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Blessed Ones

Present

Just then I hear a loud gut-wrenching growl, and I know they heard it too.

How can there be an animal in New York?

I look around to see where it is coming from. That is when I hear one of those girls scream. And against all my better judgement, I step out of the car and run towards the screaming girl.

The almost naked girl is now covered in blood. I’ve never seen so much blood, ever in my life.

Things couldn’t get any worse than this, & just then I hear a powerful voice snarl.

“What is this child doing here?”

Earlier that day

I’m not sure why I’m here.

All my belongings are packed away in the car, and here I am dressed in this chic dress, attending this lavish party at Don Luciano’s house.

After my father’s announcement this evening, Maria told me I was to attend a party with them and post that they would drop nana back. There was no explanation for why I had to pack my stuff.

Most likely I am going to be staying with nana.

This topic has come up multiple times, especially after the twin’s birth. But nana has always convinced my father that it will not leave a good impression on Don Luciano, so the family must stay together.

I might be an unwanted child, but they are the only family I have. I have been staying under their roof, eating their food, wearing the clothes they gave me. Things could have been worse for me, but staying with nana could be ok as well.

I look around Don Luciano’s house. The place looks beautiful. All glammed up, just like the people here who are decked up in their sharp suits, opulent dresses with elaborate hairdos.

Looking at everyone around, I am so glad about the dress that Maria has given me. It’s new, well, new for me at least, though it is about two sizes bigger, making me look even younger. As is, I am already on the lighter side, and that includes my so-called girl assets.

My face, as usual, is plain & pale, with dark circles under my stark green eyes, another of my mother’s distinct non-Italian features.

I am just glad that my usually wild & fiery red curly hair is behaving themselves, despite the long car ride, but the mane that sits on my head still looks too big for my face and body. But at least today they won’t get me a lot of attention, neither in a good nor bad way, I hope.

“Oh My, Oh My! Camel Toe is here.” As soon as I hear Elenora, all my earlier hopes of being invisible disappear. I hate that name ‘Camel Toe’, it’s

Elenora is the ‘IT girl’ of our school and neighbourhood. She and her friends belong to an elite group in our school and within the mafioso (mafia) family. She is also Maria’s best friends’ daughter, though that has never stopped her from doing what she does.

“El, doesn’t the dress look familiar to you” one of the Elenora’s friend, whose name I can’t remember, asks.

“Isn’t this the one you wore to your birthday party last year, the one that your mom got custom made for you in this colour,” the nameless girl continues.

“Oh yes, I gave it away a while back to an orphanage. It’s so last season,” Elenora smirks, with her friend giggling loudly in the background.

“I see my hand-me-downs are working well for you, Camel Toe. My leftovers suit you.” She continues, with more giggles from her gang of girls.

Ignoring them the best I can, walking faster to catch up with nana who is a couple of metres ahead of us.

By the time I catch up with nana, we are almost at our assigned table. Not sure what to do, I quietly sit down next to nana, aiming to be as invisible as possible. ‘

The party is in full flow now; the dancefloor is plagued with people, and the one that are not there are dancing were hanging at the bar or scattered in groups talking and laughing loudly. It was a true Italian gathering- loud noises, louder laughter and even louder dance moves.

Maria is also standing in a corner with her friends. I know most people here, but there are many unfamiliar faces as well.

As I scan the party, I realize that most of the unfamiliar faces don’t look very Italian.

I mean, sure you see the brown hair and the Roman nose on quite a few, but their physique is not very Italian. The newcomers are all taller, and not just taller by Italian standards, they are taller by American standards as well. That it is not all. They are well-built like proper gym bodies, like bouncers, like they spend hours and hours training. There is absolutely no trace of the Italian belly.

Even the women, with their Italian facial features and Italian full bosom, they are taller and well-built, very fit and athletic.

Unable to keep my curiosity, I enquire with nana

“Nana, I don’t know everyone here, is everyone here from neighbourhood”.

Nana, who seemed very lost throughout the evening, seems aware of what I am referring to “They are all part of Luciano family”

I look at her, hoping for some more light on the topic. Luckily, she is herself very forthcoming about the topic.

“The unknown faces you are talking about are not just part of the mafioso, but they are also the blood relatives of the Luciano family. They all stay on the estate together and hold top ranks within the mafioso”

“So, they are all Italians?”

“They are as Italian as you could get.” She said.

“No, it’s just that they don’t look very Italian. Are they from a different part of Italy than the rest of us?”

“Tell me Omerta, what do you know about the word “Don”?” Nana answers my question with another question.

 “It’s the head of the family, the mafioso.” I answered instantly.

“Oh Christ! This American Schooling, you children know nothing about your own heritage.”

“The word Don originally comes from the Latin word ‘Dominus’, that technically means Lord, and it in the centuries ago it was used to address the blessed ones”

“The blessed ones?”

“The ones blessed by almighty himself, you see the priests, kings and the ones that were bestowed with powers by gods. They were all called the blessed ones.”

I am not sure I follow what Nana is referring to “Sorry nana, but how is this related to the Luciano family?”

She continues to explain, “So as you know, the Cosa Nostra has been in active since the 19th century, but that actually is the only formal name Cosa Nostra. The mafioso philosophy dates to thousands of years before that. The legend started with the pagan gods”

I see how my nana, a devote Christian, has trouble referring to anyone or any entity as god

“You see when the pagan gods left earth, they blessed certain individuals with some abilities. Making them were faster, stronger, smarter. These were the blessed ones, who took it upon themselves to ensure the protection and prosperity of the community, forming the mafioso.” Nana continues.

Of Course, the mafia had to be the blessed ones.

My nana, like multiple generations of her family before her, is die hard believer in the Cosa Nostra. She does not see it as a crime syndicate. Mafioso, for her, is the family that protects one another and helps one another prosper. It’s where the strong ones protect the weak, and no amount of crime records, police reports or news could change that for her.

“Do you actually believe that Nana” I ask her, but I have an inclination what her answer would be

“Well! They say that the current Don of Cosa Nostra is a direct descendant of these blessed ones. You know the one there are those stories about...”

Of course, I know who she is talking about; the rumour says that he as terrifying as the devil himself.

People refuse to even name him. I have never even heard his first name. He needs no introduction, nor a mention, like the ages old lore goes “Agosti on your breath, can only mean death!!”.

Before I could ask more questions about the blessed ones, I hear my father calling me.

“Omerta! Come with me”

Now where to? I want to ask him where we are going, but I don’t question him & instead quietly follow. Also, since this is the second time, he has spoken to me, and that too in a day, I don’t want to hinder the progress that we have made after all these years. Eager to please, I quietly follow him to the back of the house.

A lot of the people from the party are standing here. Almost all of them are from the Luciano family, the newcomers or the blessed ones as per nana’s stories, all in a super alert mode like they are in competition or something.

One man leads us to the two black cars that are standing right next to the trees.

“Go sit inside the car,” my father barks with a stern expression. I look at him blankly. This doesn’t feel right, the sickly feeling in my stomach is back, I know this is wrong, my head screams danger.

“I said SIT INSIDE THE CAR,” my father repeats himself slowly, clearly angry. What is going on?

I cannot obey or answer back. When I don’t move the man, who accompanied us turns to my father & says “What is this Lucio haven’t you told her?” when my father doesn’t answer, the man takes me by my arm, holding me so tightly that I know it will bruise, and pushes me towards the door of the car

“Listen girl, you are being given away, sent to Cosa Nostra as a tribute from Don Luciano. Now you will be a good girl and do as you are told. Make sure they are happy with you. Do whatever they want, or I will kill you personally, and along with that your entire family”

My mind refuses to think, and I just want to get back home. This is not happening, for sure not happening. I try to run back to my father, but he catches me before that

“Father, please, no, please help me, please take me back,” I cry

“Take you back,” that man laughs “he is the one who suggested your name. He couldn’t wait to get rid of you, like the whore of your mother” he screams.

Despite my struggle & screams, the man shoves me inside the car. All my fight, yelling and fighting is all wane against his large body. Suddenly, he stops in his tracks and turns. I see everyone is now surrounding us, or rather a very tall, muscular man, in front of whom everyone looks normal sized.

“What do we have here?” The tall man asks.

I do not see his face, but all I hear is a loud voice that screams authority, and as he steps forward, everyone puts their eyes down with deference and fear. Even Don Luciano looks weak and afraid next to him. I too move inside the car to put a little distance between him and myself, for reasons unknown to me

“A little gift, from us, Don Set, for your brother. She is an innocent one. I am sure your brother would enjoy her. Please do give my regards to Don A-a Agosti, along with her.” Don Luciano stutters.

Hearing the last word, all the fight leaves my body. I am being sent away, given as a gift to Don Agosti, the tyrant whose stories, legends and lore only scream of a devil.

I am doomed.

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