Instead, her eyes wandered the room and found the zit faced jerk that had punched her. “Asshole,” she muttered under her breath.
“Well I guess your jaw ain’t broken,” Vinny’s tone was antagonistic. He turned to look at Lenny, “You shoulda’ hit the little bitch harder.”
Before Alyssa could stop herself, her gums were flapping, “Screw you! You think I’m afraid of you? You guys think your pretty tough picking on a couple of kids. It took all four of you. Pathetic.” Then she looked at Lenny and forced a smile onto her face, “How do your nuts feel big man?”
Vinny slapped the side of her face so hard that he almost knocked her chair over. It leaned to the right but he grabbed it with both hands and slammed it back to the floor. Then he shot his face in closer to hers, so close that their noses were almost touching. A foul mix of juicy fruit and cigarettes poured out of his mouth. The tense shaking of his body contradicted his calm tone. “Listen you little bitch, I don’t want to hear another fuckin’ word come outta’ your mouth. You understand me? Huh princess? You got a fuckin’ brain in that pretty little head? Well if you do, you’d better start using it. I will knock the fuckin’ taste right outta’ your mouth. You got me bitch?”
Everything in her wanted to make her nod her head, but she didn’t. A slight taste of blood filled her mouth from where her cheek had split against one of her teeth. He had just said that he would knock the taste out of her mouth and yet he had actually just put a taste in her mouth. That fact struck her as funny enough to make her forget, for just a moment, how afraid she was. She almost laughed in his face. Instead, unable to stop herself, she spit on him. Blood and foamy saliva covered him from the top of his left cheek down to his chin. Dumb move.
“My dad is gonna’ kick your ass,” she said quietly, as if spitting on him weren’t enough.
Vinny took a step back and wiped the spit off his cheek and eye, “God dammit!” He grabbed her throat with his right hand and squeezed it hard. Then he pulled her face close to his and growled, “Your daddy’s dead bitch. I shot him in the fuckin’ head. He died like a little, fuckin’ bitch in the street.” Then he planted a rough kiss on her quivering lips. “How do ya’ like me now bitch?”
The words coming out of Vinny’s mouth didn’t seem real. The fact that his lips had tasted like a dirty ashtray barely registered as she began to process his statement. Could her dad really be dead? She had never thought of life without him in it. He wasn’t ever going to die. She had never consciously thought about it, but just then she realized that she had always believed that he would always be there. Her head shook slightly as her gaze move passed Vinny, passed the wood paneling, and into a void beyond reality. Could he really be dead?
Vinny’s laugh brought Alyssa back to that musty, though well decorated, cottage. All he said was, “Yeah, it’s true.” Then he pulled out the cell phone that he had grabbed off of Mark’s twitching corpse. “You’re gonna’ call your mother. You’re gonna’ tell her your daddy’s dead and she better watch her ass because I’m comin’ to get her. What’s the number?”
Alyssa didn’t have any fight left in her. Her bewildered mind raced among random thoughts and distant memories like she was floating through a dream. Any minute her dad would be shaking her, gently at first. “Come on baby. It’s time to get up sweetheart. Let’s go honey. We don’t want to be late.” That’s what he said every morning. He would never say an of that again. A tingling started in her sinuses and quickly moved into her eyes. That tingling quickly spread across her entire face as her eyes filled up with tears that quickly began raining down her cheeks. “My daddy’s really gone,” she mumbled as she shook her head. Then she absently mumbled a phone number. Vinny dialed as she did. Then he put the phone up to her ear.
After a few rings, she heard her mom’s voice, “Hey baby, what’s up?”
‘It’s not dad,’ she thought. However, all she could muster was, “Mom?”
“Al? Why aren’t you at school yet?” Shelia could tell Alyssa was crying.
There was no response, just a muffled sob.
“Al, what’s going on? Why are you crying sweetie?” Shelia’s mind was racing almost as fast as her heart.
Alyssa managed to get a few words out between her sobs, “Dad…these guys…black car…”
Son of a bitch, Alyssa obviously wasn’t with Mark. “Alyssa sweetie, talk to me. Where’s daddy?”
“Daddy’s dead mom!” Loud and clear.
Shelia deflated like a large man had just punched her in the chest. Her breath raced from her so quickly that she could barely keep up with it. Her initial reaction was to say, “What?” Luckily her mouth wouldn’t work right. That was good. She didn’t want to hear it again. She ran a shaky hand through her hair as her eyes darted back and forth, not really looking at anything. She felt lost. She felt to blame, even without Alyssa giving her the details that Vinny Heart had killed her husband. Then phone was being fumbled around and Alyssa’s sobbing grew fainter.
“Al,” she didn’t mean to shout into the phone but she couldn’t control her voice. Her eyes began filling up.
“Stiletto, you know I got your kids and you know your husband’s dead. Real hero that guy. Huh, poor chump really put up a fight. You’d have been proud of him. A .45 against your head will slow you down though. Don’t worry. He didn’t cry or anything like that. He went out real noble like. I wish you could have seen it. He was on his knees tellin’ me to fuck off when I pulled the trigger. I put the barrel right up to his head. Hmm, will you look at that? I still got his blood on my hands. Man, let me tell ya’, he bled like a stuck pig. Wait a minute. What is that? That looks like a chunk of brain.”
Shelia finally cut him off. “Look you son of a bitch, you obviously know who I am and it won’t be long before I know where you are Vinny.” She paused for effect. His silence was all the proof she needed that the fact that she knew who he was had registered with his tiny brain. He knew exactly who she was. “You know what I’m capable of. If you’ve been a good boy and done your homework, you already know how I’m going to kill you. We both know that you’re already dead, but I’ll cut you a break. You keep your hands off of my kids and I will kill you quick. You touch my kids and the deal is off. I’ll do you slow and make you suffer. I’ll cut you to pieces while you’re still breathing, and then I’ll pack those pieces in a garbage bag and hand deliver them to your mother right before I kill her too. Do you understand me?”
Vinny’s voice quivered the slightest bit. It was just enough to let Shelia know that she had gotten to him. “Yeah, well ah…you just um…don’t leave town or nothin’ and ah…yeah well ah…I’ll call you back at this number and ah…give you more instructions.”
Shelia started to respond, but the phone went dead. She had to go see Rufus. He had to find out where Vinny Heart was hiding quickly. The kids were just bait. Of course, she hadn’t expected that amateur to kill Mark and he did. All of the rules go out the window when you’re dealing with amateurs. Sometimes that made them more dangerous than the pros. The only thing she knew for sure was that she had to get to her kids as quickly as possible. Vinny was a total amateur and he wasn’t playing by any rules. He was completely unpredictable.