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Nicholas Borelli

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FATA! The Act of the Avengeance
by Nicholas Borelli   

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Category: 

Action/Thriller

Publisher:  Author
Pages: 

230

Copyright:  October 5, 2005

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The pandemic abuse of women and little girls in this country compels some to debate and impels others to act!

FATA! was a secret society and it was in the latter category. In a Versailles-like mansion in the rolling hills of upstate New York, their clandestine work was planned.

Nick de'Conti was the tormented father of a college-age daughter who met her end at the hands of three predators. His public life was enviable: a prominent New York attorney, part of the aristocracy, blessed with more wealth than he could lavishly spend in three lifetimes and vigorously pursued by the opposite gender. His Italian passion and his Basque impetuousness were charming and alluring.

But his real life—the one he contemplated between the time his head hit the pillow and sleep relieved him of his incessant torment—was the stark reality of an existence that contrasted poorly with his public persona. Outliving one's child is a penance few bear well.

As a young man, Nick de'Conti was a New York City prosecutor and the United States Attorney in New York. But when his daughter was murdered years before, and the system deprived him of the justice he deserved, he reverted to the instincts cultivated during his inner city childhood in East Harlem. He murdered her murderers.

FATA! was omniscient. Each member anonymous to the other. It recruited from the ranks of well-to-do men grieving for their murdered spouses, daughters and female relatives—The Lost Ones. The Communicators—Sisters of The Lost Ones—were the means by which all information was conveyed among the Fraterhood. It targeted male predators—The Assignments—all over the U.S. It effected The Act of the Avengeance. But as Nick de'Conti did the bidding of his secret society, he began to have other ideas. Notions that conflicted with those of The Elders. Why should FATA!'s work result in unconnected, dead male predators turning up all over the country? With that modus operandi, FATA!'s work would never be done. FATA! needed to do more than punish; it had to deter.

de'Conti set out to commit "The Act" in a signature way. The Assignments all met their end in the same way. He branded each victim with the name of his secret society. No clues left for forensic investigation. He left them in a conspicuous place to be found, their fate pondered by the media and larger society. He became prominent in FATA!—a cult figure within a cult. Other members of the Fraterhood emulated his methods. FATA! accomplished in the darkness of night what law enforcement couldn't achieve in the bright light of day. It deterred and saved countless women from a predatory fate to which they would have otherwise been condemned.

But the society came to rely very heavily on its star performer.

FATA! means . . . . . .

The de'Conti Series of Novels

CHAPTER ONE: FATA!

He may have spent his childhood—his crucible—in the squalid streets and pool halls of East Harlem, but in his adult life he became enamored of rubbing elbows with the gentry. Although he wasn't of it, and he could never be, he became accustomed to having his way with their women. Too accustomed to it.

He meticulously followed the detailed driving directions he was given. He tried to check them on Mapquest but the name of the road he was destined to wouldn't even register at the online service. From his New York City, Fifth Avenue penthouse to the rolling hills of upstate New York was a two and a half hour drive in the middle of the night. The winding country roads were black and unforgiving under a moonless, winter night. He squinted his eyes, but even through his eyeglasses and with the benefit of the high beams of his luxurious Audi A8L, he still had difficulty reading the road signs.
Tires crackling slowly down a long gravel road, he came upon it. It was a mini Versailles. A replica of Chateau de Versailles with gardens, pools, sculptures, fountains and the castle itself in the middle of a rural county in New York. Its limestone facade reflected his headlights. The grounds were illuminated only by the bright headlamps of his automobile. He slowly swung the big A8L around the circular drive. He passed BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus, Cadillacs, Rolls Royces, Bentleys and an occasional SUV. He came to a parking place—apparently his parking place—directly in front of the long walkway to the entrance of the mansion.
He pulled into the space and did exactly as instructed. He dropped down the vanity mirror from his visor and straightened his bow tie. He was required to wear it and it was required to be the color red. He had tied it himself, fastidiously. It was not an occasion that would have tolerated the usual wrap-around, clip-under-the-collar, you’ve-seen-one-you’ve-seen 'em-all, standard-fair bow ties. Those were the kind he wore on the rubber chicken dinner circuit that he all too often was required to endure as a prominent lawyer in New York City. This, however, was a very special occasion for him; he was the inductee.
He took out his black, silk hood, slipped it over his head with care and ensured he could see out the eye holes and breathe through the nostril cutouts. He beheld himself in the mirror to size up how he looked in it, as if there were any distinction among his and the hundreds of other black hoods that would appear that night. He tucked the bottom of the hood beneath his white, starched collar. He looked like a photographic negative of The Invisible Man. He put on a black beret, again as instructed, and slipped on a pair of black, cloth gloves, making sure that his white, French cuffs would protrude from beneath his jacket sleeves for that elegant, finished look he always cultivated. He looked at his image one last time in the illuminated visor’s mirror. He approved. He looked at the digital clock on the dash board. It was five minutes before 3 a.m.
Right on time.
He shut the engine and let himself out of the vehicle. He opened the back door and took his tuxedo jacket from the wooden hanger. He slipped it on and buttoned the top one of the two buttons. He walked to the rear of the Audi, popped the trunk and removed two license plates. They were from another state with different numbers than his valid, New York tags. He walked to the front of the Audi and secured the magnetized tag over his legitimate one. He did the same to the rear. He looked at the cars in front of and behind the Audi to see tags from Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Alaska and Montana.
He turned in the coldness of the night and walked up the long walkway toward the entrance. He climbed the limestone steps to two enormous doors. They were at least twelve feet tall, made almost fully of glass. He could see the faint flicker of torchlight at the end of the long corridor beyond the ancient, wavy glass of the double doors.
“Enter, Brother,” came a whisper from the intercom overhead.
He looked up at it. He pushed on the heavy door with all of his weight and it creaked open with a low groan. He closed it behind him with a mighty push of his back, never turning away from the dark, eerie, uninviting corridor before him. He took a few steps forward and stopped abruptly.
“Wait there, Brother,” came the whisper again. “Your escorts will greet you presently.”
Nick stood perfectly still, breathing shallow breaths. He heard the light footsteps as they approached him. They walked perfectly in unison. Toward him approached two silhouettes of young women. They wore skin-tight, black body suits that clung to them like a second set of skin. Their bodies were young and perfect. He studied their curvature and shapeliness. They each wore a porcelain mask that had a fixed smile. Both wore obvious blond wigs of long flowing hair that were cheesy enough to be immediately detectable. They walked to him and touched him with affection.
They were much shorter than he but one was slightly taller and somewhat more slender. They looked into his eyes, took his arms, stroked his torso and gazed into the eye holes of his hood with obvious affection. He looked over the shorter one. He liked her slightly plumper but tight figure.
“We honor you, Brother. We are happy you have come. The Fraterhood has sought after you always. Since then. Since the time.”
“Thank you,” Nick said. "The time?"
"Since the time of the Avengeance," said the taller one.
"Oh, yes," he responded.
They continued to touch him, not sexually, but as if he were an uncle, a father or a grandfather. They revered him.
Nick could hear faint drums in the background. They beat rhythmically. It was the timpani being gently pounded with very regular beats.
“The Fraterhood is anxious for you, Brother. We will take you to the chamber.”
“But who are you?” Nick asked.
“We are the Communicators,” they said in unison.
“How did you come to be . . .?”
“The Fraterhood rarely speak to each other directly. We are the Communicators. Tonight you will speak only to us and only through us. You will speak in tones that no other can hear. With the exception of the Covenant.”
“All right. The Covenant?"
"You shall see brother," said the shorter one.
"And how did two young ladies like you become involved in all of this. It seems incongruous to me, given the Fraterhood’s mission.”
The shorter one drew close to him. Her body touched his. He relished her warmth. The warmth of the closeness of a young woman on a winter's night. “We are the Sisters of the Lost Ones. We have been designated the Communicators. We have been designated because,” she looked at him intently through the eye holes of her perpetually smiling mask, “we revere the Protectors and we love the Lost Ones. And we are, therefore, completely trustworthy.” She stroked him affectionately again. “And we especially revere a Protector like you, Brother. We know of your deed. We know it to be the true deed of a Protector but you needn’t acknowledge it, Brother. We know it to be true. It is only the Communicators who know the identity of each Protector. The Brothers know nothing of each other. We are the guardians of the Protectors.”
“How did you find me? How did you reach me?”
“Many in the Fraterhood are prominent. News of a Lost One travels quickly among the Brothers and the Communicators. We are always concerned about the potential for there to be new Lost Ones. We always watch for it. But sometimes it is some years, as in your case, before contact is made with the father of a Lost One. Before the recruitment begins. We have to be sure. We have searched long for the ultimate Protector, Brother. The Fraterhood needs your leadership. Your strength.”
“I hope and trust I can live up to your expectations. But how did you make that initial contact with me? The young woman who . . .”
“The Communicators are ordinary people with friends and family and acquaintances—a network. We know those who know you and of you, Brother. They are the Observers. The Observers, Communicators and Brothers among them,—the network—seek the membership of new ones to the Fraterhood. The new Protectors. But there are few who rise to your honor, Brother. Few indeed.”
“How many are in the Brotherhood?”
The short one said, “All will be revealed in time.”
The tall, slender one reached and stroked his hooded face, lovingly. “This night, Brother, in the next wee hours, you will make the passage. You will assume the honor of becoming a Protector. The Communicators, The Sisters of the Lost Ones, and the Lost Ones themselves, love all of the Protectors. This morn you will join FATA!"
They flanked him, put their arms around him and led him slowly down the faintly lit, stone corridor. The timpani beat rhythmically as he approached. Then he could hear faint voices chanting among the beats.
Beat, beat, beat, beat—"FATA!" Two, three, four.
Beat, beat, beat, beat—"FATA!" Two, three, four.
One, two, three, four—"FATA!" Two, three, four.
The Communicators quickened their pace to match the beat of the timpani and the chant of the Fraterhood.
Nick could hear the voices of both men and women, Communicators and Brothers. He felt a cool sweat form under his hood. The collar chafed his perspiring neck. His palms moistened within his gloves. He swallowed hard through his dry throat. The short one drew her body close to him again, looking at him, as if she knew of his trepidation. As if she sought to comfort him.
They walked up a long set of steps as the drum beats and chants grew louder and louder, until they were in an internal amphitheatre. Torches lit the arena. Nick looked about him. There were at least two hundred people chanting. As he entered the chamber they all stood with a loud shuffle. All of them wore either black hoods or porcelain masks. All of the men wore black berets. All the women looked young. All of them wore the same skin-tight uniform. All the men looked like him: middle aged and a bit paunchy.
They began to clap in unison with the timpani. Their gloves thudding instead of hands clapping, muting, muffling the natural sound of palm against palm. They seemed restless and anxious to see him. He stiffened. The small one brought her body to his and hugged him. “Fear not, my Brother. You are the revered one. It is they who are anxious to induct you. They have heard of your deed. Though they know not who you are.”
The Communicators led him to a podium. Seven of the Brothers, hooded and with berets, approached and flanked him. Three on either side but slightly behind him, one directly behind him. The men in the audience sat. The women remained standing. They each put their right hands on their hearts, the other outstretched toward him.
“FATA!” they whispered in unison and then sat down.
The man behind Nick put a hand on each shoulder. The three on each side of him put one hand on each of his shoulders. He could hear the one directly behind him whisper, unintelligibly.
The short one pressed herself against Nick. Her softness was inviting. He became aroused. He could not quell his sexual excitement for her. He looked into her mask, as if it were she, rather than her mask, that was smiling at him.
“You will, Brother, this one time only, address the Fraterhood in your own voice. An address has been prepared for you. It is the Covenant. You will repeat after me,” she whispered. “You will address the Fraterhood and you may look at me from time to time for assurance and comfort, Brother. Have no trepidation, Brother. For you are among those who revere you. And all of the Communicators love you. Do you understand, Brother?”
“I do,” he said, still relishing the warmth of her voluptuous body against his, not minding—welcoming—her repeated attempts to comfort him.
“Repeat, then, what I speak to you,” she whispered. “Do it with the authority of a Protector.” She moved the microphone to her mouth. "Attention," she said. The audience drew quiet immediately. "I am Clytemnestra. The Fraterhood this night will induct a new Protector. A special Protector. He will make the Covenant. He will devote himself irrevocably to the Lost Ones." She pushed the microphone his way and whispered, "Repeat after me exactly without deviation."
Nick steeled himself, stood upright and prepared to address his fellow members.

“I am a Father.
The Father of a Lost One.
She was the flesh of my flesh and
The blood of my blood.
Born in an act of love.
Snuffed out in the April of her prime.
I am a Father.
The Father of a Lost One.”


“FATA!" chanted the Fraterhood.

“She met her fateful end at the hands of three.
The predators who stalked her.
They pitied none.
Nor did I pity them.
I am a Father.
The Father of a Lost One.”

“FATA!" chanted the Fraterhood.

“The Lost One, soft and gentle,
Would never abide of me.
Not as she was.
But will now as she is,
Lost to us all.
Loved by the Sisters of the Lost Ones.
I am a Father.
The Father of a Lost One.”

“FATA!" chanted the Fraterhood.

“The Act of the Avengeance I did commit.
I did commit it thrice.
The Act of the Avengeance thrice set me free.
I have become a Protector.
And I will protect thee.
I am a Father.
The Father of a Lost One.”

“FATA!" chanted the Fraterhood.

“I come humbly before thee.
You have sought the wisdom of the Protector.
The Protector has come to impart it.
The honor of my Act of the Avengeance
Is bestowed by thee upon me.
I vow my allegiance to the Fraterhood.
I vow my silence to my death.
I seek to be the Protector.
I am a Father.
The Father of a Lost One.
And eternal Avengeance will be perpetrated by me.
I make this Covenant on this night
For all eternity.”


“FATA!” chanted the Fraterhood, as they stood and clapped their muffled, rhythmic clap with their gloved hands as they chanted.

“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"

The Communicators stroked him lovingly and smiled at him through their masks.
“You will take a new name, Brother. A name known only to you and the Fraterhood,” said the shorter Communicator. “You are to be known as Agamemnon and you will know no other identity within the Fraterhood. You will respond only to that name. Any contact made with you without the use of your new name should be viewed suspiciously. I will be your primary Communicator," said the short one. "I will be known to you as Clytemnestra.”
She turned to the gathered Fraterhood standing and chanting in the amphitheatre. “I give you the new Protector: Agamemnon!”
The Fraterhood chanted and clapped simultaneously.
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"
“FATA!"


Excerpt

Every father must protect his daughter . . . and all of our daughters need protection.

Revenge is barren: its delight is murder and its satiety, despair.

—Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller
(Friedrich Schiller)



Revenge is the act of passion, vengeance is an act of justice.

—Samuel Johnson




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