John Cremonesi lay on the cold, hard floor, his eyes dark. A rough cloth sack covered his head, shielding his face from his captors, and his hands were cuffed. He felt two strong arms grab him by his shoulders, and he was violently lifted to his feet. He stumbled in the darkness, trying to stay stable. He felt something grab his face, and the sack was torn from his head. Three very imposing men stood around him, in black suits. Their heads were shaved and their skin was gray, worn and cracked.
"Who are you?" he stuttered, his eyes flicking around the dark, old warehouse.
"I think you know exactly who we are." One of the men said in a thick Russian accent.
"Oh shit." John said, terrified. "Please! I don't work for the Italians, I just do my job... and they happen to be my clients."
"You sell them weapons." One of the Russians said. "Where do you bring them?"
"I don't know!" John shouted. "They don't take me to their headquarters, they pick them up from me!"
"WHERE?" the Russian shouted, his deep voice echoing through the warehouse.
"The - the docks!" John said. "They meet me at the docks! Just please, for the love of god don't kill me!" Tears flooded his eyes and he fell to the floor, sobbing. One of the Russians approached him and knelt down beside him, a longue, scaly tounge coming out to lick his lips. Johns heart stopped when he saw that two of the Russians teeth had been sharpened into sharp, dagger like fangs. A green liquid ran out of the Russians mouth as he gave John a big, toothy grin.
"Kill you?" the Russian hissed. "No... we're going to make you one of us!"
John Cremonesi's voice echoed throughout the streets around the abandoned warehouse, heard by no one. No one but the shadows.
Vladimir sat on the balcony of his second floor apartment, comfortable in his wooden lawnchair, reading the newspaper and sipping his coffee. Tatiana had gone shopping for the day with her girlfriends, and Vladimir was left all by himself, bored out of his skull. He watched the people walk past, his trained eye looking for anything suspicious. A lump in the jacket that might be a hidden pistol. A suitcase with a bomb inside. A car filled with mobsters. He stopped and shook his head to clear his mind. He did not flee to America to live his life in constant fear, he came to forget his past. But he couldn't stop. He was a killer, and he knew it. Vladimir flipped through his newspaper, stopping to chuckle at the funnies, check up on sports, then one article caught his eye.
"Local Man, 46, goes missing." he read the main text. "John Cremonesi, 46, has been missing for three days. He was reported missing by his wife after 24 hours. Cremonesi does have a criminal record, but not a violent one, and police are asking for any information about Cremonesi's dissapearance."
Vladimir looked at the photo of the small italian man, and his mind was immediately flooded with a hundred different ways this man could be dead. He pictured him at the bottom of a lake, cement hardened around his feet, or reduced to nothing but ashes in a stone fireplace, or mown to bits in a woodchipper. Vladimir sqeezed his eyes shut, trying to expel these awful thoughts from his mind, and he lashed out with his arm, knocking his coffee to the ground, where the mug shattered into pieces. He stood up from his chair, and took a deep breath to clear his head. He got his coat and left his apartment, deciding to take a small stroll, just around the block and back. He had been wanting to visit the bookstore to pick up a book for Tatiana. She had recently heard of this "George Orwell" and desperately wanted to hear what all the fuss was about. He cut through a back alley between the butchers shop and the apartment building to cut some time off his walk, because he wasn't sure what time the bookstore closed on Wednesdays. He walked quickly through the alley, still not trusting of the people of New York... and for good reason. The sun was beginning to go down, and he had heard that at night, the monsters of the city begin to awaken. Criminals never operated during the day, no... people were far to aware during the day. At night, they're tired, it's dark... that's when you strike. As Vladimir was just about to clear the alley, he heard a voice behind him.
"Vladimir." It said in a chilling voice.
He spun around and saw two pale men standing in the alley wearing beige fedoras and trenchcoats. Vladimir casually slipped his hand into his pocket, which fell on the small metal switchblade he kept on him.
"Remember us?" one of the men asked. His gray lips peeled back in a sick smile to reveal sharp teeth and dark red gums. "Mikhailov?" the man hissed.
Vladimirs expression tightened in disgust. "Romanov..." he said. "What do you want from me?"
"The bratva needs you back my old friend." the man said, his voice also betraying a russian accent. "We have an offer for you."
"No." Vladimir said, and turned around to continue towards the bookstore. "No, and never bother me again, if you know what's good for you."
Suddenly, Vladimir felt a cold breath on his neck. The man was now mere inches away from his ear, having moved at least fifteen feet in split second. The man put one gray, cracked hand on Vladimirs shoulder.
"I never said you had a choice."
Vladimir pulled the switchblade from his hand, but he was suddenly thrown backwards, flying weightlessly as if hit by a truck. He slammed against a brick building, and looked around for his knife, which had flown from his hand. The other Russian was right in front of him know, twirling the blade between his fingers. Vladimir tightened his fist and threw a punch, but the mobster grabbed his arm, twisted it behind him and snapped it at the elbow, sending such a horrible pain through Vladimirs body that he thought he was going to vomit. He lay limp on the ground, bleeding profusely. He saw his blood stained bone protruding from his skin, snapped like a stick. Vladimir didn't understand. He was nearly two hundred pounds, but these men threw him like a toy.
The Russian knelt beside him and leaned in close. "Find us when you wake up." he said, and he then stood up, raised his foot in the air, and brought it down on Vladimirs head.
And as the night fell, the only one's who would discover Vladimirs body would be two crows, swooping down to feast on his corpse.