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Revenge, Inc. Part 27: A Short Story
Hello everyone and welcome back. First off, I'd like to apologize for not publishing this installment last week as, once upon a time, was scheduled under the premise of my publishing every Friday consecutively. If you've read Part 26 of my Revenge, Inc. series you know that I've been severely busy with work and other obligations. Finding the time to write this series hasn't been easy to say the least. As always, I appreciate your patience, your readership, and your interest in this story. It means a lot to me that you take the time out of your own busy schedules to read my work. No one is more grateful of the fact than myself.
The following passage may be a bit difficult to digest as there are virtually no breaks in the dialogue. However so, I believe that it was crucial to the story as a whole and so now present it to you just as I had written it originally. Please enjoy.
As always, if you haven't yet, please now take the time to read Revenge, Inc. as it was meant to be read, beginning with Part One. Please click on the corresponding link below to get started. Thank you again for following me, for reading me, and last but not least, for putting up with my sporadic publishing schedule. Thanks a million!
Between Two Friends - Part One
We met on the rooftop just like we always did, when words needed to be exchanged in private—just the two of us. There is a chill in the air and a taste in my mouth. The taste is alkaline—the flavor of my blood. My heightened senses tell me immediately that Felix was right after all; he was right all this time. And maybe it is that I too knew all along, only I didn’t want to believe it myself. I didn’t want to accept the truth for what it was and so was in complete denial. I can feel the guilt inside him. My hands are itchy. My adrenaline is high. I can fly to him straight-on and before he could even blink, his head would be airborne and arcing over the edge of the rooftop while his then headless body remains and stands—too slow to absorb the initial shock. So fuck it. Let’s face reality, let’s face the facts...But first, let’s hear what he has to say. The person that now stands before me is no longer my friend. He’s my sworn enemy.
“It was you, wasn’t it Pete?” It was beginning to rain. I can barely control my breathing. Peter turns and gives me this solemn look. He didn’t have to answer.
“There’s no point denying it, Cody…It’s not something that can be understood, so I’m not gonna’ bother trying to explain it to you. It’s pointless.” I run to him and grab him up by the collar with both my hands and we’re face to face.
“POINTLESS?! I SHOULD THROW YOU OFF THIS FUCKING ROOF!” In spite of my rage, Peter was calm and wasn’t as all ruffled. I didn’t like that.
“But you won’t, Cody. I just know it. You need answers. You need to know why.”
“You’re fucking right I need to know you sonofabitch!” I could have bitten his face I was so close.
“You and I both know that I’m no match for you. I lack the training, the skill, the strength you obvious have. It’s not like I’m going anywhere anyway.”
“Out with it, before I fuck you with your own severed dick.”
“Fine.” I then let Peter go. He takes a step back. “How well do you really know me, Cody? After all these years, you never knew my deepest, darkest cravings. You really had no clue, because had you known them, you probably would’ve kicked my ass or better yet killed me a very, very long time ago. It might have saved Haley’s life…”
“Don’t say her FUCKING NAME you asshole!” Peter continues.
“There was a time in high school when it was that I was lonelier than ever before, when my idiot parents died in that plane crash—maybe deservedly so. They were always going somewhere and leaving me behind with Roberta…They missed my birthdays, the holidays…They just didn’t give a shit. And that’s when I found you, my first friend and last friend…The only person I trusted. The brother I never had. As the years went by, I loved you the only way a friend could. I was amazed by your ability to handle confrontation. You were an athlete, you were popular, and all the girls wanted you, unlike myself, who they wanted only because I had more money than anyone else…And then Adrianna came along. Dammit.
“She was beautiful, wasn’t she, Cody? Remember? All the guys wanted her and at first she was having any of it. The only person she looked at with any interest was you and even so, she made you make the first move didn’t she? And boy did she get you. It wasn’t long before the two of you were dating, before I was left out of the equation. Even when the three of us hung out together, you guys couldn’t keep your hands off each other…It drove me nuts.
“At night, before I went to bed, I thought of here incessantly. I’d masturbate while thinking about her—yeah, that’s right. I cried myself at night before I fell asleep and then while asleep, I’d dream of her—of the two of us, together at last…Don’t look at me like that, Cody. I think it’s about time you knew. You need to know all of this. You need to know that when you went away to Clareton for the State Championship Game that I took her out to dinner as friends. You need to know that I made a pass at her, that I kissed her and tried having sex with her, but she refused. She slapped me. I threw it all to her—I promised her, like the coward that I was—my dead mother’s jewelry, my dead father's money…I told her I’d give it all to her, if only she gave me a chance and ditch you. But she didn't want any of it. She didn't want me. ‘You’re sick,’ she said to me. ‘Cody’s your best friend and he cares about you like a brother. What's he gonna say when he finds out about this?’ Well, after she said that, I knew that it was really a lost cause. ‘He can’t know,’ I told her. So apparently she didn’t tell you, as disgusted as she was by all of it. I have to hand it to her, she really did love you.
“There was our high school graduation and then college, and then marriage. You married Adrianna out of love and I married Joanna purely out of accessory rather than necessity. You see, I had to keep up with you, Cody. I couldn’t let my best friend do better than me. Although I was your ‘Best Man’ at your wedding, I really believed that I was the Better Man for Adrianna. In the early years when you struggled to keep up with your mortgage, I was buying up corporations and selling them for quadruple the cost. I believed that I could have provided much better for her—if only she gave me the chance. But in spite of you losing your job, she stayed with you. When I offered you a loan, you were too proud to take it—insisting that you would be all right. Instead, you took all of those shitty side jobs that an illegal Mexican would have been embarrassed to take, just to get by. Amidst all of that turmoil, both of you believed that things would indeed turn out for the better…And that’s when Haley came along.
“Now, I might have wept a bit during her funeral (in which you allowed for me to pay for) but that was nothing compared to tears I've shed behind the closed doors of my own house. I flipped furniture and broke things that were worth, when combined, more than your house. I blamed you and blamed Haley for the death of Adrianna—the only woman I ever loved. It was your seed that gave way to Haley and it was Haley that killed Adrianna—this I believed. This I accepted as fact—my own fact. It was because of this that I grew to secretly hate both you and Haley all of these years…How fucked up is that?
“Over the years, Haley grew up to become the woman that I loved—the woman I remembered and cherished above all else. She resembled Adrianna in every way—the way she carried herself, her little quirks, and the things she would have said in certain situations…It was like Adrianna resurrected herself. Haley was her mother, whether she knew it or not. Haley was Adrianna personified. I did my best to deny it, but the more I tried the more I became assured that the two were one and the same. So maybe I was you in that sense, Cody. Maybe I refused to believe that she was gone and so took comfort in the thought that Haley was Adrianna come back to us all over again. Neither of us could get past that stage of Denial in the lost of a loved one. At the time, neither of us was capable of accepting the fact that Adrianna was indeed dead.”
My head is pounding and my heart is aching. The wave of emotion begins to weaken me and I do my best to fight it off. My left hand is on my scabbard and my right is on the Watanabe blade. The grip I have on my katana increases and it takes all of my willpower to stop the fury that I want so much to release. It would be so quick if I was strike down this demon. It would be so easy. I feel a trickle run down my chin and realize that I had bitten down on my own lower lip. Steady that hand goddammit.
“So when I went over to see you that night, Cody, I saw Haley walking towards the house. I swear to God, she looked like Adrianna that night back when we were in High School. I realized then that it’s been so long since the two of us spent some time together. Not too long before this, I’d just acquired this yacht that I had my eye on for some time. I thought it be fun to take Haley out on a night cruise—just the two of us—completely on a whim. At first Haley was reluctant to accept my invitation to come along, being that you were waiting for her and all. I had to resort to outright lying her to get her to come…”
“Now, I don’t know what it was exactly that came over me—whether it was the Grand Marnier or the flood of memories brought on by such that got me thinking again of Adrianna, of my lonely and pathetic life with Joanna—I just don’t know. I walk out to the rear of yacht and there she was again. The breeze had picked up just enough to send her blond hair fluttering. She was absolutely beautiful. God was giving me a second chance and I didn’t want to ruin it…”
The Light of Saint Augustine - Part Two
Not far away, a young woman sits alone inside her one bedroom apartment like so many other nights. She looks out at the dimming lights of Valhalla while hoping to catch just one glimpse of the man she loves. Some time has past since she last saw him, since last they spoke. However, all lines of communication were not completely shut as her correspondent Father Frank MacLaren resides at Saint Augustine—a crumbling cathedral of what once was prominent. Were it not for him, the whereabouts of the man she loves may just not be known after so much time. Earlier that day this same young woman was given the news that the baby inside her is on schedule, is healthy, and is a girl. The news is bittersweet to her. The grandfather clock against the wall strikes eight and a single tear falls from her face. To her no other name would suffice and after a moment goes by, she speaks:
“Your name will be Hope,” the expectant mother says to her growing belly.
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