REMEMBRANCE OF BLOOD

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Chapter 21 – Accomplice

Michael dragged the body down the steps, it was the early hours of the morning, he could hear a dog barking from a distance but nothing else. Mike looked up occasionally to check if anyone was watching but no-one was there.

I was not a murderer, but I’m an accomplice to this crime. I participated in the killing of a man, someone I don’t even know but have to drag his body down the stairs of this building and into my wagon. If we were caught for this crime, I would be convicted for being an accomplice but I had no fear of that. What would I become after seeing the blood of a man? What would it do to me?? His throat was already cut when I got here, there was a pool of blood in which his body lay, I almost slipped on it. But I wasn’t scared though or even troubled by it. As a boy I had seen my father almost decapitate himself with his rifle so this blood of a man I don’t even know meant nothing. Nothing at all.

Mike lifted the body into the back of his wagon, his ‘Dodge’ felt like it weighed down with the body mass of this man. He threw the cover over him and got into the wagon. Mike looked at his hands, ‘Fuck, I’m shaking’!

Mike drove along the river, looking up to see the bridge that connected the ‘East’ and ‘West’ side. Opposite faces of the same coin. He dragged the body which he had wrapped in a plastic cover which he had in his wagon. He didn’t know it was going to be used for a dead man. He reached the edge and pushed the body down the riverbank into the water. ‘It’s done’.

Kay and Ajay had breakfast together in the dining room of this motel. This is where Kay would have a cup of coffee and sometimes abit of toast in the morning. The dining area wasn’t very big, in fact there were only three tables set out. ‘I would like you to meet Hans Mansell’. ‘Sure’. Ajay had recovered from his journey and was looking energized and fresh.

‘Kay, I would like to see Michael again’.

‘I don’t know Ajay, he isn’t very talkative and like I said he has been through alot’.

‘I know but I would just like to meet him, let’s not forget that a guy was killed that night’. Kay looked apprehensive, ‘I don’t believe Mike killed Hugh Charles. There is no evidence of that plus there was no murder weapon found’.

‘Someone shot Mr Charles, if it wasn’t Michael then there must be someone else out there. Are the cops looking into that’?

‘Maybe and they haven’t arrested Michael yet. They haven’t found the murder weapon so it’s difficult to prove what happened’.

‘Is it possible Michael had someone with him. Suppose Hugh Charles shot Michael and the other guy shot Charles, he bolted and has the murder weapon’. Kay looked at Ajay, it was possible but who could that third person be?

Kay arrived with Ajay at the library, where Hans still worked part time. He wasn’t there, a young lady informed them that he was unwell and was in his flat. Kay called Hans and he replied, asking her to bring Ajay to his flat. Hans opened the door, he looked subdued.

‘Pleased to meet you’. Hans held out his hand as Ajay returned the greeting.

‘Mr Mansell, are you ok’? ‘No, not really’. Kay looked at Ajay then back at Hans, ‘What’s wrong’?

‘My assistant, the man you met that night. He’s dead’. Kay looked at Hans, stunned at this revelation, people were being killed in the same manner as seventeen years ago. ‘How, how do you know’?

‘No-one knows where he is. His girlfriend doesn’t know, his phone is off and there is no sign of him since yesterday evening’.

‘That doesn’t mean he’s dead’.

‘Yes, it does. I know him, he had a routine which never changed. The routine of a paranoid man or a superstitious man who does things in exactly the same order, day after day after day. Men like that don’t disappear, they don’t decide to crash out at a friend’s house who no-one knows and they don’t just decide to take a holiday without telling anyone. He’s dead’. Ajay knew very little about what was going on but knowing the mood in this room, realized something drastic had happened. ‘So, Mr Mansell has someone informed the authorities’. Hans looked at Ajay, ‘No need. He was an outcast, a man whose death will be a comfort to many people. Mr Durrani, he’s not someone the sheriff’s office over there will rush out to try and find’.

‘Could it be Vincent or his father’? ‘No, they have nothing to do with him, they knew about the evidence he holds and he would never bother them unless they bothered him’.

‘The evidence’! Kay looks at Hans as though she had received inspiration from beyond, ‘He told me, if he disappeared the evidence would be turned over to the FBI, right’? Hans looked at Kay and then he looked down, ‘Am I right’?

‘No, Miss Winters’. Kay’s eyes opened, they were wide and asked a thousand questions, ‘That was his insurance policy, he told me’.

‘That’s what he thought’! Hans spoke in a whisper like tone, like a child who was confessing. ‘He believed that, and he lived peacefully because of it. But that evidence was destroyed, all that was left were those papers you were sent’.

‘But they were copies, someone must have the originals, with all those names on that had been blacked out’.

‘I sent you those statements’. Kay looked at Hans, ‘What’?

‘Yes, I had them along with the originals, my assistant gave them to me’. ‘So why did you send me to him, if you have the evidence. I want to see them’. Kay spoke with pain in her voice, like someone who had been betrayed. ‘I wanted you to meet him so that you would realize how deep this all is. So that you can speak to someone who was there, in that forest’. ‘Please show me those statements’. Kay held out her hand. Hans lowered his eyes again, bracing himself for a reaction which might be so severe that his dignity would be hurt forever. ‘I destroyed those statements, a long time ago’. Kay looked at Hans, her mouth open as tears ran down her face, ‘YOU ……’ Kay stood up as Ajay held her back. Hans looked up to see Kay furious just inches away from attacking him. The lady who he saw as like his daughter, was trying to get at his throat. ‘I think we better go’.

‘THEY ARE ALL CORRUPT, THESE BASTARDS, THESE B..A ..S’ Ajay pulled her towards the door, ’Don’t you want to know why?

Ajay opened the door, Hans stood up, ‘I will tell you why’. Kay stopped for a moment as she turned around, ‘I don’t want to listen to your …….’.

’YOU WILL listen, Hans slammed the door shut, ‘You will listen to every fuckin’ word I say, every single word before you leave this place’. Kay looked at Hans, knowing that she owed him that much despite all her anger. She had even given her cheating husband that chance to speak.

‘I burnt those statements because they contained the names of people who lived in this town. Men who acted under orders, did their fuckin’ duty day in and day out. When armies get defeated, my dear, the men at the top keep their jobs and their fuckin’ medals and have their barbecues and days later, it’s all forgotten. But the soldiers get killed, they’re the ones who spend months in prisoner of war camps getting shocked, have their fuckin brains fried out and sent home as vegetables’.

‘What are you talking about’?

‘I’m talking about THE TRUTH, there are men who pay the price because we are on a mission to tell the truth!! If this town went down and the FBI fucked everyone over, who would be in prison? The officers were acting under orders, men who have families and lives. Reginald and his family did not shoot anyone, they gave orders and in a court of law, that is the easiest thing to disprove. Even if they were convicted, is it worth putting away eighteen men who were only doing their job just to lock away scum like Cunningham. It’s YOUR call’? Kay looked at Hans, as she wiped her tears away, ‘We do a job Mr Mansell. It’s our duty to tell the truth’.

‘FUCK THE TRUTH! I don’t want to see kids who I watched grow up become drug pushers, because their old man is locked up and their mum has to work two jobs to survive. You know what, It’s not your call. IT WAS MY CALL AND I BURIED THAT EVIDENCE SO FUCK YOU’!! Hans shook under his own words as he sat on the sofa. Kay sat down next to Hans, she put her hand on Hans knee, he looked up. ‘Good kids become killers in this town. Mike told me that he shot Hugh because he was involved with Hugh’s wife, he found out and wanted to kill Mike. But what happened that night began seventeen years ago when that little boy saw his father end his own life. I couldn’t see more kids become THAT’.

Kay sat in the car, looking straight ahead, she was holding back her tears and knew if her look met Ajay’s, she would begin to cry. Ajay said nothing, just glancing across at Kay as she drove. ‘Where are we going’? ‘I’ll take you into town, show you some of the shops, there aren’t many’. Kay stopped at the side of the road, avoiding the subject of what happened at the house.

‘It’s okay. I know Kay you have been hurt but you’ve been in this line of work too long not to know to expect the unexpected’. Kay looked at Hans, ‘It’s not what Hans said about burning the evidence, I kinda agree with him. Maybe if I had thought about people I loved early in my career instead of just chasing stories, I might still have a family today’.

‘Don’t blame yourself, your marriage broke because of your husband’. ‘I know’, Kay interrupted, acknowledging what Ajay was saying but wanting to avoid talking about her marriage.

‘Kay, you probably didn’t expect Michael to have been the one who shot Charles, it was self-defense in all intents and purposes. Maybe that’s why the sheriff’s department are silent’. Kay looked away, ‘I don’t know if he really did it, but if he did then …….’,

‘Is it the reason Hans gave that is troubling you’? ‘Reason’?

‘Yes, the reason being that Michael was involved with Hugh’s wife’. Kay stayed quiet, she had no answer to what Ajay was saying, it was like her conscience, her inner soul taking the form of a person sitting beside her and telling her what she was really thinking.

‘People do that, I know you like him but you don’t know him. It’s not like you were involved with him’.

‘No, I wasn’t and Ajay you’re right. It does bother me what Hans said about Michael. Maybe he did kill Hugh, something terrible happened that night but why was he involved with his friend’s wife. Why’?

‘Like I said Kay, you don’t know him’. Kay let a few tears leave her eyes as though she realized that it was okay to let go just a little bit. ‘So Michael turned out to be like the man I once married’.

Ethel woke Michael up, he was sleeping in his bed for a change. ‘Michael, I am going to the store’. ‘What’? Michael turned to face her, ’Yes, I left my job to work in our store. I hired ‘Lou’ and he helps me with deliveries. We have to keep that store going’. Michael said nothing as he sat up, Ethel took a long look at him ‘Michael cut your hair, it’s getting too long and your beard is thick. Clean yourself up’. Ethel stood up and walked towards the door, stopping for a moment, ‘You have an appointment with Dr Rogers this afternoon. I will come home and we will go together. I left your breakfast on the table’.

Michael walked downstairs, the house was empty, lifeless. He walked downstairs, opening the door of the cellar. He was told to hide the weapon from last night, he never threw it into the river, but had to get rid of it. He opened the cellar door, when there was a knock on the door. It startled him. He walked over slowly to the door, as though he was expecting a raid. He opened the door, it was Emily. ‘Hi’. She looked down as she spoke, ‘Is your Ma, there’?

‘No, Emily she is out. Come in’. Michael opened the door stepping on the side to allow Emily to enter. ‘I’m okay, it’s just that she called me a few times but I was out of town. Please tell her I am back’. Emily was different, reserved as she spoke to Michael, like she was avoiding him. Michael looked down, ‘It’s okay if you wanna come inside. It would be nice to talk’. ‘I ….. I can’t’. Emily gave Michael a brief smile and walked back towards her car. Michael closed the door, it was strange how Emily behaved, she was acting like a stranger. Michael looked out the window as he saw Emily drive off.

Michael drove up to the hospital, Ethel had been quiet for most of the journey although she had insisted that he comes with her to see Becky when he is feeling better.

’Mr Martyn I would like you to see a consultant, a friend of mine who I have asked to be here today. ‘Why’?

‘I think it will be beneficial, after an incident like this, the mental scars remain long after the physical ones have healed’. Michael looked at his Ma, ‘He’s a shrink’? ‘No, no. He is a psychologist, he treats people who suffer or may have suffered from post-traumatic stress’.

‘What is that’?

Dr Rogers looks across at Ethel, ‘Well, it’s basically when people have problems adjusting after a traumatic incident such as a violent attack like the one you suffered’. Michael looked straight at Dr Rogers, ‘I don’t suffer from anything like that. I’m fine’.

‘Are you sure’?

‘I’m sure’.

‘Well having a talk with my friend won’t harm. He’s here now’.

Michael walked behind Dr Rogers reluctantly looking at his Ma as she walked beside him. Michael knew that his Ma, had mentioned things to Dr Rogers and that’s why she insisted that she would come along today. They walked down a long corridor, and knocked on the door before entering the consultation room, a young man was seated behind the desk. ‘Hi Adrian, this is Michael Martyn. I mentioned him to you’. The man was smartly dressed, and looked quite young to be a consultant. ‘Hi, I’m Adrian Pearce’. Michael shook Dr Pearce’s hand as he gestured Michael to sit down. ‘Adrian, I just want you to have a talk with Mr Martyn. See how he is’. Michael looked at Dr Rogers then at his Ma. He knew that this was all planned, this ‘little talk’ isn’t given to all victims. Definitely wasn’t given to Becky. Dr Rogers left the room with Ethel as Mike sat there facing Dr Pearce. Michael looked around to see if he could spot a ‘couch’ but there was none there.

‘Mr Martyn, I know about your case. I am only talking to you as a favour for my friend so you won’t be charged for any consultation’. Dr Pearce smiled at Mike who returned the gesture with a half-smile, thinking, ‘hope not motherfucker, seeing as I never asked for it’.

‘Mr Martyn I understand you were shot by someone you knew. How do you feel about that now’? Michael looked around the office before looking back at Dr Pearce, ‘I’m fine with it’.

‘Any feelings of anxiety, perhaps fear over what happened’. ‘No, I accepted it’. Dr Pearce wrote something down briefly. ‘Have you had trouble sleeping, I know many people who suffer violent attacks, life threatening injuries are not able to sleep’?

‘I sleep fine’.

‘Are you sure Mr Martyn? No sleepless nights or change in sleeping habits’. Michael looked deep into Dr Pearce’s eyes, like he was staring into an ocean. Dr Pearce’s voice was soothing and Michael began to feel almost sleepy, like he was being hypnotized. ‘I sleep well’. Michael knew that the quickest way to leave this place is to give answers that are short and lack detail, telling him what he wanted to hear. ‘Mr Martyn, do you feel that things are different now. There is a change around you, or you feel that there have been changes in your environment since the accident’.

‘Changes, what kind’?

’Do you know much about hallucinations? Where a person might experience a phenomena where he thinks something is real, when it isn’t? Michael looked at Dr Pearce, confused and taken aback. ‘I’ve heard of such things but what does that have to do with me’?

‘It may not have anything to do with you but people can suffer from this after suffering a traumatic accident’. Michael sat forward, closer to the doctor, ‘I’m fine and I don’t know why we are having this conversation’. ‘Okay Mr Martyn. Let me ask you about your family. I have met your mother she is a very nice lady and you have a sister too, right’?

‘I do and she may be in more need to see someone about trauma given the fact that she is paralyzed’.

‘I know she is. I work in the same clinic where she is currently receiving therapy’. Michael looked at Dr Pearce, he felt small as he realized that he had no idea of what his sister is going through, because he hasn’t seen her in ages. ‘You also had a brother’? Michael looks up at the doctor. ‘Yes I do’. ‘He was killed seventeen years ago, right’?

‘No, he wasn’t’. Dr Pearce wrote something down quickly, ‘So Mr Martyn you say he is alive but no-one else does’.

‘He IS alive just as much as me and you’. Dr Pearce blinked heavily as he seemed to be in deep thought, ‘Okay, but you have only mentioned this since your accident’?

‘I knew even before then, and he saved me that night’,

‘He saved you’? Dr Pearce looked straight at Michael, making him uneasy. He didn’t want to say too much because Gabriel was a ‘wanted’ man, even today. But he didn’t want people to think he was crazy either. ‘So Mr Martyn, how did he save you’? Michael didn’t want to talk about Gabe, he found it uneasy, like he was scared of him. This man had no right to ask about Gabriel, ‘I have nothing to say, I am fine’. Michael stood up.

‘Please Mr Martyn, sit down’.

‘I don’t have to sit down or answer your questions’. Michael left the room, as Ma walked quickly behind him. She was part of the conspiracy, maybe to get him locked up in a mental institute as a crazy man. Gabriel was out there but he won’t just come out and meet everyone, he hasn’t come back for that.

‘Mrs Martyn, he says you need to bring him in again for an evaluation’. Ethel whispered as she looked at the cellar door, Michael had been in there since they returned home and hasn’t come out. Doctor Rogers called Ethel soon after they returned home. ‘Doctor, he won’t agree to see him again’. ‘He has to, Doctor Pearce needs to understand more about why he is convinced his brother is alive’. ‘I know, but he won’t agree’. Ethel turned around.

‘Who you’re talking to’? The cellar door was wide open and there were no lights on in the hall. ‘I was just speaking to the doctor, that’s all’. The dark night had covered the house, and his presence was overbearing as though he had brought the darkness out of the cellar with him, into their home. ‘No n..e..e..d, to talk to him, I ain’t going back there’.

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