7. Contrast Within Family Life

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Francesco was standing in the corner of the warehouse reserved for shooting exercises and was watching his sons training intently with his armed crossed over his chest leaning to the wall.

Vincenzo was a better shooter than Viggo. But Viggo could be as good if he did put more effort in practice. Viggo normally didn't go with challenging shots that could risk not hitting target but Vincenzo was a risk taker. He tried to challenge himself by going for longer shots and moving targets were his specialty. But Francesco knew their accuracy in shooting could improve with practice. It was something else that worried him more. Viggo followed his instructions sometimes with seconds of hesitation. He didn't like that. He had to kick it out of him somehow by the time he reached eighteen.

Francesco shouted "Halt."

Both his sons stopped shooting and turned to their father waiting for instructions.

Francesco spoke "look at those two wooden coffins at each side of the room. Viggo you walked to the one on the right hand side of the room and you Vincenzo walk to the one on the left hand side of the room.

The youngsters complied immediately and walked to where their father instructed them to. They turned to their father.

Francesco nodded "Now. Open the coffins."

As Francesco expected Viggo froze at first and looked at his father as though hoping his father was going to take back his order but as met his father's hardened stare, he turned and reluctantly started to unlock the coffin.

As he opened the coffin, Viggo was shocked to find the top of coffin covered with a black fabric. It was impossible to see what was underneath or whether there was anything underneath it. He took a deep breath and he looked at his brother who had his coffin open and stood up looking at their father waiting for instructions. Viggo did the same.

Francesco's penetrating gaze was on his youngest son as he approached his sons. "Whats the matter Viggo? Does this task bother you? You look uneasy."

Viggo spoke "Well.... Yes father. I mean no..... I don't know father.... I was afraid of finding a body inside." There was no point lying to his father. Francesco had taught his sons that lying was the ultimate crime in his household. If they lied to him or tried to deceive him, they were going to be dealt with mercilessly.

Vincenzo spoke "It can't be father. He is not afraid of dead bodies. He has seen dead men before."

Francesco didn't move his stare from his youngest son's eyes as he spoke "Vincenzo, your brother didn't say anything about being afraid of finding a dead body. He said he was afraid to find a body. An alive one perhaps. Isn't that right Viggo?"

Viggo nodded reluctantly "Yes father."

Francesco looked at both his sons "I am going to count to three. When I say three, both of you will turn around and fire three shots at three points equally spaced on the black fabric covering the coffin." He then looked at Viggo "It's time to face your fears."

Francesco started to count as he stood in the middle of his sons "1...."

Viggo was worried. What there was a man strapped underneath that black fabric. What if he killed someone?

Vincenzo on the other hand was anticipating his fathers count down hoping to do well in training.

The boys both trusted their father with their lives. Their fathers word was the law. They knew anything he asked was for a reason. That was what made Viggo to turn at the same time as his brother as his father finished counting " 2..... 3."

Three shots subsequently fired by both boys at the same time. That made Francesco take a deep breath of relief. Maybe it wasn't as bad as he thought. His youngest son still wasn't as defiant as he thought in need of hard lessons.

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