His Kingdom Prologue
Woken from a dead sleep with a hand across my mouth and my mother’s voice in my ear, “Quickly, Natale, we must leave,” I know all hell has finally broken loose in our Sicilian home. The sounds of gunfire and men fighting reach my bedroom, and I know tonight my life will change forever.
My papà, Carlo, is the capo of the Morello family. With his title comes enemies. Danger. Death.
Tonight, it appears to be death.
And I have one job.
Protect my mother.
Grasping her hand in mine, I lead her to my closet, where there is a hidden door and a gun on the shelf.
Only we don’t make it.
An opposing enforcer bursts through my bedroom door with gun in hand, blood splattered across his chest, dripping from a wound in his head. And I watch in horror as he raises the weapon, aiming for the one piece of light in mine and my father’s lives.
“Mamma, nooo!” I scream, throwing my twelve-year-old body in front of hers. I don’t feel the piercing pain as we crash to the ground.
I don’t hear the blood-curdling scream from the woman I just protected.
I do see my father standing behind the man who fired the shot as he rips his Adam’s apple from his throat. The man’s body drops to the ground like a bag of garbage as both my parents kneel over the top of me.
Mamma’s eyes are filled with terror and tears.
Papà’s are filled with pride and sadness.
I am his only son, and I can feel the life leaving my body as they beg me to stay.
“Do not cry for me, Mamma, St. Nicholas awaits me,” I whisper.
“Mio figlio, too wise for your years. Don’t go yet, stay strong for me,” she pleads, leaning down to kiss my cheek as I hear Papà screaming at someone.
Too tired to stay awake, my eyes drift shut, and I suffer only a second of regret that I never got to experience the love my parents have.