THE SEVENTH CROSS

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MIKEY

Michael (Mikey) was 15 when he decided that his dad had beat his mom for the last time. And that he needed to protect Claire from what he knew his dad would soon do to her. His dad had even bragged to him that she was almost “ripe” and he’d be the one picking the fruit.

So when he picked up the shotgun and methodically loaded both barrels, he knew there would be no turning back. And he knew he was likely to be executed or die in prison. But at least the world would be rid of that piece of garbage.

When he heard the truck pull into the driveway that Friday night he knew the time was near. If his dad pulled his usual act, he’d come into the house, demand to be fed, even though supper had been served two hours prior when he said he’d be home, and then berate his wife (their mom) for being a useless fat pig. If she dared respond, his fists would do the rest of the talking.

What was so sad was that their mom had suffered a severe mental breakdown and was incapable of taking care of herself, let alone a family, and especially an abusive husband. Any self esteem that she once had was long since gone. She had long ago resigned herself to the fact that this was her life. The kids, well, they had learned how to hide whenever he was around. They loved their mom but she needed to be in an institution, they knew it and their dad knew it, but that cost money, and his booze was a hell of a lot more important than her!

Mikey waited for the usual argument to ensue, and as if on script, he heard the slap and then his mom’s blood curdling scream. He took a deep breath, walked into the kitchen with the shotgun levelled at his dad. At first his dad jumped back and then he lunged at Mikey. And that’s when he let his dad have it. Both barrels. In the chest. Then he dialled 911.

Claire never saw Mikey again after that night. All she knew was that he had killed her daddy, the daddy that had loved his little girl. At least that’s what she thought at the time. And her mom was institutionalized. And she was sent away. And it was all Mikey’s fault!

But as she began to peel back the onion she began to notice discrepancies that were impossible to ignore. She had been told that her brother was an “evil” person, probably a psychopath, and she was lucky to still be alive. She was told that her daddy was a good man, and that her mom was very sick, and that may have caused her dad and mom to argue from time to time. And she was told that Mikey would get what he deserved.

All Claire knew for sure was that she was all alone. She was scared and confused and now she was supposed to call these people that she didn’t even know “mom and dad.” And suddenly she had a sister. Who are these people?

But that was then. And the now was beckoning come. Come if you dare. Open the box a wee bit further, but know this, you can never fully shut it again! So with a deep sigh Claire flung open the box.

She wanted names of the investigators closest to the case. To ask them questions of course, but first, so she could profile them. That would tell her a lot about whether the contents of their respective files could be trusted or not. She’d been around too long to not know that coverups and shoddy work were often the rule rather than the exception. Slam dunk. Next!

Slowly she began to profile anyone involved in her brother’s case. Much of what she found was expected. But not everything. It seems that one detective wasn’t exactly on board with the others even though he eventually acquiesced. And that’s who she needed to talk to. She’d heard rumblings that her brother may not have been the “evil” person that he had been made out to be. In fact, his life in prison was exemplary, rather contradictory if he was indeed a monster.

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