Fighting For Hope

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TWENTY-THREE

HOPE

I depicted the bag as the seething gurgling emotions I was trying so despondently to hide. A spark of satisfaction ignited every time I acquired a substantial hit on the heavy bag. I held it by the sides to steady it before stepping back, delivering stronger punches.

Claiming I was pressured from all the negative news was a vast understatement. They were weighty, holding me down and affecting me more than I could ever admit out loud.

My hands were now harder to lift, but I kept going. The searing pain was the only thing that took my mind away from everything else. My body was drained of energy, begging me to stop.

Then the promise my father wanted me to fulfil clouded my head, “Take care of yourself.

That was all it took for me to stumble back from the punching bag and replenish the energy I desperately craved.

My life crumbled when I was a child, and like a curse, it never ends. My mother, Calvin, Ian, and Clyde. How long would it take until I found peace?

I stepped forwards, fluttering my eyes closed for some time, before balling my fist and throwing punches once again.

Everything started when my father was murdered. It was the root of the problem. Before that night, my father sent me a gargantuan sum of money along with a compact disc. The very night he passed, after I left the picture with a dress tinted with currant red, I have a brief idea of what had happened.

Josh alarmed me with the fact that Clyde betrayed his father. Following that statement was the reason why he was so stunned at the fact that Calvin is my father. Ian used to work for him.

I recalled more about what occurred on the date thirteenth of March and discovered that it was a day after my father died. But I was sure it was nothing coincidental since I could just moderately remember the date, but there is only a minor possibility they were related. My father said, although not sounding entirely sure that Uncle Clyde had also once worked for Calvin.

I realized there was a chance Clyde and Ian were present on the night my father died and even assisted in clearing his body. Perhaps that was when my uncle deceived Ian. I was just baffled about why and how.

I stopped punching, giving the bag a final glance before leaving. I started the ten minutes’ walk home, unchaperoned and subdued.

I am cognizant it was already late in the night, and I had to report to school the next day, but it was currently in the back of my head. I had thought about skipping school but realized it would never cross my mind before I met Tyler. He changed me. The moment I agreed to talk to someone after years and let down the wall that isolated me from others, I became more carefree and effervescent.

It felt like an eternity when I finally returned home, welcomed by tenebrosity. I got ready for a warm shower when knocking arose from outside my door—three knocks to be precise.

My heart began pounding at an outrageous and excessive speed. Only Ian would knock in threes. But it was not any of the three days he usually came, and it was not like him to visit at night.

Just as I was expecting another three knocks or his shouting behind the door, it became utterly silent. For a brief moment, I thought it was a stranger who had found the wrong house.

I moved over to the front door, pulling to open to see no one on the other side.

A second before I shut it, a hand snaked around my neck, strangling me and pushing me inside my house. The act stupefied me, leaving me struggling against its grip as I was dragged into the living room.

“Stop it, we both know you’re stronger than this,” he whispered into my ear. The distasteful voice of Ian Carson dismissed all other thoughts. Without any warning, he threw me on the couch. “Let’s talk.”

I remained noiseless, anticipating for the chat I rather not have.

“You know, I was quite appalled when I heard the millionaire Calvin Woodland was the father you’ve always been bad-mouthing. You were twelve when you left his home when I took you in. He was all you could talk about then. You thought he deserved nothing, leaving me wondering what exactly he’s done.”

He grabbed my arm, ruthlessly. “Tell me, I’m curious.”

I narrowed my eyes at his noxious, relaxed expression. Ian always had a reason to do something, and it was never because of inquisitiveness. There was something more to it.

“You’ve always told me how much you’ve despised him, and I happen to feel the same way,” he told me, having a seat beside me on the couch. “So, I thought we could make a fair deal.”

“We work together, two against one, to cause physical and mental pain on him. Not to the point of death since he doesn’t deserve such a simple death. In return, I won’t bother or threaten you to burn your house down because you killed my son,” he said, looking so assured I would agree.

I wanted him to know I already had Tyler as a companion but noticed that we could all get what we desire. After all, he approached me for help, and it could be three against one instead. Before I could accept the invitation, he continued, “Your stepfather had once fired me when I needed a job the most.”

I accepted the deal and earned a contented grin in return.

“Now, it would make things a lot easier if you’d just open your mouth and talk like you used to,” he said. But he knew what he was not getting a reply. I would only talk to those I truly trust or loathe. Although Ian had done many things beyond abhorrent, I still see him as the man who once gave me a home.

I took my book of plans and handed it to him, knowing it would be useful.

I did not have to speak, it was all written, and those I had done were crossed.

“Distracting? Simple, but wise indeed.”

**

Tyler tolerantly lingered outside my house.

“You look more depleted than usual, are you okay?”

I nodded, battling the yearn to shut my eyes and let sleep consume me.

“What happened yesterday after school when Josh took you for lunch?” he asked as he started driving.

I thought before spilling everything which happened the night before, then concluded that Tyler merited to know the truth. He had been there for me incalculable times and is cognizant of all my secrets.

“We talked about his dad,” I told him. “The man who has been targeting and visiting me for three days every year. Josh told me that his father, Ian, knew my Uncle Clyde. He betrayed Ian.”

“Betrayed?” Tyler repeated as if he knew something I didn’t. “How?”

“I’m not sure either. Josh’s father showed up at my doorstep last night.”

He raised his eyebrow in alarm. “You aren’t hurt, right?” he asked. A spark of bliss tingled, knowing someone sincerely cares about me.

“No, not at all. Instead, Ian came because he wanted to strike up a deal to make my stepfather pay since he happens to loathe him too,” I explained briefly.

“Please tell me you didn’t agree to do it…”

“Why wouldn’t I? It’s the three of us against one of Calvin. I have wanted to hurt him since I was a child; this is an opportunity!” I exclaimed, feeling a little less weary compared to a minute ago. “He wouldn’t come after me after. I’ll have something less to worry about.”

Tyler seemed disinclined, and I understood why he did not want to participate in this. He is a marvellous person, before meeting me he was not involved in any severe fights. Suddenly, he was yanked into the life of a girl who would not dither to stab her stepfather.

I mustered a smile and said, “It’s ridiculous to force you into assisting me in hurting someone who hadn’t hurt you. I’m sorry, it’s your choice.”

As he parked his car outside the school, he told me, “No. Fighting helps me release anger, and it’s exercise. I’ll help you. I want a man who had slain a father to be locked up. Just promise me you won’t go too far with torture.”

I smile, “Yeah, I promise. I just need Calvin locked up.”

I wanted his life to be robbed from him, and landing him in jail would do just that.

“Hope,” he called, turning to me. “You remember that video your father left you in the disc?”

I nodded, baffled about why he brought that up.

“You left before the video finished, your father had more things to say about his brother,” he told me.

“What? And you’re telling me now?” I asked in disbelief. Tyler had not told me after an abundance of opportunities and days of incessantly seeing each other.

“I’m sorry, but I just didn’t know how to say it.” He sighed, straightening before looking into my eyes.

“Your father knew Clyde had a plan to stab Ian in the back. Literally.”

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