The Hansun family had taken up residence at the edge of the urban Cincinnati area, in a small, two-story apartment complex. For years, the brick establishment had been left mostly uninhabited, but whoever owned the place kept it in top condition, still hoping that people would eventually begin to move in. But of course, no one would want to be neighbors with a mafia family.
Though there were plenty of smaller, lesser-known crime gangs in the downtown scene, the Hansuns quickly took control due to their superior organization skills. Plenty of rival groups wished to be able to challenge the family’s authority, but they always lacked not only just good order, but material advantages and influence.
Scattered around the city were various empty factories or hidden restaurants which housed many illegal dealings which the syndicate oversaw. Only a select few groups, with which the Hansuns did business with, were aware of these locations, and didn’t have the nerve to reveal the spots to competing assemblages since they enjoyed the money they received off of their deal with the family.
With this information known, Melvin Hansun was struggling to comprehend who would be able to not only pinpoint the site of the family’s café hideout, but would also have the knowledge of who was inside the building at a given time.
Unlike his son, Melvin was shorter in stature and exceeded his forties; his hair was a dark brown, he had a goatee wrapping around his mouth, and was not nearly as skinny, and instead was a rather large man.
Melvin looked out of a circular glass window, which was placed behind his desk in the office room of the apartment room the family owned. Since the complex was on an incline, he could look down through the window and observe how the city looked.
The office was a small, square room, whose walls were dark green with a gray carpet floor, with a modest chandelier hanging in the middle of the room, though the brightness it gave off with dimmed down, leaving the room in a more shady environment. Still, to Melvin, it was more colorful than what he observed outside.
“You know, Grim” Melvin said, eyes gazing out the window, “It really is one horrible world we live in”. He turned to see if the man he was referring to, Grim, was paying attention to him. “I mean, y’look at it every day, you start to notice some things just… don’t look right”.
Opposite the desk, where the door to the office was located, was an equally large individual wearing a brown suit with humongous arms that could easily crush someone’s hand. In his face, it was evident that he had aged more rapidly than he should have, and had grown weary playing in the mafia game of life and death.
“My son was just like this city… ugly”. Melvin laughed as though he had just told the world’s funniest joke. “He never understood anything about how to operate the family business. He was always about ‘feelings’ and his supposed girlfriend”. His gaze once again fell upon what lied outside the window.
It looked so dreary and pallid, with smoke rising around from bustling workplaces casting a haze over the sky, the towering structures cutting the sky, and with the multitude of roads twisting through the city containing dull cars, each with smog billowing from their pipes.
“Still” Melvin continued, “His death doesn’t exactly make me want to throw a party. Someone took a shot at us. I want to know who, and how the hell they figured this information out”.
“Such is my job, sir” Grim said, his voice deep and sounding almost like a monotone.
Melvin circled around his desk to a cabinet, producing a bottle of wine and a glass from it. “Naturally, my first suspect is the Payters, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were smart enough to figure us out”.
“I’ve kept an eye on them. Haven’t seen or heard anything” Grim replied, still unmoving, remaining at his position by the door.
“Hmm” Melvin thought, curious about their seemingly nonexistent activity, despite the fact he knew they were essentially destroyed. “They’re the only family I think that would have the ability to pull this off”. He poured some of the alcohol in the cup, and returned the bottle to the cabinet. He took a sip, then looked at the chandelier as though an answer was hidden inside of it.
“I know you think they’re still a presence sir, but they’ve been quiet for a long time now” Grim nodded.
“Down by Fountain Square… I know there’s a little outdoor place somewhere around there by the name of Mikael’s. Payters have a long history of favoring that place, and I’m willing to bet they haven’t ended the tradition”. He walked over to Grim. “Alive or dead, I still want that place checked out. I’ve never trusted a Payter and I never will".
“I’ll check it out, sir. Immediately”.
Melvin waved his hand towards the door. “Go, now.” As Grim exited the room, Melvin called after him, “And Grim? No bodies this time, please”.
“Understood”. And with that, the hulking individual departed. A minute later, an engine was heard roaring in the apartment’s parking lot, and he was off.
Melvin sat in the leather armchair positioned behind his desk and leaned back into it, his expression morphing into one filled with pain. He grunted as he tried to get comfortable, eventually realizing it was a futile effort. He opened up a drawer and produced a bottle of pills designed to relieve back pain, and quickly swallowed one of them, giving off a saddened sigh as he did so.
‘It’s like a Goddamn action film’ Melvin thought to himself. ‘I’m the sorry bastard getting too old for the shit he has to go through’.
He never was on good terms with his son, and his death failed to touch his heart as it would have with any other father. Instead, he was more focused on how the killing had happened, and what could be done to prevent further assaults.
There was no room for emotions in Melvin’s body; he had sacrificed all of the feelings one experiences in life in order to assume control of the city as the prime mafia boss. Having emotions clouded judgment. There could only be thinking about the next step, what to do in situations, how to respond to actions… feelings only got in the way.
Therefore, Melvin reasoned, marriage was his biggest mistake. As a young man, he had fallen in love with a young woman, unaware of the task he had ahead of him. When the moment arrived that he should succeed his father and become head of the family, he reluctantly allowed his wife to accompany him, fearing that a divorce would leave her to spill secrets to the public.
As Melvin began to rest in his chair, the door opened violently, and a woman entered. Her hair was black and arranged in a bun, with a face which sagged with depression and anger. At one point, she may have at one point been an extremely beautiful women judging by her still attractive figure, but the agony of being practically chained to the mafia life had taken its toll.
He was at first startled by the sudden entrance, but his mood quickly changed to annoyance once he realized she was the one who stood before him.
“I saw Grim run out of here” she spoke up, her voice strained with anger, “Off to hunt Payters, isn’t he?”
Melvin pulled up the day’s paper, which was lying on his desk, and turned the chair away from his wife, simply saying “Go away, Lyla” as he did so.
Unfazed by this action, Lyla approached him, standing in front of the window, facing her husband. “My son… is dead. You do not grieve. You do not shed a single tear. You do nothing, nothing at all, except this Goddamn business!”
“Work comes first, always” came her husband’s reply.
“You’ve become too obsessed. Oh, the Payters will return!” she mocked him. “They’ll be running right for our door and kick it down! You can never trust a Payter!”
“Ronnie was a cheating son of a bitch, as was the rest of his little ‘clan’” Melvin spat. “There is a job to be done, so I shall do it”.
“Oh, work work work!” she screamed hysterically, pacing around the officer, “That’s all that is ever on your mind! I’ve dealt with it for too long”. She pointed out the window. “My son is dead, and it’s your fault”.
“Damien told me what happened, it was Harry’s own fault” Melvin nonchalantly said.
“You have the audacity… to blame your own son for this?” She shook her head and turned away from him. “He actually tried to live a different life… that’s why you hated him. He was attempting to enjoy something you never knew”.
“A regular life is for naïve fools” Melvin stated, turning a page in the paper. “I go through things as I should… with rational thinking. If you’re so upset over this, then allow me to find the killers responsible and eliminate them. We’ll remain on top, as we always have. Cincinnati will know we are not affected by this stroke”.
“I don’t want any more death… I just want to see you feel something” Lyla said, her voice dropping as she lost hope. Occasionally she thought the husband she used to know was still there deep inside of him, but it never did show up.
“I feel the right decision. Which is for us to show our dominance”.
Lyla stared at her husband with lunacy, and without warning struck him across his jaw. Melvin’s head jostled like a ragdoll’s, and he felt the place where he had been hit; it was glowing red, and stung like a thousand bees.
A newfound rage growing inside of him, Melvin rose from his desk and grabbed his wife’s shirt collar, forcing her against the wall. Before she could scream, he covered her mouth with his free hand.
“Now… now, stop… stop! Listen to me!” Melvin shouted as he struggled to restrain Lyla. “This is what happens in this world. People kill people, people die, it’s how the fucking cycle goes. You’ve lived this life long enough, you know how this works. Harry is just like all of the other poor souls we see gun downed in the papers. If you want to go through this day without me caving your head in, I suggest you bite your tongue and let me do what I do best”.
Lyla’s eyes were squinted angrily, piercing right through her husband’s, and her body became still as she surrendered and stopped struggling.
“Now do you understand me?” Melvin asked her, nodding his head, wanting her to do the same.
A few seconds passed, which felt like several hours. The two individuals still stood in the office, the rage between them feeling like the power of the sun’s heat. Not a word was spoken, not a single sound was heard. Ultimately, Lyla slowly nodded her head.
Melvin threw her across the room towards the door, and resumed sitting in his chair, which was still turned away from the exit. “Now get out”.
Lyla stared at the back of her husband’s chair, confused as to how things could have ever reached this point. This feeling was soon replaced by the clarity of years spent being beaten and thrown around by her husband, and confusion morphed into anger.
She stormed out of the room. The only individual she loved was now dead. There was no one else she cared for. With no one else to care for, there was nothing to lose.
There was only revenge.