An Excerpt from BREAKING EGGS by Kurt Newton and L.L. Soares
BREAKING EGGS by Kurt Newton and L.L. Soares
Martin is a mob cleaner for the Vanducci crime family. When his boss needs some people erased, he and his partner, Big Phil, round them up, retreat to Vanducci’s cabin in the Vermont countryside and do what Martin does best…”break some eggs”. Although he gets little joy from his career, he is paid well and the mob is the only family he knows. Still, he reminisces about simpler times–times spent on his loving grandfather’s farm…
When Karl Merriweather passes away, he leaves behind a brood of eight adopted Romanian orphans. With their father dead and rotting on the kitchen floor, Gheorghe and Nina, the eldest of the group, lead their young brothers and sisters off the family farm in search of help. Their short trek takes them to the Vanducci cabin and to horrors that rival those of their homeland.
When Martin and Big Phil return to the cabin to dispatch their latest victims, they soon discover that they are not alone. However, the damaged orphans are far from defenseless, and a deadly encounter soon leads to an unexpected alliance and a war between a mafioso hit squad and a band of misfit children.
And when the smoke clears…heads will roll.
Read on for an excerpt:
Martin had spent the afternoon chopping heads like cordwood.
He’d come to Vanducci’s Vermont cabin, along with Big Phil, to do some clean-up work. In the back of the van there had been six people tied and gagged and covered with a tarp. Six people that Vanducci wanted “cleaned.” Martin could do it any way he wanted. So he’d brought Big Phil along – all three-hundred-plus pounds of him. Big Phil was nearly seven feet tall and he’d carried each of the six people like sacks of coal over to the tree stump in Vanducci’s back yard. Martin made them wait a few minutes, brandishing the ax in front of each as they struggled to scream and beg for their lives. Then he’d bring the ax down, splitting their ear in two and, in turn, their head. For a small man, Martin was in good shape, but sometimes it took more than one stroke with the ax. Five men and one woman. Martin wore a big apron, but he still got splattered with plenty of blood and brain matter. Big Phil got splattered, too, but still wore his Sunday best and didn’t seem to give a fuck. When the last of the six, the woman, got chopped, Martin realized he’d worked up quite a sweat. He was breathing pretty hard.
“It sucks getting older,” he said.
Big Phil just grunted, looking down at the wriggling body of the woman, which had fallen over into the mud.
“Dig a hole,” Martin said. “A big hole. And we’ll bury them all together before we head home.”
“I’m gonna have to fuck her first,” Big Phil said. “Maybe a few of them.”
“Do what you have to do,” Martin said. He’d realized a long time ago there was no use arguing with Big Phil. The man was too dense and too damn big to listen to reason. It was easier to just let him do what he wanted. “Just don’t do it in front of me. And be quick. We want to get the grave covered by sundown. I have things to do tonight back in the city.”
Big Phil grunted again and started to undo his belt.
Martin realized he was still holding the ax. He swung it down hard, burying the blade in the stump, and headed back to the cabin.
Once inside, he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a joint and stuck it in his mouth. He then pulled an old Zippo lighter out of his pants pocket, flipped back the lighter’s head and thumbed the wheel. He stuck the tip of the joint into the lighter’s yellow flame. The smells of butane and cannibis combined to produce pleasant memories. He snapped the lighter shut with a practiced motion and pocketed it.
It took him half a dozen drags before his breathing relaxed.
He then went into the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror. He was a fucking mess. There was blood and debris all over his face and in his hair. He had to remember to wear a hair net next time.
It reminded him of when he was really young and living on his Grandpa Edgar’s farm – before he’d turned seven, and Grandpa died, and he’d been shipped off to the city to live with an aunt who didn’t want him. Grandpa Edgar raised chickens and he’d watch them get slaughtered. It had traumatized the hell out of him. The chopping block, the running, headless bodies. They’d never left his nightmares, even now. He’d heard people talk about farms and killing chickens over the years, and they’d always seemed to find the whole thing funny for some reason. But he never had.
He’d gotten the idea for chopping heads from that. It was his favorite way to eliminate people Vanducci wanted out of the picture. Breaking eggs was what Martin called it. And it became a catch phrase among the guys he worked with.
While Martin was reminiscing about his childhood, six miles due east (pretty much in the direction that Martin’s chopping block victims stared before the ax came down), on a forty-acre sheep farm, Poppa was beginning to smell, and the children were hungry.
Eight pairs of eyes surrounded the fallen man: some were downcast, staring at the broken breakfast plates and trying to make sense of it all (the sausage and egg long since picked clean); others looked toward the ceiling, rolling back and forth in an internal rocking motion; and one, belonging to the eldest of the group, simply stared at a framed photograph on the wall as if trying to will its occupants to leave their two-dimensional world and rejoin theirs.
Karl and Edna Merriweather had been “dyed in the wool” New Englanders – sheep’s wool, that was. Every stage of their lives – birth, education, occupation, marriage, and now death – had taken place within a thunderstorm’s distance of one another. Edna was the first to go, almost a year ago to the day, but not before experiencing ten of the most fulfilling years of her life. Unable to have children of her own, Edna’s heart simply cried out one day when she saw the faces of overseas orphans splashed across the television screen. Ceausescu’s Children they were called. Pale, haunted, hollow-eyed, uncared for. Karl and Edna gradually adopted eight of the tiny lost souls: Gheorghe, Nina, Dimitrie, Lia, Titu, Grigore, Mara and Sabina. They would have adopted more, but Social Services felt eight was as many as the aging couple could care for. Ten years of voices calling her Momma, small arms providing her with hugs. And then she was gone, leaving Karl to care for them alone. And now Karl had joined her.
“I must go and get help.” This came from Gheorghe, his voice low, recently changed. At fourteen, he was the oldest and the tallest of the eight children, and the most physically intact. Dimitrie, Titu and Mara each walked with a severe limp. Lia, Sabina and Grigore each had limited usage of their arms, and permanent scars on their wrists from being handcuffed to their beds during their stays at the orphanages. All but Gheorghe and Nina had difficulty even communicating. Home-schooled since their arrival, the children knew only the world of the farm, Momma and Poppa, the people they saw on television, and little more. Only Gheorghe had gone into town with Poppa, and that was less than a handful of times.
“And leave us here?” Nina said, her thirteen-year-old eyes bearing the dark circles of someone much older. “Who will hold Dimitrie when he goes into his fits? Look – he is already showing the signs.”
Dimitrie’s bruised arms were beginning to twitch and his eyes to roll. Dimitrie had broken the farm’s only telephone, among other things, in a fit of rage after Poppa had collapsed and wouldn’t get up.
“We are going to need food, no?” Gheorghe asked.
“We have the sheep,” Nina said.
“We can not live on sheep alone.”
Nina looked around desperately. Not only was she a victim of nearly four years in the god-awful orphanage, she still remembered being taken into a dark room by a filthy man and forced to touch his stick-like manhood. She was happy to be away from that world and she was determined never to go back to it.