Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Flash Fiction Friday, Week 33: Never Forget
The prompt this week was to write a story about someone with a thirst for revenge. Is seeking revenge wrong? I guess it depends on your perspective...
“You don’t understand Officer, he did it. Maybe I didn’t see him destroy my son’s bicycle, but I know he’s responsible. He threatened me and my son. Why can’t you arrest him?”
“Mrs. Cooper, I can’t arrest someone without any evidence that they committed a crime. You say he threatened you and your son. What kind of threats did he make?”
“My son and I were in the yard. That horrid man started yelling over the fence that my son was a criminal and should be sent to prison. He called me filthy names and said I was a poor excuse for a mother. He said he came home from the store and found his flowers trampled and knew my son had done it. Then he said the only way to teach a punk like him a lesson would be to destroy something that was important to him.
“An hour or so later, I took him to his baseball practice. When we got home, we found his bike in the driveway and the tires were slashed and the handlebars were all bent up. Officer, my son is 7 years old. Aren’t there laws to protect a child from people like that?”
“Yes, there are, but I can’t arrest him without proof. If you could catch him in the act or get him on video, we’d be able to arrest him then. In the meantime, if he causes you any more problems, you give us a call, all right?”
“I’ll call if he bothers us again. I wish you could just take him away. Ever since he moved in next door, he’s done nothing but harass us.”
“Some folks are like that ma’am. It’s like they think the whole world is against them.”
* * * * *
That bitch next door called the police on me. She’s the one with the pint-sized hoodlum of a son and she’s got the nerve to report me to the cops? I’ll get her for this. I already got even with her creep of a kid. She loves that lawn set on her patio that was just delivered. I wonder how much she’ll love it after I douse it with gasoline and toss a lit match on it. She thinks it’s perfectly all right for that boy of hers to wait until I go into town and then come into my yard and jump up and down on all my freshly-planted flowers.
I knew this would happen again. People are so jealous of the nice things I have, so they send over their rotten kids to make a mess and destroy my property. But, I fix them. I always fix them, the little bastards. I poured motor oil all over that swing and slide set the boy across the street played on every day. That little beast threw a rock through my bedroom window in the back of the house.
That nasty little girl next door on the other side tried to sell me cookies, and when I told her to get lost, she came back at night and broke my porch light. When I went out to get my morning paper, I cut my foot on the broken glass. I fixed her good though. I slashed all the tires on that buggy she pushes her doll around in and cut up the face on that stupid looking doll too.
Why is it that no matter where I live, people are out to make my life miserable? Well, it doesn’t matter who they are or what they do. They will never get the best of me because I will always fix them first. I don’t have to see them do these things either – I just know. I can tell by the way they look at me in the stores or in the diners in town. When I come home and find something broken or messed up, I know exactly who did it because I remember the look. They can’t fool me. No one has ever been able to fool me. No matter what anybody does to me, I always fix them for it. Always.
* * * * *
“Wake up, Walter. Wake up.”
What’s going on? I hurt everywhere. Why is my face bandaged? I can’t move. What is this place? It looks like an operating room. What am I doing in a hospital?
“You’re not going to be able to talk, Walter, but you can listen, so listen carefully, and I will explain everything. You are in a make-shift operating room and have had extensive surgery performed. Don’t worry though. It was all done by a friend of mine who is a licensed physician. Once I’m finished with you, I will notify the authorities where you are so you can complete your recovery, but I’ll be long gone. You’ll never be as you were, but that is as it should be. You see, both your hands, your feet and your tongue have been removed.
“Stop making all that noise, Walter. I have much to tell you. Take a good look. Do you recognize me? It’s been a long time. We were in fifth grade together. That’s right, Walter. I’m Daniel Hastings. Do you also remember my sister, Leona? You know, the one whose life you destroyed? I’m sure you remember everything that happened. I’ve never forgotten a single second of it.
“Someone told our teacher you cheated on a test, and planted a note in your desk with the answers written on it that you supposedly got from a student in the sixth grade. Your parents were notified and they wouldn’t let you go on the class trip. Word went around that you couldn’t be trusted and the next three years at school were Hell for you. The teachers didn’t like you and the other kids didn’t want to be caught talking to you so they wouldn’t be accused of cheating. That girl who liked you, Mattie, told you Leona did it and you believed her.
“You launched a campaign of terror against my sister after that. You never asked around or checked further, you just believed what Mattie told you. Well, guess what, Walter. Leona didn’t do it – Mattie did. She saw you helping my sister with her lessons and wanted to hurt you both. She planted the test answers in your desk, left an anonymous note on the teacher’s desk accusing you and told you Leona was responsible for all of it. I believe that’s when your lifelong desire to seek revenge against any and all began. But you see, Walter, it was all based on a lie. You ended up marrying Mattie years later, and it was she who had wronged you all along.
“Leona killed herself, Walter. She couldn’t take your following her around, pushing her down, leaving notes in her locker telling her she was ugly and that everyone hated her, and all the other terrible things you did to her. One evening when our parents and I were asleep, Leona left the house and walked down to the station and waited for the 11:00pm freight train. When it was close, she jumped onto the tracks. You wore her down. She was ten years old, Walter. She was ten years old.
“It’s been me all these years, you see, throwing rocks through your windows, smashing your porch lights, pulling up your flowers. I’ve followed you wherever you’ve gone and waited. I waited for you to investigate or call the police or install a camera, or do something other than automatically blame whoever was around. If you had done any of that, I would have walked away from all this and let you be because for the first time, you would have done what a normal person would do. But you couldn’t do something normal, could you, Walter? You blamed the children and took your anger out on them, even though they never did anything to you. Just like what you did to my sister. Just like you did to Leona.
“Are those tears running down your cheeks, Walter? It’s a bit late for that, don’t you think? All the pain you’ve caused to so many people over the years and for what? So you could get revenge on them for what you think they had done? We all have things go wrong in our lives, but we move on – we get past it. You never learned how to do that, did you, Walter?
“Now, you won’t be able to step on and break any more toys, or scream profanities at any more toddlers, or throw bricks through anyone else’s picture windows. Your crusade for revenge against the world is finished, Walter, and I am finished with you. Rest in peace, Leona, because now you can.”