The Man Who Killed my Mother

At the age of six, Scott was made to watch his mother's brutal murder then kidnapped by her killer. Having finally escaped the gang who held him for eight years, Scott wants only one thing - answers.

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3. Chapter 2

 

I carried on walking and walking until the deafening sounds of the lake no longer pierced my ears. All I could hear now were the leaves rustling in the wind and the trickling of the stream running past me, both taunting me with their peacefulness. I was still angry.

                I pulled my knives from my belt and threw them one by one at the trunk of a large oak tree, each one hitting exactly where I aimed with a force that split the wood. I don’t know how or when I learnt to use throwing knives, probably some time when I was with the gang, but they had long since become my weapon of choice. Maybe it was because I didn’t have to feel the person dying as I killed them. Maybe it made it easier.

                I forced the knives from the tree and started all over again. This time it was less about letting out my anger and more about letting me think. I couldn’t believe I’d just freaked out like that in front if Chrissie. I was ashamed of myself, disappointed, and I was worried what she would think of me. What if she never wanted to speak to me again? I couldn’t cope with that.

                She had dug too far into my past; hit a weak spot in my shield. Instead of just explaining it to her or trying to repair the damage, I let my entire wall collapse in a spectacular display of my weaknesses. Now she knew everything about me, things I hadn’t ever spoken about before. Things I didn’t ever want to speak about again.

                Being in that place – whatever it was- was eight years of complete hell. I never wanted to talk about it, never wanted anyone to know about it, and never wanted it to come into my head at any time other than my nightmares. But now Chrissie knew. Chrissie. What was it about that girl? I always messed up when I was around her; freaking out and murdering people. But now I needed to right what I had done and apologise. It was my fault.

                I took all my knives from the tree once again, and put them away. All but one. I took a few steps towards a different trunk. I threw the knife. It hit dead in the centre of a caterpillar. I pulled it out again, wiped the caterpillar’s guts off it, and put it with the others.

                I followed the stream back down the hill, through the dense vegetation and bog-like earth. The closer I got to the lake the more the trees thinned and my head cleared. By time I reached the vast expanse of water again it was growing dark. I would’ve liked to have stuck around and skimmed rocks for a while, had a bit of fun, but I had to get back home or risk getting lost in the woods.

                Before I left I looked towards the clearing again. The body had gone, just like I expected. The only things that left any clues to what had happened were the blood splatters smeared across the grass. I walked the track back up to the house.

                By the time I’d returned everyone was seated around the table. Each meal was a surprise – it depended on what we found or could afford. No one in our city ever had regular, good meals. Even those who managed to find work didn’t get paid enough to live properly. The only people who ever had money were the gangs, and they controlled how much everyone else got.

                Today it seemed like we might have a pretty decent dinner; there was a buzz in the air and everyone was chatting amongst themselves. When it had been a bad day, everyone would be sitting in melancholy silence, mourning the money they never had. They must’ve got hold of something, whatever it was. I looked around the table for Chrissie, and realised she was the only one not talking. She was sat plaiting her fingers awkwardly.

                As I took my seat at the table I noticed the others were all staring at me and the talking had seized. I glanced again at Chrissie, who looked as uncomfortable as I felt. They weren’t talking about food or money or anything else, they were talking about me. She must’ve told everyone. I was hoping to catch her and quietly explain, but that wasn’t going to happen now. They all wanted an explanation.

                “Everyone alright?” I offered, trying to lessen the tension.

“Yeah. You?” a girl, Patricia, spat. She was strong and brave but she was not nice.

“Um. Fine, thanks,”

“Where did you get off to earlier?” Stephen, the closest thing I had to a best friend, asked. He was trying to lighten the mood, too.

“Oh, just a walk. What about you?”

“Not much. Found a bit of cash,”

“That’s good,” The conversation fizzled into nothingness.

                Just as I was about to bang my head repeatedly against the table, Mitch came in with dinner. He always cooked for us – he had a knack for making a little look a lot. He was followed Philip who was carrying more plates. All in all there was seven of us, including Megan, Philip’s little sister and Chrissie’s friend.

                The silence dragged on as we started to eat. I could feel eyes burning into my head from all directions, their stares wrapping around me like ropes pulled tight. I thought I’d try conversation again.

“This is really nice, Mitch,” I lied. It looked like some kind of mashed vegetable with a thimble-sized chunk of meat. I didn’t even want to know what meat.

“Thanks,” he replied, clearly seeing through me.

“I bet you had much nicer food back when you hung out with the gangs,” It was Patricia. My stomach turned as she spoke. That was unexpected. And low, even for her. She watched intently, waiting for my reaction.

                “Yeah, the food was incredible-“ the others looked on shocked, “-but it was all blood money. And I don’t care if they gave me a feast every day; I’d never go back there,”

“Oh, right, because living with the richest group of people in the city must have been so hard for you,” Patricia said sarcastically.

“You’re right Patricia, it was just great. Living with the people who killed my mother. Having to see what I saw them do. It was the best!” I shook my head, stood up and walked away. As I left I looked back at Chrissie. I could tell she was upset, but I couldn’t care. I had to leave the room.

                Before I could storm out of the house I heard footsteps running after me. I turned, expecting to see Stephen, only to be faced with Chrissie. I grabbed her arms to steady her as she collided into my chest, and kept my grasp tight until she had calmed down. Her face was flushed red and her eyes were wide and alert. Her eyes moved up to my face as I held her, and we stayed like that for an awkward few seconds.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispered.

“Me too,”

                She took my hand and led me through the hallways and rooms until we got outside the house. We sat cross-legged on the grass, silent for what seemed like an eternity. The moonlight peeked from behind the clouds and trees, giving the night an eerie glow. We could barely see each other, but I liked it like that.

                “I’m sorry for freaking out like that,” I said as I ran my fingers through my hair. It was a tangled mess.

“It’s fine. I shouldn’t have been so nosey. It’s just…” I looked at her expectantly, “I don’t know. I find you intriguing, I guess,”

“Oh,”

“I didn’t tell everyone about earlier, just Megan, but Patricia overheard and wouldn’t shut up about it,”

“It’s okay; we all know how she can be,” we both laughed.

“Thanks for killing that man,” Chrissie whispered.

“I couldn’t let him hurt you,” I thought I saw her smile, “who was he? What did he want?”

“Well, you know I said he killed my dad?” I nodded, “He owed the man money, but when he died it passed on to my mom. She was ill; she couldn’t work, so she couldn’t pay,”

“What happened to her?”

“Nothing. We just decided to go our separate ways, to keep me safe. I guess he realised he wasn’t getting anything off mom, though, so he came after me,” she breathed in deeply, “his name was Jeff,” We sat in silence for another few minutes.

                “Scott?” her hand moved closer to mine.

“Yeah?”

“If you don’t want to, it’s fine… But do you want to find out what happened with your mom?” I didn’t answer at first – I wasn’t sure what to say. All my life the thought had never even occurred to me; to find out why my mom was killed. Or what happened to my dad. But did I want to know? I turned to face Chrissie. She was sincere, she wanted to help. She cared.

                The moonlight burst through the trees like an exploding star.

“That would be amazing,” This time I knew Chrissie was smiling because the moon reflected off her teeth and the whites of her eyes. As quickly as the light had come it was gone, and we were left in almost complete darkness. She grabbed me and hugged me tight, and I hugged her back. Not an urgent hug, or a false hug, but a real, caring hug.

                No one had done that since my sixth birthday. No one since my mother.

 

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