I have to be honest. I know I wrote this. I have no idea when…it is my stab at fiction. Here we go.

What do you do when you hit the bottom? When all of the things you knew to be certain are pulled out from under you in one swift jerk? When life as you knew it, and loved it for that fact, is over? These questions plague me. They give me no rest.

Trisha was my life. She was all a man could want in a woman and more. A friend. A lover. A pillar of strength. A place of refuge. No obstacle was too tall while she loved me. No force to great to stop the man she believed in, simply because she believed.

They knew this, of course. They knew she was my weakness, but I would never call her that. She was too good for that. But, they took her to get to me. They took the future that we had together and the crushed it into dust. For what? I became more than they anticipated. I posed a threat to their comfort. They assumed by taking her, they would crack me…it ain’t gonna be that easy.

An imposing man sat behind a large desk. One couldn’t pinpoint which was more imposing: the wrinkled face with a cigar hanging out of his mouth, or the 9mm semi automatic pistol sitting on the desk beside him. No other crime lord was as respected or as feared as he.

“Have we cleared up all of our problems?”

“Almost, sir.”

“Almost?” The sound of anger rose in his throat. The scowl deepened as he folded his hands over in front of his mouth. His name was Leoni. Giuseppe Leoni.

“Sanderson’s house was burned as you instructed. All occupants were shot as you told us to do. Sanderson, his wife, and two house guests. Our man on the inside was there when the fire department sifted through the ashes. All four were shot, only three bodies were found. Sanderson is missing, but couldn’t have gotten far. He was shot through the heart. I watched him go down myself.”

“We can’t afford to work on assumptions, Mr. Elias.”

“That is true sir, but Sanderson was a failed project. He could not have withstood a point blank shot to the heart. No one could.”

“I admire your certainty Mr. Elias, but I do not share it. Failed project or none, find me Sanderson’s body. If you do not, it will be your life that takes his place.” Leoni drove a closed fist down into the top of his desk as he spoke those words. “You are dismissed.”

Leoni rose from his desk. His windows looked out over the city. Somewhere, he was certain Michael Sanderson was waiting. A failed project…that was yet to be seen

Mercury City was a thriving metropolis. Business was good. So good in fact, decent people with any brains stayed home in the evenings, because crime was just as good as business. Muggings, rape, and assault were common place. Men like Leoni thrived off of this. The public simply didn’t know it.

His empire was built on the façade of hard work and dignity.

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