Children of vice, p.1
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       Children of Vice, p.1

           J. J. McAvoy
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Children of Vice


  Children of Vice

  J. J. McAvoy

  Copyright

  This ebook is licensed to you for your personal enjoyment only.

  This ebook may not be sold, shared, or given away.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the writer’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Children of Vice

  Copyright © 2017 by J.J. McAvoy

  Ebook ISBN: 9781943772872

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  No part of this work may be used, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission in writing from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

  NYLA Publishing

  350 7th Avenue, Suite 2003, NY 10001, New York.

  http://www.nyliterary.com

  Intro

  Children of Vice

  is the first spin-off novel from the bestselling Ruthless People series,

  and will follow the lives of

  Liam and Melody Callahan’s children.

  You do not have to start with Ruthless People.

  If you are joining the Callahan family just now,

  all you need to know is that

  Liam and Melody had three children.

  Twins,

  Donatella and Wyatt.

  And

  Ethan, who

  is their oldest and first child

  …this is his story.

  VICE

  ˈvīs

  a: moral depravity or corruption :wickedness

  b: a physical imperfection, deformity, or taint: an abnormal behavior pattern in a domestic animal detrimental to its health or usefulness

  PROLOGUE

  “Monsters make choices. Monsters shape the world.

  Monsters force us to become stronger, smarter, better.

  They sift the weak from the strong and provide a forge for the steeling of souls.

  Even as we curse monsters, we admire them.

  Seek to become them, in some ways.

  There are far, far worse things to be than a monster.”

  ~ Jim Butcher

  ETHAN

  I’m not sure when it happened…

  When it began to crack and alter shape…

  Looking back, there are so many moments that could be the one, the origin.

  If you asked anyone who wasn’t family, they’d say it happened the day I was born.

  That the moment I came into this world as a Callahan, the innocence, the morality, and the virtues that are normally common to everyone else, were defective. Like a house with fractured windows. If you asked anyone within my family they’d say the windows were not fractured but frosted and bulletproof because that is how it should be. After all, the people who were pointing at my windows were the same people who used blinds. That was my family all right…stupidly rich, dangerously powerful, unspeakably ruthless, and obsessed with extended metaphors. But the thing was…I didn’t care if I was a house with fractured or frosted or bulletproof windows. If people were curious to know the type of man I was, they were free to find out at their own peril.

  What I cared about was when.

  When did it happen?

  When did I understand what it meant to be a Callahan?

  To be Ethan Antonio Giovanni Callahan.

  Staring up at the waters above me until my eyes drifted closed, one memory, one moment came forward…

  ETHAN - AGE ELEVEN

  He looked like what everyone said Santa Claus was supposed to look like…with everything but the long white beard, though, which made his red-faced, white-skinned, fat body, cloaked in red robes disturbing to see.

  “Why is there a screen here if I can still see you?”

  He laughed. “Is this your first confession, boy?”

  I don’t like him. I thought immediately and for three good reasons too.

  One, he laughed, when I was being serious.

  Two, he didn’t answer my question.

  Three, he called me “boy.”

  “Yes,” I answered anyway but only because Mom told me to be respectful in church.

  “By your seat there is a card. It will tell you what you have to say.”

  I really don’t like him.

  Why would you put a card in a dark stall? It was stupid.

  Reaching around me, I got the small little card and lifted it up, reading.

  “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned…but no, I haven’t.” I looked back up at him.

  “Really now?” he said, his voice going up. “You haven’t done anything wrong?”

  “Nope.”

  “Sometimes we may think things aren’t wrong or are so small that they aren’t sins, but God cares about them all,” he replied.

  “Okay, when I have something I’ll come back,” I told him, putting the card down.

  “So you’ve never said anything to hurt someone? Maybe pushed your little sister—”

  “Why would I push my sister?”

  “Or hit your brother?”

  “Didn’t do that either.”

  “Yelled or fought with your parents?”

  “No. My parents would kill me and then bring me back to kick my ass to Ireland so every Callahan there could kill me again.” I laughed at that. I liked Ireland. Everyone was kinda like Uncle Neal.

  “Callahan?”

  The way he said the name made me pay attention to him. He said it like…like it was shocking or scary even. No. When I looked into his blue eyes they were wide-open and shaking. I didn’t know that was possible. Maybe his whole head was shaking and I could only really see his eyes.

  “Yea.” I nodded, adding, “I’m Ethan Antonio Giovanni Callahan, first son of Liam Alec Callahan and Melody Nicci Giovanni Callahan. Are you new to this church?”

  He didn’t reply, so I knocked on the screen.

  “Why are you scared?”

  When I said it he sat up more and focused in on me. “I’m not scared.”

  “You’re lying…you should confess that.”

  His whole jolly priest thing went away when he spoke again. “Understanding who your parents are, I now see why you are so ill-mannered and pompous at such a young age.”

  Hurt him!

  I wanted to, but I kept talking instead. “Who do you think my parents are? I’m sure—”

  “It’s not who I think they are. It’s who they are. Murderers.”

  “So?” I asked him.

  “So? So?”

  I nodded. “Moses was a murderer. King David was a murderer. Actually almost everyone in the Bible is a murderer…expect Jesus. But since he’s part of God, doesn’t that make him a murderer by connection? Because God tells people to kill people too and—”

  His voice started to rise. “You are twisting God’s words.”

  “No, it’s there. I’m sure.”

  “You…” He took a deep breath. “In the Bible, boy, God is seeking justice, a righteousness for the whole world, in a world in which there are bad people who hurt people, because back then there were no jails. There was no way to stop people from continuing to hurt and cheat others. The church teaches us every life is precious and in a modern world jails do exist. As such murder is a sin.”

  “What about the army?”

  “It is for the overall well-being of the country and only approved by the church if it is absolutely necessary.”

  Are all adults dumb like this?

  “So then being a murderer is okay. You just need permission. And you can only get permission if it is necessary.
My parents only do things if it is necessary—”

  “Nothing your parents do, boy—”

  “Stop interrupting me!” I snapped, glaring at him as I stood up in the booth. “Stop calling me ‘boy.’ I told you my name is Ethan Antonio Giovanni Callahan. I haven’t interrupted you once. I’ve allowed you to speak your mind. And you’re the one being rude. I told you they are my parents and you still want to talk bad about them to me. If gossiping isn’t a sin it should be and you should confess to it. My parents only do things if it is necessary. People attack us all the time, and we defend ourselves, our families, and our people. If my parents weren’t murderers…if I wasn’t a murderer. We’d be dead!”

  He gasped. “What did you just say?”

  I didn’t reply. The more I looked at him, the angrier I got.

  “You’ve killed someone?”

  “Yes, but I’m not asking for forgiveness.”

  Again, he made another huffy sound.

  “What have they done to you? How old are you that they turned you into a monster?”

  “Thanks be to God.” I said the last line from the confession card he’d told me to pick up before, which meant we were done. Opening the door, I blinked a few times, adjusting to the light.

  “Ethan, what took so long?” Dona popped up right in my face. Her dark brown hair was curled up a lot and it made her look funny, but she still liked it. She was grinning like she knew something I didn’t. Dona’s smile always made me smile no matter what, though.

  But before I could say anything, she was already heading toward the booth I’d walked out of.

  Grabbing her arm, I pulled her back. “Don’t go to him.”

  She looked at me for a long time before nodding and stepping back next to me. “All the other ones are full. Daddy, Mommy, and Wyatt went in.”

  I looked around the cathedral and in the wooden rows were all of Mom and Dad’s people. Two were directly behind Dona, speaking to each other, and a few others moved through the crowd to be closer to one of the stalls where I guessed Dad, Mom, or Wyatt were.

  “Just wait for another one.”

  “Okay,” she agreed, sliding into one of the rows, her green dress puffing up when she did.

  Just when I sat next to her to wait, another person moved to the stall, but jerk face Santa Claus came out. He didn’t look at me. Well, I think he couldn’t see me over all the other people. He apologized to the guy trying to go in next before going back. For some reason, I couldn’t look away. I had this feeling in me and I didn’t know what it was.

  “Where are you going?”

  I didn’t realize I was standing and moving until she said something.

  “To the bathroom,” I lied and started to walk through the crowd.

  “Ethan!” one of my dad’s guards called out to me.

  “Bathroom!” I lifted my phone for him to see. I knew he was still following me, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t doing anything bad. Plus, all the people made it hard for him to catch up.

  When I made it out of the main chapel, I looked to my left and right, but the fatso was gone. I went right because…well, why would he go to the church shop place? The farther down the hall I went the darker it became, and the light coming in from the blue stained glass made it look like the sky before it rained. I walked and walked until I got to a hall with a sign that said ‘Priests Only.’ Ignoring it, I walked down the hall. Most of the doors were closed and one cracked open the tiniest bit. I heard his voice.

  “What do you mean the audio did not work?”

  Tilting my head and looking through the slit, I saw Fatso near the glass window, trying to look out at someone, gripping the phone in his hard.

  “Fine. Fine. That doesn’t matter. The boy confessed it. I heard him say with his own mouth that he and his parents were murderers.”

  What?

  It was only then that I noticed the wires on his desk.

  It clicked.

  Him being new.

  Him being new and coming to this church, my parents’ church, and hating my parents.

  “So you’re saying even if I testify it’s not enough? What do you want me to do? Catch them in the act?” he yelled so loudly I guessed he didn’t hear the door as I came in.

  But then again it was even more quiet than I thought it was.

  “Look, the deal was…no, you listen to me! The deal was I do this and no one finds out about Ohio. I will not—ugh—ahh!”

  “—ugh—ahh!” Those were the sounds he made as my knife went into his back.

  Thump.

  The phone slipped out of his hands as he tried to turn. Pulling the knife out, I watched as his red robe got darker and darker as the blood came out.

  “What…what…what did you…?”

  “This.” I stabbed him over and over again, anywhere I could, his huge body fell backward, trying to grab onto the desk but falling to the floor.

  “Aww, man!” I groaned at my now broken knife. “I just got this one too!”

  Sighing, annoyed, I picked up the phone, which was already disconnected. Stepping over him, I grabbed the wires and pulled and cut them.

  “Mon…mon…”

  “Monday?” I turned back to him.

  He was trying to crawl, but to where I didn’t know. “Mon…”

  “Monkey?”

  His belly rose and fell, rose and fell. He was in shock, I think. He was staring at me in shock. His blue eyes shone with tears, not sad tears. Or forgive me tears. Just another liquid coming out of his body.

  “Monster,” I said to him. “That’s what you want to call me, right? This week in school they made us read Frankenstein. It was cool. I liked it. I like books that make me think. That’s why I’m in the advanced class. My favorite part is when the monster looks at Dr. Frankenstein and tells him it’s his fault. It kinda reminds me of now. You called me a monster. I walked way. Then you threatened the monster. And so if it comes down to you or me, I have to pick me.”

  “Go to—”

  Taking out my second knife…well, Wyatt’s knife, I stabbed him in the throat and pulled it out. When I did, blood went everywhere. Wiping my face, I moved to the window that was stained glass too, trying to see what he was looking at before.

  “Ethan?”

  Turning around, it was my dad’s guard. He looked between me and the guy in red…I wasn’t sure if he was cop or priest. Pulling out his phone, he dialed one number before speaking.

  “Dozen Lilies delivered to my location,” he said, walking closer to us.

  “From Ethan,” I added.

  He just stared at me, and so I stared back.

  “Yes, that’s right. A dozen lilies from…the second. Let the boss know.”

  “Let them all know,” I whispered mostly to myself, staring at both of the knives in my hands.

  Rule 103: always have a knife.

  ONE

  “Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise.”

  ~ Horace

  ETHAN

  It was only when my lungs began to burn, begging for air, did my eyes open again. When I did, I could see figures walking up to the edges. Sitting up from the bottom and swimming till my head broke the surface, I brushed my hair back, inhaling the cold air through my nose.

  “Good mornin’, boss,” all four said.

  Two to my left and two to my right.

  Replying to none of them, already at the edge, I lifted myself out of the water, walking over to the shower to wash off. A maid, who was trying her hardest not to look at my cock as I rinsed off, dropped sandals at my feet once I stepped out. However, before I could reach for the towel, she made a move to dry me. Toby, saving her life, reached out and grabbed her wrist, gripping tightly as I took the towel for myself and tied it around my waist. When I looked up again I scanned her and then behind her, at the chair where my breakfast was waiting.

  “Where is the second towel?” Toby demanded her, releasing her arm.

  “Second…what?” She stared wide-eyed a
nd back at me as I moved to my chair. “I’m sorry, sir. I only brought one.”

  Ignoring her, I sat down, lifting the cover from my food only to wish I hadn’t. Annoyed, I dropped the cover back onto the plate.

  “I’ll get another one—”

  “Get out,” I spoke under my breath, speaking up for the first time, reaching for my phone and rising back from the chair.

  “Sir?” She leaned in.

  Scrolling through my messages, I started walking toward the elevator. “Toby, tell the head maid that if she ever tests my patience with halfwit maids again, it will be her who will be seeking new employment.”

  “Noted.” He nodded for her to leave, which she did as if she’d seen the devil himself, forgetting the bloody tray she’d brought in, the idiot.

  “Today there is another Chicago City Honorary Brunch. Your grandmother wanted to remind you your sister will not arrive until tomorrow, so you’ll have to do the speech,” Greyson, the second in line of my men behind Toby, informed me as we entered the elevator. “The speech has been emailed.”

  I’d already begun to read it before he spoke.

  “Next.” I waited.

  “Mr. Downey…he’s here.” I gazed up from my phone. He nodded, adding, “It’s starting just like you said it would.”

  “Brilliant.” I couldn’t help the smirk that spread across my lips. “Let’s not keep the traitors waiting.”

  Exiting the elevator on my floor of the family mansion, there were only two doors on opposite ends of the hall, and neither of them followed me as I reached my own. Pausing, I glanced back at them. Both of them stood shoulder to shoulder, as positive as either of them could be. Grey’s short orange Irish hair and large frame, and Toby’s shoulder-length brown hair and slimmer build.

  “Sir?” Toby stepped up.

  “The bodies are about to start piling,” were words I shouldn’t have had to tell them but did anyway. “And anyone who tries to stop me will find themselves buried alongside their families under that pile.”

 

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