Torn and Broken

We were always together, August and I. For three years he’d been my life, been my everything. But that ended one night in a spray of red, a scar that washed away in the rain, as though August had never existed. I won’t forget though, and I’ll never forgive the ones who killed him. Not until their blood joins his, their bodies rotting somewhere out of sight, somewhere no one will ever find them.

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5. Chapter 4: Butterfly

 They couldn’t find him. They were still looking, but they had no leads. They had nothing. They never had anything.

 I walked out without looking back. I didn’t want their excuses. I wanted my son. I wanted my baby back.

 Aidan was at work. He worked a lot, drank a lot, cried even more. Didn’t talk much. But then again, neither did I. Every word I had only reminded me of August, of those beautiful, happy years I’d never appreciated, not until my life was broken and torn beyond recognition.

 And the cops couldn’t help me. They were useless.

 I stopped at a bar on Warren Street on the way back for a drink. I’d started doing that a lot, after the event. I’d even gotten a fake ID for it. So, when I wandered in, most of the regulars knew me, or at least knew my face.

 The crazy ex-mother. The dropout without a future, who drank away every penny and rarely went home somber enough to drive. I’d stopped driving anyway. Too many chances to die, Aidan had said when he took my car off to the dealership.

 “The usual,” I mumbled, sitting down at the bar exhaustedly.

 “You come here often?” a much too familiar voice asked me, and I whipped around. I knew that voice, even if it wasn’t yelling.

 “Yeah,” I gasped, swallowing a gulp of alcohol that burned on its way down. “Yeah, I come here every couple days. You?”

 I knew he didn’t. I was always here and I’d never seen him here. He’d never been here.

 “No, I usually don’t have the cash for places like this.” Strange, this was a dump of a bar, probably the cheapest one in town. “But I’m splurging.”

 “Trying to forget the past or the future?” I asked. I knew what I was doing, knew what I wanted and exactly how to get it. The cops wouldn’t do anything, so I would.

 “Both. You?”

 I took another drink. “The past… I think. I don’t know anymore. Maybe I’ve just forgotten.” Leaning over, brushing past him on my way for a napkin, letting my arm touch him, was the hardest thing I’d ever done. But, I reminded myself, necessary. “So what are you running from? What do you have that you want to leave behind?”

 “Life.”

 “Maybe,” I said, smiling and resting my hand on his arm provocatively, “I can help with that.”

 Strange, what a touch can do. He practically melted. He didn’t recognize me, that much was obvious. He thought I would be an easy distraction, and I let him think it until we were alone.

 Then, when he took me back to his apartment – a shabby dump, really, covered in garbage and old beer bottles – I grabbed a knife from the kitchen.

 “Hey, do you have any zip ties?” I asked innocently. His eyes lit up and I didn’t want to think of the dirty, disgusting things this monster was thinking. He obliged much too fast, obediently sat and let me bind him, and then waited expectantly.

 And then I took out the knife. His face changed then, and I think he recognized me. I think he knew me then. For the first time, he really saw me.

 I pressed the knife to his throat, his own butcher knife, close enough that it dimpled the skin on his throat. “You took something from me,” I whispered coldly. My emotions were gone. They died that day with August. “You took something important, and now I can’t ever get it back again.”

 He whimpered against the gag I’d shoved into his mouth and I wanted to laugh. I felt so powerful then, so in control. I felt everything I hadn’t felt the night I lost August.

 “I know it won’t change anything. Killing you, I mean. It won’t bring him back.” And I did know it. I really did.

 “But this isn’t for him. This is for me.”

 The knife slid easily through his throat and hot blood gushed over my hand. And I wondered then if I should be scared, or sad, or upset. But I felt good, for the first time in so long. Like a butterfly without wings, who’d somehow managed to fly anyway.
 

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