THE SEVENTH CROSS

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But Jason knew he’d have to play their game. So he headed towards home, and when they noticed him approaching he went into his act. “That’s my house. Where’s my mom? Is she ok?” He screamed! “Mom. Dad!” But there was no answer. He tried to break through the wall of people but to no avail. They held him until the paramedics were able to calm him down. But even then he tried to break free until finally he collapsed and passed out.

The fire could not be contained. No one who had been in that house would survive. And in the light of day nothing remained except for a few objects strewn about.

Of course they questioned him about his whereabouts that evening. But that wasn’t terribly difficult to explain, after all, he was a teenager out doing teenager things. They didn’t pursue it much further as it was pretty obvious given the strewn bottles lying about. After some enquiries around the neighbourhood to confirm some of the rumours floating about, the fire was ruled an accident, likely caused by an errant cigarette. And that was that.

Everyone knew the parents were drunks and that the son was a bit unusual but he’d never caused anyone any problems. “Poor kid! What’s going to happen to him?”

And so he was virtually left alone. Except now social services was involved. It seemed there were no relatives of any sort that could take him in. But he was a good kid, and despite his loss, he seemed to be handling the situation incredibly well.

If only they knew how well he was handling everything! He was euphoric! And just when it seemed it couldn’t get any better, more good news came his way.

It seems that despite the pathetic creatures that they were, his parents had long ago taken out a life insurance policy that they had continued to keep active! And now that both of them were deceased, he was the obvious beneficiary.

“There is a God!” He blurted out, but suddenly realized what he’d said. And ever so slowly, his knees buckled and he sank to the cold, hard floor. And he began to sob, and then wail.

They found him that way, and they comforted him as best they could. Poor boy, losing his parents like that. How tragic.

His inheritance was substantial, and fortunately controlled by an executor that had Jason’s best interest at heart. Funds were readily available for him to continue his schooling without fear of financial hardship.

To everyone’s great surprise, Jason began to excel at high school, and soon he was on the honour roll and fast tracking towards his eventual admittance to Seattle University. He took full advantage of that fact and excelled even more at university than he had at high school. In fact, there were a whole lot less restrictions, and as long as one played the game properly, a degree was pretty much assured.

He’d been drawn to the field of psychiatry his entire life so it was logical for him to enrol in the Faculty of Science, with a major in Psychology which would ultimately result in a Doctorate. Needless to say, he excelled. After all, with the family he had come from, it was a given!

Despite his unfortunate circumstances, he had become the poster child of turning tragedy into triumph. Maybe he didn’t have many friends, but who needed them? He had his computer and there was a whole wide world out there just waiting for him.

But beneath the veneer lay the truth. And the truth was ugly. How his mother could have turned on him like that he could not understand. He loved her! He worshipped her! She was so beautiful and she had loved him so much. And then she didn’t.

“I hate you! I’m sorry, I’m sorry Mommy . . . I love you mommy.” And this is how it would go, night after night. And each morning he would wake up at the foot of the bed curled up in a fetal position, clothes ringing with sweat, exhausted from another night of getting too little sleep. Days became weeks, and weeks became months, and the anger and resentment continued to grow. The strain began to take its toll and his marks began to slip and though he would still graduate top of his class, he was no longer in control of the demons lurking inside his brain.

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