Revenge, Inc. Part 25: A Short Story
Hello everyone and welcome back. So as to not confuse you, the section here titled "A Friend In Need" actually picks up from where Revenge, Inc. Part 2 leaves off in the scene where Peter visits Marak at his dwelling. As you know, most of this story is told in flashbacks, so if it'll help you, please read Part 2 so as to get reacquainted with what's going on. You could however skip Part 2, as I believe there's enough here to not confuse you too much.
I'd like to again thank Cris A for providing the last picture in this installment. Hopefully, I'd like to work with him in designer a book cover for this NOVEL, but please don't tell him I said so, as I want it to be a surprise (ha ha).
Before writing this installment, I thought it would be easier than it actually was. As always, I did my best to organize my thoughts and share it in a somewhat coherent manner. If you do have any questions or if any of this does confuse you, please reach out to me in your comments. I'd love hear what you have to say. Please enjoy!
I've noticed that week after week, more and more people are coming by and so are taking a sneak-peek at what's going on so far. Although I am flattered by the interest in this work of mine and appreciate the curiosity, I highly suggest that for those of you that haven't yet, to please begin reading this story beginning with of course Part One. Click on the link below to get started.
Echoes of Her
When the sun sets, I reunite with the night: I take it all in, breathe it in, and become one with it. I listen for my cue so I can react. Whenever it’s too silent, I get nervous, because a city this big shouldn’t ever be so quiet. It’s simply unnatural for it to be. I’m bent on hearing the slightest of sounds to set me off into a fury, which sends me running. But tonight it's different. There’s just so much on my mind. As I’m crouched over Saint Augustine's steeple with the city of Valhalla unobstructed and below me, my thoughts escape me and so brings me back to the last conversation I had with Rayna:
“What is it that you want from me, Rayna?” I asked her. I could still see her tears, her innocence. It pained me to see her that way. I could see her as both the little girl I met once so many years ago and the beautiful woman that stood before me for the first time at Saint Augustine’s.
“YOU, Cody…All I want and will ever want is YOU. I know about your past and of course you know about mine… Neither of us can change that or change our pasts and I can’t change the way I feel about you…I consider myself one of the lucky few who know you and know of you. Most of the people in Valhalla think you’re some kind of ghost or phantom because you’re rarely ever seen. Already, you’re a living legend in Valhalla. You’re exactly what this city needed. You’re exactly what I need.” After some thought, I responded back:
“Well, I’m not so sure about that…I do what I do because of what’s been done to Haley.” I then placed my hand upon my heart: “Do you see this? Revenge is very much in me. Revenge is in my heart. It courses through me like venom, this hatred…”
“That isn’t hatred, Cody. It’s love. The love for her is what kept you going all this time. Though she’s gone, she keeps you alive. Your love for Haley is what saved you. Your love for Haley is what saved me from my father that night four years ago…How many countless others have you also saved?”
“I don’t think you understand. I’m not a good person.”
“How are you NOT a good person? You bring balance to this city!”
“I wasn’t a good father, Rayna. If I was, Haley would be alive today.”
“That’s not true.”
“How would you know?”
“Because you can’t blame yourself for the actions of others. That’s something that's beyond your control, Cody.” I ignored her.
“Can’t you see? None of this would’ve happened…None of this would’ve NEEDED to happen.”
“I don’t want to say this, but everything does happen for a reason, Cody, whether you like it or not…I’m sorry.”
“I’d take it all back if I could, just so I'd have Haley back, just so I could tell her that I'm sorry.” At this point, Rayna takes both my hands. I could feel her--She was the opposite of everything I was feeling.
“I know you would, but you can’t. You know, I always knew that somehow or way I’d find you—whether through your father or on my own. Every night, I'd look out my bedroom window and wondered if I’d see you somewhere, perhaps when you came out of the shadows. I hoped that the paths of our lives would somehow cross and that we’d meet again… I really hoped that we would.”
“That’s something that I don’t have.”
“Hope.” Her grip became tense.
“How can you say that? How can you possibly have no hope when you bring so much hope to others? This world needs you. I’ve suffered in my life and you’ve suffered in yours. In everything there is an end and a beginning as well. It was at Mary Of Grace that I learned this. I learned that in the aftermath, my suffering in the hands of my father was a choice. I was told that I could suffer for as long as I wanted, and that if I wanted, I could begin my life without having to suffer—that I could revert back to being miserable and feeling sorry for myself at any time, but ultimately, I had a choice. I chose life, Cody. I chose hope.” I was exhausted. When looking into her eyes, I realized that she was the embodiment of exactly what she believed.
“So what if I do follow that same path and it leads to no end?”
"But don't you see? The hope of a good end is all that really matters! The only thing that's holding you back is fear. Fear is preventing you from finding the happiness you lost. It's not the rapists, or drug traffickers, or gangsters that you fear, Cody. You've known death and corruption, pain and suffering, pain and regret..."
"So what are you saying?"
"That you're afraid of tearing your walls down and opening up to let me love you. You're afraid of happiness. You're afraid of opening up to me, because if you do, you think that you're going to somehow lose me..."
"I don't have to hear this."
"Don't you?" She's cries. "You know it to be true. You've thought about this already. I look into your eyes and know I'm right!"
A Friend In Need
“So where is he?”
Freddy said. The two of them had their hands in their jacket pockets. They were growing impatient and cold and I was late.
“Don’t worry, he’ll be here. If I had to venture a guess, he’s double-checking to see if you brought any of your troopers. He’s not a big fan of the Valhalla Police Department and rightly so. He wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing if you guys did your jobs.”
“Well, that is partly why we’re here, aren’t we? If that tight-wad would just open up the books...”
“Yes, of course. And that’s why we’re calling on him...”
“You called?” I said from out of the shadows. Both Peter and Freddy jumped. Freddy reached for his holster and Peter smiled. I should’ve known better, his look said. “Why am I not surprised? How long were you standing there?”
“Long enough,” I said. From the corner of my eye, I saw Freddy making his way to greet me, but I stopped him before he could. “Save the introduction, I know who you are. Did you bring the other files?” Peter handed me an accordion file five-inches thick.
“It’s all there. The money laundering, the payouts, the restitution of some of the most notorious criminals Valhalla has ever known.” Freddy chimed in:
“Mayor Edmonds has his attack dogs at the ready; he now has an army large enough to take down the entire Valhalla police force that's at his beckon call.”
“And tell me again why he'd want to do this?”
“So he can be given military aid. With the police force gone, Valhalla will be in a state of anarchy. Under the new law, he’ll be recognized as the unquestioned leader and ‘protector of Valhalla’ and so will be given complete control of such as Valhalla would be under Martial Law. From there and out he can do whatever he pleases. All rights and freedoms of the people of Valhalla would be abolished…” I then looked at Freddy who looked like he wanted to add something but then thought better of it. “I thought this through Marak. The corruption in this town runs deeper than you think—all the way down to the Supreme Court justices in Washington. No court in this land is going to prosecute him, not even with all the evidence you now hold in your possession that would be placed against him.”
“So what are you suggesting? I really hope it isn’t what I think.”
“You can’t possibly ask me to do that…You can’t be serious.”
“I’m afraid there’s no other way. C’mon, Marak. Think it through. There’s a stack of reasons you’re holding right now that suggests that you do. We’re not talking about some ordinary purse snatcher here, dammit. We’re running out of time! At any moment he can drop the hammer and then we’ll all be screwed.” I shook my head in disbelief.
“I need some time to think.”
I then turned around and began walking away. It was pure madness. Never before had anyone asked me to kill
anyone. It was unconscionable.
Once again, it was Haley’s birthday and Adrianna’s death day all the same. I have yet to forget that day, as it was equally filled with both joy and sadness. There were tears of joy and tears of pain. Nothing could keep me from visiting them that particular day, not even death. Of course one must remember that I’m supposed to be dead. Cody MacLaren was a dead man—the coroner said so and one the three headstones before me confirms it. Most believed that the three of us were reunited by bloodshed and that all three of us were “Resting in Peace” but of course that isn’t true. The MacLaren Site was the saddest and the most visited tomb in all of Valhalla Cemetery. People came by to pay their respects, leave some flowers, and shook their heads…I’m the only guy I know that was eventually going to die twice. When the day comes when I’m too tired to swing my katana or have lost too much blood to fight anymore, I’ll lay down for real and finally make peace with the world all around me, whether or not I find the many eyes of my enemies. And why shouldn’t I die a horrific death? If I choose to live by the sword, shouldn’t I die by the sword as well? It sure seems fitting if you ask me.
When it was that I finished my silent prayer to each of them, I finished off with”May both of you rest in peace.” I wondered if any of this would ever get easier and realized that the answer would most assuredly always be “No.” I succumbed to the fact that the pain wouldn’t ever go away, no matter how many years would pass. And just like all the times before, I gave each of them a kiss and found it difficult to stand on my two feet. I then turned around and made my way outside the gates.
“Hello, Cody,” a familiar voice said from behind. “It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”
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