Posted on November 9th, 2014
Vengeance: Part 4
“You know, I really pinned you down as someone who wouldn’t make a big deal of things. Apparently I was wrong. All of this time you’ve been sneaking around and doing all this detective work. But you made a huge mistake.”
Harrison blinked several times. The light was blinding. The smell of mold was heavy in the air. The stony floor was cold and damp.
“But if you were any good at playing detective you’d have known that she never went to see Caleb. She came to see me.”
“Who the hell are you?”
“She could never love anyone else and she knew it. She just had to ‘try’ as she liked to say. So I let her. “ He shrugged and began to take a few steps. “I loved her, you know. And you just took her away like she meant nothing to no one.”
“She was having an affair. She apparently meant a lot to too many people.”
“Are you stupid? You can’t expect to be the only person in the world to love someone. She had family and friends.”
“Of course not, but I should expect to be the only person sleeping with her as her husband!” He was frustrated. This man was making him out to be a fool.
Both men were silent for a moment.
“You know she never loved you right?” Harrison flinched where he sat and tried his hardest not to make eye contact with his captor. “She only married you as an excuse to get away from me. She claimed that since she was married to another man, we could never see each other.” He gave a chuckle to himself. “The ideas she came up with sometimes…”
“I mean, you had to know, right? Didn’t you ever wonder why you never had any kids?”
Harrison’s eye twitched. He knew better than to respond to anymore questions. There was a whole life that Leah had that she wanted to keep private from him. She worked hard to keep him away from the drama of her past. Or was it just so she didn’t have to answer any of his questions? What if she really didn’t love him? But if she only married him to stay away from this lunatic, why was she going to see him all the time? He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear anything else; he wasn’t sure he wanted answers to all his questions.
“A lot going on in that pea brain of yours, huh? Well don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of time to think about all of this when you’re in prison.”
“Who are you?” he asked again through gritted teeth.
“If you really can’t get over it… My name is Gil. I am the only man that Leah ever loved. Now will you shut up about it? We have more important matters at hand.”
It all made sense now.
G wasn’t a code name for Harrison in the emails Leah and Caleb were writing to each other. It meant Gil. There was never a ton of detail about G in the emails, but enough negativity that Harrison just assumed it was about different fights that he and Leah had.
But what really hurt him was the fact that Leah was more comfortable talking to Caleb about these personal matters. Harrison never heard a single word about it. Was he that bad of a person that his own wife couldn’t tell him what was making her so unhappy? Had he selfishly taken her life away from the world?
“She was always worried she and I would end up having a kid together. Then she would really be stuck with me. Her words, not mine. And she just couldn’t have that. Leah had a lot of problems and you certainly didn’t make things any easier for her.”
Harrison contemplated all the problems he may have caused her. This man may have been right about a lot of things, but he was wrong about this. Leah had all these problems before they were even married. He knew that she had been married before, but she made it quite clear it was not a topic for conversation. And now he could see why. They must have gotten married when they were pretty young. Leah was only 26 when she married him, so it must have been her early twenties when she married this maniac. He couldn’t begin to imagine the specific reason that pushed her to get a divorce.
Even with all her issues, she was a beautiful, hardworking woman who was sleeping with another man. That’s still what it came down to. That’s what this was all about. That was why he had killed her. No one deserves to be cheated on, Harrison included.
“How do you feel about killing the wrong man, by the way?”
Harrison closed his eyes tight; he had completely forgotten about Caleb. There was no denying that- he had killed an entirely innocent human being. He began to quiver where he sat, thinking about the unnecessary pain he had caused Caleb’s wife, of all the crap he said about saving her and doing her a favor. It was all wrong. His mind kept going back to Leah, and the pain she was suffering silently this whole time.
“Now that she’s dead she probably thinks she’s finally escaped me. But no, Leah. There’s no escaping me. I’ll be joining you shortly, my love, and we can pick up right where we left off.”
“You’re going to kill yourself?” Harrison raised his eyebrows.
“The only way I’ll be able to see her again is when I find her in Hell. But you? You’ll be staying right here in this life, trapped in prison. She thought being with you would keep her away from me. So I’ll make sure you’re out of the picture long enough for her to forget all about you. I’ve already got it all figured out.” Gil walked over to a table on the other side of the room. Harrison couldn’t see what was on it, and he tried not to care. Obviously, he wasn’t going to kill him.
“In a short period of time, you will be killing me. When the cops arrive, you will be entirely to blame for my murder. After they take you into custody, they will have all the evidence they need to find you guilty of Leah and Caleb’s murders as well. Life sentence. And you seem to be pretty healthy, except maybe not mentally, seeing as how you had no trouble murdering three innocent people. But you’ll be in prison for a good long time.”
Harrison looked away from Gil and stared at the floor where he was tied up. Leah was corrupted by this man. What she might have seen in him, Harrison couldn’t, and would never, figure out. He had taken her and killed her out of his own pride. He didn’t even stop to think about what life would be like with her gone, until now. And Caleb was as innocent as ever. He was there for her more than he himself was, and apparently could have been. Leah had gone to him with all her problems. Maybe she was just looking out for Harrison. Keeping him out of her drama. But he was her husband. She should have felt it was safe to tell him anything. Well, maybe not, seeing as how he killed her with his own two hands since he thought it was the appropriate action at the time.
A noise distracted Harrison from his thoughts and he looked up to see Gil coming at him with a large blunt object. Gil had a terrifyingly strained smile upon his sweaty face.
“But that’s enough talk. I’ve got a date.”
Harrison emptied his lungs and closed his eyes.
The next couple of days were a blur, a cyclone of cop cars, evidence boxes, jail cells, and media reporters. Harrison did his best to ignore it all. None of it mattered. He pleaded guilty to everything because he hated being out in the public. The trial needed to be over with. He explained his reasoning behind the murders, and that he bad been wrong about their affair. Some stories leaked that he told of the affair to gain sympathy, which was not his intention. He just wanted everyone and everything to go away. The only thing that didn’t add up in his story was the murder of Gil. The police couldn’t connect Gil’s murder to Leah’s and Caleb’s, but they knew Harrison was guilty, plus he had confessed. He just couldn’t tell them how he did it, as he was not conscious when it happened. He didn’t tell them this, of course. That just would have dragged things out.
His heart had a gaping hole where Leah once lived. He was disgusted with himself. The hatred he had for himself when he saw Leah’s family sitting in the courtroom was beyond anything he had ever felt before. Did they know about Leah’s struggle? They couldn’t look at him throughout the trial and had nothing to say for or against him. It didn’t matter. They were never going to see him again.
He sat in his jail cell dwelling on all the things that could have been, might have been, should have been. He kept coming to the same conclusion: none of it mattered. There was no going back and undoing the terrors he committed.
The one thing his mind always came back to was Leah. She was in Hell. But somehow, he knew she was waiting for him.
Posted on November 2nd, 2014
Vengeance: Part 3
Harrison sat back in the rickety chair with his steaming cup of coffee. Planning the car accident had been easy. Caleb always worked late nights and was just one of those people who worked too hard and was always tired. He often drove around late at night. The accident was ruled exactly that, a man who fell asleep at the wheel and lost control of the vehicle. There was some talk where people thought there was some connection between the two deaths with the project they were working on, but it had yet to amount to anything significant.
With the funeral over, all that was left was to clean up. Nothing else mattered anymore. The injustice could finally be forgotten, wiped away, drowned, eliminated, destroyed. They were both destroyed.
Harrison still had a nagging feeling. Something still wasn’t quite right. Perhaps he would feel better once the rest of the evidence was destroyed.
Where was he going to move to? He still had to wait a while to move, otherwise it might be suspicious. He knew people still thought he was guilty. Maybe that would be an okay reason to up and move now, to get away from all the accusing stares.
But where would he go? There was nothing tying him here anymore. This was where he was supposed to create his family. This town was supposed to be the rest of his life. His dead-end job didn’t matter much anymore. He had held it because it was solid money every week, but he didn’t find much of a need for money anymore, at least not a lot of it.
There was nothing left. Really, absolutely nothing left. There was no meaning left in his life. There wouldn’t be another wedding, that’s for damn sure. How was he supposed to trust anyone after this? After her? There would never be another woman like her.
He saw her picture on the table again, and had a sudden urge to burn it. He suddenly wanted to forget everything that had ever happened in regards to Leah. She was once so special to him. But it seemed he was not special enough for her. What had he done to deserve this treatment? He would probably never know.
The anger in him continued to rise at all the unanswered questions that were stabbing into his brain, all the answers he would never have. He tried to keep reminding himself that it wasn’t important, but it was hard to not think about it. He was fixated on the life she had that he had never known about. All the lies she must have told.
He took a deep drink of coffee and placed the mug down on the table. He could have sworn that at the exact same moment the mug hit the table, something made a noise outside. Harrison sat perfectly still as he waited for something else to move, for another noise. But he heard nothing else.
He could feel his heart beating a bit in his chest. He felt the sweat starting to prickle in his armpits. Something wasn’t right. He thought about going to the window to look but he was nervous about something he couldn’t put his finger on. He was reluctant to get out of his chair as it always made noise. But in order to calm himself down, he had to get up to see.
As he was contemplating the most quiet way to maneuver out of the chair, he heard the noise again. It was closer this time, like it was in the room with him. His eyes grew wide as the sweat beaded on his brow. He was about to turn around when the room disappeared before his eyes.
Posted on September 14th, 2014
Vengeance: Part 2
Something still wasn’t making sense.
Harrison thought back to the day he went into his wife’s office to clear her desk and collect her things. He had to wait for them to request this of him or else it might have been obvious. He made sure to take her laptop as if it was just another thing. But it was the most important thing. This was going to give him his answers.
He had picked up everything that was available to him from her desk and the nearby vicinity. It was just a cubicle. Just to be sure he didn’t miss anything he walked around the whole office and checked public areas where people would stand and chat, like the kitchen area or the water cooler, perhaps to see what she might have seen, been where she had been. He didn’t do that for very long; people were starting to look at him funny. He then figured he probably looked more suspicious than sad.
It was when he was standing next to the water cooler looking out a nearby window that he shed his first tear since her disappearance. He hadn’t really grieved over her being gone since the night she went missing. He stared longingly out the window and felt fewer people staring at him out of weirdness, but more out of sadness. Some of these people were her friends and probably missed her, too. But they wouldn’t say anything to him about it. After all it was his wife, not just a friend. They simply wouldn’t understand.
He returned back to her desk and gathered up the rest of her belongings and got himself out of there. As each minute passed, he grew more and more uncomfortable and unsure of himself. Had he made a mistake?
Harrison carried in the last box and placed it gingerly on the table and sat down in the rickety chair at the wobbly table. He spent hours poring through every single document on Leah’s laptop, through every item she had sitting around her desk. His doubts about his actions were quickly brushed aside when he found her long email chains with a man named Caleb, and this was not the first time he heard Caleb’s name from Leah.
It was out in the open for him, as if she thought he would never look into her laptop. All of the details were there. His printer was humming along in the background.
Most of the emails were about some new business project they were working on, trying to figure out ways to get things approved to get what they needed. He figured that was just code. Leah talked about these things at home in her last few months, which was fine. What wasn’t fine was when she started “working late” more often than anything else.
Harrison fought with himself on the matter at first. She would never do something like that. He wasn’t a bad enough person to have the woman he loved treat him that way. But then there was no hiding it. One of the last times she came home from working late she was flustered and looked like she had been crying. Harrison had no sympathy for her at this point. Dark thoughts had already crossed his mind a few times by then but this was the icing on the cake. Not only was she seeing someone else, she was seeing them in some sort of capacity that she had been crying about something. Perhaps the relationship had ended? But that thought quickly left his mind. She had been in the relationship long enough that it ended and she was heart broken about it. That was more than enough for him.
That’s when he began renting the apartment in the city. He needed a headquarters, a place to put his thoughts together.
It took him four months to organize himself and prepare for his actions. He paid less and less attention to what Leah was doing in the time leading up to her disappearance. She had become detached and quiet, which made it easier for Harrison to continue with his mission.
What took him so long in planning everything was how he was going to get Caleb. He was up in the air about including him as part of the scheme, but he thought the risk was too high if he left him. Leah could have told him anything. Caleb could have put the police right on his track if Leah was emotionally broken enough to complain about all the things he did wrong in the brief times they actually saw each other lately.
It needed to be spaced out enough that there couldn’t be a connection between the incidents. He knew he was going to be looked at for Leah’s disappearance. He couldn’t be too clean. He needed to look innocent obviously, but if he was too ready for the police, well, that could look bad. He didn’t want to be cocky about it. He wasn’t that crazy of a person who enjoyed the crime. He was just doing what was right.
There was one thing that bothered Harrison. After Leah’s disappearance, Caleb had made an effort to reach out to him. He had received a few emails, saying the typical things: sorry for your loss, hope you’re doing okay, blah blah blah.
Was he taunting him with these actions? Was this Caleb’s way of calling him out, accusing him of what a few others may have been thinking? Then, Caleb did know too much. He was too involved. He would have to go.
Posted on September 7th, 2014
Vengeance: Part 1
The funeral procession was trailing down the road. Passengers in cars who were not participating watched with blank faces, waiting for the end to come so they could continue on to wherever they were going. But that was unimportant.
The clouds looked like they were going to open and pour the universe down upon everything in the cemetery. But not a drop of rain fell. The stitching on the clouds was not going to give, not today. The grass was dry and crunchy underneath mens’ dress shoes and women’s black suede pumps. It hadn’t rained in weeks and the dusty earth was crying out for whatever the sky would give. For the past three days the clouds crawled across the sky, full to bursting, but would not share the wealth with those who needed it below. The meteorologists kept saying the same thing: that we needed rain and we weren’t getting it and they can’t quite explain why. All that matters is that they’re wrong.
Everyone is wrong. All these people dressed up in black are here for the wrong reason. They think they’re here to see a good man buried beneath the dirt but they’re wrong. The widow is sobbing into the white kerchief, probably wondering why this happened to her. She does not yet realize she has been saved, and perhaps she never will. But that is not important.
The important thing is to stay focused. The mission is not yet complete.
The tan 1994 Honda Civic hummed along the curves of the suburbs as it made its way back toward the city. It parked in an alleyway that made for a decent driveway in the worn down area, trash littering the entrance. Inside the apartment, water marks on the ceiling seemed to paint pictures, swirling bubbles of brown toward the sky.
Everything was out in the open. Photos, emails, news articles, all of it. There was no need to hide anything. Hardly a need to clean either. Visitors were nonexistent, nor were they welcome. Killing the man had been the easy part. After all, he was ignorant enough to bring this upon himself.
He took out the picture of his wife that he always kept on his desk at home. After the cops had left their house that night, he sat at home grieving for the woman he once loved. He had reported her missing and gave the police all the information he had. A week later he brought that picture and a few other personal belongings that reminded him of her to his apartment in the city, where he had peace and quiet.
He held the picture in his hands, caressing the frame with his thumb. Her golden curls swirled around her shoulders, tumbling past the edge of the photo. Her brown eyes were round and bright, and her smile contained the memories of a happier time.
He put the picture back on the table amidst the messy paperwork. It had been 3 months since she’d gone missing. He leaned back in his chair and folded his hands behind his head, looking out the window as the sun was beginning to set. There was still no more information on the case compared to those 3 months ago. The cops were optimistic, but he knew they would never find her.
He sat forward in his chair again. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the paper of the sermon from the funeral and added it to the pile of paper on his table. It landed next to the stack of email records and a news article about his missing wife from 2 weeks after the incident. He stared at it for a minute before getting up from the table and going to the small kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee.