Revenge, Inc. Part 24: A Short Story
Hello everyone and welcome back. Believe it or not, I really thought that this would be the last installment of Revenge, Inc. as I was planning to wrap it up this week, but then realized that it wouldn't be at all possible. There's just too much for me to resolve before I end this book/story/epic. I thought it unfair to do so and for me to have attempted to would've been noticed as a rushed job. The last thing I want to do is rush this ending. I've read several stories in the past where the book was rushed and so became quite pissed to have been victim to such. I didn't want to do the same to you, Constant Reader (I always wanted to say that--Stephen King uses that term time and again). So with that said, I hope that I haven't disappointed you in any way if you thought this may be the final installment. I do enjoy writing this series but hope that I could do some justice to the concluding installments by its end. I hope that you like what you read in the final installments. And as you know, I've name my newest heroine Rayna after The Girl in the Avatar. When I finish this work, I'm dedicating it to her. I love you Rayna H. Hurman and you know it.
Once again, I'd like to thank Cris A for supplying again the last image. He's worked hard in supplying me with some awesome book covers, so please show your love to him whenever possible! By the way, I've been severely busy this past week and so haven't read as many hubs as I usually do, so for that, I apologize if I haven't yet gotten around to reading your work. I hope you understand.
If you haven't already, please read this series as it was meant to be read, beginning of course with Part One.
Our Place In This World
Rayna’s hands are so soft in comparison to my rough and callous hands. Her hands are the hands of a person that has never touched a sword or killed another human, nor will they ever, as there just isn’t enough anger in them. But a warmth emanates from them, a gentleness that is welcoming and inviting all the same and I can feel her heart beating rapidly while holding them. As we stood while holding each others hands, the altar was not too far away from us, there was a stirring of guilt within me; it was a feeling of bewildered awkwardness only a self-respecting man could feel—one who was still trying to find his place in this fucked up world—because the feeling he was feeling wasn’t felt for so long. After some time, I let go and turned away from her and her haunting stare. It was just too much. I could’ve gotten lost while looking into those eyes.
“How did you know my name?” I asked her with my back still turned.
“Father Frank told me without meaning to,” she said.
“Really? I wonder how many others he’s told.”
“There is no one else.”
“How could you be so sure?”
“Two reasons: One; if others did know, they would have taken your father as hostage by now, or would’ve done something much worse just so they could get to you. Two; I only found out because I was looking for you. Everyone else in this world thinks your dead.”
“And why were you looking for me?”
“You know why, Cody. I shouldn’t have to tell you the reason. Haven’t you ever been in love?”
Immediately, I thought of Adrianna and Natsumi, the only other women I ever loved. Both were once real but were now gone from this world. The silence was overwhelming.
“Of course and please don’t call me Cody. He’s dead and long gone from me.”
“No, he’s not. He’s still very much alive in you. You can change you name to Marak or whoever you choose, but you can’t change who you are.” I laughed.
“Yeah? And what makes you think you know me so well, huh? I mean before tonight, we’ve only met once.”
“You don’t know how many times I’ve asked myself that very same question over the years. Every time I read another newspaper article about you, every time I come by to see your father, every moment I wake up and every night I go to bed, there you are…I read about you years ago when you lost Haley. I was saddened even more when it was reported that you hung yourself in your own home. It was around the same time I lost my mother to cancer along with my father’s new hobby of drinking uncontrollably. There was just so much sadness in this world back then and there is still much sadness in this world now. Sadness is never ending and is caused by much pain and grief which is, in turn, caused by fear. I know a thing or two about pain. I also know a thing or two about fear. You yourself were there when my father, at least the man I thought was my father, took it upon himself to ‘teach me a lesson.’ I’ve never forgotten that, nor have I forgotten about the only man in this world that’s ever shown me any kindness, who fought for me when no one else would, who saved me for my own father. Every where I go and whenever I look into the eyes of other men, I see the eyes of my late father. But when I look at a picture of you, I see only you and you alone. You think I don’t know you, Cody? I think I know you well enough. And no one—not even you—can tell me any different. Seeing you now only acknowledges the fact. I know how I feel and know enough to know that I love you.” I shook my head.
“This is crazy.”
“For Christ’s sake! You’re young enough to be my daughter!”
“Remember where you are!” My father echoed from the other side of the church.
“Does that really matter to you?” Rayna said. “Look, I didn’t ask to fall in love with you and I didn’t ask my father to rape me, but there it is. It happened. There are so many people in this world that preach that everything is caused by fate and speak of it like it’s some kind of gospel. I don’t believe in fate. I have no right to.”
“Then what is it that you do believe in?” From behind me, she places her arms around me and rests her head on my upper back and I didn’t fight it. Just her touch is incredible.
“I believe in you, Cody. I believe in hope, no matter how much darkness this world shows me, time and again. I also believe in myself and my ability. Every time a woman shows up at the shelter, my hope is restored. I know she came to the right place and know just what to say to her, because with experience comes empathy. I can empathize with every single woman that comes to me for help. Every night, you risk everything to save everyone in need. You’re everything every kindhearted person in Valhalla wants to be, yet don’t have the balls to do the same. Everything you do is exactly the very same things every kindhearted person wants to do, yet can’t bring themselves to do so because they feel as if they have too much to lose. Even the cops are scared of you—the crooked ones that is…”
“Yes, there are many of them around…So what do you want from me?” She turned me around and smiled.
“For you to stop turning your back on me.”
In the Face of Fear
Some time has passed since last I saw her. Her vulnerability, her innocence, her confusion about who I am…It all began to make sense to me. I could understand why it was that she felt the way she felt: In her most desperate hour, I by chance came to her aid when her father was forcing himself upon her. The memory would be vivid and unforgettable to her for as long as she’s alive. I was her hero then and will be for always, so do I blame her? Not at all. I’m no psychologist, but it made a helluva lot of sense to me. But before realizing this, I thought to once again follow my heart which of course this time around, led me into Rayna’s arms. I thought it was for the best, because through her eyes, I saw the love that she swore she had for me; ‘the only man that’s ever showed her any kindness.’ In truth, I wanted very much to be happy again, to maybe start a family by giving hope a try…But then I thought of the other women in my life: Adrianna, my deceased wife, Haley, my deceased daughter, and of course Natsumi, my deceased lover and only daughter of my deceased master. Were they all looking down at me at the moment? Was I really any better than the man that raped her? What about the man that raped my daughter? Haley would have been Rayna’s age if she was alive today. Am I really no better? If it was that I was to find some happiness this world, would the three of them approve of Rayna? Or was it shame that they were feeling for me, for being with a girl who was nearly half my age? I fought this thought for some time in the time I spent with her. To say that it wasn’t easy is an understatement. And this was only one half of the reason why I was feeling what I was feeling. I opted to suffer a little bit now rather than a lot later.
The other half had to do with my fear of losing everything I ever cared for—again.
Back on Jirai Island during my training, Master Akira admonished to me my first of two fears: The fear that I wouldn’t ever avenge the person that raped and killed my daughter Haley. My second fear was never made known—that is until now: My fear of losing Natsumi. I was witness to her death, in her final act of benevolence to save her twin brother Katsuro so many years ago. The very same compassion she had shown me she showed her brother that fateful day. May she, Adrianna, and Haley all rest in peace. Their nightmares are finally over. But mine is not. That is something I’ve still yet to contend with…I thought again, as I did several times before that perhaps I was given another opportunity to love once again, to cherish once again, to maybe be shown that this world somehow isn’t as bad as it seems, because that is all I really see. The darkness tries to hide from me in shadow, but I always end up finding it and dealing with it every single night. There’s just too much evil in this world no to, at least to me. And I of all people know too well just how life can be taken just as fast as it’s given. For me to fall in love with Rayna could well turn up becoming a crucial mistake that I’ve already made twice before. To get too attached was a mistake, because I couldn’t bear to lose another, the way I lost Adrianna, Haley, and more recently, Natsumi. The thought of losing Rayna as well was too much for me to realize. That was why I had to leave her, before I could fall for her—only to experience her fall as well. What man in his right mind wouldn’t want her? She’s young, beautiful and innocent. In other words, she’s exactly the opposite of everything I’m not. But in contrast to what happened to Adrianna, Haley, and Natsumi, I could in fact change how things would happen:
“I think this is for the better,” I said to her. She was in tears. It hurt to see her cry but I refused to show it.
“How can you say that?” She said. “How is being apart from each other better? You’re the only person I love and the only person I'll ever want to be with.”
“Don’t say that.”
“I’m only saying it because it’s true. And I know that you love me. You’re just too afraid to say so.”
“I’m not afraid of anything.”
“Bullshit. You think you’re cursed somehow and that you’re going to lose me.”
“And do you blame me? Everyone in my life, with the exception of my father, has died a horrific death.”
“But that doesn’t mean you stop trying to find happiness! Can’t you see that?”
“It’s better if I don’t. Take care of yourself.”
After saying that, I didn’t give Rayna much of a chance to say much of anything else. I simply disappeared as fast as I could.
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