Die Proudly

At the age of twenty-seven, Dawn Daniels had everything anyone wanted — women, money and power. His father was an infamous mafia don, and it was no surprise that he would inherit the family business after his father died from a heart attack. There was no other family apart from the old don who refused to remarry after Dawn’s mother passed away from childbirth. However, the young don always saw his subordinates as his family. In particular, his father’s advisor had always been a big brother Dawn never had. Ricardo was the last person Dawn expected to betray him. Yet, reality was constantly disappointing him.

“This is the end of line, buddy. It’s been a joy watching you grow up all these years. No hard feelings, Dawn. I’ll send you off without pain to reunite with your parents.”

Growling at the traitor under his nose, Dawn couldn’t help but regret overlooking the signs. His father’s death had been suspicious from the beginning, but the young mafia boss had many things to settle on the turf that he did not ask anyone to investigate it. The funeral was arranged by Ricardo, and Dawn was too busy dealing with the hooligans who thought they could take over the Daniels’ business district by causing trouble.

He should have known it was an insider job. The timing of the troublemakers running amok on his turf was a distraction to the true plans behind the scene. One by one, his father’s trusted allies were getting cut off and disappearing. Dawn noticed the lack of support from them after he was named the new don, but he thought it was the generation gap and their old stuck-up ways of refusing to acknowledge a fledgling as a proper leader.

It was too late now. Ricardo had a gun pointed at him, and they were at an isolated place with no escape routes in the dead of the night. There was nobody around to help Dawn, and the gun he had was useless. Ricardo removed the bullets when he wasn’t looking, a rookie mistake on his part that would now cost his life.

“Say your prayers, buddy. I’m sorry this had to happen,” the adviser smiled.

Burning with hate and stabbed by the betrayal, Dawn gritted his teeth and glared daggers at the man ten years older than him. Even though Ricardo wasn’t forty yet, he had grey streaks in his brown hair, reflecting the stress over the years. The street light reflected in Ricardo’s hazel eyes gave Dawn an idea. It was worth taking the gamble.

“You should be sorry,” Dawn laughed hollowly as he slowly backed away from the car and towards the bridge. “Even if I die, I will come back as a ghost for your head. You’ve disappointed me greatly, brother.”

There was not a trace of fear in Dawn’s eyes, and Ricardo frowned. This man resembled his mother more than his father. When Don Daniels died, he was full of hatred and fear. However, Dawn’s mother only looked at him with a deadly promise that haunted the advisor for years, even after her death. Looking into Dawn’s grey eyes that took after his mother, he was once again reminded about the woman he couldn’t have.

“It’s a pity you were your father’s son, Dawn. I would have loved you like my own if you weren’t his blood and flesh. Too bad Regina died before she could expose me. I’ll do you a favour on behalf of your mother and give you ten seconds to run. I promise not to shoot before it.”

Ten seconds was more than enough. Dawn wouldn’t put it past this snake to go back on his words, so he turned his back to the man he no longer considered his brother and ran towards the bridge. He heard the countdown, but before it reached ten, he heard the gun firing.

That bastard!

Dawn should have known there was no such thing as fair play with Ricardo. Even when he dealt with other mafia families, his advisor was known for backstabbing. They did not call him a double-headed snake for no reason. He was known for making vows and omertas while crossing his fingers behind his back.

A searing pain ripped through Dawn’s abdomen. The bullet went through his flesh cleanly, and it would be minutes before he bled out. However, he refused to give Ricardo the satisfaction of bringing his body back. As long as he remained missing, there would be some of the council who would hinder Ricardo’s claim of the family.

“Merde!” the traitorous advisor cussed when he understood what the young don was about to do. 

He did not miss his shot, but even with a gaping hole in Dawn’s body, the stubborn boy was exactly like his mother. Even in death, Regina would not give him what he wanted. If only she had agreed to marry him instead of his best friend, things would not have progressed to this stage.

With the revolver still in his hand, Ricardo gave chase, but Dawn had a head start. With only a few steps away from the side of the bridge, the injured mafia boss struggled to throw himself over the edge. Blood dripped onto the asphalt, but the stubborn young man ignored the pain, his face pale from pain, and sweat plastered his raven hair to his face. 

The barricade was high, but with a burst of strength, Dawn hauled himself upwards just as he felt someone tugging at his clothes. He had no idea why Ricardo wouldn’t shoot him again to nail him down, but it had to be his lucky night. Even if he died, he aspired to be the biggest pain in Ricardo’s neck. His father often told him he resembled his dead mother, and nobody could change his mind when he was set on something.

Kicking the traitor, Dawn pulled himself over the railing and fell headfirst into the dark waters below. From his angle, he could see the look of frustration and disbelief. It was worth it.

Flipping Ricardo the finger with a boyish grin on his face despite the pain, the mafia don plunged into the darkness below and hissed at the coldness, throwing his body into shock.

The seawater entering his fresh wound stung worse than the wound itself, and Dawn tried to swim, but he was in too much pain to move a muscle. Weak from blood loss, the young mafia boss recalled all the moments of his twenty-seven years of life up to this point.

He was too young to die, but death was fair. No amount of money, power or fame he had mattered now. It was regrettable that he did not do more when he had the chance, but at the very least, he made the right decision in the end and died the way he preferred. Dawn would not be a pawn to someone else. He would die as proudly as he lived.

His parents would be proud of him, right?

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