Chapter Eleven - The Harwood ButcherMature

They reached the airport just in time. One of Cortez’s men spoke of a contact who’d meet him in Las Venturas; however he did not elaborate on who this person was. All he said was that he’d find him whether he waited or not. Tommy felt the jetlag before he even boarded the plane. Soon as he clambered aboard, he collapsed into a seat in first class. A welcome change from the standard he was used to from the Forelli’s.

As he wondered about his allegiance with Jack Blake, several thoughts thundered in his mind. He was working with a cop and they, no matter what gang or family you were in, were the enemy. But this cop didn’t send him to prison which was something. Even if he was obsessed with taking down the drug kingpins of the city; Tommy saw how he dispatched the Forelli’s men in Leaf Links with little effort. At least he was on his side for now.

Not since the failed drug deal had he spoken to Sonny. The last time he even saw him was before he was sentenced; the bastard was too ‘busy’ to ever bother with him. Apart from ensuring he’d spend fifteen years in jail instead of facing the death penalty, Sonny had left him out of the loop. Shunting him off to Vice City was the final nail in the coffin. He knew, next time they met, one of them would be leaving in a body bag.

Tommy closed his eyes and rested in his seat. It was going to be a long trip to San Andreas and he was going to enjoy this rare window of peace.

****************************************************

It was an overcast day in Liberty City. Tommy Vercetti left his apartment in Saint Marks with a spring in his step; he felt optimistic at Sonny’s recent plans for expanding the Forelli’s business into Staunton Island where some real money could be made. Even the Don had approved; both men rose rapidly through the ranks as brains and muscle. Sonny was allegedly even next in line to head the Forelli’s! The local police force had trouble keeping tabs on the Family and now, with their ranks swelling and their businesses growing, Tommy believed that one day they’d rule the city with an iron fist.

However, at this time progress was still to be made. Forgoing a cab, Tommy walked to Saint Mark’s Bistro. He seemed more concerned with the dark, rolling clouds in the sky rather than the mixture of the derelict poor and impoverished to the suited Forelli gang members of all ranks; all of which bid him a good day. Despite the weather threatening Liberty with rain, the sky held as he entered the Bistro. Upon entering, he noticed himself in a mirror; he was wearing a sharp dark suit and a leather jacket. His sideburns grew though they remained trimmed as not to stand out to the older Forelli’s; the older generation still held the older traditions close and that included clothing and hair styles.

The meeting had been swift though as the Don left, the remaining Forelli’s clustered around Sonny who seemed to be enjoying the attention. The current Don was definitely on his way out of the game; the man seemed content with the current state of the mob which infuriated many. Tommy, among many others, preferred the younger Sonny who proposed they expand and control so they could all reap the rewards.

Sonny spoke as they all listened with rapt attention. He spoke to each of the members once at a time before sending them out on their business. Tommy waited patiently for his turn; Sonny was known to keep the best news until last.

“...So hopefully, we’ll drive those Sindacco bastards away so we can set up our business there.” Sonny said, concluding with one of the leaving Forelli hitmen. He then turned to face Tommy as he began to laugh heartily.

“Tommy, my boy. We’re almost there! Who’d have thought it? Us two from the mean streets of this town to owning it! Can you believe it?” Sonny’s eyed glittered with pride.

Tommy laughed. “We sure did, pal. Just a few more leaps and we’ll be right on top of the world.”

“Yeah, yeah. Now Tommy” Sonny snapped back to being serious. “I want you to do me a favour. Just this one and then you come back and meet me here. Then we’ll move out to Staunton.”

“Sure thing” Tommy gripped the pistol within his jacket. Almost a habit every time he was about to undertake a favour.

“There’s a Sindacco slimeball that’s been sniffing around in Harwood. He’s not good for business, Tommy. Word is, he’s been getting a little too big for his shoes. I’d like you to pay him a visit and do your little bit of magic”

Standing up almost immediately, Tommy nodded and set off towards the exit. “I won’t let you down, Sonny” he said.

“Good man!” Sonny responded, as the men beside him remained still and emotionless. Tommy noted how stony they appeared compared to Sonny. “He should be starting his shift at the train yard now. If you hurry, you’ll catch him before he leaves Harwood.”

Tommy set off as Sonny turned to one of his men and spoke in a different, harsher voice.

“Make sure those men are called. I don’t want anyone leaving Harwood unless it is in a body bag.” He then laughed cruelly. “Two birds, one stone.”

************************************************

Tommy got out of a cab, threw the driver a twenty dollar note and walked down the dirt path into Harwood Train Yard. An eerie calmness had settled among Harwood which unnerved Tommy slightly. However, he kept on with his task; just one hit and he’ll be getting a free ride to Staunton.

Unusually, the train yard was empty despite it being past eight. Usually, the site was bursting with the sound of chatter and the thundering of trains. But no one was around; only a lone figure cut into the distance. He appeared almost blank white despite his own dark suit; he looked to Tommy and raised his pistol apprehensively. Not needing another excuse, Tommy raised his own colt and fired off two shots. He only needed one.

The Sindacco’s man hit the ground with a dull finality. The bullet had struck him right on the heart and he had died in an instant.

He looked at the dead man and noticed how empty he seemed; the man didn’t even put up a fight. A suicide mission if any; but Tommy knew he had to leave lest he attract the attention of anyone passing. He hurried to the exit, electing to take the back route that lead behind the scrapyard. A quick jog and all he’d have to do is catch a cab further down the street.

At that moment, the clouds broke and heavy rain cascaded down from the Heavens. His vision was severely hampered by the thick droplets that added a surreal edge to the path before him.

A car passed by in the distance and disappeared. Tommy couldn’t tell but he swore it was a Forelli vehicle. Perhaps Sonny had other business in Harwood that needed taken care of? He rushed on as the rain got heavier; maybe he could flag it down for a ride.

“Vercetti?” Came a strange, toneless voice. Tommy barely had time to turn around as a large, dark man brandished a pistol aimed at his chest. Tommy ducked and barely missed the bullet; the report seemed deafened by the falling rain. He pulled out his own colt and fired off three rounds to which the man crumpled and faded into the cascade.

Tommy ran, confused by the sudden assault but had to dive aside as several other men seemed to materialize from nowhere. He reloaded his gun and waited for their hail of gunfire to cease. As silence fell among the raindrops, Tommy fired back in response, wounding one and killing three. They fell gracefully into the mud; eyes still empty and blank. A heavy weight hit Tommy in the back; he fell down and saw a much larger man pull out a sawn-off shotgun. His eyes still watering from the hit, he lunged forward, knocking the man onto his back and winding him. Tommy scrambled for the shotgun and shoved it right into the assailants face. He pulled the trigger and at once, his face disappeared into a haze of red. Splinters of skull and teeth flew aimlessly around him; Tommy stood though he was still reeling from the throbbing pain in his back.

Then, it got worse.

Suddenly, he felt an even worse pain as though someone took a red hot sword and impaled his left shoulder. He almost fell forward from the pain, though he spun around groggily and fired off a speculative shot. He succeeded; the wounded man’s face gained another eye hole thanks to his marksmanship. But it wasn’t over; more men spilled onto the scene as the rain thundered down. Thankfully, his stolen shotgun turned most of them to red dust. One of the assailants head exploded with such force that his blood blinded the two men beside him.

As one man remained, the rain began to peter out. Tommy was in agony from the gunshot wound but still, he forced himself forward. He wasn’t going to die. Not here, not now.

“Who sent you?”  Shouted Tommy, though his voice was hampered by the burning hole in his shoulder.

“Fuck you!” Screamed the last assailant whose revolver had jammed. He turned and tried to run but Tommy had other ideas. He pulled up the shotgun with great difficulty and shot a hole through the man’s chest. Tommy looked groggily from left to right; something was horribly wrong. But, he couldn’t focus on anything but the pain from the wound. His knees buckled and for the first time in his life, he felt defeated.

Almost like clockwork, the sound of sirens flooded Harwood though as Tommy tried to escape, the horrendous burning in his bullet hole protested. As he was losing blood, he went lightheaded. He passed out just before two police officers rushed to him with their service revolvers pointed at his limp body.

*****************************************************

Tommy awoke suddenly to the irritating noise of a couple squabbling just adjacent of him. He rubbed his eyes and looked out onto the ocean of clouds from his seat side window. The old anger awoke within Tommy as the realization set in. He barely remembered much from that day due to the pain from that gunshot wound but that dream seemed to unlock that memory for him.

Sonny had set him up.

It was clear what he had to do. He was going to fulfil this mission for Jack definitely. But for his own reasons. Having the Leone Family would certainly reopen old Family wounds and perhaps, they’d wide each other out in the melee. But Sonny... Tommy would attend to him personally. Keep your enemies closer, as the old saying goes.

The End

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