborate. We would have made larger profits together, wiping out the smaller businesses. Why would I kill him after that?"
Tommy stopped kicking him. "You liar", he began when Elizabeth cut him off. "He didn't kill them. I did."
"Don't look so surprised. I hated them both. My father always preferred Danny, treated me like a bitch in front of him. Even my mother died in the gang war started by him. Don't you understand Tommy? I want the power, the glory. Why do you think I started the gang war, asked you to bring Marino here? I learnt it from my dead father. Eliminate all competition, eliminate all threats. I am now, the sole boss, the queen of the New York underworld". Tommy didn't say anything for a few minutes. Then, he slowly raised his gun and pointed it at her. "Tommy, do you know why I asked you to remain in the room, the only other person here. I wanted to see where your devotion lies, with me or with my father. Unfortunately, it lies with a dead man", she said and began screaming.
Her bodyguards opened the door and rushed in only to see Tommy pointing the gun at Elizabeth. In few seconds, bullets pierced Tommy's body and he fell. Elizabeth pointed towards Marino and hardly a moment passed and his body fell towards the ground. "Throw their bodies out", Elizabeth said and walked out of the room. A bodyguard followed.

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