Intro/The Chosen Path
To the world, my name is Jason Matthew Cody. I am a senior in high school, I have no siblings, and I have no parents. I live alone in an apartment that I pay for with insurance money and earnings from my part time job. Not many people know that I live alone, and even fewer know why. When I was brought into this world, I had one older brother, one older sister, and two loving parents. Because of the path that I chose for myself so long ago, I am alone.
My name is Jason Cody, it is the morning of the last day of my senior year, and in 72 hours there is a high chance that I will be dead. Please allow me to tell you the story of my sins.
I would like to tell you that my sins started when I was born, but that would not be true. I believe my sinning started before my birth, with a man named Franklin Cody, my father. For the sins of the father, are the sins of the son. My father was a shameful man. He was a drunk, self-abusive, and a murderer. Until the day he met my mother, he didn't care if he lived or died. Until the day he fell in love with my mother, he had no faith in God.
And when he married my mother, he thought the weight of his sins had been lifted from his shoulders. He was only half right; he asked for forgiveness and was granted mercy. But his sins did not disappear; they were simply transferred, to the three of us. And without doubt, sinners must be punished.
After my brother was born, our so-called “perfect family” had started to form. Two years later, my sister was born and three years after that well, I guess that's where I came in. When we were young, we were the “perfect” children; smart, athletic, and above all obedient. Everyone loved us, and we loved life. What else could any of us have wanted?
Maurice, my brother, wanted to be great. He wanted so much more than anything our parents could offer him. And he is the second cause of my sins. At the tender age of ten, Maurice found what he had been looking for.
“Hey, kid.” A shadowy figure caught Maurice's attention. “You look smart kid. So, how would you like to consider a little proposal?”
“And what is that?”
“You get straight to the point little boy. I like that. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Malcolm Wallace, but my colleagues call me Ace. I am offering you the once in a lifetime chance to join our social club. We call ourselves, The Cards. Well? What's your answer?”
Maurice pondered the offer that this stranger had proposed. “Doesn't sound like much fun. What do I get out of this?”
“Why, my dear boy, you'll have a close knit family that you can always depend on. You'll have security in numbers. You'll have followers that will hang on to your every word. And above all, you'll have power.”
Maurice put his hand to his chin and began to think. In his mind, he went over every possibility that his young brain could come up with. Then, a large smile crept over his face, until he was grinning from ear to ear. He was tired of his mundane life, and he'd finally come across something of interest to him. “Now that sounds like fun.”
“Good, good. Very good to hear my new found little friend. Come, let's meet the rest of your new crew.”
And with that, Maurice followed Ace down into the alleyway where the other three Cards waited for them. When he came closer, Maurice could see them standing around under the light from the backdoor of a building; two men and a woman. The first one to approach was the woman. “Hey baby. This the new kid? Looks a little young don't you think?”
“Stow it. Kid, meet your new best friends. This is my girl, Jessica Quinn, we call her Queen.”
She walked closer and got right in Maurice's face, and whispered, “Welcome to the club.” Then she gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Next is Siegfried Chilton, he's King.”
King stood up from the trashcan he'd been sitting on. “Don't expect me to give you a kiss.”
“And lastly, Wilson Jacobs, the Jack of our group. He was the new guy until I found you.”
He didn't say anything to Maurice; he only gave him a slight nod.
“Well? What do you think of your new family? Think you'll want to stay?”
Maurice, still a little shocked from being kissed by a girl other than his mother, gave a short answer. “This is gonna be fun.”
“You really like the word fun, huh kid? I guess your new name should reflect that. How about Joker? Sounds pretty wild, right?”
“Sounds like it's been done.” Maurice began to move his eyes around, not really looking at anything specifically. “Joker sounds kinda cool, but you know what sounds even wilder? Jester! Yeah, that's the one.”
“Well, you heard 'em boys. Welcome to The Cards, little brother Jester. But before you become a full-fledged member, you'll need to help us out with a little errand.”
His smile went away, and a confused look took over Maurice's face. “What kind of errand?”
As if she'd stolen the grin from him, Queen now wore the same kind of smile. “We just need you to preoccupy a couple of security guards while we break into a compound and steal a few priceless artifacts.”
Maurice was silent momentarily, “When and where?”
Ace answered him, “Sunday night, nine o'clock, at the Sinclair Industries second district warehouse.”
“…What should I wear?”
I believe that this was the decision that started everything for my brother. This was where he took his first step toward inevitable destruction. This one single choice, that knocked down the first domino.
When he returned home, Maurice acted as if nothing had happened. Though I was only five years old at the time, he could never hide anything from me. When he walked in the door, I knew something had happened. But I was only a child. How could I have possibly known?
Mom and I greeted him at the door. Now, you may wonder how a ten year old boy could come home at seven o'clock at night, and his parents not wonder where he'd been. Let me tell you, Maurice was a very special person; a genius in every sense of the word. Thus, he took high school level classes after elementary school was over. Maybe that's why he did it, to escape his ever-growing boredom with his life. He never told me why he did anything, just that that's what he wanted to do. But we haven't gotten to that part yet.
“Hi Maurice! How did your classes go?”
“Hey, Mom. They went fine, and I even made a few new friends today.”
Caitlin heard him from the kitchen, “Finally met a few egg-heads like you?”
Although my sister was the middle child, she always treated Maurice as if he were a little baby that could never find his own in the world. “It's a good thing. You should have more friends, just like I do.”
He looked down the hallway that led to the kitchen, “Believe me. I've got my bases covered, little sister.” He turned his attention back to Mom, “Is Dad still at work?”
Mom never really liked talking about Dad's work, “Yeah,” she quickly changed the subject, “I need to go make dinner.”
Now that Mom was gone, I was left alone with Maurice. “Hi Maurice!”
“Hey, little buddy! How was your day?”
“I got in a fight.”
“Did you win?”
“Why'd you get in a fight?”
“He took my clown toy.”
Maurice had taught me to always protect what I wanted most. That often involved me getting into fights with other kids when they wanted my stuff. “Well then, I guess you did good, but fighting over stuff like that is kinda stupid.”
“Mom! Maurice called me stupid!”
He walked away and went into the dining room to wait for dinner. I took my place next to him at the table. Dad got home right as Mom and Caitlin started putting the food on our plates. “Boys.”
Maurice didn't answer him, but I always made sure he knew I was there. “Hi Dad!”
He looked at me and smiled, but his real attention was on Maurice. I think, even in those days there was always some kind of tension between the two of them. They didn't say a word to one another for the entire meal. When they finished, Maurice went to our room, and Dad went into the living room to watch T.V. I would always help Mom clean the dishes when everyone was finished, then I'd go play with Maurice. But that day, Maurice didn't want to play with me.
Two days had gone by since their first meeting. Sunday night had come, and Maurice snuck out of the house. When he approached the rest of the gang, they noticed his attire. Of course, Queen was the first to say something, “What the hell are you wearing kid?”
Maurice stepped into the light wearing a green wig with slicked back hair, a little mask over his eyes, shorts with suspenders, a dress shirt, and lastly a little polka dotted bow tie. “What? I thought I should dress for the part. My name is Jester after all.” He had a large smile and started to chuckle.
All of them were a little startled by his laugh. “What's the matter, can't take a joke?” His laugh began to get louder and out of control.
Ace had to put his hand over Maurice's mouth to make sure no one would hear. “Do you want to get caught? C'mon, let's get going.”
King whispered to Jack when he thought Maurice was out of earshot, “Is it really worth getting caught just to have the kid take the fall? We could've done this without him.”
The group headed toward the second district warehouse that held their prize. It was Maurice's job to simply make sure the guards were occupied with him, and didn't see the rest of them while they got in and out. It should have been a simple operation with no chance of complications. But Maurice had other plans. “Ace, you don't have to worry about sneaking out. You can go out the front when you're done.”
When Maurice saw the guards, he motioned the rest of his gang to go. He walked toward them, crying. “Please, you have to help me! My brother! He fell in the sewer ditch!”
Of course the first guard ran to help the young crying child, not even thinking about his strange clothing. “Where is he kid?”
“This way!” Maurice led the guard toward the ditch, and pointed, “He fell down there.”
The guard took out his flash light and pointed it down, “Did he fall in that hole there?”
“No, you did.” The knife cut into his back like butter. When the guard hunched over, Maurice covered his mouth so he wouldn't let out a scream of pain. Maurice pulled the knife out, and began to stab the man over and over. All the while he was being ever so careful as to not get a drop of blood on him. He'd learned from his research what kind of splatter patterns came from certain injuries.
And his job wasn't quite done yet. He sprinted back to the guard station. “Hey! That guy says he can see my brother, but he needs your help to get him out. I'll show you the way.” Reluctantly, the second guard went with Maurice to help his partner. “Somewhere over here, right kid?” He turned his light on, and saw the blood all over the ground. “What the hell happened here?” As he turned around, Maurice was already bringing the knife toward the guard's throat. It took under a minute for him to bleed out. This time, the blood shot everywhere, covering Maurice. It felt like something inside him had finally woken up. And he liked it. He looked down at his blood soaked hands, and smiled.
He pushed the second guard's body down into the ditch where the first had already been lying. He put the knife back in his pocket and slowly strolled back to the guard station in front of the warehouse. As the large door creaked open, Maurice stood under the street light. There, he greeted his new family with his bloody smile.