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3. Faith is for the Faithful

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There is a theory that states that our destinies are pre-determined, that our lives have already been planned, we just have to live them through. There has never been proof to agree or disagree with this idea. Some people accept that their lives are planned out for them, while others refuse to grasp the idea that someone else is in charge of their lives. Kind of scary logic isn’t it? The fact that no matter what you do, you can’t change how/where you’ll end up. The idea that some people are meant to kill themselves, some are meant to kill others, some are meant to be killed. The theory that our lives are pre-planned for us is a somewhat scary sensation. But, is it reality or imagination? What do you think?

Some people refuse to accept the fact that their decisions have no effect on their own lives, that a much higher being is controlling them. The idea would tend to cause some controversy. Fate is a topic that many people wonder about, yet nobody can prove or disprove either theory. The only destiny I’ve foreseen is that we are all destined to die one way or another. That fact is something you cannot get around. Yet, how about things like luck and chance. When you’re born, was it written that you would go into a certain career, go to a pre-determined school, meet pre-determined friends? Nobody knows. It is more common for people to not accept this idea for lack of evidence and lack of control. People don’t like to know that someone else is in control of their futures.

Every day we all make simple decisions that have a minimal effect on our lives. Also, we make decisions that may determine our future. We all like to think that we are in control of our lives, that we can be influenced but not controlled. Everyone has his or her own separate view on the issue of fate. I myself do not believe in such a thing, that someone has already written out our lives and then decided to allow us to live it. The decisions we make day to day can affect our lives as well as the lives of others. At each chapter I again remind the reader of the main idea of this story, adding a new lesson with each chapter. Chapter 1 was a sort of introduction, Chapter 2 the continuation with the constant questioning. This chapter deals with fate, the way things are pre-determined to be. Were Faith and Declan’s lives determined when they were born, or is it just the traditional case of hard luck? I’m going to let you decide, being we all have our own varying opinions on common issues.

The story left off at a sort of cliffhanger. We started our tale through Faith’s eyes, then moved on to Declan’s view. For this chapter and much of the remainder of the story, we will remain in Faith’s mind, with the possible occasional jump to other characters. The story will continue exactly where it left off, at the end of chapter 2. The story with the adults of the Nolan family is currently unknown and shall remain that way for some time. We pick up again outside of the James family property. If one looked into the darkness close enough, they might see two figures standing by the gate in silence. The time is approximately 11:00 p.m. and the night is cold, calm, and quiet as the two figures stand staring into the darkness. Though the two silhouettes look a bit peculiar as one is doubled over, grasping at his face, the other is attempting to console the older Declan, who cannot understand why his vision has left him. We start again through Faith’s point of view at that very moment.

“Be calm Declan, you’ll be alright.”

He was confused from the fall, completely disorientated. He kept trying to sop up the blood but to no avail. I couldn’t remember too much either from falling, only that my arm and forehead were killing me. Declan was doubled over so as to prevent the blood from getting into the eye itself. He was a bit too late. I heard a noise in the shadows and I saw Declan freeze. I helped him to the fence and the two of us started to climb. Declan was halfway up when the footsteps got louder, and faster, I was on the verge of jumping up the fence myself when I felt an arm roughly drag me down. Declan heard and started down, and I quickly got to my feet. No sooner was I standing up that I saw Mike’s eyes. He was panting hard and had a German shepherd at his heels. I waited for him to stop sputtering and start speaking.

“Where did you think you were going to?” he demanded.

“I’m getting the hell out of here, and you aren’t going to stop me.”

I heard Declan touch down. He wasn’t too happy with the way things were working out. I held his shoulder to prevent him from rushing Mike, which would have put him out of commission.

“You can’t leave and you know it. School and police orders. They said if you set foot off of the grounds, you can stay with them.”

I glared at him before giving my response. “I’d rather stay with the police than here with you. I don’t belong here, it’s a waste of time, I have to check on my family.”

He was breathing normally at last. “I told you not to try anything, now look what happened. The two of you are cut up pretty bad. Come on, we’ll get back to the house and fix you both up.”

Declan would have hit him just because of the frustration, but when I moved to follow, he figured it would be wiser. We walked all the way back to the house, entering through the front door. Nobody was in sight, so we followed him through a few rooms until he stopped. He called for his mother who came promptly with a first aid kit. She looked at Declan’s eye and shook her head. I was watching her clean the cut when Mike came over.

“Your hand, if you don’t mind. Looks like the dog’s work. I warned you but no, you had to go see for yourself. Where did you think you were going?” he mumbled.

I gave him the hand he asked for as I thought about my response. He repeated the question and I simply answered, “Anywhere but here.”

The night wore on. Declan would have to go to the hospital, such was the severity of the wound. While waiting we both explained what had happened to the James family. When prompted with the question of how his eye had been gashed, I stopped to consider it. I looked down at the ring my mother had given me, a family heirloom. Long before my mother, the stone was cracked, leaving a sort of jagged edge. I had been warned thoroughly beforehand of the danger of the ring’s edge, and my mother suggested I just put it away for safekeeping. Of course I wouldn’t listen. I had thrown the strike at an awkward angle, which caused the blow to be sort of diagonally propelled instead of straight. It cut across his eye and the blood had prevented him from seeing. I wouldn’t say anything, but I doubted that he’d ever see out of that eye again.

The whole of the James family was present, Mike, his parents, and his younger sister. Declan had a makeshift bandage over his eye as he waited for the ambulance. We both concluded our explanations at the same spot and now sat in silence. The family hadn’t asked any more questions or made any comments. About ten minutes of pure silence passed without even the slightest gesture. A ring of the doorbell shattered the lack of sound like a rock thrown through a window. Mrs. James rose quickly and rushed to the door. Three men came rushing in, two in the usual paramedics uniforms, the third a policeman. The paramedics took the liberty of ushering Declan out. The policeman took a quick glance at the house, found himself a chair and promptly asked what happened.

The true story could have got me arrested and the James’ knew it. I thought about where to start when Mr. James’ voice cut in.

“The young man came to visit at perhaps 10 to see his sister. Of course we allowed him to. The two were walking the grounds when one tripped, dragged the other down as well. He must have cut his eye on a rock.”

The policeman looked up from his notes, glanced at all of us and asked me, “What happened to your hand?”

“The dog.”

He looked at Mr. James. “You own the animal?”

“Yes.”

The policeman stared down at his notes as he spoke, “And this animal is registered, has all its’ shots?”

“Yes sir, the dog wasn’t used to our visitors and got a bit hostile. He has calmed down now and taken a liking to them,” was Mr. James’ final statement.

The policeman got up and looked around a bit, taking a casual glance here and there. Legally, he couldn’t conduct a thorough search without a warrant, but he didn’t seem to want to. He spoke next while heading to the door.

“Alright, the young man will be brought to the hospital to be properly treated, would anyone like to come before the ambulance leaves?”

The family fell silent once more, and the attention was generated towards me. I started to speak when Mr. James cut in once more.

“I’ll go, you kids get to bed, it’s late,” he replied. With that, he turned and followed the policeman out.

Mrs. James was still in a state of contemplation. She looked so tired; I was actually feeling a little bad for her. She must have finally found the right words because she spoke up.

“Catherine, Mike, get to sleep, it’s been a long day.”

The three split, each going a separate way. I, in turn, went mine. It was roughly 1 a.m. when everything finally settled down in the James house. It was a Friday anyway so I wasn’t particularly worried about getting up for school in the morn. I went into the room I was appointed to and considered the days’ events. It all went by so quickly didn’t it? I wonder how Declan is, when they’ll release him. Sleep was out of the question of course; I still had a migraine anyway from the fall. Hours dragged on in the darkness, and no word came from Mr. James about Declan. It was odd to think that someone actually risked something on my behalf. I was prepared to take the rap for leaving, for fighting back, everything. But they shielded me from harm, more than I had ever done for anyone.

Were things meant to be this way, life to be this hard? Was my family chosen to have all these problems? If so, why? I don’t think anyone can answer my questions. Everyone keeps saying that things happen for a reason. Well if there’s a reason for all this, I’d sure like to know what it is, I haven’t been able to find it. Time marches on of course, and eventually it strikes 2 with still no word on Declan. I’m sure they had to do some sort of surgery of something. I really have to get out of this house. Everything’s too…“perfect”. This family is the image of perfection, not a mistake to be found. You could take a fine toothed comb over them and their lives and still come up with nothing. Perhaps they were always meant to be this way, without a flaw. I’ve never seen this much kindness in my life, and probably won’t ever see it again for that matter. Still, the only things keeping me within the confines of this house are walls alone.

I rose and started to walk through the darkness. My steps echoed quietly through the house, slow and cautious, not knowing if they could be heard elsewhere. From my room there’s a few little corners to the front door, and from there I’m home free. Creeping along the walls, I made my way, I was so very close until I tripped over something in the dark. The hall light turned on in an instant and I found myself staring at the youngest James’ sibling. I never did come to learn her name.

“You okay?” she asked innocently.

I got up, brushed myself off and stared at her. “Sure, I’m fine. What’re you doing up anyway?”

“I heard a noise,” she said. She did look a little shaken up.

“Well it’s alright, get back to bed, I’m going to go too.”

She stared straight back at me for a minute, turned off the light and walked away. I leaned against the wall to take a quick breath. The kid was going back to bed, nobody heard the fall, so from here on in nobody was the wiser. The door was only a few feet away. I stand straight once more, turn the corner, and find myself face to face with Mike.

“And where do you think you were going? Going to try and tell me you’re an insomniac, don’t even bother,” he stated briskly.

“I’m leaving this house even if I have to go through you, understand me? I can’t stay here a moment longer. I am telling you now, get out of my way before I make you.”

He stared back blankly, thought about his next words, which I really didn’t expect. “You want to go back out there, you go ahead. Be aware there’s no turning back once you shut that door. It means you’ve made your decision, I can’t stop you. Should you want to return, you better have a damn good speech prepared. It’s about time you learn that there are people you can trust. My family is putting out a lot to help you and you brother, and I don’t think it’s right you just walk out on them. Again, do whatever you wish; there is no way I can stop you, this is your decision. Consider it wisely.”

With that, he turned and walked off as quietly as he had come, disappearing into the darkness from whence I came. I stood there for what felt like an eternity, considered my few options. There was only one thing I could do, and that was to find my family. I opened the door quietly, stepped through, and closed it behind myself. The walk from the door to the street wasn’t too bad, and when I got there I climbed up and over the fence. I glanced back for a moment at what I had left and thought about where I was heading. Was it worth it? These people had risked something for me, and I walked out? I had to; I didn’t belong there. I couldn’t complicate their lives with mine. It wasn’t their business anyway; they had no right to know my life.

I walked the streets aimlessly for awhile, thinking about where to go first. I decided on the hospital. It was only a few blocks, though it had started to rain. By the time I reached the door it was a downpour. I asked the weary nurse at the desk in what room I could find Declan Nolan, and she told me 351, but visiting hours were over, if I could come back later. I tried to explain that I was family, but she told me to either find a place in the lobby to sleep because I looked tired, or get out. I stared back at her and if looks could kill she would have been fried. I turned and walked back out into the downpour toward home. It was near 4 a.m. when I got there. I walked in slowly trailing rain the entire way.

I stopped in my tracks when I heard footsteps. Nobody wakes up this early in the Nolan house, no matter the occasion. I pressed up against a wall, into the shadows, and peered out. I saw my mother pacing incessantly, speaking to…my uncle. What was he doing here at this hour? Normally he’d have a hangover. He looked somewhat drunk anyway. It seemed they hadn’t heard me come in, as my mother was a wreck over the will it seemed. I continued to watch, in time to see my mother look out the window as if in deep contemplation. She seemed different, not quite herself. I heard the clumsy steps of my uncle, the scraping of the chair as he rose.

Mother had heard him too, subconsciously. She didn’t turn to watch him or even have the notion to. It was then I wished she had. She moved out of view, somewhat oddly. She went backwards. There was a sort of brief muffled scuffle; I wouldn’t dare move from where I stood. It lasted seconds but felt like years. It all ended with a sickening sound that couldn’t be described with words. The shuffling stopped, and I heard once again my uncle’s clumsy footsteps. The suspense was too much; I stepped out quietly so he wouldn’t notice right away. The sight that met my eyes was more than I could stand.

I should have moved when I could’ve, because before me lay my mother. The coward couldn’t stare her in the face, so he’d stabbed her in the back. The blood glistened in the light of the early morning and he was covered with it. He had a bewildered look on his face as he stared down. It wasn’t until he looked up that it contorted into anger. We both stared at each other, daring the other to move first. It was Uncle Tom. He came flying forward, and I caught his wrists. He fought without much progress either way for some time. We were both fighting for the same thing, our lives. But he was fighting for innocence, I for vengeance, which was a much stronger adversary. He still had the knife in his hand; he refused to let it go. I pushed him away and the fight raged on.

Normally I would never think about killing a family member, but this was the exception. I screamed at him about his crime, we continued to fight, he kept swiping, missing. Either he would live with the guilt or die.

“You killed her, how could you, and I’ll bet you took out Grandpa as well!”

He laughed; he actually dared to laugh. I lunged at him, but I should have known better. Anger ruins concentration. He added momentum to the action, which landed me against the wall. I got up as quick as I could, but he was already standing there waiting for me. He pulled me up, still being wary of looking into my eyes. It’s like some sort of a belief of his; you can’t kill your enemy if you stare into their eyes first. He was still laughing.

“Now the house will be mine, you’re the only thing standing in the way of it. I can’t allow that to happen. I need it more than you do anyway.”

I stood and stared at him coldly. “You won’t get away with it, they’ll track you.”

Again he thought fit to laugh, “No they won’t, because there will be no proof I was ever here. It all works out in the end. I will make it work, but of course you won’t be here to see it.”

He took another step and I took the opportunity. He was being too pompous; he wasn’t ready for it. I put everything I had into the hit, the hit that sent him over the couch and out the window. He had nothing to grab onto, so he took me with him. We were about two stories up, but I landed on him. I heard the loud distinct sound of a crack and knew something had broken. I got up slowly, watching him. He was groaning a bit, but no movement. I tried to stand, but everything hurt. From here it would be a few blocks back to the hospital in the torrential rain, but I had to get there.

I walked slowly onward to the hospital. It was going on 7 or so I think, the watch dial had been cracked earlier I suppose in the fall. The rain wouldn’t quit, but I continued anyway. I walked in the hospital drenched. The nurses had switched as the shift changed, and this one immediately looked up when I entered. I asked her softly what time it was. She told me it was 6:30 a.m. I asked her when visiting hours started, and she replied 8. I said, “Thank you,” and took a seat for awhile. She eyed me curiously for some time before actually coming over.

“Are you looking for family?” she asked politely.

“Yes, my brother Declan. He’s in room 351, I haven’t seen him at all yet, they wouldn’t let me in.”

She looked a bit shocked. “They wouldn’t let you in? Why didn’t you just say you’re family? They should have let you up. You can go up now if you want to, no reason why you should wait.”

“Thank you.”

I stood and walked to the nearest elevator, pushed the call button and waited. It took a few seconds, and I waited inside to reach the right floor. I got out, looked around, and followed the room numbers. At the end of the hallway I found 351 with the door ajar. I peered in to be sure and saw Declan lying in bed, asleep. Mr. James was sitting in a chair right next to the bed, still awake. I opened the door a bit and stepped inside.

The man had such a weary look on his face; he desperately needed sleep. He rose from his chair immediately. He moved rather sluggishly to where I stood, still soaked.

“Faith, I told you I’d call. You’re not supposed to leave the house anyway. You get back there right away.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll stay with him, you go home. I want to stay, you look tired anyway, your family needs you.”

He was obviously thinking it over. I waited patiently, though I felt ready to fall. I must have been slouching because he helped me sit down. He looked me over with a critical eye, being a doctor, he was a bit of an expert.

“Are you alright? You don’t look so well,” he asked slowly. He started pacing around. I told him I was fine.

“Where have you been?”

I explained that I left the house and walked a few laps before they had let me up to see Declan.

“If all you did was walk the streets all these hours, what happened to your arm?”

I looked down and discovered a deep cut with a piece of glass stuck across it. I hadn’t even realized until now how much it hurt. Mr. James watched my clueless expression with a sense of wonder. How could I be so ignorant? I couldn’t find the right words to explain myself. I couldn’t bear the burden any longer, so I told him what happened straight from the start. I told him about leaving the house, about the hospital, about going home, about my mother and my uncle. He started to rise when I mentioned Uncle Tom lying on the ground, but I grabbed his wrist.

“No, let him lay there and think about all he’s done. His life’s not worth saving.” I didn’t even realize that in the time taken to tell my tale, he had removed the glass and bandaged my arm. He looked even more tired than before.

“Listen, we are discussing a human life, he must be held accountable. Whether he is pure or evil, we must offer him the same opportunity for life that we offer everyone else. He deserves a chance no matter what the crime, and when he is better he will pay his debts.”

I couldn’t believe he actually wanted to save the scumbag. The man that only moments earlier threatened my very life, he wanted to save him? I was disgusted with the man; I didn’t know how to respond. But in the long run I knew he was right. True, he had committed a wrong; he did deserve the chance to live through the eyes of justice. He would be properly punished upon return. I had already told him the location of the body, and he was getting up to go.

“Go back to the house, tell them what happened,” he said as he rushed out.

“I can’t, I won’t. I have to stay with Declan, he has a right to know what happened.”

He stopped at the door and looked back at me in contemplation. “Alright, but I’m sending Mike to come check on you.” He stepped back in, wrapped a blanket around my shoulders, and walked out again. I sat down in the chair he’d sat in all night alongside Declan. The clock on the wall read 8 a.m. meaning it was Saturday. Mr. James had just left, and I had settled myself down to wait for Declan to wake. I thought about yesterday, about today. Declan had been brought in hours ago, he should wake any minute, then again he needed sleep. The room was silent with the eerie chill of a hospital. There was nobody in the halls and the patients in their rooms were sleeping. Being so early, I decided to take a walk and get acquainted with the general area. The floor was empty of course, with the exception of the nurse at her station. I walked throughout the floor completely and around some of the building before returning to Declan’s room. It was roughly 9 a.m. and to my surprise I returned to see him standing up, staring out the window.

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