I come to the clearing and see a man by the name of Bernard lying on the ground. He looks up as I approach with my two men. His lips pull back in a snarl, and drool runs down his chin like a rabid dog. Seems fitting since he’s on a leash.
“You!” Spit flies out of his mouth. His eyes go to Nite, who stops beside me. “You will pay for this!”
He’s not lying. The life of the Cosa Nostra is an endless circle of revenge. It’s something we all came to terms with long ago. Every one of us understands that you live one day just to possibly be killed the next. But in this day and age, it’s not just limited to the mafioso. There are too many angry people in the world who feel they have the right to take your life.
I take a step toward him. He tries to crawl away, but the teeth from the bear trap bite into his leg, preventing it. Gritting his teeth, he throws his head back in pain. His veins protrude from his neck, and the spit flies as he pants.
“Would you like me to set you free?” I ask, watching the puddle of blood grow underneath him. I was taught to play with my food. Sometimes the mind game fucks them up more than the actual violence.
“Fuck you, Luca!” he growls.
“What do you think, Nite?” I look over at the man who stands next to me. His hands are tightly fisted and his shoulders shake with fury, but he says nothing. He turns to me, his green eyes almost glowing with rage.
“I agree.” I nod as if I can read his mind. “I think we should give him a fighting chance.”
It’s all about the hunt. That’s what makes this so exciting and gets my blood pumping. I was raised on violence.
Plus, my father sent me to do a job, and I won’t fail him. If I do, I’ll be the one in a trap. And I refuse to give him any reason not to need me. Useless men end up dead and buried in the desert. My father doesn’t show favoritism, not even to his own sons. You either kill or be killed. It’s the Bianchi way.
The man yanks on the chain that secures the bear trap into the dirt. He won’t be able to get it up. I set all twenty traps out here myself. We raided their log cabin an hour ago, entering from the front to push the fuckers out through the back, knowing they would try to escape through these woods.
And we were ready. We spent all of last night getting things in order.
Reaching down, I grab the knife out of my black boot and lift it in the air. Bernard raises his hands to shield himself, thinking I’m going to throw it at his face. As if I would give him that kind of mercy. Instead, it lands blade down in the dirt next to his bloody leg. “Start cutting,” I order.
“Wh … what …?” he cries and yanks it from the ground. “This won’t cut through the chain.” He seethes, shaking it at me.
“It won’t.” I agree with him.
His eyes widen once he understands what I’m saying. “I’m not going to cut my leg off!” he shouts.
I look back over at Oliver Nite. The man has been a member of the Bianchi family for fifteen years now. My father found him fighting off a group of thugs trying to steal what little he had. He took Nite in because he saw an opportunity. One—he could fight. And two—he was a child who had no one. My father could use the boy to his advantage. “What do you think?” I ask him.
He takes a step toward the man.
“Stay back!” Bernard orders, lifting the knife that I gave him to cut through his leg. His only chance to free himself from the trap. His only chance at freedom.
I throw my head back, laughing.
“I mean it!” he screams. “I already cut you once. I’ll do it again.” He swings the knife around aimlessly in the air.
Nite goes to him, gripping Bernard’s wrist and squeezing so hard that he releases the knife with a cry.
“Pathetic,” I spit.
As a member of the Mafia, you are trained for situations like this. And this guy has apparently forgot all his beatings. I never will.
I turn to face my father’s right-hand man, Diaz. He made it sound as though I needed the protection, but we all knew Diaz was sent to spy. To report back to my father how I did and whether I passed the test.
He holds his finger to his earpiece. “We have another one. Snake pit, sir.”
I smile. The snake pit is another trap I set for these sorry bastards. A ten feet deep hole that I had my men dig last night, then place five snakes in. None of them venomous. I wanted them captured and scared, not dead. “Tell them to take him back to the cabin.” Then I turn back to the man. “We’re going to wrap this up.”