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Guilt can eat you alive

Harold kept running until he hit the edge of the forest, a rocky cliff that went down at least 200 feet presented itself. He stared down the endless tunnel, just thinking. As the thoughts grew deeper, so did his urge to jump. “I don’t deserve to live, I’m a killer!” He wouldn’t forget, he couldn’t, it was torture the pain, the guilt growing inside him. “How did I go from trying to save a little girl’s life, to killing a little boy? An innocent little boy, I could have saved him. I had the choice, but I blew it off to save my own life.” But now Harold’s worries had turned into an even worse fate than jail. He had imprisoned himself, and now he wanted to pay. He was ready to jump, with one foot over the cliff, but he couldn’t do it. The fear was making him shake, it was overwhelming Harold took his foot, and put it back on the ground, than he sat down. Still at the edge of the cliff, but sturdy enough to stay there. Trembling, Harold put one hand over his mouth, letting the tears soak over his face, and let out a shaky sigh.

At the scene of the crime, many cars passed poor little Caleb before one actually stopped. It was a tall man, on his way home from work, he saw the bodies of the elderly woman, and Caleb side by side, and immediately called 911. The police station wasn’t too far from the scene, especially with the vehicles so they showed up within minutes.

When Kevin showed up, and saw the parked black vehicle he right away recognized it as Harold’s. Shocked, he turned his head at the white noise he distinctly heard in his head blocking out all other sounds. The puzzle was making sense, Harold was late for work this morning, he hadn’t even bothered calling in sick, and now his car was at the scene of a crime, and he was nowhere to be found. Kevin, in the middle of his search for evidence, stumbled over to a bush in front of the forest, that's where he saw it. The cracked, dead phone, hidden within the leaves. He picked it up, making sure no one was watching, he examined it closely, “no” his instinct was to just leave it there. It was Harold’s phone and for that reason only. For a second, he forgot he was a cop so he dropped it. He covered it up in sticks, and leaves, before turning around. But when he saw the body, the child on the ground in front of him. The bruises that covered him from head to toe, the huge scrapes stained with blood. Kevin nearly collapsed, his legs weary, guilt turning his stomach, he immediately turned around, uncovered the phone, and gave it to the detective. He told him that the car, and phone were Harold Waters, and just like that, “put out a watch for Harold Waters.” The detective cast over his radio, no stuttering, no hesitation. Just like Harold was a regular criminal, Kevin shook, and turned towards the forest where the phone had been. He started walking a snapped branch here, a footstep there. Kevin wasn’t expecting to find him, but when he saw the small crouched body, still at the edge of the cliff, he panicked.

“No Harold ” Kevin shouted tripping over his own two feet, as he raced himself to Harold. When he got there, Harold stood, and put his hands out in front of him. I did it, I killed him cuff me. Tears stained his face, and cloths. Kevin hesitated “you killed who?” he acted clueless. “The boy, he came out of nowhere,” Kevin sped to the place where Harold was standing so close to the edge. “I couldn’t call for help, my phone died, did you save him, is he okay?” Kevin looked at the ground, not looking forward to breaking the news.“He’s dead” Harold grimaced “you knew?” He turned to the cliff and started to talk, the betrayed feeling warped the thought of ending it all into a whole new perspective. Suddenly fear wasn’t in control, Harold was. “Why did you act clueless when I told you?” Now it was up to Kevin, whether or not Harold jumped. The lie that had just created what seemed to be a crater in between them. What was said next would be the all time judge of what was yet to happen, and Kevin knew that all to well. Kevin stuttered “I, I’m sorry, please step back from the cliff, please” Kevin pleaded his hardest, it was the only thing he could think of doing, deep down he knew who Harold was. Just a man trying desperately to save a child, but Kevin saw the body he was devastated at the gruesome scene, and deep down he also knew that he wasn’t trying hard enough to stop the suicidal man in front of him. Harold shook his head, “I'm a murderer, I deserve to die. No, I deserve what I've done,” Harold turned his tensing head to look at Kevin, who was no longer holding his shoulder, “murder me. Push me, please,” looking up at Kevin’s shocked expression Harold shook his head. “I’m sorry, that was too much to ask, I don’t want to give you my guilt, I don’t want you to feel this corrosive torture, I don’t want it passed down from person to person like the plague. I just want it to vanish, I need to pay.” Kevin’s mixed emotions fought in his head, the little devil on his shoulder screaming push in his ear, while the little angel proceeded to do all the talking. “Please don’t, it was an accident, I'll miss you so much, please I need you alive” Kevin smiled, “Amelia needs you alive, you’ve done so much to save her.” “Your right Harold turned around and is she here? No, but I did manage to kill a child in the process of trying to save another. So I'm sorry, truly I am, but you shouldn’t miss someone like me no one should, I’m a cold blooded murder.” Harold turned to the cliff, and gave no more hesitation, he thrusted himself from the ledge into the foggy obis below, Giving Kevin’s angel no time to react. Kevin walked slowly to the edge, in shock, got down on his stomach and peered over the giant cliff. When he saw Harold sprawled out in the valley of the canyon, he burst into tears. Thinking only one painful thought “what have I done?”

Outside the forest, one of the officers heard the commotion, and charged in. When he saw the scene he called for backup, now there were two crime scenes within ten miles of each other. Kevin was picked up off the ground by an officer he didn’t recognise, and cuffed. Kevin clamped his hands together shocked, and took in his surroundings. “Wait I'm not..” Kevin was cut off by the officer as he was uncuffed, and brutally shoved into the back of the police car. The door slammed behind him and Kevin blinked out his tear stained eyes. He popped his head out the window, “Bill” he called to the chief. “why am I in the back of the car?” Bill hung his head and put both hands in his pockets, walking steadily over to the window. Instead of answering the question, he asked Kevin to surrender the badge he had worn proudly on his chest, everyday for years. Kevin turned his head and unhooked his badge from his chest, he looked down at his empty gun and taser holsters that had already been taken, and slowly handed the badge over. “I didn’t push him you know, he jumped.” Kevin glanced up at the chief, “do you believe me?” Bill shook his head and got serious, “what I think or believe doesn’t matter, your being called into question, and that's all I'm telling you for now, okay.” than he turned and walked away, the car pulled out and it was the loneliest feeling he could have imagined. Kevin felt shame, in spite of what really happened everyone thought another story, and he was completely alone.

At the station, Kevin was chained to the metal table with the cold rust clinging to his skin. The bright yellow light projected off the small green room, making the entire cell like space. Even more lifeless, like an abandoned jail in a horror film, black and white yet in colour. It was terrifying being on the other side of that. On the opposite side of the glass, feeling the guilt he bestowed upon others, looking out rather than looking in. Watching the whispers of the cops, the traitors who now whispered about him. A quiet click and the old heavy door swung open, and a large man walked in. When Kevin saw him he immediately recognized him for years Kevin was Steve’s superior and the jealousy ran deep. What really ticked Steve off the most was that Kevin was able to make him look below the rest of the crew, and the embarrassment was bittersweet. Steve, the man who first questioned Amelia, was now in charge, he was bloodthirsty for revenge and had been ever since Kevin was assigned his boss. “Steve” Kevin gulped knowing exactly the cold shoulder he would receive. “What are you doing here?” A sick smile came across Steve’s face as he let Kevin dwell in the uncomfortable anxiousness of the moment. “I’m here to ask you some questions, starting with why you didn’t call for help when you quote on quote, caught Harold attempting suicide, when he confessed to killing that boy, or even after he committed suicide. Steve pulled out the form Kevin filled out explaining the situation, and read it aloud. As he did Kevin slammed his head down on the table before nearly exploding. “I was trying to stop it before I scarred him enough to jump” Steve cut him off, “yeah maybe, but tell me this Harold did go off that cliff, so why didn’t you call for backup after he jumped? Unless he didn’t, unless he was pushed.” “Listen Kev, buddy, pal i’ve known you for years, and you know the system, so I'll be blunt. Harold admitted he was the killer, but you already knew that going into the woods. I have reports here stating you recognized Harold’s car, and his cellphone at the scene. So why don’t you tell me what happened, what really happened.” Kevin sneered, “I was upset, I didn’t think of calling for backup because I was in shock. Harold was sleep deprived, he was working tirelessly to solve the Amelia Andrews case, it was an accident, one he couldn’t handle, so he decided to end his own life. That’s all that happened, I swear” Harold hated having to justify himself to his apprentice. Steve stood shaking his head, “well I gave you a chance to admit it that you pushed him but I guess I'm gonna have do this the hard way. We have an eye witness that claims he heard you’re conversation with Harold on that cliff, and that he asked you to push him. Your trial starts tomorrow, with that Kevin was unchained by the guard, and walked out of the room.

Down the hall had never been more scary, the sound of clinking metal, and clashing chains chimed through Kevin’s sensitive ears. The dark hallway spun in circles, until they stopped at the end of the hall. The lonely cell was armed with bars, scum outlined the bottom of the small metal toilet in the corner. The cement was slightly chiseled from previous cellmates. Kevin stood in the door frame, still and out of it. Then he felt a small nudge, Steve had opened the cell door, and was motioning Kevin inside, but Kevin was completely spaced out. Steve waited a few minutes, and then he savoured the memory as he shoved Kevin clean onto the cell floor, knocking the wind right out of him. With no mercy, he shut the cage fixed his tie and smirked, as Kevin picked himself up in pain. Before Steve was able to prance off, down to the clean part of the station Kevin shook his head gripping the now closed cell door. “You’re really enjoying this aren’t you?” “You have no idea.”

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