Statues and Statements

August 30, 2008
Daniel Bonasera sat, completely alone, in the church.
It was almost creepy, the way the concave ceiling made the light curve up and spotlight down, or the way the stained glass did not seem to shine, because of the dim lighting outside. It was near sunset, and the purple-orange light seeped in and crawled across the dusty redwood floor.
He was in the front row, sitting on one of those long wooden benches. Every Sunday, it was crammed with people-in the morning, that is. Daniel had snuck his way in later.
Because for now, he wanted to be by himself.
He stared at the podium in front of him, where just earlier that day, the Father had come in, reciting the usual 'Christ is born' speech, then continuing by singing various hymns and tributals.
Daniel didn't understand why he was here. He didn't get why he ever even came. Now that his parents were...'out of the picture', so to speak, there was no one begging him to show up every Sunday. He just did.
And today, he even came back.
He didn't like people at all, Daniel. Sitting among a huge group of Catholics-or anyone-every Sunday morning got him a little 'off'. But this, this was nice. Sitting, him and his thoughts, in the church, which really was somewhat beautiful. The statues-Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, etcetera-lined the walls. He gave each one a quick look when he first walked in, then looked at them no more. They truly scared the s*** out of him. Their empty, white, stone eyes seemed to stare straight at him, and their marbled faces gave them the look of the dead. And they watched him, the dead watched him-
As if to say I Know What You Did.
We Know What You Think.
We Are Watching You.
Daniel sat straight up, the tight threads of his Armani suit restricting him from any other movement. He curled his long, white fingers together to keep them from shaking.
Daniel Bonasera, at the age of twenty-five, had done more than the majority of people ever accomplish in their entire lives.

By eighteen, he had seized control of the Bonasera Cosa Nostra, or the mafia.

By twenty, the Family was a billion-dollar industry, specialties including drug dealing, recruiting minors, and, the biggest, murder.
Daniel's clasped fingers became rigid and strained at the thought. The murders didn't bother him in the mornings, but when you were sitting in here...
They were watching him. He could feel their stony eyes drilling into every part of him.
How many families had he destroyed? How many lives had he ruined? For what? Money?
Money seems like a fair reason.
Daniel couldn't hide his own thoughts, so he gave up. He could hide them from his Family, but not from here.
This tension he felt, when thinking about these people he had destroyed for his own ambition and success, it was rare. Almost unheard of.
By twenty-two, Daniel was the Capo di tutti capi, or the 'Boss of all Bosses'. In mafia speak, by twenty-two, he was the most powerful man in the underground world. People never mentioned his murders. People were afraid of him.
-But the statues aren't. They aren't afraid of you. They are more than you.-
Daniel snuck a look at Mary, then quickly went back to his own hands.
By twenty-three, Bonasera was known all over the underground for his sense of torture.
That, he found hard to explain. Of course, being a Don, he didn't have to explain to anyone. But he had to explain to himself. He had to explain to Mary and Jesus and Paul-
But he really couldn't. He had heard people talk. They knew he had some sick interest in making a person cry and scream and wish for death before it came.
Just that feeling of power over people, it was a craving to be fulfilled. A drug to be injected. A need to want more of.
Daniel felt the statue's looks drilling deeper into him. They didn't like that. They knew why, but they wouldn't tell him. They'd let him suffer, for he deserved it.
By twenty-four, his son, Cullen, was three.
But what was he born into? What was Cullen meant to become? Another Don like him? Would he be a good kid? Would he find his own happiness in hurting other people? Would he fall in love? Would he join the mafia? Would he grow up to be a real man? Or another sick, twisted, torturous monster? Wasn't that what he was?
-No. I am better than that.-
He could feel the statue's stares. They were sarcastic, cynical, cruel. They didn't believe him.
By twenty-four, Daniel Bonasera had fallen in love.
It was a laughable concept, sitcom-worthy. Nicole Williams, a member of the FBI, had come to Daniel in means of arresting him. Instead, she learned to love the Family, and Daniel had learned to love her.
Of course, they weren't married. Cullen was, in retrospect, a drunken accident.
-Statues don't like that-
They have a lot worse to think about, if they're thinking about me, Daniel concluded.
He really didn't know whether she loved him back. She had looked him in the eyes and said I Hate You More Than Anything Alive, Daniel Bonasera, but he still didn't know.
When you live in the Sicilian Underground and are rich, you can 'fall in love' anywhere you go. But he didn't want that.
He wanted her.
He felt a vague burning behind his eyelids.
Tears? Maybe.
By twenty-five, Daniel was questioning his own sanity.
This world he had been thrust in since childhood took tolls on him. He felt fourty, fifty years his senior some days.
But yet, some days, he felt that child-like ecstacy, of pure, real happiness.
That was power, that's what it did to people. Made them happy, made them alive, made them want more.
But it kills your sanity, Daniel mused. Look at him. Afraid of a building at it's statues.
-No, Bonasera, don't play stupid. You're afraid of more than that.-
Playing God just kills your sanity, just kills it. You get addicted to it.
-It makes you afraid.-
Because playing God is one thing.
Being God is a complete other.
Daniel winced suddenly. Those statues, with their cold stone eyes, their empty, white eyes, seemed to attack him. They were mocking him, that`s what they were doing. Teasing Daniel and his empty soul.
-Don`t you see?- the statues seemed to screech and scream.
-You can play God all you want on this planet, you can torture innocent people to get your fix if you please! You can try and fool yourself into believing you love her, or you care about this Family, you can fool yourself into thinking that you are meaningful, but you are soulless! You have no soul!-
Daniel felt his shoulders begin to shake, and realized he was shivering.
-You! Have! No! Soul!-
They were screaming at him, he knew, like a bunch of ravens-
-And you can be God now, but you are human, and one day, you will die.
And who will you answer to then?
Who will you answer to then?!-
The voices stopped abrupty.
And Daniel raised his pale, shaking, clasped hands. He bowed his head, and closed his eyes. And prayed.

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