I knew a man who was subject to a betrayal. His actions were the driving force behind the situation. For decades the betrayal ruined the lives of every human who came into contact with him. I knew him as a dangerous man. It is a fact those who crossed him do not to how close they came to disaster. A real disaster, violent and vengeful. He told me once he planned to use a crossbow to settle a long-lasting feud. No doubt in my mind someone was close to death. Later I asked him if he still considered murder ‘I have rehearsed the killing. Even to the extent of aiming the bow at the accused. The fact I can kill the guilty is enough for the time being’. No doubt the answer held empirical truth.
Time passed: he became older than his years: at thirty totally grey. The lines on his face deep crevasses of inner pain. No love in his heart and malice in actions. A spiritual human would say ‘Everyone has love in their heart.’ My friend disproved this; he had no feelings or concern for the plight of any human. Those who knew him found him a highly intelligent, his reasoning abilities profound in capacity. Maybe the void where conscience once existed became full of intellectual ability. I have never met a human who could sift through a problem as this man.
He was not as wealthy as he should have been. His capacity to earn and spend two ends of a seesaw. Later in life, he became wealthy, goodness knows how rich he could have been if he’d followed the path of money. He owned a secondhand items shop. Many believed he thrived on stolen property; they were wrong, he detested thieves. In fact, he was the most honest of men. I asked him to lie for me and he asked me to leave his company. Two years passed before we spoke again. My favour sullied our friendship, he told me so, and I cried.
One evening he beat two boys who tried to rob him as he left the bar. I write boys; they were seventeen. One came close to death, the other stayed silent, he knew my friend was a cruel man. I think the boys lived in fear until he died. Their drug habit drove them to the assault. Everyone in the neighbourhood knew the story. Everyone in the neighbourhood still chooses to forget it.
I visited him every day in the hospital. Never could there be a braver man. ‘Just keep me comfortable, I refuse all treatment’ his only comment to the consultant. After he died, his body was taken to the mortuary and cremated the following day. The ashes disposed of in the way he’d decided.
The solicitor’s office is clean and old. Across the table is a good-looking woman, about thirty, blond hair. ‘He has left you everything: the instructions are straightforward: you must sell the property and goods and use the money as you wish.’
The sale of the shop’s contents made 107 thousand: the property 320. I found a duffle bag full of cash (37 thousand) and eleven prestige watches. In two bank accounts the total 111 thousand. A life policy 100 more, goodness knows why he had a life policy. 638 thousand: over 500 after death duties.
She did not look like her father. Claiming to be sorry not to have seen him before he died. There was no mention of money. After the woman left my home, I looked out over the sea. The waves were vitriolic as if his spirit had whipped them into a scathing anger. The daughter spoke of his early life and the betrayal. I hated her for the cold explanation. Looking through her eyes, I knew she’d inherited my friend’s cutthroat persona.
The sea has raged for over a week; he is not settled even in death. On her journey home, the girl skidded on the coast road, she drowned. I heard her mother was brokenhearted. Knowing the story of the betrayal, I know my friend now has his revenge.
A bitter little tale – great writing!
Kind and valued words Samantha – Ian
Nice one Ian, I loved the twist in the tail!
Thanks,M – Much appreciated