From Peppo to Peppina

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From Peppo to Peppina

Post by Sheo Darren on Wed 9 Mar 2011 - 3:23

A/N: I've been away for a long, long time. But I've finally found my GSG itch again. And one of the things I did was to expand on the story and character of Peppo, a cyborg I made for the SWA Milan.

I changed Peppo's name (shamelessly stolen from Gankutsuo) to Peppina (apparently, I unconsciously like names based on Joseph/Giuseppe), gave her an appropriate surname (Orfanelli = orphan), and expanded on her personality.

This is also a sneak peak of the next chapter of the long-delayed Life Goes On.

I hope you enjoy it.

March 11, 2011: Made extensive changes expanding on Peppo's roommate.

X======X======X

Rome

Giuseppa Orfanelli, who went by the nickname Giuseppina and was called Peppina for short, shuddered with every shot and every scream that filtered through the thick wood of the kitchen door. She kept a tear-stricken eye on the entrance and the other on the kettle atop the electric stove.

I’m not going to die… I’m not going to die…

A doe-eyed brunette of fifteen going on sixteen, she worked as a cook and maid for a minor Mafia Family. Her master laundered money for other Families but wisely stayed away from more sensational crimes. He thus had fewer enemies than a typical don, and his nemeses were not gunslingers but accountants, investigators, and the usual informants.

Informants like Peppina.

She didn’t do it out of patriotism. Her heartbeat was not the fiery one of a Garibaldi.

Neither was it for revenge. She disliked how her employers considered her another drudge. But they didn’t mistreat her and they paid her well for her services, so money wasn’t what drove her to betray them.

But Peppina wanted to become something more than a drudge, someone other than Josepha the Orphan Girl, discovered as an abandoned babe in swaddling clothes on the steps of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami, Saint Joseph's of the Carpenters.

She dreamed of becoming a model, the furthest from her humble status. Often she imagined herself strutting for the benefit of a multitude. She would be wearing the latest fashion and the least clothing, the complete opposite of her faded maid uniform. She would be worshipped and loved.

But now she felt like she’d stumbled into a nightmare, like she’d brought the wrath of God upon her own pretty head.

I want to live…

Everyone else had run for their lives at the sound of the first gunshot. Their dying screams still reached Peppina in her kitchen stronghold. The attackers appeared to have blocked off all escape routes. And it seemed like they were killing everyone they ran across, even the relatively innocent household help.

Thinking of the casual slaughter taking place just meters away chilled Peppina. Even the worst of her master’s peers didn’t commit wholesale slaughter. And police officers certainly didn’t do that.

Unless… unless the attackers were the rumored bambini demoniaci, the demonic children she’d always heard about from her fellow maids.

Peppina shuddered and crossed herself. A true-born Roman, she was deeply religious. Yet she was also superstitious despite her urban upbringing. So she found Italy’s ultimate killers truly repulsive to her faith and beliefs.

Bambini demoniaci were a recent legend among the Mafia. Some sort of black magic was supposedly used to reanimate the corpses of dead children. These monsters were then bound to the service of government-sanctioned necromancers and sent against the enemies of the state.

They were the ones who supposedly annihilated an entire Mafia family in Sicily earlier this year. A terrified survivor of that bloodbath had found sanctuary with Peppina’s master. Peppina was ordered to care for that girl on top of her other duties.

She would never forget that poor soul who shared her room. The girl’s mind had long gone. Catatonic during day, she came to lurid life come nightfall. She endlessly ranted about a demoness, a heaving mass of black snakes wreathing an eternally youthful face, coming through the window like a ghost and passing her by like a promised taste of her future death.

Peppina lost many a night’s sleep to incessant mutterings and fits of screaming that had to be stifled with a pillow lest the entire household woke up. And the few times she did nod off proved fitful. For in her dreams that very same demoness came crawling out of the pits of hell to claim her soul, as if summoned by the survivor’s fevered tales.

Exhausted and exasperated, she fell asleep one night despite the madwoman’s nonstop ramblings. It was the best eight hours of sleep she’d ever had.

When she woke up, she found her roommate dangling by the neck from the ceiling. The girl had somehow managed to hang herself.

From then on, Peppina took to sleeping in the kitchen, letting the scent of sugars and spices and everything she found nice lull her.

Thinking of that mad girl, so much that a touch of it seemed to have infected her as well, Peppina became certain that the bambini demoniaci did exist. And if those monsters were the ones attacking her master’s domicile, she knew she was a dead woman. She couldn’t kill something that was already dead, not even with the preparations she’d already made. And demoniaci or not, she didn’t think she could kill a bambini. A man or two, in self-defense, she could kill, or so she desperately told herself. But what Christian woman, what girl who was little more than a child herself, could kill a child?

But I don’t want to die!

She drew once more upon sight and smell and sound of the kitchen to steady her nerves. Walls laden with utensils and spice racks, the floor she kept spotlessly clean, a warm atmosphere… Nowhere else felt home to her, not even her cramped quarters, especially after ghost of that mad girl made it her own. But here, in this warm hearth, she believed herself safe.

That hope was promptly dashed by a cruel cry of “In here!” It was the voice of a man, deep and rough, full of violence.

The kitchen door shuddered from the blow of a burly shoulder. But the wood was sound and thick. It held firm against the invader.

“Don’t shoot!” Peppina screamed, partly in fear and part of her plan. “Please don’t shoot!”

But he did shoot. The gunshots seemed much louder than she remembered. She clapped her hands around her ears and flinched as splinters ricocheted off the walls and floor. Her scream this time was much more honest.

A man kicked the weakened door open. Stumbling into the kitchen with a pistol in one hand, he immediately slipped on a shining patch of cooking oil and fell face first into the upraised edge of a heavy wooden table, upended and positioned so that its top faced the door. That busted his forehead open and dazed him.

His partner was gaping at the disaster when the recovered Peppina seized the kettle and hurled several gallons of hot broth at them.

Hot water, even boiling water, would have just scalded painfully and been fairly easy to brush off. But Peppina added a lot of flour to create a thick broth. She remembered the painful time she spilled such a brew on her bare arms. It hurt like the fires of hell.

The men screamed even louder than she had back then. The second man fired his pistol as he fell, but he missed Peppina. Then he and his partner became too busy with frantically wiping at their faces and arms clean of the burning broth. But the flour-thickened stuff clung to their exposed skin and seared their flesh.

Peppina dropped the heavy kettle on the head of the second man. Snatching her favorite meat cleaver out of her apron pocket, she strode over to them and began butchering them where they lay. Her blows were short and sharp, her experience and hands as a cook driving her heavy knife into faces and throats.

Her victims’ screams fell on deaf ears grown used to the shrieks of a madwoman. What she failed to guard against was the fountain of blood that shot into her startled face. But it stalled her for only a moment. She blinked out what blood had entered her eyes, shut them tight, and leaned into that spray, a mental image of her victims’ faces guiding her killing strokes.

When the screaming and gurgling finally ended, she wiped at her face with sleeved forearms and stared at the butchery she’d wrought.

Peppina had hacked one man’s throat apart and split the other’s cranium wide open so that his brains oozed out. And those were just the killing blows. She’d rained down at least a dozen chops altogether with a very big blade.

Blood masked the mutilated faces and stained their torsos. But she noticed that their clothes had once been a shade of blue.

They’re Padania… those nord bastardi actually attacked us… Why?

She settled upon her unsteady legs and let her body shake out all the terror and fury that had fueled her. Some would have called the ensuing surge of gusto an adrenaline rush. Others believed in morale. Still others considered it a sexual kick or a dose of sudden feminist superiority.

I killed them. I can make it out of here alive.

I’m going to live!


Soaked in gore but heady with hope, Peppina stumbled out the door, cleaver dripping blood and brains.

“Hold it right there!”

A man stood about ten feet from her. He held a pistol firmly with both hands like he knew how to use it. And he was aiming the gun at Peppina.

Her heart dropped out of her ribcage like a winged bird. I should have stayed in the kitchen, she realized.

The man glared at her. “I said, hold it!” he repeated in a surprisingly melodic voice.

Terrified and desperate, Peppina did exactly the opposite. Screaming defiance, she raised her cleaver and charged.

If I’m going to die today…

The man’s pistol flared.

A hammer blow upon her chest slammed Peppina backwards. Even as she reeled, a second blow knocked her off the balls of her feet and sent her falling backwards. Her cleaver slipped from her nerveless fingers and raced her to the floor.

So this is what it feels like to be shot…

Her gorge rose. She coughed out blood, but her throat remained knotted up. While her chest hissed and burned, she couldn’t feel her legs at all.

I can't breathe... I’m dying…

She watched her killer approach. Peppina had been mistaken. Short hair, a baggy blouse that rather effectively concealed small breasts, and khaki shorts made the woman look like a man at a glance. The look on that surprisingly pretty face was that of shock.

She’s not used to killing… she’s regretting this… is she a policewoman?

Her bitter laughter came out as a choked burble accompanied by more blood spurting from her lips.

I, an informant, was killed by a police officer…

That was the last thought that went through Peppina’s mind before her sight grew dark and her world cold.

X------X------X

The man in black watched the carnage come to a close an hour later. Following his radioed directions, the vengeful Padania strike team had massacred the Mafia launderer and his family. In turn, the terrorists got pinned in place by a good Samaritan-type who also apparently happened to be a crack commando, long enough so that a Carabinieri response team could finish the job.

And all was right with the world.

His helmed head inclined. “Mission… complete.”

To Be Continued


Last edited by Sheo Darren on Thu 10 Mar 2011 - 22:28; edited 2 times in total
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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by emperor on Wed 9 Mar 2011 - 9:03

Didn't seen you for age!!

Welcome back,Sheo!!

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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by boomer_gonz on Wed 9 Mar 2011 - 10:44

Welcome back Sheo.

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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 9 Mar 2011 - 15:37

Interesting start; I really enjoyed Peppina's superstitious conjectures about the government's demoniaci...for a girl in her position it seems more resonable than having her understand the true nature of the cyborgs.
The meat cleaver passage was a bit eyebrow-raising I admit, it seemed a little out of character, but I suppose it was neccessary to delay the realization that these were police officers who had attacked.

Welcome back...looking forward to more!

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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by Sheo Darren on Thu 10 Mar 2011 - 10:42

emperor wrote:Didn't seen you for age!!

Welcome back,Sheo!!
boomer_gonz wrote:Welcome back Sheo.
Thanks, guys. I'm glad to be back.


Professor Voodoo wrote:Interesting start; I really enjoyed Peppina's superstitious conjectures about the government's demoniaci...for a girl in her position it seems more resonable than having her understand the true nature of the cyborgs.
Yup. Nachtsider and other writers had written several fics about how a stranger or passer-by witnessed the cyborgs in action. I was inspired to do the same, while taking a different tack on the subject.


Professor Voodoo wrote:The meat cleaver passage was a bit eyebrow-raising I admit, it seemed a little out of character, but I suppose it was neccessary to delay the realization that these were police officers who had attacked.
Actually, she killed Padania terrorists. Blue is the official color of the Five Republics separatists, and they often wear it a lot, or at least they do so in my fic. Since police officers wear pretty much the same color, your mistake is understandable.

Also, thanks a lot for pointing out a weaknesses of this snippet. Peppina going Rorschach on those two guys does come off as a jarring surprise considering how normal she seemed earlier.

I need to make her sudden viciousness more believable, probably by expanding on Peppina's suicide of a roommate. You don't wake up to find your roommate dead and stay stable.


Professor Voodoo wrote:Welcome back...looking forward to more!
Danke! I, too, hope to write more frequently in the future!

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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by Sheo Darren on Thu 10 Mar 2011 - 22:29

March 11, 2011: Major changes wrought! More on Peppina's brief, mad roommate and her beloved kitchen. Streamlined some parts.
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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by Alfisti on Sat 12 Mar 2011 - 6:30

Nice start mate.

Sheo Darren wrote:Informants like Peppina.
Good opener, it drops the reader directly into the action and quickly sums up what Peppina's role in all this is. Interesting role you've chosen for her, a little more interesting then an innocent simply caught in the firing line.

She dreamed of becoming a model, the furthest from her humble status. Often she imagined herself strutting for the benefit of a multitude. She would be wearing the latest fashion and the least clothing...
Funny how those two so often seem to go together, not always successfully... I always felt sorry for the girl who suffered a wardrobe malfunction during a show I went to.

relatively innocent household help.
Got a smile out of the qualifier there.

unless the attackers were the rumored bambini demoniaci, the demonic children she’d always heard about from her fellow maids.
As Voodoo noted, it's always interesing to see how outsiders see the cyborgs.

She endlessly ranted about a demoness, a heaving mass of black snakes wreathing an eternally youthful face, coming through the window like a ghost and passing her by like a promised taste of her future death.
Anyone we know? It's intersting though how you're describing Peppina's former employer. As far as Mafia families go, this mob seem to be pretty alright.

Hot water, even boiling water, would have just scalded painfully and been fairly easy to brush off. But Peppina added a lot of flour to create a thick broth. She remembered the painful time she spilled such a brew on her bare arms. It hurt like the fires of hell.
Peppina's obviously rescourceful, something that'll be carrying across into her cyborg days?

A man stood about ten feet from her. He held a pistol firmly with both hands like he knew how to use it. And he was aiming the gun at Peppina.
Again, a good contrast between who I assume is Julia and the clumsier Padania, again it helps solidfy the character in our minds.

Excellent start mate, and welcome back. Looking forward to reading more.

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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by Officer_Charon on Sat 12 Mar 2011 - 14:06

I am LOVING this initial setup... crisp writing, nice action... always enjoyed your work, Sheo, and glad to see you back in the saddle!

@Alfisti: Regarding the mob, when I lived in Sicily, the obvious concern was about the mafiosi and how they might interact with Americans living amongst their people.

As it turned out, the complex that I lived in was owned by a member of one of the families... I never found out exactly which, and I was too nervous to ask at the time. However, they took care of the people in the complex, always asking if there was anything that was needed... we had a problem with gangs of Vespa riders coming in, causing problems and generally being pains in the asses... until one day we left out of the complex and saw a Vespa on the side of the road opposite the exit, battered and burned. We didn't have any problems after that.

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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by Sheo Darren on Wed 5 Oct 2011 - 4:07

Alfisti wrote:
Sheo Darren wrote:Informants like Peppina.
Good opener, it drops the reader directly into the action and quickly sums up what Peppina's role in all this is. Interesting role you've chosen for her, a little more interesting then an innocent simply caught in the firing line.

Yup. I wanted to make Peppina a bit different. Someone who straddles the fence between the law and the criminals, naive yet also worldly, capable but also fallible.

Alfisti wrote:
She dreamed of becoming a model, the furthest from her humble status. Often she imagined herself strutting for the benefit of a multitude. She would be wearing the latest fashion and the least clothing...
Funny how those two so often seem to go together, not always successfully... I always felt sorry for the girl who suffered a wardrobe malfunction during a show I went to.

Ouch. Peppina wouldn't like that. But it will probably not stop her. She'd find a way to use that infamy to her advantage.

Alfisti wrote:
relatively innocent household help.
Got a smile out of the qualifier there.

It's a gray, gray world ^^

Alfisti wrote:
unless the attackers were the rumored bambini demoniaci, the demonic children she’d always heard about from her fellow maids.
As Voodoo noted, it's always interesing to see how outsiders see the cyborgs.

Yup. I like portraying how one can be religious and yet superstitious at the same time. Complementary contrasts are fun Very Happy

Alfisti wrote:
She endlessly ranted about a demoness, a heaving mass of black snakes wreathing an eternally youthful face, coming through the window like a ghost and passing her by like a promised taste of her future death.
Anyone we know? It's intersting though how you're describing Peppina's former employer. As far as Mafia families go, this mob seem to be pretty alright.

The "demoness" would be Claes XD In my fic, she went through a window in the top floor, which was when she was spotted by that poor maid. Perhaps I should have added a bit about eyeglasses, "the better to see you so that she can kill you" XD

Yup. I believe much of what the Mafias do is similar to what many businesses or unions would do. They just break the law more often than normal businesses- and the latter, I am sure, find their own ways to "cheat" taxes and other sundry things that decrease profit.

Alfisti wrote:
Hot water, even boiling water, would have just scalded painfully and been fairly easy to brush off. But Peppina added a lot of flour to create a thick broth. She remembered the painful time she spilled such a brew on her bare arms. It hurt like the fires of hell.
Peppina's obviously rescourceful, something that'll be carrying across into her cyborg days?

It will. Like the other second gens, Peppina's less of a combat unit and more of an infiltrator. They'd send her in disguise to get a feel of the place and people. Being a maid, she'd know the quickest ways in and out of a place, uncover schedules, find out about secret rooms. She can even poison someone if needed, though it would go against her love of cooking.

When the assault comes down on the criminals' heads, Peppina will wreak havoc behind enemy lines. She can salvage guns from enemies she kills, but she will mostly use unorthodox weapons that are lying around.

Alfisti wrote:
A man stood about ten feet from her. He held a pistol firmly with both hands like he knew how to use it. And he was aiming the gun at Peppina.
Again, a good contrast between who I assume is Julia and the clumsier Padania, again it helps solidfy the character in our minds.

That's Julia. She looks like a boy from a distance XD

Alfisti wrote:Excellent start mate, and welcome back. Looking forward to reading more.

The rest of the fic is on my desktop, which is unusable at the moment. It was 1/3 done when my PC's video card zorched out.

X==============================================================X

Officer_Charon wrote:I am LOVING this initial setup... crisp writing, nice action... always enjoyed your work, Sheo, and glad to see you back in the saddle!

Danke. I will be the first to admit, though, that I all too easily fall out of the saddle. I hate horseback riding XD

Maybe while waiting for my PC to be repaired, I'll go write the next part of Peppo's story.


Thanks again for your appreciation and constructive remarks.
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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 15 Oct 2011 - 21:50

Sheo has his own thread and I knew nothing of it?
What rock have I been under!!!

Good to you Sheo, loved it!

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Re: From Peppo to Peppina

Post by Sheo Darren on Wed 26 Oct 2011 - 4:41

ElfenMagix wrote:Sheo has his own thread and I knew nothing of it?
What rock have I been under!!!

Good to you Sheo, loved it!

Danke, Elfen. And don't worry. It's not you who had been under a rock. It's me. >_<
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