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4. Judgment Day

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Who is the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him? Much has happened in our tale and so now once again we shall take a moment to consider the events of the story. Such an event will take place before each chapter in case the reader hadn’t noticed. Can such a line of bad luck follow someone around forever, or is the misfortune of the Nolan family only temporary?  Who knows? Bad luck could last a lifetime; it may drive people to think it’ll never end or that it’s too much; that they can’t handle it. The open option to all is suicide. How many people a year do you think actually consider it, and how many times a year? Out of all those people, how many do you think actually go through with their crazy idea? Nobody knows; the statistics for how many people don’t aren’t as heavily advertised as the amount of how many people do. Something to consider, isn’t it?

Our story left off with our return to Declan at roughly 9 a.m. Saturday morning. The story will remain in Faith’s point of view at the local hospital. The rain hasn’t let up and Declan has risen out of bed. Mr. James left to summon a policeman to aid Tom Martin. The James family is just rising in their own home, Mrs. James finding a message from her husband detailing what happened and where he’d gone. So we are still on Saturday. Declan hasn’t yet heard the news of his mother’s death and Mr. James hasn’t called to confirm the discovery and/or arrest of Thomas Martin. Thomas Martin followed Satan on a path to Hell with his greed. Today we find out if there is justice in the world. Life isn’t fair, though at some times, isn’t it just a little bit?  Perhaps life will find the corrupt and bring him to justice, or will he get away with murder? These are some of the thoughts that passed through Faith’s mind as she wandered the hospital for an hour.

He was standing straight and tall staring out of the window at the morning sun. I stepped in silently so as not to disturb his thought. He wasn’t moving, just staring out into the sky.

“You stayed here all night?” he asked quietly.

“I got here as soon as they’d let me, they wouldn’t let me up to see you right away. Mr. James stayed until they would,” I replied to him in the same tone.

He bowed his head down as he thought, and turned around. What had been a mess of blood was covered with a thick white bandage. He was staring down at the floor when he reached up suddenly and tore the bandage from his eye, revealing the horrible scar that could never be fixed. He looked up straight into my eyes. What had been once been perfect was now shattered. Declan had once had two clear blue eyes, but now his right eye bore a terrible, somewhat vertical gash and the constant blood flow had discolored the pupil. The old clear crystal blue was turned a ghastly shade of gray. The bleeding had stopped, but the damage was done. The inability to get him to a hospital right away had caused the blood to dilate the pupil, making it red. When the doctors got to him, they cleaned it out, leaving what would forever be gray. Just looking at it told you the sight was gone as well as the life in it.

He looked so tired, not the old happy-go-lucky brother I grew up with. His dreams were in pieces, the academy would never accept him, and there was no way to replace the eye itself. The doctors had told him it was too far-gone, they might as well leave it in his head. He would either wear an eye patch forever, or just leave it as it was. He looked hard at me, focusing his only functioning eye.

“There is something amiss, tell me, what has happened in my absence?” he asked in the same calm, quiet voice.

I didn’t know if I should tell him right away about Mother, about Uncle Tom, about the window, everything. I didn’t think he needed that stress right away. I lost his gaze as he looked past me for a minute. I turned immediately to see what he was staring at.

“Hello doctor,” he said as he turned to walk back to his bed.

The doctor was a middle-aged man who also looked tired. Maybe it was too early for him to be up, maybe he had a long day ahead of him. I didn’t think I should stand in his way. I stepped back to allow him to pass. He gave a glance at me and continued to Declan.

“I see we’ve taken the bandage off already, I thought I told you to wait a while until it wasn’t as bad, it could get infected you know?” the doctor continued on and on until he ran out of words to lecture with. He checked both eyes, asked Declan a couple of questions on how he felt, then announced he would be alright, to be careful etc. He said that Declan’s release would be signed in an hour or so and he could leave anytime after then. We both thanked him for his services and watched as he walked out. By now it was roughly 10 a.m. and Declan’s expression hadn’t changed at all.

“You should just go back to bed and get some rest,” I told him calmly.

His back was facing me once again. “You’re not telling me something, and I refuse to close my eyes until I find out what has happened.” His voice had a certain tone in it that meant he wasn’t kidding. He would stay conscious three straight days if he had to. I just couldn’t tell him right off, but he would have to know. I was searching for the words to tell him, where to begin, when Mike walked into the room.

He looked lost, soaking wet. Obviously he didn’t realize it was raining when he ran headlong out of the house. The look on his face was that of a lost soul. He stopped at the door, looked inside, and stepped in.

“Well are you just gonna stand there? Say something!”

Declan didn’t say anything, just listened patiently.

Mike caught his breath and stammered a response, “Father called, said that…Thomas Martin, the police, went to find him, gone.”

“What do you mean gone?”

“They followed a blood trail, he ambushed them, he took down a cop, hurt the other one and Dad, they had to, had to…” he trailed off again.

“Well?” I demanded.

He took a deep breath before concluding, “They shot him, ‘bout four times.”

I stopped to think about it. The monster was destroyed. I felt no remorse for him, he got what he deserved, but I wished I had been there. I wanted to stare into his eyes when he faced death, took it on face to face, and perished. He was so confident he had Satan on his side, thought he would be saved, but the devil turned his back on his new disciple. And Satan felt no remorse either, for he would replace the fool easily. From the depths he would choose his next victim.

And so ended the life of Thomas J. Martin, age 34. Would anyone mourn him? Probably not, I knew I wouldn’t. He didn’t deserve it. I had turned my back to both Declan and Mike so they couldn’t see that I was smiling. They’d surely have me locked up. I heard Declan move to get up, so he was standing. I turned my face as stern as possible immediately. He placed a hand on my shoulder and asked calmly, “What happened today?”

He had a right to know; he needed to know. To know what the right thing is, and to actually do it are two completely different things though. My mind raced, my heart ached, and it had to be done. I breathed in courage and exhaled tension before starting. Mike knew it was a family problem and saw fit to stay outside. I started straight from the beginning and told him everything. Starting from when he left for the hospital to the moment Mike finished the tale minutes earlier. He made no comment, displayed no emotion at all. Trying to read his eyes was like trying to read a blank wall, nothing to understand or relate to. It took about an hour to explain everything to the fullest extent. The time was about 11:20 when the story was concluded and silence settled over the room. Mike was dozing slightly outside the door. Not even the slightest detail was neglected. I waited for a response, anything, yet there was none. He just stared blankly straight ahead.

The silence remained for about five minutes. Declan straightened up a bit, cleared his throat, and began speaking.

“So what happens from here?” he asked.

“I would imagine that perhaps the four funerals could be held together. This way everything is done in one day. As for the will, I would think that everything in it would go to Father, being he’s the only living family member left besides us.”

He thought for a minute. “Four?” he asked.

“Yes, Grandmother, Grandfather, Mother and Uncle Tom, though I’d gladly have Uncle Tom thrown into the river.”

He nodded in a half-sort of agreement. He checked the time and started moving about. I remembered then, he was allowed to leave anytime after 11. I helped him get himself together, and he went to the nurses’ station to report he was leaving. We woke Mike up on the way out and told him to go on home. He stood, nodded and walked off. Declan and I walked side by side to the elevator and took it down.  On the ground floor we walked straight out. The rain hadn’t let up at all, if anything it got worse. Declan wasn’t too eager to get home, neither was I, though we walked considerably quickly to get out of the rain. When we reached the building, we found it surrounded by cops’ cars with barriers set up around.

The officers themselves looked miserable, they were drenched from the downpour. Declan and I broke through the crowd to get to the front lines. The policeman there kept repeating that nobody was to enter the building. I approached him, looking him over and asked calmly, “What’s going on?”

He glanced at me for a moment before shouting, “Back everyone! Get back! There’s nothing to see here, make room, stay back!”

I repeated my question more loudly and this time he thought it appropriate to answer.

“There’s been a murder on the second story, policemen are inside now trying to bring out the murderer, alive.”

I considered what he had said. Was it pure coincidence? Impossible! The crowd’s attention seemed to be driven elsewhere, so I tried hard to look over the heads to see. I noticed Declan also looking, so I went off near the main entrance to see if I could catch the main event. A group of cops came busting through the door dragging a kicking human. Upon closer inspection I realized it was my father. He was swearing and screaming for justice that would never come. The cops shoved him roughly into a car and drove away as fast as they could. I ran back to where Declan stood and explained. He nodded solemnly.

“I know, I was able to see it,” he replied.

I approached the first policeman again and quickly told him my tale. I lived in the building, they had dragged off my father on false charges and I had four funerals to go to. The rain had an awful effect on the officers because he glared at me and snapped, “I’m sorry for your troubles but they’re not mine. I can’t solve your problems for you. Now get out of here before I take you in for disturbing the peace!”

I backed off and returned to Declan. The look on his face told me he was thinking. He stepped backwards and started walking away from the scene without a word. Now we had no family, no home. All we had was each other and for now that would have to do. I don’t know where Declan was planning on going, but time flew by fast, it was the afternoon and the rain had subsided for awhile. We had walked around for hours, it was about 3 p.m. when we caught the time. If there was a solution to what to do now, I couldn’t find it. Declan mustn’t have been able to either or else he would have mentioned it.

At about 6 the rain continued and the storm settled in. It was coming down heavy and we took shelter where we could find places, under alcoves, doorways etc. before moving on. Certain parts of the neighborhood aren’t too safe to be in after dark, so we kept moving to avoid gangs and such in the streets and alleys. Declan knew where to stay and where not to, so I followed him the entire way. We were walking onward through the rain when Declan stopped suddenly, looked around himself, and set a faster pace. I jumped a step to keep up, and matched his. He didn’t say anything so I figured it was wiser to follow his example.

Eventually he slowed a bit and stopped in an alley to rest a minute. He was breathing a bit harder than usual, but he was normal in an instant.

“We have to press onward through the darker areas. We have to go somewhere, anywhere. Even in death Uncle Tom has damned us. The only place we could go to is our grandparents’ house. It’s going to be a long walk, so let’s continue from…” his voice trailed off as footsteps sounded in the alley. We each turned and looked different ways to see a group of black-clad teenagers walking down each end. Declan and I looked at one another and moved closer together. Each one of them was walking with a sense of cat-footed evilness through the piercing rain, which was turning to hail slowly.

They were within arm’s reach by now, each wearing a similar facial expression. A tall, slender black-clad boy stepped forward, possibly the group leader. He circled around the both of us, standing there like a vulture. They had just come out because they weren’t soaked and most of them were wearing ponchos of some sort. He stopped in front of Declan, staring him straight in the eye. They were close enough to see the slightest facial movement, the tiniest furrow of a brow. The kid had to be roughly 18. He spoke in a deep tone with very little life to it.

“Where’d you two come from?” he asked.

Declan told him where we lived and where we were going. The boy considered the response, looking back on his little gang. When next he spoke one could detect a hint of sarcasm.            “You realize where you are? Course not. You’re on our turf. I am going to give you roughly two minutes to stammer a response before we “guide” you out.”

He was looking to intimidate us, and not finding the fear he was looking to inflict, he would quickly grow impatient. He mouth contorted into a pompous grin as if challenging our decisions. Declan returned the cold stare, smiled, and began speaking.

“The streets of New York belong to nobody but the people, and that means all people. My sister and I had to stop to take a breath before continuing. We’ve been walking all day, and our only hope of sleep is to finish the trip. Time is wearing thin, and tomorrow we must return to attend four funerals back to back. So, if you don’t mind, please stand aside and we will kindly be gone.”

He stated it so calmly and simply that it annoyed the boy. He smiled wide, turned to his companions, and punched Declan in the face right where he stood. Declan fell backwards just far enough for me to catch him and help him back upright. His eyes were burning with hatred towards the boy before him, but he stood straight up and smiled. He stared back, rubbing his jaw in the process. The kid wore a jaunty look and a self-confident air. He stood a few good steps out from the group, which had all taken to one side.

Declan considered the options, nodded, stepped back, and walked away. I fell into step behind him. We didn’t have to turn around to read the kid’s face, the raised brow and confused look. He had expected a fight and obviously he wasn’t too happy with not getting one. He bent down, picked up a stone, and tossed it. It hit Declan in the back of the head, causing him to stumble forward. He righted himself, and without looking back, continued. The group must have thought their leader was setting an example, so they followed. They threw whatever was available to them, and I kept walking until Declan stopped. He turned around quickly, and the calm in him was gone.

From where he stood he raced forward and tackled the laughing fool. The shock on the boy’s face was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Declan got up as soon as the kid hit the ground. The crowd stepped back in awe, awaiting a command. The kid got up in an instant; he was amazed; he didn’t know what hit him. He lunged at Declan and from there the battle raged on. We were immensely outnumbered, there wasn’t a chance of victory, but we were fighting for more than fun. To Declan and I, it was our lives at stake. Declan for the most part took on the leader as well as anyone else who stepped in his way. I stood there, awe-stricken, when a small crowd came over and started with me. I fought back with everything I could, using everything I could. It was an intense rush, the feeling of it. It was like a drug, it disorients your vision, turns the world upside-down. It’s insane.

I could barely see what I was doing, the rain was still coming down hard and the fight raged on just as hard. Declan was making progress, I saw a couple bodies on the ground rolling around. The group around me was backing off a bit too, noticing that Declan was doing a job on their leader. We heard a distinct snap and everyone turned to watch the two. The boy was grasping his arm, wincing as he backed away. He lunged once again at Declan aiming for his blind side. I should have turned back around immediately because one of the gang had found a bar or some sort. He struck hard at my left knee, and it gave out. Pain flooded through my body from the damage the fight was causing, and under these conditions it was getting worse. There was no way I could stand upright now, and lying on the ground was about as smart as lying down in the middle of a busy street.

Declan heard the snap and saw what had happened. He came over and helped me up. I leaned against a wall for support, and the leader signaled for a time out. He too was leaning against a wall, still clutching his arm. He looked exhausted, and a few of his group ran over to see if he was all right. He spoke a few careful words to his people as Declan returned to me. The leader stood straight up and approached us with his second and third in command. He came directly to Declan, stared coldly at him, and smiled. He extended his working arm for a handshake that Declan returned. We were all drenched, but from the battle of rights, we had succeeded and proven ourselves. Declan had roughly beaten the spirit right out of the boy, he no longer had the same jaunty grin. He decided he’d better say a few words.

“You’ve proven yourselves, get to where you need to. Pass through anytime, tell anyone that asks that you have the Black Leader’s permission. If you need it, I’ll have someone help you get to where you need to go. The weather is worsening, so I urge you to hurry. I’m glad things didn’t reach certain extremes. Sorry for causing you two so much trouble.” At this he realized I was there. “If you’d like, I could send someone to help you get along?” he asked respectfully.

I looked back at him, still grasping onto his arm. The joint was swollen and terribly discolored. What I thought odd was that he was smiling still, not a hint of pain in even the corners of his eyes. I considered his proposal carefully, remembering the distance we had left to travel and the current time. I guessed it was maybe 7:30. I straightened up a bit and looked at his face while talking.

“No thanks, I’ll make it on my own.”

He nodded and signaled to a few of his group members. All but the two with him turned and left going, one of the two ways. He and his two remaining gang members stayed where they stood.

“By the way, we’re the Dark Angels. I’m “Black Leader,” also known as Gavin. This is my second in command, Black Falcon and my third in command, Red Wolf. Coincidentally they are siblings, given why they work so well together. Should you ever need aid, ask around for any one of us. Another open option to you is you stay with us until daybreak. It saves you the trip all the way there and back. It’s your decision.”

Declan stopped to think about it, then turned to me for conference.

“We should go see if Mr. James is all right.”

I hadn’t even thought about them until this very moment. They put up a lot for Declan and I; we should at least find time to make sure they’re all right. I guess we should go back and check in, though it will be a bit of a trip. I nodded in agreement, and Declan found the words to explain to Gavin.

“We’re going back for a while to check up on somebody, it’s a bit out of the way. We’ll catch you another time,” he told the waiting faces.

Gavin nodded for a moment; said a quiet word to the two waiting members, and the two walked off. He looked over the two of us quickly, then up into the sky. The storm had settled in about now.

“It’s…8 o’ clock right now and that storm’s going to be rough. Just lead the way, and I’ll help you get to where you got to go, maybe even a bit faster. I know a lot of people that owe me favors. And waltzing down the street looking like that is bound to attract attention; I can show you what back streets to take. So you take point, and we’ll be off.”

Declan looked up and down the alley to get his bearings. He did some calculations in his head to figure out which way to go. I stood up straight, but the knee refused to bend, so I leaned all weight on one side. Declan realized his negligence and helped support me. Gavin too was looking around to figure which way Declan would go. We started off to the right, and Gavin fell in with us. We made our way slowly through a couple of streets, through the storm. People were rushing home; traffic was heavy, streets becoming slowly deserted. Gavin’s appearance caused a few people to steer clear. He was dressed in clothes as black as the night; perhaps it was the dark colors. Maybe it was his towering height. Perhaps it was the threatening look he wore on his face. Whatever it was, the crowds parted as we made our way through, stopping here and there to get our bearings.

By close to 9 we reached the house. Declan and I agreed that we’d simply ask about Mr. James’ condition and be off. When he got there I could barely stand any longer, so Declan said he’d go up alone, it’d be quicker anyway. I sat down on the ground with my back against the gate. Gavin stood at the gate looking up and down the street. Declan walked at a calm pace up to the house. I heard the steps echo in the darkness, I couldn’t get up to turn around. Gavin started pacing as we waited, the storm hadn’t let up.

“Perhaps you’d better start back?” I asked him.

He bent down to my level, “I’m going to wait for your brother to get back. If you need to come stay with us, I’m going to have to show you the way.”

I nodded to him and returned to my thoughts. Declan was speaking, even though I couldn’t hear the words. The wind was doing a job of carrying them away. I was waiting for him to return; the faster we got settled the better. My knee throbbed and was probably swollen as well. Gavin clutched his arm as he had done the entire trip.

“Perhaps you’d better get to a hospital to have that taken care of.”

It was as if he didn’t even know it was still broken, it had slipped his mind. “It doesn’t hurt that bad, I’ll hold out for a while.”

I heard steps approaching, but they weren’t the calm even steps that Declan made. They were quick, random, and childish. Gavin stopped pacing and watched the darkness, looking for something to take shape. I couldn’t stand the suspense of it, and held onto the gate for support. I stood upright and leaned on it, peering through. It was, yes, Mike’s sister, Catherine. She was walking fast, almost a run. She got to the gate in half the time it had taken Declan to get to the house. She caught her breath before she began to talk.

“Mom and Dad want to see you,” she replied quickly.

I looked at her questioningly, “Why?”

“I don’t know, they just want to. They said Declan can’t leave until they can see that you’re okay as well,” she explained.

I nodded and started up, walking awkwardly. Gavin immediately helped me so that I could get up to the house. Catherine set her pace to match ours, which was much slower than her’s normally. She didn’t seem to mind too much though. Gavin kept asking if I was all right, if it wasn’t hurting too much. I told him I was fine. It felt like forever, getting up to the door. Catherine walked by my side, looking up into my face from time to time. She looked a bit shocked that I wasn’t complaining about the pain. She was perhaps 10, give or take; and with any luck she’d never know such pain, both physical and/or emotional.

In time we reached the door. Gavin looked uncomfortable and suggested he just wait outside. I told him not to worry about it; they wouldn’t shoot him. If anything they would be more afraid of him then he would be of them. Catherine opened the door and entered first. We followed her to what seemed like a large living room – complete with fireplace. Declan was standing by a wall while the rest of the James family stood together talking. Everyone looked up when we entered, silence settled in. Declan came over and took Gavin’s place. Gavin stepped back, staying by the door, clutching his arm once again. Mr. and Mrs. James came up to us immediately. We were both drenched from the rain. Lightening struck before anyone could say a word; the lights flickered, and went out. The fire danced in the darkness, and Mr. James pulled out a lighter to find his way. He walked out briskly, returned, and handed everyone a flashlight. He and his wife both situated themselves in large armchairs. Mike stood by the mantle, Catherine right next to him. Declan and I were “motioned” by the adults to be seated on a couch. Gavin too was asked to seat himself, which he gladly did.

“So, are you two okay? You look terrible,” Mr. James said.

“Are you all right?” I asked him.

He considered it. “Yes, I’m fine, a few broken ribs but no big deal. And what’s happened to you?”

I explained to him about the Dark Angels and Gavin. As I did so, he looked Gavin over. I finished as quickly as I could. When I concluded, he rose and inspected Gavin’s arm.

“Well, I have some good news. It’s not broken,” he was feeling the joint and flexing the arm. Gavin’s face went from calm, to confused, to painful. The doctor kept examining it for a while, then looked into Gavin’s eyes.

“I can snap this right back into its socket, but it’s going to hurt. I am forewarning you now so you don’t yell at me later for not telling you beforehand. Two options. I can fix it now for you and it aches for awhile or you can wait and go to a hospital. There, they will give you a painkiller and basically do the same thing. It’s up to you,” he concluded.

Gavin thought about it for a minute, and told Mr. James to snap it back in. Mr. James nodded and continued to inspect the arm. He held the arm in two different places, counted slowly backwards from 5, and pushed it back together. Gavin let out a loud yell, and the doctor let go immediately. He jumped up, clutching the joint, bending it to be sure it worked, and swearing under his breath. He walked around a bit to get the pain off his mind, and sat back down where he got used to it. Mr. James looked at me and asked if it hurt, and I told him. He inspected the knee like he had with Gavin’s arm. It hurt more then he would have ever known, but I refused to let it show. I bit down on my tongue, let out bated breath, and got through it. He asked me the same question.

I considered it for half a second, and told him to proceed. Declan took a hold of my hand while Mr. James prepared to snap the knee back into place. He kept asking what hurt more, what didn’t and if I was ready for it. I told him to go right ahead. He began counting down like the first time. He reached zero, and shoved the knee right back into place. I could have screamed it hurt so badly, the pain was like being on fire. It was insane; I nearly bit my tongue in two. I was squeezing Declan’s hand so hard the blood circulation was cut off. I let go when I realized, and tested my knee. The pain was like something I’d never known, and would just as soon forget. After a minute or so, I sat with both knees bent the same, in an attempt to show I was getting over the pain.

“You alright?” Mr. James asked.

I returned my face to its’ normal calm, trying to rid it of all hints of pain. “I’m fine, don’t worry about it. I think we’d better be going, Declan?”

Declan, Gavin and I rose together, and started out. It was roughly 9:15; the lights had returned only minutes ago. We all started to walk out when Mrs. James stepped in front of us.

“Please stay, all of you. It’s terrible weather out there; you could be hit by lightning. You’re all still soaked, please stay, dry off and get some sleep. It would make us all feel better to know you’re okay. Please?” she had a certain sense of disparity in her voice. I looked at both Declan and Gavin; we turned to discuss the available options. We came to an agreement at last, and Declan told Mrs. James that we would stay the night. She told us that they didn’t have three guestrooms, but someone could sleep with Catherine and Mike. I was immediately paired with Catherine and Declan with Mike. Gavin was shown into the guestroom as Declan and I returned to the main room. Mr. James had something to say.

“By the way, the police called, they’d like to talk to both of you around noon tomorrow about what’s been going on.”

We both nodded, and he started past us.

“Well, it’s been a long day, I better be off to bed. Mike, Catherine, Declan and Faith will be staying with you in your rooms. Good night children, I suggest sleeping early, it’s been a long day for all of us. I hope to see you all tomorrow.”

He glanced at Declan and I when he said this, probably referring to the last little “visit” to his home. He walked out and went up a flight of stairs. Mike approached Declan and the two walked off up the stairs as well. Catherine came up to me, and I followed her up the stairs. I was careful to walk straight, though my knee burned. It was ten when we got up to her room and ready for bed. I slept on the floor, staring at the ceiling. I was given a blanket to sleep on and a blanket to sleep with, as well as a pillow. It was silent in the house, not so much as a cough.

Catherine seemed restless, and I can’t say I blamed her with three strangers in the house, one in her very room. She was young, innocent. She could never understand what was going on in the life of the Nolan clan. She had an entire life ahead of her. I was 16 years old, today was Saturday, September 23rd, and me in 11th grade. It would be a stroke of luck if I made it through high school. The bad luck I was going through, why? I couldn’t understand why this was all happening this way, all together. My thoughts in the silence were shattered by Catherine’s voice.

“Are you alright?” she asked.

“I’m fine, go on to sleep.”

“I’m not tired. Is your knee all right? I would imagine that hurt, and that it still does,” she said.

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it. I’ll survive.”

“So, you go to school with Mike right? You have a name, age, you know, basic information?”

“Yes, my name is Faith Nolan, Declan Nolan is my brother. I turned 16 two days ago, your brother is a grade above me.”

She thought about it, “Cool, you remind me of my sister.”

“Sister?”

“Yes,” she replied, “She’s in prison, matter of fact, she’s released tomorrow. She’s about…21 by now. Been in there since she was 13 for murder. Don’t tell anyone I told you though.”

Amazing! The “perfect” family had it’s own dark little secret, a big black smudge they refused to discuss. I couldn’t believe this! “So what’s her name?”

“Hope.”

We talked on and on for hours, about all of those little unimportant things in life. I wouldn’t tell a young child my personal problems. We went to sleep around midnight. A new day would begin soon, though for me it would be a new beginning for a new life, or so we hoped. My family had fallen apart in two days and now we’d see what would result from the madness. When the dust cleared, we would see who was still standing. I fell asleep with my mind racing with possibility. There weren’t many things that could happen. This all had to end, the bad luck, the death, the hate. There had to be positive points to life, and I was determined to hold onto sanity long enough to see it. I want to see the day when my life finally makes sense, when I can say that I’ve learned from my mistakes, from my grief. Tomorrow the police will sort out our problems for us, whether we like it or not. A good night’s sleep is often the best bridge between hope and despair, right? Tomorrow is the day that determines my destiny, my future; all I can do is watch and wait.

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