“I have no where to go, if I don’t die at St Mathews, I will be back here but first, I have unfinished business to settle.”
That was all he told Garvey. He had bid him goodbye and had left him with only his bag strapped to his side. He had made his decision between love and duty. A duty he had chosen himself. His family came first, they were connected by blood and the blood ran through every single vein in his body. He had loved Janet when he was with her and when they parted, he loved Mary and had loved her more than he had loved Janet, but Maria, Joseph, Jaycee, nobody came close to his tender heart as they had done. They were his family.
He looked around what was once their home and recollected what was left of the tattered memory of when he was still a child in Maria’s hand. Where she would cuddle him and yell at Jaycee for making him shed a tear until he was grown to have Jaycee as his best friend. The memory of him fighting his father over the last piece of meat in his meal and how he always won him over it and how his mother had rocked him to sleep in her arms. The memories all rushed at him at the speed of light. He turned to Oscar and shook his head to rid his eyes off the moist that had gathered in them.
“Do you think that I will ever forget them, that I will ever be normal again?” he asked and Oscar shook his head.
“Such things just doesn’t go away like that.”
“I have to do what I have to do to keep a little of my sanity. They can’t be dead while their killers live,” he ran his hand through his hair and looked at Oscar. His eyes scared him.
“Do you have a gun?” he asked and Oscar pulled one out. A .48 and handed it over to him. He walked to the door and covered his head back with a hood.
“When and Where are we meeting again?” Oscar asked.
“Must we meet again? When I’m through, I expect to be in my grave or back at New York,” he replied.
“You shouldn’t be talking about death now, you are too small for that.”
“I’ve been through things most kids only see in movies. Death is too small compared to those things.”
“Well, Someone would love to meet you. Someone you will definitely love to see,” Oscar said.
“Who?” he asked.
“Someone very important to you, he wants to keep it a surprise. Just stay alive and you may just smile again.”
“Well, I will meet you at the church cemetery by 12am. If I am a second late, then forget about me,” he said and turned for the door.
“Don’t be late then,” Oscar said after him and he nodded, walking out of the door.
August stared at the house from a little distance. Nothing much had changed since he left. He tried to make a picture of what a 14 year old Janet would look like and failed at it. He could only see the little face that had loved him as a child. One that he had loved back. He caressed the glock tucked in his waist and walked briskly to the front of the house, much different from whom he was the last time he was there. He raised his hand to knock and paused. He heard voices inside the house. He could never mistake Jaime’s voice and Kate’s. The cheerful third voice he placed to be Janet. It was a kind of music to his ear.
He rapped on the door. Three mechanical knocks and waited, not sure of what to expect. He raised his watch and it’s luminous hands gave the time as 9:59 pm. The door opened as he dropped his hand to his side again and he stood face to face with a young girl of his age. He wished he could smile but it was not the time for it. It was a different August that had come home.
“August?” Janet called softly, tears gathering round her pretty face. He moved towards her and she moved back to let him in. She fell into his arms in warm embrace and held tightly onto him. He closed his eyes and opened them again and called out her name slowly.
She let him go and moved back to frisk him. She had missed him all those while and never believed he would ever be back home.
He turned and his eyes met Jaime’s and Kate’s staring at him.
“August,” Jaime called.
“Hello,” he replied, shooting him daggers with his eyes. He didn’t want to like him a bit, it would make his mission difficult. The room was engulfed with deadly silence for a few seconds.
“You are back, what about Harry?” he asked, observing his cold countenance.
“Dead,” he replied.
“What do you mean dead?” Jaime asked, shocked by the answer and the way he had given it.
“He got shot by some guys I pissed, Mary and Jeane too. They are all dead,” he informed, fighting back the mist that was growing in his eyes.
“Did you kill them?” Kate asked, her eyes full of hate for the black boy. She had always thought he reeked of evil and bad luck.
“No, some guys that I pissed off.”
“And you live?” Jaime asked, Janet stared at the new August she had never known. It scared her at the realization that she may have lost the August that she had loved and waited for.
“No, I merely breath. There is nothing left for me, except the desire to do what I have to do.”
They stared at each other in silence for a long time. It wasn’t much of a wonderful reunion. He looked at Jaime and bit his lips.
“Jaime, that night at the farm house. My brother Joseph, it was your shot that killed him, right?”
The question dropped on the quiet house like an atomic. It was the last question Jaime had expected from a boy his age, one that he thought he had groomed to overcome the vices that St Mathews had instilled in him. He thought of Harry, he assumed August couldn’t be totally innocent.
“August, what happened to Harry?” he asked.
“Same thing that happened to my brothers,” he said and took a few steps towards Jaime and Kate. “Maria, Jaycee, Joseph, Jeane, Harry,” he swallowed hard and called out her name last. “Mary!! They were taken from me and I fucking loved them!” he pulled the gun from his waist and raised it at Jaime. Kate and Janet let out a gasp.
“August don’t,” Janet begged, walking to where he stood. He never for once moved his eyes from Jaime to look at her. It struck her heart like a bolt.
“You killed my brothers, they were my family and you killed them. Did you think you could ever replace them? You thought you could be my family when you killed them.”
He cocked the gun and Jaime moved back.
“You have it all wrong August,” Jamie started. “You don’t know what they were, you were too young to know,” he explained.
“No, you are wrong. I know what they were. They were my family. Joseph was only protecting us and Jaycee only cared for me. I saw you shoot him,” he sniffed and stretched out his hand. He felt Janet wrap her arm round his free hand. Even then, he never moved his teary eye away from her father.
“August please,” she pleaded. He let her hold him for a while and then slipped out of her arms. She moved in between Jaime and the gun.
“Shoot me then, since you are so evil now. Shoot me August,” she cried. He looked at her and felt the memories rise. He remembered the love they had shared and how she had always stood up for him. He loved her but he had a duty. For a moment, his hand shook and he thought about the consequences of what he was going to do. He remembered he had like them once, they had taken him in when he had no one. Then the voice echoed in his head.
“Remember who took your brothers from you, they are not your friends, they are not your family, they took Joseph and one day they have to pay, you have to make them pay!”
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He looked at her face one more time, he hated to see her cry. He thought he saw a bit of Mary in her. It deepened his resolute. Mary was killed and so was his family.
“I’m sorry but I have gone COLD!” he moved back and caressed the trigger one final time. He had loved her but she was not his family. He squeezed the trigger, only once. Jaime fell behind her, the picture of him falling brought back more memories of that night at the farm house. How he had watched Maria and Jaycee fall, he felt a kind of rage he had never felt before. He pointed the gun at Kate next and squeezed the trigger again, twice. Janet stood dumbstruck, looking frantically from the corpses of her parents to August, clenching his smoking gun.
“You killed them!” she yelled and ran to him. She tugged at his shirt and shook him violently. She let him go and knelt beside their bodies, shaking from sobs.
He closed his eyes and raised the gun. An image of Maria came into his mind. He caressed the trigger and watched the fear in her eyes, clouded over by tears.
“You must think I’m some demon,” he said to her. She sobbed and wiped her nose.
“You are evil and a bloody demon,” she cried.
“You can think what ever you want, they are dead, I will let you Live and then you can watch how much your desire to kill me will swell, then you will know why I shot them,” he said and turned. She cried out his name and he turned to face her.
“What happened to you? How did you become so evil?”
“I saw the people I loved killed in front of me, many times, over and over again. That was what happened to me. If I was evil, you would be dead too. It was your family for mine Janet.”
He left her kneeling there. All of a sudden he felt nothing for her or for anybody. He walked out of the door not regretting what he had done one bit.