Prologue: Dead men tell no tales
Justin stared into her brown eyes and smiled weakly ‘I am okay now’ he lied, knowing better than anyone that he was dying and he couldn’t bear to stand and watch the people he loved the most suffer because of him; he couldn’t face his mother and girlfriend, the people who loved him the most and tell them that he was dying soon, look them in the eyes and tell them that the treatments didn’t work and the cancer had spread.
He couldn’t bear for his mother and girlfriend to look at him with pity and he couldn’t help but feel like he could hear the sound of their hearts breaking at what they though was a slim chance that they cold lose him. So for this reason, he kept up his food intake, seldom complained of pain and smiled and acted okay.
He started taking walks along a forest road that nobody in town ever used anymore, all he had to do was leave through the back door and venture into the forest until he got to the forest road. He wanted to spend every waking moment with Kate but he feared that would do more damage than good when he finally passed because she would feel like she should have done more, so Justin spent the time sketching, painting and taking these walks that filled him with a peace that nothing else could. Sometimes just walking along the forest road at the pace his body could allow felt cathartic, other times it felt like a struggle because try as he might he could only focus on putting one foot in front of the other and the nature and peace around him was rendered useless.
Often, he was taken back to that hospital room when the doctor broke the news that the cancer had spread and the treatments wouldn’t work anymore. he’d sat there for a minute, his head filled with white noise and the overwhelming relief that he his mom couldn’t make it to this particular visit. After the minute of numbness was over, the flood gates opened and he cried, the doctor sat there stuck in between maintaining a professional indifference and trying to comfort him. The later won out and she rounded her desk and pulled me into an embrace. He knew that she went to the school with his mother and the two still met for drinks once every few months. Too soon, he wiped his tears away and fought for a semblance of composure. “How long do I have” he asked “two months” she replied. He’d spent the next hour convincing to keep quiet about the whole thing, he reasoned hat patient doctor privilege meant that she couldn’t discuss any of his medical files and findings with anyone else, especially since he was eighteen years old.
The first time he set out to take a walk on his own down the forest left him feeling world weary, it was as if every second, minute , hour and day counted down to his demise. He made sure he’d walked far enough away from any prying eyes before he sunk to his knees suddenly feeling defeated. He wanted to die, wanted everything to be over and he knew the only thing that held him back were the people he loved. Some days he felt like they would never let him go without feeling like they should have had undisturbed time with him, time to say goodbye. He didn’t want that, didn’t want their pity, regret and unending emotions.
Within the time it took to close and open his eyes a strange man stood before him. The stranger had peculiar golden eyes and a stillness in his posture. ‘who are you?’ Justin asked becoming aware of his surroundings and trying to ascertain how far he’d walked away from home. “you are dying” the man spoke circling him like prey fallen into a trap. ‘who are you’ Justin asked again with not much of a convincing tone. ’I can smell it. I can smell it in your blood. The man spoke slowly with a distinct Gaelic accent. ‘My name is Jeremiah’ he spoke again.’Are you new in town? Justin asked and when he received no answer. ’are you the serial killer who committed all those murders in the news? he asked again. “no offence, but even if I was that guy, I probably wouldn’t tell you because obviously I’d have to kill you”
Jeremiah had never really told him who or what he was but Justin gathered that he wasn’t exactly human and he really did not care to ask more. When the time came to execute the long awaited death Jeremiah was only too glad to do it, he snapped Justin’s neck like twig and then sunk his teeth into Justin’s neck, tore off skin and scratched him on his arms then dutifully took his body and placed it near his house where it would be discovered easily.