“You’re doing great, kiddo,” Shannyn said. She watched with pride as her son did push-up after push-up. “Five more and then we’ll do some crunches together.”
He breezed through the push-ups in no time. As promised, Shannyn got down on the ground and did his sit ups with him; he struggled the most with those. She could tell they were getting easier for him, though. It wouldn’t be long before he was ready for the punching bag.
I’ll make him ready, she thought to herself for the millionth time while they did their sit ups. Everyday, she was worried for him. She wouldn’t even let him outside without her or Jason there with him. He’ll be strong. It wasn’t just his safety she was worried about. If he was going to become the Oracle, he needed to start his training young.
The Oracle was someone she’d thought was a myth for a long time. A legend that Mafioso used to scare their kids into being good. But the Oracle was real; the baddest of the bad when it came to wet work. She didn’t know everything yet, but the closer she got to the head of the mob, the more she learned about it. She knew enough to know that they couldn’t fully control the criminal world unless they owned the Oracle. And nobody owned the Oracle.
The only way was for Kayne to take up the mantle.
“Hey, who’s hungry?”
Shannyn rolled to her feet at the familiar sound of Jason’s voice. “You’ve got great timing. We were just finishing up. Kayne, honey, go wash up.”
The little boy hopped to his feet and bounded inside, a seemingly never-ending font of energy.
Shannyn and Jason followed him at a more sedate pace. “I wish you wouldn’t train him so hard,” Jason said. “He’s just a kid.”
“Why don’t you say what you really think. You don’t want me to make him like me.” They’d had this conversation a thousand times in the past years.
“You’re right, I don’t,” he admitted. “You could at least let him make up his own mind about what he wants to be.”
He’ll never understand. “Well, it’s a good thing he’s my kid, not yours.” She ignored the flash of pain that crossed his face and went inside.
Without a word, Jason put his catch down on the counter and cleaned his hands at the sink before leaving her to make dinner.
“Hey, Kayne,” Jason said as her son emerged from the bathroom, “let’s work on your reading, huh?”
Though Kayne grumbled, he sat down on the loveseat. “What are we reading, Jason?”
“Jimmy Sprocket Goes to the Moon.” Jason sat down next to him and opened the book. “Alright, let’s see what you’ve got.” With formal school a thing of the past, they did the best that they could to teach him. Jason was an excellent teacher, fortunately.
Once the fish was cleaned and deboned, Shannyn transferred it into a skillet and put it on the grill. As soon as the smell of cooking fish reached her, her gag reflex kicked in.
“Jason, watch the fish,” she said quickly. Covering her nose and mouth, she ran into the bathroom.
She just made it in time to heave into the toilet.
When the nausea had passed, she rinsed her mouth at the sink – being careful not to swallow any of the contaminated water – and looked at herself in the mirror. She’d felt fine before she’d started cooking. What the hell was the matter with her? The only other time cooking had made her sick –
No. Shitting fuck no.