Broken Queen

Page 52

“We were attacked.”
My heart stops.
“Your mother is okay,” he says. “I’m with her now.”
I wait. So does Amadeo. I don’t think either of us wants to ask the question.
“Francesca was killed. As was the nanny.”
I’m not breathing.
“Vittoria and Emma are gone.”
Gone is good, right?
Gone is better than dead.
“Mom wasn’t hurt?”
“No, but she’s upset. Very upset. I’m afraid she might have witnessed the killings.”
“We’re on our way,” Amadeo says.
I disconnect the call and push the phone into my pocket as we run to the chopper. We’re barely strapped in, headsets on, as the pilot takes off, and I dig my phone out of my pocket.
Bruno:Badly injured. He won’t make it. It’s a fucking massacre. I’ve alerted our men in Naples, and a few are on their way here.
I show the phone to Amadeo so he can read the text.
I look at Amadeo. “We need to move her.”
“Agree. I’ll make a call as soon as we land. Call in another favor.”
“Stefan Sabbioni. We’ll send her to Sicily.”
We sit in tense silence, the chopper flying too slowly. When it finally lands in Ravello, we’re both running across the lawn toward the back entrance of the house. I can already see the carnage, the blood on the furniture Mom loves to sit on to look out at the garden as she has her tea in the afternoons. The knocked over chairs. The downed men.
Amadeo makes the call, keeping it brief. Two men who are usually stationed at the Naples house emerge armed with automatic rifles slung over their chests. They’re wearing protective gear like they’re ready for war.
Bruno walks out behind them, his face grave.
“Where’s Mom?” I ask.
“Doctor just gave her a sedative. She’s in her room. Go see her. She’ll feel better when she sees your faces.”
We nod, and both go upstairs, taking in the destruction of the house—the walls riddled with bullets, the glass shards of the windows on the stained marble floor. Armed soldiers stand at the front doors and at every window.
Mom’s room is at the far end. I notice the open door of Emma’s bedroom and stop to pick up the stuffed pig she’d been carrying that day I took her from the shrink’s office. I pick it up as we walk to Mom’s bedroom, and I see Amadeo’s eyes move to the closed door of Vittoria’s room. The one she was locked in when we first took her. Before she was anything to us other than the enemy.
Vittoria is safe for now, as is Emma. They could have killed them along with the rest and left their bodies for us to find. But they didn’t. They’re alive.
“Mom?” Amadeo says as we walk in. Her doctor is standing beside the bed, and a nurse is adjusting the blankets.