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  1. #136
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,772
    I remember the day Crisostomo first came to us.
    I was 8, he only four months younger. Elian must have been 14, Lucina 12, Iuliana 10 and our youngest, Nevio, was just learning to walk. Growing up I always thought there must have been something wrong with me, given our parents had paused the steady growth of their family after they had me, but much later I realised this didn't have anything to do with me at all. It was about Crisostomo. She needed time to forgive him for having him.
    He was small, was the first thing I noticed. I knew he was my age, I had expected him to be my size, maybe taller, as I had grown up in fear of those living in what we called the grey district, brutes and drunks, beggars and thieves. In fact he was more scared than any of us. He was 8 and his mother had just died.
    He looked like father, I couldn't help but noticing. Not sure why, but I felt bad for seeing it. Maybe I thought that if he didn't, I could have ignored who he was, could have pretended he was just anyone, a kid like me who happened to stay with us, instead of the dishonour he was, the stain on father's reputation that had almost cost him his marriage. But he looked so much like him. More than any of us did, in fact, as if he were the legitimate heir and we were the mistakes.
    I was at the door with Lucina to let him in. I didn't realise at the moment, but it had been quite a touchy subject who'd greet him. Sending the lord of the house himself seemed too much like an acknowledgement, but father was against sending a servant, and mother wouldn't have gone if her life depended on it. That must have been why we were chosen. The second son and a daughter. Part of the family, sure, interesting enough to be mentioned at the fancy dinner parties with other highborn citicens and military officers my parents attended, but not so important anyone would expect something of us. We weren't the ones destined to make history.
    "Come in!" my sister said in a cheerfull tone, almost sang it. "You must be Crisostomo. Do you have anything with you? I'll show you your room. Dinner's almost ready. My name is Lucina. A servant will get your belongings and take them upstairs for you. Are you hungry? There's also a bathroom, but you have to share it. You're 8, right? Someone should comb your hair before dinner. You're not allowed to touch the books, only those in your room, they're yours." She was so excited she could hardly hold on to a coherent thought. "I don't think he can read", I wispered, unsure of why I was afraid he could hear me. It was no shame for him to be analphabetic.
    "We also have other toys. Little soldiers and horses and I think there's coloured chalk, you can draw with it on the pavement in front of the house, except when there's guests, then only in the backyard, because father wouldn't like them to see it. Best don't do it at all. Change your clothes and give the old ones to a servant to wash. Or don't, you'll be given new ones. Can I call you Cris? This is your room. You'll know dinner's ready when the bell rings."
    "No", he said. It was the first thing I ever heard from him, and the last I would for hours. "My name is Crisostomo."

    next: Giulia
    Wanda | 23 | student | we are born naked, the rest is drag
    h is a randomly chosen letter
    Hadassah Hanne Harriet Hazel Heather Hedwig Helena Helgrid Helma Henrieke Hera Hjördís Hope Hulda
    Hanjo Harrison Heath Heinrich Henning Hilbert Hiram Holden Holger Houston Hugo

  2. #138
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    14
    Don DiSantos”, Mancini greeted the Don when he entered the room. The Don sat in the giant chair at the head of the table. He subtly straightened out his suit as he walked over. If he’d known he’d be meeting his boss today, he’d have taken more care of his appearance. Maybe gotten a haircut, since his greying hair sat quite wildly upon his head. He usually covered it with a hat, but he couldn’t wear that in the presence of his boss, now could he?
    “Mancini”, she greeted him with a nod of her head, and Mancini nearly descended into Hell (he had no false pretences he was ever going to get into heaven. Not with what he did.)

    She knew his name! He’d been quite close with their previous boss – Giulia DiSantos’ father, Lorenzo DiSantos – but he’d never expected her to remember him. His time with Lorenzo had always been private, away from Lorenzo’s family’s prying eyes. Lorenzo had been quite a gentle soul. For a Mafia boss, that is. He’d tried to keep work and family separated, so Mancini had never met any of his former boss’ children. And now one of them was his boss.

    And what a boss she was. Not at all like her father, she had a most gentle appearance, but a not-so-gentle approach.

    Giulia DiSantos was the epitome of Italian beauty. With long, dark brown hair and deep, charcoal eyes, she looked absolutely impeccable and elegant. She oozed confidence befitting of the DiSantos Don.

    She was only twenty-seven years old – what some would consider a “baby boss”. Young as she was, she ruled the Mafia world with an iron fist. Some would even call her ruthless. Mancini wasn’t so sure about that, but he knew Giulia DiSantos did not let things slide easily.

    “Update me on the Lucchese situation”, she said, voice smooth, but her tone curt.

    Mancini scrambled to get the right paper from the file he was carrying.

    “They haven’t heeded your warning, Don DiSantos”, he said as he handed her the paper.

    She read the paper with sharp eyes, her expression growing darker with every word she read.

    “I see how it is”, she said. She tossed the paper onto the table. “They think they can simply run amok and threaten our Family.” She stood from her chair. “I think it’s time we knock them down a peg. Don’t you agree, Mancini?”

    He nodded. “Of course, Don DiSantos.”

    She smiled. It was almost jarring to see such a cruel smile on such a beautiful face.

    “Follow me, Mancini. You will be assisting me in this matter.”

    Mancini never thought there would still be a day he could help his Family in such important matters. Gratefully and eagerly, he followed his boss out.

    The Lucchese wouldn’t know what hit them.

    Next: Louane / Louanne

  3. #140
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    11
    Louanne, right?” A voice behind me asked, making me jump.
    I spun around and saw a girl about my age standing there. “Yeah, I go by Lieu.” I said.
    She nodded, flinging her perfect golden braid behind her shoulder. “I’m Corinne, Cora please.” She said extending her hand. I shook it, noticing a ring on her right hand.
    “So, I’ve heard about the fight. Did you really kill all of them?” Cora asked.
    “Well, umm yeah. That’s why we’re here isn’t it?” I said nervously. “Listen, Lieu, I want you to do me a favor, I need to get out on the field. You know to go on a mission.” Cora exclaimed.
    I glanced down at my feet. “I can’t.” I said softly.
    She heard. “Why not?” She asked.
    “The academy won’t let me leave the building.” I whispered. “What? You just got rid of one of the worst criminals in the world!”
    “That wasn’t my mission. I’m on house arrest until further notice.” I said shrugging my shoulders. “You know how the academy is about following orders. They needed him alive.” I crossed my arms over my chest and frowned. “They are thinking of my punishment now.”
    “It can’t be to bad.” Cora said putting her hand on my shoulder.
    “Maybe. But I honestly don’t know if I will get to see tomorrow.” I said.
    Cora smiled, “Well, then we just have to escape before then.”

    Next name: Reyna

  4. #142
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,772
    "Thank you for coming", says the lady greeting me at the door to the orphanage. I have to stop myself from answering with "Thank you for having me". I'm not here as a guest.
    "Of course", I say instead. "Where is she?"
    The smile on her face disappears instantly. She would have liked a little more chit-chat, but I don't have any time to lose. "This way."
    I follow her down the hallway to the very last door. Some of the others we pass are open or ajar, I can hear children screaming and laughing. Only the last one is locked. She takes a key from a hook next to it, then looks at me waiting for a sign that I'm read. I nod. She opens.
    It's dark inside the room, as if cloudy, it's windy, and it rains. My first instinct tells me I'm outside, but I know I'm not, outside the weather is beautiful, I didn't even bring a coat.
    In the middle of the room on the floor I spot her. She's kneeling, hands folded in her lap, eyes closed. She doesn't seem to have noticed me yet.
    I squat down in front of her. She appears to be sleeping, breath shallow, eyes moving underneath her closed lids. Her hair, clothes and face are sodding wet, I have to resist the urge to pick up a loose strand of hair and stuckit behind her ear. I must not touch her.
    I get up and take a few steps back. I've seen enough.
    "Does she have a name?"
    "Reyna", says the woman. "We found her wearing a sign saying that around the neck. Nothing else."
    I sigh. "That wasn't her name." I gesture her to lock the door again. "It was a warning."
    As soon as I said it she opens her eyes and the rain intensifies. A single strain of lightning illuminates the room. The woman hurries to close the door, locks it twice, then clutches the key as if her life depended on it. The horror is over, only a few drops of rain on the floor tell of what lies behind.
    "How long has she been here?"
    "Almost three years."
    I swallow another sigh. "You should have called me sooner. It's never a good idea to let a Reyna into your home, but to let her live here for three years?" She looks guilty. I almost feel bad for telling her. "I'll see what I can do about it."
    As we make our way back to the entrance the other children's laughter seems to ring even louder. I hope there's still a way to save them. I hope it's not to late.

    next: Clarence
    Wanda | 23 | student | we are born naked, the rest is drag
    h is a randomly chosen letter
    Hadassah Hanne Harriet Hazel Heather Hedwig Helena Helgrid Helma Henrieke Hera Hjördís Hope Hulda
    Hanjo Harrison Heath Heinrich Henning Hilbert Hiram Holden Holger Houston Hugo

  5. #144
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    1,113
    Clarence liked numbers. They were precise. Logical. They always stayed the same, unlike his life. He'd had a wife once. A family. He'd been friendly, cheerful. But now his wife was dead and he was stuck in this tiny room that smelled faintly of disinfectant.

    Clack. Clack. Clack. Clarence gritted his teeth against the infernal racket of Agnes' walker as she inched down the hall. His own walker didn't rattle nearly as much. In the distance, he heard Frank and Herman arguing, probably about something minor like the results of a baseball game thirty years ago. He humphed and tried to focus his attention on today's Sudoku. It was much too easy, but it would have to do. Pity he hadn't gone deaf from old age.

    There was a quick, gentle tap on the door. Clarence saw Ruth smiling sweetly through the window. He reached over and pulled open the door. The nurse came to visit him every day, concerned that he wasn't making friends at the nursing home. Clarence had told her she didn't need to take pity on him, but she persisted. He didn't mind it, actually. It was part of his routine now, and he liked routines.

    "Good morning, Clarence," Ruth said in her usual sunny voice. "Jennifer is coming to visit later."

    Clarence startled. "Huh?"

    "Remember, I told you last week that she was coming April 24. That's today."

    "I know," Clarence lied. How could he be so good with numbers but so bad with dates? He loved his daughter, but he didn't feel like socializing today. Or ever, really.

    "She's bringing your grandson, too."

    "Wha?" Clarence didn't like small children. Well, he had liked his own when they were small, but now he found them loud and inquisitive and confusing.

    Ruth smiled. "Just thought I'd let you know so you can prepare. Have a nice day."

    She swung the door shut and left. Clarence wondered if he ought to go to the garden and pick some flowers for Jennifer or something. But his old bones were aching, so he lay back in bed.

    Two hours later, he was startled awake by Jennifer swinging the door open. She'd never been one to knock when it was someone she knew well.

    "Hi, Dad." Jennifer pecked Clarence on the cheek.

    Clarence wiped sleeve against his cheek. "Jennifer."

    Jennifer laughed heartily. "Still not fond of affection, I see. Well, it's great to see you. This is William."

    William stepped forward, smiling shyly. He was blonde, with green eyes and a smattering of freckles. Clarence had used to look like that, before he became grey and wrinkly.

    "How old are you, boy?" Clarence barked.

    "Eight," William said.

    "Eight?" Clarence had thought he couldn't be older than seven. Maybe he wasn't so good with numbers.

    "Whaddaya like to do?" Clarence asked, expecting to hear about Pokemon or something else he knew nothing about, but knowing Jennifer wanted him to make conversation.

    "I like to do math," William said, his eyes lighting up. "I like reading about pi. It's an irrational number, which means it just goes on and on and never ends."

    Clarence felt his stiff lips curling up. He'd never expected the boy to like the same things he did.

    "How many digits can you recite?" he asked.

    "3.14159..." William began.

    As the steady progression of numbers soothed him, Clarence thought about pi. It wasn't precise like other numbers. It didn't have an end point. And there was this feeling spreading through him that wasn't precise either--affection, maybe, or happiness, for the first time in a while. Maybe that was okay. Maybe not everything had to be precise.

    Next name: Isabella
    ~ Fiona, Rose, Amelia, Allegra, Quinn, Skye, Katherine (Kat, Kate, Kitty), Alexandra/Alexandria, Rebecca, Lila, Magnolia (Maggie), Ramona, Penelope (Penny), Charlotte, Caroline (Carrie), Madeleine, Renee ~
    ~ Daniel, Oliver, Finn, Dante, Greyson, August, Ezra, Alexander, Adam, Caleb, Theodore, Charles, Finley ~

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