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by Richard Reed Jr
copyright 01-26-2007
Contest Winner

Age Rating: 10 +

Bobby was six months old on the day it happened. I remember he was crying like when he needed his diaper
to be changed. It would be a while before that happened. I'm sure he did not understand the
circumstances unfolding before his eyes. I was only ten years old myself and though I comprehended the
what of it, the why of it escaped my mind like air escaping from a balloon. The incident struck without
warning. I stared through eyes filled with shocking disbelief. His hands were wrapped around her throat
as a paralysis wrapped itself around me. I heard her suffocating gasps as fear strangled my screams.
Then it was over. My mother lay dead on the kitchen floor and my dad ran out through the back door and I
never saw him again.

The lady at social services registered us as Bobby and Jimmy Nevers, and we were soon placed in a foster
home, and a good one it was at that. Martha and Frank Nevers our foster parents went out of their way to
see that we were well taken care of and happy. Bobby was never told of the incident and grew up as a
very happy boy, but I could not get over the shock of witnessing my dad killing my mom. Repressed anger
built in me like turbulent waters behind Hoover dam. I received a letter from my dad three days after he
had been found guilty and sentenced to 25 years at Attica prison for murder in the second degree. The
New York Times called it a crime of passion, but I didn't see it that way. According to the Times, my
father came home and found my mother in bed with another man and he lost it, but I hated him with a
vengeance. I could somehow forgive my mom, but I could never forgive my dad for taking her away from me.
A week later I received an official letter from Attica. I put it with the other unopened letter from my dad in an old foot locker
which I quickly locked. I threw the key away. My anger continued to build.
I relived the murder of my mother every day and dreamed of it every night. One night in a dream it came to me.
I saw myself standing on a train platform with a revolver in my hand. I saw my dad who appeared to me only as a dark shadow.
He walked slowly towards me. The gun went off in my hand as though it were a living thing.
My father lay on the platform his face contorted in pain and I laughed and laughed like a lunatic.
My reoccurring dream changed to one of killing my father and my anger hatched a plan of revenge.
My father had been sentenced to twenty five years. I would wait for him to be released and just like in my dream
I would shoot him down on the train platform. When I became of legal age I went to the gun shop and purchased a forty-four Magnum.
I went to a gun range as often as I could and honed my shooting skills. My life had only one meaning now, one purpose -revenge!
I thought of nothing else day after day, hour after hour. The time wore heavy on me.
The day of my retribution could not arrive soon enough to suit me. Ironically enough Bobby became a criminal defense attorney
which infuriated me even more. I became a driven man living only for my day of revenge to come.

Twenty five long years I waited. I never married. I worked occasionally, just enough to keep myself
alive. Bitterness was my constant companion. All who knew me, and there weren't many, called me the man
who never laughed. Truth of the matter was, I never cried either. My life consisted of absolutely no
passion whatsoever, and my face appeared cast in hard stone. Then on a Tuesday the fifth of March, 2004
on a biting cold windy day the time arrived like a long
awaited delivery on the door-step. Instead it was a letter in the mailbox from Attica notifying me of
the particulars of my father's release. Twenty five years of hate and anger boiled in my veins. Like a
sleep-walker I pulled the gun from the closet shelf, slid it in my overcoat pocket and caught a taxi to
Pennsylvania station. The day grew colder like the ice in my heart, yet the excitement pounding in my
head was like a trip on crystal methadrine. The long wait of my discontent was soon to be over. My
revenge was soon to be fulfilled.

It was eight o' clock in the evening and quite dark.
I made my way to track #3 as per the instructions in the notification. I kept the gun concealed in my
pocket and stood away from the crowd, waiting. My hands began to tremble. Each minute felt like an hour.
This whole affair was about to unnerve me, I felt an urge to break and run, but suddenly I caught sight
of of a Grey-haired man slowly walking toward me. His gait seemed somewhat abnormal and his shoulders
were stooped, but even though the face was sunken and wrinkled my father's face had been burned like a
brand in my brain. I felt unsure of myself. There was something eerie about his appearance. He looked
like a walking statue. The crowd had left us behind. I walked to within a couple of feet from him and
pulled the gun from my pocket. He stopped, looked at the gun and then his gaze shifted to me. It was as
though he was looking through me not at me. His face looked wooden. I looked into his eyes, there was
nothing there. His face showed no surprise, no fear, and no recognition. I raised the gun to eye level and cocked the hammer.
He shrugged his shoulders and disappeared slowly into the darkness. Somewhere in the night a train whistle screeched.

I remembered the unopened letters in my foot locker and hurried home. The gun was of no purpose any
longer except to shoot the lock which it did quite nicely. I felt like a homeless man on a desolate road
going nowhere as I ripped open the letters and began to read. The first was a letter from my father
begging my forgiveness and asking me not to judge him too harshly as God would certainly do that. The
second letter was a notification from the Attica health unit explaining how my father went into some
sort of shock and had gone into a state of memory loss just like amnesia.
They were of the opinion he would never regain any memory of his previous life. He was the lucky one.
For him that door would never be opened again. I sat on the floor with my head buried in my hands like
an old limp doll and pondered over my wasted life.

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        05-24-2008     Brooke Marquette        

Very deep and full of emotion. Good job on this. You can feel the son's anger towards his father and almost bear with him as he feels this way. A great tale. Keep up the good work!

        12-01-2007     Jacob Stiles        

Thanks for sharing this fascinating tale of a man hollowed out by grief and anger. A machine programmed by revenge, with one purpose. It is hard to imagine the blind rage this man had, but you managed to portray it accurately.

        06-28-2007     Barbara Walker        

i was riveted throughout your story. i didn't understand how the mother had died at first. only later did you explicitly explain. the story unfolds itself realistically and kept me on the edge of my chair by witholding and then giving information slowly slowly. there was nothing obvious or hashed in the ending and i thought it credible from beginning to end. you had a moral point at the end, a life lesson to reflect over, and managed somehow not to spoil it by being openly didactic. a gruesome, tragic tale that has many many opportunities for discussion and dialogue in family and class contexts too. and there's hope too, not just for us but also for Jimmy, after he's realized how his bitterness and anger boomeranged on him. perhaps he healed and went on to discover some love and fulfillment in his life. there are very heavy issues in this story that are difficult to write about and open up and you did so with courage and skill.

        06-24-2007     Walter Jones        

Well written, crafted in a manner that draws the reader into as participant, a difficult accomplishment, story moves with observation and emotion playing full, strong message, sad yet full, as the tale unfolds, full length drama, nicely done.. Walt

        03-05-2007     Jordan Screws        

Last summer I learned from my mother that my father had taken up with another woman... reading this work makes me think of how often I imagined dragging my father from his Jeep (that my mother helped him to get) and simply beating him with my bare hands. I know that a violent response would solve nothing and probably generate more trouble than it was worth, but it seemed like a logical way to get closure from an illogical event. She spent 31 years with him and that is how he rewards her? Needless to say, I still feel alienated from him because he wrote me off from the very beginning as "being in my own world" and "I was going away to college and would be an adult". Though my family was not as dramatically separated as your family was, I can completely understand your feelings.

It has almost been a year since that fateful day (Father's Day, no less), and divorce proceedings are still going on, from what I understand. Though I still think about it on occasion, I am not really concerned with it anymore. After a Christmas without my father around, the rest of the year is easy... as to the merits of this work, one of the few problems is the grammar in some places. Missing commas, hyphens in needless places (sleepwalker is one word), and no hyphen where there should be one (...the time arrived like a long-awaited delivery...) are the major grammar problems. Another one is the structure of the work: it appears choppy in some places, like where you describe the train station and your encounter with your father.

The mistakes are nothing too damaging though, and they can easily be amended. Considering how you felt about your father and what happened to your family, I got off lightly with the end result being mere divorce proceedings. I can identify with the pain and burning desire for revenge. Maybe one day, no child will have to experience losing family through divorce or violence...

Jordan of the CC

        02-19-2007     Cindy Mitchell        

This is a great piece of writing-what a moment you describe as son and father face each other for the first time in the station. Just A-1

        02-04-2007     Chessie Hodge        

This is a wonderful piece of work. So intense! I just couldn't stop reading, even if I had wanted to. Revenge is such a bitter worthless thing that lives are wasted over. You illustrated this well. As always Rich, you have written something superb.


        01-28-2007     BJ Niktabe        

At the time I wrote my story, The Closed Door, I was fascinated at how many really good stories could come from the same few ideas. I think the rule that someone had to die made these stories very intriguing. Your story is no different. I read it last night, and was starting to think how hard it would be if there were many entries. I really loved your story. I wish I could share with you the others that were written in blogland. Thank you so much for entering my contest!

        01-26-2007     Darya Amin        

great and exciting story hardly any book gets me excited and this one made me read on and on. I have picked up many book and none made me read on and i fell asleep during one bbok thats when i got into trouble in school, i had to miss 2 play times. Once again i say this is a great story plaese write a book so i can read it. There is one thing for me to say my techer doesn't even write this good.

From Darya

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