Chapter Twenty Nine
I take one last look in the mirror, “Yeah. This will have to do.” I sigh taking in the black dress I chose for my fathers funeral. It wasn’t anything much, one of the club girls picked it up for me, I couldn’t pull myself out of bed to go shopping for today.
“You look beautiful. You always do.”
“Let’s just go.” I pull his arms from me and go for the door. He means well, but right now I feel anything but beautiful. My eyes are still red and puffy from all the crying, not even the make-up could cover the red blotches on my skin.
I try to keep my focus on the greenery passing by the passenger window of my old mustang, trying to mask my tears. I have to bury the only parent I had left today. How do people survive this?
My heart was ripped from my chest the moment the doctor announced he didn’t survive. I don’t think I’ll ever come back from this. I’ll never be the same. My dad was always there for me whenever and for whatever I needed. How do I go on without him?
I try my hardest to focus on Sharp’s eulogy, but it’s useless. Every word blends together, forming incoherent sentences in my mind.
As I absentmindedly watched his coffin lower into the cold ground, I wish it was me instead. I don’t want to live in a world without my dad. It was hard enough without my mom around growing up.
“I want to move out as soon as we can.” I turn to Ghost, “I can’t live in any more shadows, Luke.”
“Whatever you need, I’m here.” He lightly squeezes my hand, and he means it, or so I hope. My mind is too muddled right now to know for sure.
My brothers are drunk already, barely able to walk. They try their best to hide it with their dark sunglasses, but you can smell the alcohol dripping off of them across the way. I don’t even want to think of the things they will do now that dad is gone. He was the only one able to keep them somewhat in line after mom passed.
Everyone is in the bar for the wake, but I can’t do it. I couldn’t listen to everyone's stories about what a great man he was. We all knew he was. I didn’t want to hear any more reminders of what I’ve lost, who I’ve lost.
My first time at the range and my first bull's eye, dad was so proud. He had the girls make a cake and everything. I can practically feel the warmth of his hug now as I remember the bear hug he wrapped me in.
The barstool at the counter where dad spent most of his free time teasing everyone.
His office still smells of his favorite cigar.
His bedroom holds so many memories. I used to climb into bed when the storms were a little too bad, or the nights I missed mom so bad it felt like I would die right there of a broken heart.
The shop where dad spent many hours with Bitz and me working on this or that, teaching me little tricks that I’ll use for a lifetime.
Sitting in my favorite spot on the roof of the shop, hoping to find some peace here like I always have before, I observe the crowd below. What a family my dad and his before him, have created. Bonds that will last a life time. This roof is the only place left that doesn't haunt me around here, my safe place.
I look further over the edge as the door swings open, slamming against the brick wall, and my brothers come stumbling out. I take a deep breath, attempting to relax and roll back over. I don't have the energy right now to look after my brothers. I’m sure someone will come along for them sooner or later.
I lay here in the quiet just watching the clouds pass by, seeing if I can make any shapes out, and aside from the occasional drunk or two stumbling out of the backdoor, it’s peaceful. Until I hear Ghost calling for me. I don’t want to be around him. I just need my space right now.
I’d check in on Ghost from time to time. He never knew. As far as he knew, I was long gone. Dad and I met up a few times a month, he spent the time trying to convince me to come home, and I finished it by arguing. It always ended with me storming off, and dad left standing there looking defeated.
Looking back now, I can’t believe I was ever so selfish to put my dad through that, with none other than the gang that killed mom and my uncle all those years ago. But I was dealing with my own pain. I couldn’t be here, and I couldn’t be amongst the average civilian. I learned early on in school, people with my past are looked down on, regardless of who they truly are.
I had completed over two hundred contracts for the Saints before Bitz called offering me a job. I almost didn’t take it, and hell, I probably wouldn’t have if the next contract wasn’t for my dad.
Running with the Saints was the biggest mistake of my life. It cost me more than even I knew. Just when I thought I was free of them, they kept coming after me. The Saints would never stop, and I knew that. It’s why I went willingly. I knew it would keep my dad and everyone I loved somewhat safer. They gave me their word that Heaven’s Regrets would be left alone if I went.
I had to end it, nearly twenty years of non-stop wars. This was my chance to keep the peace if I went with them. I never gave thought to the fact that dad and the guys wouldn’t let me go so easy, though I should have known as much. What’s that saying? ‘If only I knew then, what I know now’? Yeah, sums up my life.
Part of me was glad they worked so hard to get me back, but a more significant part of me wished they hadn’t.
After so many beatings, and rapings, I finally had an opening to end them. But I was too weak from being starved and beaten. My will to go on was strong, though, and it got me far enough.
When I saw the opportunity to end them, I jumped at it. I hadn’t even thought it through much. I just knew I wouldn’t survive either way.
Shredder had made one mistake, and that was all it took. He came down for his daily fun, as he called it. It was anything but that for me.
When he had pulled off his pants, his hunting knife fell out of the sheath and rolled. I knew once he started on me, his attention would be only on me, and that would allow me to get myself close enough to grab the knife.
Shredder was on top of me. He wreaked of alcohol and cheap cigars like always. When he was sober, I never saw him around. I think he was too haunted by his doings and would finally give me a break. Until those same demons sent him to the bottle and he would come for me again.
My eyes were locked on the knife, less than a foot away from my reach. The second he had started climbing off of me, giving me the room I needed, I quickly rolled over and snatched the knife.
I gripped it tightly in my fist and lunged at Shredder. Ripping easily into his abdomen. Then, reaching for his disgusting excuse of a dick, I sliced through the soft flesh shoving it down his throat, leaving him to bleed out. Gruesome? Yes. Deserved? Completely.
I took the guns from his holster lying on the dresser and made my way upstairs. Silently thanking the Gods, there was a silencer. I blew through man after man, I felt a bullet rip through my stomach, but I didn’t let it stop me. I kept going.
I felt the life draining from me. The darkness was settling into my vision. I gripped the gun one last time and fired. He went down without much of a fight. Before I would allow myself to welcome the darkness, I used all my energy to crawl out of the house, not making it much further than the sidewalk.
If I hadn’t ever worked for them, none of this would have happened. Dad might still be alive. We had always been at war with the Saints for as long as I could remember. It was most likely only a matter of time, but if they hadn’t been coming after me, it might have prevented his early death…