Red Snow

November 29, 2012
Chicago, Illinois
November 23, 1925

Blood. What is blood? Some fear it, some despise it. I, however, accept it. Appreciate it, if you will. I see blood as a signal, or even a warning. The more you lose, the closer you are to death. This is why I must take it. Take it from others. But I do not merely crave it. I need it to fulfill a debt that’s long overdue. Blood for blood.

I remember the night as if it were only hours ago. It was a cold mid-December night with snow that flurried about the sky with large gusts of wind. The darkness overwhelmed most of my surroundings, but was interrupted only by the occasional street lamp. The wind howled at me, aggressively trying to get my attention, perhaps trying to warn me of the events to come.

I was distracted, however, by the one who brightened that cold, dark night more than any old street lamp. My baby girl, Carina. She was only six years old, and had lost her mother at the age of three. I can’t say Carina remembered her mother, but it was probably for the best that she not find out until a later year. Though I missed her dearly, so long as I had my baby girl, my life was whole.
“Daddy, can we go inside now? It’s really cold,” said Carina.
“Almost, honey. We just need to finish this last ball, and we’ve got a snowman,” I replied.

She had originally suggested the snowman earlier, when she first saw the snow falling from the sky. I was not about to back out of something she pushed me into. Besides, I never really got to see her as much as I would’ve like to. I worked full time as an architect for Chicago. I only got to see her in the morning and at 6:00 pm when I came home from work.

She rolled the ball and I placed it on top of the two others. I then placed two coals and a carrot in the head and thrust into his body two sticks as arms. I stared at it. Though snowmen are supposed to be symbols of holiday spirit, I felt something off about this one. He seemed to glare at me, ominously. Though I was not a superstitious man, I now know that this man of snow was an omen of sorts.

“Hon, could you go grab a hat from inside? There should be one on the rack by the counter,” I said.

She quickly ran inside, eager to dress the now-completed snowman. As she disappeared into the house, I saw a black Ford slowly approaching. The vehicle itself emitted an essence of evil. The sound of its tires slowly moving along the rocky pavement was all that could be heard. And though part of me knew that this vehicle was a vessel for the ill-at-heart, I did not react because I felt that any move I made would encourage them to also react. They stopped.

Paralyzed, I realized that I couldn’t move even if I wanted to. They stepped out of their vehicle. The driver was an average-looking, fairly short man with eyes the color of mud. His clothing consisted of a top hat and a well-tailored suit. The other man was much more hostile-looking. He was a large man, weighing in, perhaps at around 270 pounds, wearing a plain white shirt and leather jacket with regular tan pants. His one eye-catching feature, however, was the massive scar that began near the corner of his right eye and continued down in a circular line until it ended directly above his chin.

I then realized that I had seen this man before. His picture had once appeared in the deceased section of the newspaper, after he was sentenced to death for nearly 30 murders. He belonged to the Mafia. His scar had been achieved in a bootlegged bar fight in which he had claimed 2 of his victims. In that very fight, he also severely injured 5 others. He was apprehended 5 weeks later, after one of them ratted on him after waking from a coma. How this man was then standing before me was beyond my reasoning. Perhaps he was rejected by Death, any afterlife at all being too good for him. Whatever the case, I disapproved of his presence.

“Excuse me, sir!” called out the shorter man.

“Yes?” I asked, trying hard not to stare at Scarface.

“My name is Joseph and my partner’s name is Daniel. We’re from the local Baptist Church and are wondering if we can take you away for a while to question you about your religion?”

Though my heart was now racing, I found this to be one of the most obvious lies I had ever encountered, “No thank you, gentlemen. I’m happy with my current religious status.”

I felt a tugging on my jacket. It was Carina, “Daddy, I found the hat.”

Joe and Scarface quickly glanced at each other. A small smirk registered on Joe’s face as Scarface pulled out a knife. It was an 8-inch hunting knife with a silver-plated handle. The ideal weapon for silent slaying and benevolent butchering. At the sight of the knife, my heart raced even faster.

I quickly scooped my daughter from the ground and ran for dear life. She screamed. As ear-piercing as her scream was, I heard the footsteps of the men behind me. Though I could not afford to look back at them, I was holding Carina in such a way that she could look over my shoulder and see them.

“They’re getting closer!” She screamed.

I was running as fast as I could while carrying her so it made sense that they would catch up. Running by the many still-comparatively-dim street lamps, sweat dripped from my forehead. My back began aching and my grip on her was loosening.

A hand grabbed the back of my jacket and thrust me back. Falling back, my grip on Carina loosened enough so that she flew out of my arms on to the cold, hard pavement. As I hit the pavement, my back took the worst of it and gave way to the ground.

As I lied there, unable to move, I looked to my left. There lie Carina, crying, wailing, blood spurting from her right knee, and there was nothing I could do. The men then crouched beside her, grinning like they discovered gold, knife still held by Scarface.

“Please,” I begged, “Let us go. I’ll give you anything. Just don’t hurt my baby girl.”

Joe whispered something to Scarface and Scarface nodded in agreement.

“Alright, here’s the deal,” said Joe, “You see, murder for us is music to Beethoven. Boos to an Alcoholic. Dinner to a starving man. We need it to survive. We are still going to kill both of you. Just a different method than usual.”

Scarface then slowly brought the knife up to my still-wailing daughter’s face. The sight of the weapon made her scream louder, so Joe pulled out a handkerchief and tied it around her mouth to muffle her noise. He pulled out another and quickly tied it around my mouth to silence my impending screams. He then pulled out two sets of steel handcuffs and shackled my wrists together and then Carina’s.

Now that the preparations had been completed, they were ready to begin. Scarface lightly dragged the knife across her neck creating a small but steady stream of blood. She squirmed about like a worm being cut in two. He remained entirely calm and focused as if painting a masterpiece. His partner observed, clearly engaged in Scarface’s activities.

“Shh…,” whispered Scarface to my daughter as if he genuinely cared for her, “Almost done.”

He again stroked her neck with the knife, but this time lengthwise. She squirmed more malevolently. Tears flooded my eyes as he finished the process with a final thrust from under the chin upwards. Her squirming ceased. All was quiet. My baby girl was gone.

Both Scarface and Joe closed their eyes for a while. They seemed to be pleased with their kill. This was their happy place. At the scene where they had committed one of the most serious crimes a person could. I, however, was seeing red. Were I not so disabled by grief, I would have broken those steel bonds and committed crimes upon them far worse than what they had done.

Scarface finally yanked his blade out of her head. Rivers of blood now escaped from the massive gash and surrounded her body. My fists clenched with fury. He looked back over to me, as if he had forgotten that I was still there.

“I’m not sorry for what I did. There are plenty of people like me out there. They have a hunger that can’t be tamed by a cheeseburger. Some of them just haven’t discovered it yet.”

He stood up. As did Joe. They looked down at me. And walked away. They would not waste words. My daughter’s blood began to pool around me. And there I lie. The police arrived about 5 minutes later after multiple reports for screaming had been called in. And yet nobody had bothered to check it out. Cowards. Though part of me can understand it, had people shown up to try and apprehend Scarface and friends, my little girl might have lived to tell the tail.

As soon as the police arrived, a good man by the name of William Clarke helped me to my feet, on which I could barely stand. He was an officer for the Chicago Police Department. He questioned me and released me the next day. Of course things are never that simple, and I had to go back a few more times. I didn’t mind though. Anything to keep my mind off certain recent events. Every night, however I would lie in bed, crying myself to sleep and screaming myself back awake.

Exactly one week after the murder, I opened my door, ready to take my mourning walk, and lying upon the doorstep was an 8-inch hunting knife with a silver-plated handle. I looked up. A black Ford. Just sitting outside. Slowly, it rolled away. I wanted to chase it, but they would be armed for the occasion.

What could their intention possibly have been? I didn’t think that they lay this here as a threat. I believe it was more of a display of dominance. Basically saying, “We own you and there’s nothing you can do about it.”Oh, but how wrong they were.

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