It was a gruesome dark night and raindrops were spluttering like small bullets from the sky; puddles everywhere. At a distance, a silhouette of a tall, lean figure of a woman could be seen gripping something in the right hand and speaking into it. Another silhouette of a short, plump figure standing in front of her cast a light revealing her to be a reporter reporting live in front of a shabby old wooden house. The source of the light was from the camera the plump man was resting on his right shoulders.
“As we can see, people are gathered here at this hour of the night to witness the arrest of a man who allegedly stabbed a middle aged man several times who was convicted of his wife’s murderer after hunting him down this evening” said the reporter.
Two policemen headed out of the small wooden house, one on either side of a tall man with a muscular stature and bloodshot eyes. Blood stains could be spotted everywhere, on the man’s clothes and his skin. The expression on his face was not of regret or fear, but of vengeance and pure satisfaction. Rain water from the puddles splattered all over as he stumped across the footpath and to the patrol car. The man did not hesitate the arrest which made it easier for the two skinny policemen who were now reading him his rights while ducking his head inside the car.
The reporter continued, “ As of now, his only daughter will be taken by the child protection services but her uncle(mother’s brother), Sam has reported that he will be taking her as her legal guardian as soon as he gets in contact with his lawyer.”
As the engine started, he mustered up all the courage to look at his daughter only to see her looking at him not as a father, but as a monster. Only when he saw his daughter’s tears rolling down her cheeks filling his heart with deep remorse, that he realized what he had done. Though just, it was a crime.
The following days of his life was spent talking to his lawyer, begging him to do anything to reduce his sentence, but all his lawyer could do was turn the case around and accuse him of being a supremacist, not a murderer. The jury, to his surprise, bought the story and he was sentenced to five years in prison.
Five years felt like a lifetime for him in prison. He finally got out. although, everything seemed to be back to normal, nothing was. All the heads turned to him as he walked, all the whispering and staring as though his forehead was carved with “MURDERER” in big letters. He couldn’t live in peace at all.
The first thing he did after he got out of prison was to go and talk to Sam. The look on his daughter’s face when he was arrested that night was all he could think of during his time in prison. Sam wasn’t as cold as others he had encountered. James was warmly welcomed in his house. He was not married. He was living alone until his niece moved in with him five years ago. His house was a small, clumsy two bedroom flat on the first floor of the apartment. James arrived there at noon, while his daughter was at school.
James wanted to ask him to send his daughter with him at once, but the dreadful question that was lurking in his mind seized his lips “ where will you take her? how will you look after her?” He had no money, no job, and was in no condition to look after a 12 year old child. He silently agreed to Sam’s decision to keep her where she is until he gets back on his feet.
He dedicated every waking minute to find a job and pull his life back together, but luck was not in his favor. He woke up everyday with a hope of finding a job and every night he slept with empty stomach. why? because every job he hunted was rejected not because he lacked the capability, but because he was labelled as a murderer in the society. But just as how dawn breaks after every darkest hour, he found rays of light in his life.
One night, when he was walking down the street, he heard a woman calling him, or rather yelling his name. He turned and recognized her at once. It was Janine, his late wife’s best friend. though she was his wife’s best friend, he wasn’t really close to her.
“ James, it’s so nice to see you. How have you been?”. She looked at him with pity as he struggled to find words.
They conversed for a long time that night and James told her everything that’s been happening lately. Just as he finished, he saw her face light up with joy or mockery, he couldn’t tell. But it was cleared moments later.
“There is a job vacancy at the place I work, a private security guard to my boss”, she said.
She worked as a personal assistant to the head of a chain of paper companies in London. He looked at her with worshipping eyes, glittering because of the tears. After a long pause, he said yes.
James learnt that his boss was a very powerful man, but he also realized that this power was not and couldn’t be because of the chain of the paper companies. It was just a cover up. It was almost like the government was right under his thumb agreeing to his every whim. He knew that there was more than paper business going on behind the walls but he kept silent. His job was to protect his boss to which he was justly paid.
On november 26th, just like every other night, James, along with his boss and Janine went to his boss’s office on the 19th floor. Janine was near the desktop going through some files while he was standing far behind the wall near the stairs. His boss was in the room upstairs, alone.
While he was guarding the stairs, he heard Janine talking to somebody. she said, “ I can’t let you in. You know i can’t. Don’t be silly” followed by a low giggle. For a while he didn’t hear anything except the sound of Janine panting. Soon, she rushed towards the elevator door with asphyxiating joy, But what she saw behind that elevator door sucked out the joy from her like a vacuum tube. She saw a masked woman pointing a gun with a silencer on it. she said, “ wha…What are you doing here?” with an utter bewildered look on her face.
“I’m sorry”, was the reply from the other side.
James, who stood guard at the stairs heard a metallic thump and a thud. when he stepped forward to see what it was, he saw a masked woman and before he could react, his head received a hard blow and he fell down on the ground.
The elevator door opened again and two men entered the office ." So, where did she go?" one of the men asked. The man on the right who was short with well groomed hair and grey sideburns said, “ Sherlock . Did she faint?". "Well, that’s a bit rude, i just proposed to her.” Sherlock replied looking at the unconscious Janine lying on the ground. The other man crouched next to her to examine her. He looked up at the other man with widened eyes and said, “Sherlock, It’s a blow to the head”. There’s another one here. A man” said Sherlock.
"Does he need help?"
"Ex-con. White supremacist by the tattoos. so who cares?"
Two days later, when James was lying on the hospital bed, recovering from the blow, he got a phone call.
“If you can confess that you shot Sherlock Holmes, your daughter will be taken care of. Offer ends tonight”, and Mycroft hung up on the other side of the phone.