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Chapter 29 – Remembrance of Blood

The forest had witnessed many nights of mayhem in its long history. It was like a grave that watched the demise of corpses buried in the dirt and rubble. It was like the axe that had been used to behead many men or the state owned electric chair, whose leather straps felt the tightening of the muscles of death row inmates as they fried. This was a place where men were brought to be killed.

He dragged them down a steep hill, through the thorns and bushes. Even the animals seemed to stare from afar as Emily glanced around trying to remember where they were. There was police tape on the floor, which could only be seen due to its florescent yellow colour. Emily barely managed to look up as their captor broke the pad lock on the large doors. He pushed open the two large wooden gates, it was dark and damp. It was the barn, a place where a man had once driven up to stare into his own rifle and face his final moment. This was a night of remembrance, not a son remembering his father but a remembrance of blood.

He struck Reginald knocking him to the floor before untying the rope around his waist. His hands remained bound together. Emily tried to catch her breath, as he untied her hands for the first time. She looked up at him as he dragged Reginald Cunningham further into the barn, into a darker corner until she almost lost sight of them. Emily got to her feet slowly as she walked towards the distant figure holding a rifle. Reginald Cunningham was on his knees, facing the man who had brought them miles across the forest to end the tale that had begun on a similar night. Emily walked closer before falling back down, she had nothing left. Her body had lost all strength and she looked towards the night listening to the sound of his rifle. The loading of the bullet into the chamber echoed across the barn.

‘I have defeated you. I brought you here so that my father will witness what happened to you. LOOK AT ME’! Reginald looked up at the barrel of the rifle, as he pointed it in the manner of an executioner wishing for the condemned to face death before surrendering to it. Reginald stared at the long barrel, closing his eyes before the deafening sound of the bullet was heard in the lonely night. Emily gasped, as a part of skull was blown away. Another sound from this cannon echoed through the night, as blood sprayed out from a second wound. Reginald Cunningham’s corpse hit the floor. Emily lay still on the cold floor of the barn, dropping her head slowly.

The police radio echoed with excited voices, ‘Shots have been heard. Shots have been heard’. The silence had been broken as vehicles with sirens sounding blazed through the windy road as choppers hovered above.

Emily lay lifeless as Michael shook her, ‘Emily, are you okay? Say something. Are you alive’? Emily lifted her head, ‘Mike, Mike’, she cried through the pain of her exhaustion and despair. ‘Mike what are you doing’? Mike looked at her, as his eyes looked for an answer to what had happened. ‘Emily. You can save me, they will never believe it wasn’t me. I …… I need you. We were prisoners right, you know I was with you’. Michael cried as he crouched down facing Emily. Her face had been stained by the days that had passed. He stroked her face, as he clutched the rope in his hand. ‘I was fuckin’ tied to you by him. He’s gone, he always does this and I’m scared. Emily you know what happened, just tell them’. Emily looked in dis-belief at Mike, he was on the ground just like the ten year old Mikey had been. He had never gotten up, not until today. The Feds surrounded the barn as they bellowed instructions for Michael Martyn to come out with his hands up. Emily looked towards the open door, she saw the flashing lights. ‘Mike, you have to come out with me. Behind me’. Mike looked towards the doors and then towards the rifle. ‘No Mike. NO. They will kill you. You have to come out behind me. If you try to do anything. They …. Will ….. Kill ….. You’! Mike was there, she could see it in his eyes. Mike was listening but he was also there, hiding somewhere in the dark corners of this barn.

‘HOLD YOUR FIRE’, Emily found her voice as she walked out slowly with Michael behind her, he looked around as though he was looking for someone but Emily kept hold of his hand. ‘HOLD …. YOUR ….. FIRE’. Emily came out into view of the snipers waiting for one fatal shot. Officers came running from different directions, pushing Michael onto the floor as another officer rushed Emily away. Emily watched three officers on top of a helpless Mike, ‘MICHAEL, MICHAEL’. ‘He’ll be okay’, she heard a voice in her ear as she began to fade away slowly towards the river, watching the young children playing and the grave of her mother.

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