The lead lining at the base of the coffin was what really saved Tony from the blast, as he'd been the closest to the bomb at the point of detonation. Others perished, but his instant reaction to hit the deck put him out of the field of maximum explosive force.
He awoke in a hospital bed mid-morning next day. He heard a loud ringing in his ears, felt a lot of pain all over, was completely disoriented, in a state of shock. But the worst shock was seeing a copper eyeballing him.
He smelt trouble. It smelt like shit.
Tony would not realise that the forensic team had found no trace of Terry - not even the tiniest body part in or around the remains of his coffin or elsewhere in the church. It may well have been his funeral, but he surely wasn't at it. The police didn't intend Tony to know this before he'd had a chance to 'help them with their enquiries'. Assuming he survived.
The forensics team were able to establish the former contents of the coffin - a large explosive device and mobile network triggering device. Realism was ensured by a bodyweight of lead lining beneath.
Tony Monelli was taken to the nearest hospital, unconscious, but still in one piece and a 24-hour police guard was installed. Tony was, of course, known to the police and the investigating team were immediately sure it had been gangland vendetta or power play stuff. They didn't need this to escalate.
Those mourners who could or would speak were very circumspect in their answers. The brothers Monelli had run the firm with the expectation of 100% loyalty - fedeltà - or else... They were aware Tony had been taken off alive, so far, and nobody was taking any chances - not yet.
Those able to fled the church immediately, either for fear of further violent explosions, or to avoid the imminent arrival of the police. Even if they had no personal hand in the turmoil, it wasn't smart to be found there.
The dead and many wounded had no choice. All three emergency services arrived at the church remarkably quickly, and from then on, nobody was going anywhere except to hospital, police station or morgue.
Assorted limbs recovered were matched to owners. Tony was attended to efficiently by paramedics.
However, later on the forensics people could find no trace of Terry Monelli...
Tony Monelli had an instinct for things… like survival. In the instant his finger accepted Terry’s call, he sensed imminent danger. He dropped straight to the floor, face down, covering head with hands. That instinct saved his life and his hearing.
Above him was a loud explosion as the coffin seemed to disintegrate, although Tony couldn’t see it. The block on which the coffin was laid was strong and the blast went upwards and outwards, killing instantly the priest and four mourners in the first rows, throwing many others backwards.
Tony’s injuries were severe, but not fatal.
Unluckily for someone.
As the fedora touched the coffin, there was the sound of a mobile phone ringing. There was a sharp intake of breath, in unison, from the congregation. The priest, instantly angered, scanned the church for the miscreant. But the sound seemed to be coming from the front, from around the coffin itself.
Tony, right there next to the coffin, heard it and immediately figured it was his own phone that was ringing. His right hand flew to his pocket and pulled out the phone. It was ringing. The screen said ‘Terry’. Astonished, he automatically stabbed the green button.
At the end of the long service, the mourners were invited to come forward, one by one to touch the coffin to say their goodbyes to Terry. Row after row, the entire congregation trooped forward to show their respect, leaving Tony the last to approach the coffin.
Dressed immaculately in a black pinstripe suit, he slowly approached his brother’s coffin carrying a black fedora hat in his right hand. He touched the coffin with his left hand and talked quietly. Then he placed the hat, his brother’s, on the coffin.
For someone in the church, this was obviously a signal.
The service was dark and mournful. There was more weeping than might be expected at a normal funeral, and Tony turned around to see who was showing proper respect for his beloved brother… and more importantly, who wasn’t. But he didn’t spot a dry eye in the packed church. Nobody was that stupid. Even enormous brutes of men were dabbing their eyes. That’s how total power works.
The eulogy was given by one such brute of a man, an emotional outpouring, interspersed with sobs, of what a great man Terry, the deceased, had been. Tony, himself overcome, nodded his affirmation.
The priest asked politely that all mobiles be turned off during the funeral service. A reasonable request and one everyone in the church was happy to do.... except one mourner. Tony was never unconnected, not even for half an hour. He was seated in the front row as the deceased was his twin brother, and he had absolutely no intention to disable his phone, even as a sign of respect. He was the Boss. Nobody told him what to do. He stayed connected.
Tony’s twin, lying dead in his coffin, was connected too. And someone was keeping that connection alive...