Monday, December 12, 2011

Vengeance: Chapter 5

Before, Sundays had always been my favorite day of the week. The slow, easy pace of the morning made the day such a relaxing one. A large lunch with family, especially meals I didn’t have to cook, and the friendly hellos as we walked back to our homes was certainly idyllic. That was, before.

This Sunday was different. For most, it would have been a beautiful day. For me, storm clouds and lightening could not have made this day any darker. So many things could go wrong with our plans that I couldn’t help but be sick with worry. Henry had been lost to me and I didn’t want to lose Jude as well.

“Jude, let’s leave, now,” I frantically pleaded.
“We can’t,” he said apologetically.
“If you love me, please leave with me now,” I wasn’t above using such low blows.
Love is not about what you want. It's about finding happiness for the one you love. Even if your father does what they ask, Rockwell and his men will hunt us down for knowing the things we do. Our only choice is to stop them, today.”

  He led me to the quarry which was closed on Sundays. Rockwell’s men were to meet us here, with my father in tow to assemble the bomb.  Though I knew that the commissioner was supposed to be here, somewhere watching in the shadows, neither Jude nor I glanced around to find him. We couldn’t risk alerting anyone that someone might be out there. We waited and waited some more. Finally we saw some movement on the horizon.

They got close enough that we could finally make out their faces. Sure enough, my father was in the middle of the bunch. His face was full of dismay at finding me there, yet there was no surprise. Obviously, my capture and the consequences of his failure had been carefully explained to him. Rockwell was front and center, cocky and sure enough of himself and his mission that he wanted to be personally involved. The other two I didn’t recognize.

 “Jude, the girl,” Rockwell demanded. His lackeys fanned out to his sides. At that moment, I felt Jude stiffen next to me. I couldn’t risk looking at him and betraying our intimate relationship so I fidgeted and looked at my shoes.
“The girl, now,” Rockwell repeated. Jude’s silence was irritating him and unsettling me, more so than I had been before. And then he uttered the last word I expected him to say.

 I couldn’t help myself. I gasped. I looked closer at the man on the left and saw a slight resemblance. I thought back to what Jude had told me, that his father had been murdered by this cell and that his desire for vengeance had started there. If that were true though, what would he be doing here? The man that Jude had addressed threw his head back and laughed. Even to a clueless observer, that laugh would have been obvious of one tainted with pity and scorn.

“Oh little Charlie. You always did want to rush to everyone’s rescue, didn’t you,” the man mocked.
“Who cares how,” Rockwell interrupted. “You got us the girl and that’s what we needed.”
“So, you’ve known all along who I was,” Jude asked.
“Of course. What do you take me for, a complete imbecile? We were concerned when ‘Henry’ came into town and started seeing your pretty wife there but we figured out a way to make it work for our benefit. What better way than to use her to get to you and her dad? Two birds in the bush, as they say.”
“And you,” he turned to his father, “you’ve been working with them all this?”
“Righto bub,” the man said with another jeering laugh. “Your indignation about my murder was rather touching.”
“So you’ve known where I was all along,” I couldn’t help piping up at this moment.
“Bingo. We thought about snatching you right away but all your scheming and love making was like television. Plus, it let us in on the fact that the commissioner was involved,” the father answered again.
“Which, for informative purposes, he isn’t here today. He had a nasty fall and is at the hospital,” Rockwell chimed in.
“Why would you fake your own death,” Jude asked.
“Eh, this and that. I owed people some money, Rockwell said he could get me out of it. And I was tired of playing family man. Wasn’t really the life I planned.”

I looked around, realizing now that we were outnumbered and had no one on our side, hiding in the shadows to save us. The commissioner, though I had never met him, had been our back-up plan. I glanced over at my father, dejected and willing to do whatever they wanted for the false promise of safety. I knew that he wouldn’t be of much help.

The quarry was fenced in on all sides, except for the small opening at the entrance Rockwell and his men were guarding. I glanced around, surreptitiously, trying to look for escape routes. This wasn’t my area of expertise but, there was no way I could just stand idly by and let these men wreak havoc upon this town and kill all of us.

“Oh miss, there’s no way out,” Rockwell sneered. “Remember when Norman said that we’ve been keeping surveillance on you? Your plotting made us decide to plant the bomb ahead of time. You’d never get far enough before it detonated.”

I moved closer to Jude. Now that Rockwell knew everything, there was no need to hide our intimacy. Right now, I needed his comfort. He didn’t put his arms around me but I could feel the whisper of his sleeve against mine and that was good enough for me.

I could feel my resolve fading and the sense of defeat creeping up to overtake it. I knew that we were going to die today. I wondered what my obituary would read. “Mine collapse kills homeless”? Or would Rockwell turn this all around, making us the bad guys and him the hero? No matter, at least Jude and I would be dying together this time. I briefly pictured existing together, in a wispy, pale world before dismissing it as impossible.

“Run,” I heard something, barely a whisper of the wind. I glanced at Jude who nodded. I took one step and, all of a sudden, everyone was pointing guns at each other. Only my father and I were unarmed.

“Uh, uh, uh,” Norman taunted, waving his gun around like a parade banner.
“I would not advise trying to escape,” Rockwell said, pulling my father in front of him.
“You have the bomb in place. He did what you wanted so just let us go,” Jude responded, gun changing from Rockwell to the quiet man on the right.
“Oh but I can’t do that. You know too much. All of you do.”
I heard a loud crack and screamed, expecting to feel searing pain but I was still alive, and in my book, where there's life, there's hope. I saw the man in front of me crumple to the ground. Rockwell sighed and Norman laughed, manically. I began thinking the man must be deranged.
“You’re still outnumbered, two to one,” Rockwell casually observed. “And, I’ve got her father. You don’t really want her to watch him die, do you?”
“You’re going to kill us all anyway, might as well die trying,” Jude yelled, squeezing off another shot.

His aim, this time, was not as true. It hit Rockwell in the shoulder, causing him to spin slightly off balance but he remained standing and held on to his gun. Almost immediately, Norman fired off a round of his own, this time straight towards me. I froze, like a deer in headlights, unable to think clearly enough to move.

“Noooooo,” two voices screamed simultaneously. One came from my father, who rushed forward, becoming a human shield in front of me. As he fell, I dropped to my knees with him, tears streaming down my face. The other voice belonged to Jude who fired his own shot, taking Norman down before he could fire again. He spun to me to make sure I was okay. 

CRACK! Another shot and Jude collapsed at my feet, blood oozing from a hole in his chest. I was surrounded by death and the smell of gunsmoke and I couldn’t take my eyes off my dying husband. He smiled at me, lying there, and took my hand.

“I love you,” he gurgled with his last breath. 

I heard the sickest sound in the world at that moment. I heard the sound of laughter. How anyone could laugh at death eludes me to this day. He stepped closer, immensely pleased at the situation and his fortunate luck in being the last one standing. I took a deep breath and faced him, determined to be brave to my last breath.

It was at that moment that I became aware of the cold in my hand. My eyes flicked down and I saw that Jude hadn’t given me just his hand. He had given me the tool to my salvation and now, my retribution. Rockwell, too thrilled at the turn of events to notice my discovery, stepped closer yet. Before he could utter another vile breath, I fired a shot. Jude must have been with me at that moment because my aim was straight. Rockwell dropped to the ground and I was left holding the smoking gun.

Almost immediately, I heard a large explosion. It seemed to start beneath me and that was when I knew they had placed it near one of the deeper entrances to the mine. Rockwell must have rigged it to himself to ensure the explosion upon his death.  I had to get out there or else the sacrifices by my father and Jude would be in vain. I paused for only a moment, not wanting to leave their bodies, and then, I ran. 

Obviously, I managed to get away. News reports quickly circulated, with the help of the commissioner, of the regretful tragedy that occurred that day at the diamond mine. My father and Charles Camfield were branded modern day heroes. The terrorist cell was exposed and the remaining members, including my mother, were rounded up and hauled to jail. Unbeknownst to Rockwell, Jude had been secretly recording every meeting and filing reports with the commissioner on a daily basis so, in the instance of his eventual death, the group could still be stopped.

Even though, officially, my name was never mentioned, the commissioner made sure that I was taken care of. Ironically, when Henry and I had been married, money had been the thing we had worked towards most so that we could start a family. Now that he was gone, I didn’t want the money and found out that I was having a baby. I found an abandoned mill near where Jude and I had lived in our tent and renovated it enough to live in. I could care less about myself until I found out that Jude and I were having a baby. He may be gone but I knew that he would always be with me. 

So here I sit, reliving that time in my life over and over. The fact that I killed a man haunts me but is quickly undermined by the fact that I was saving my life, and unknowingly Charlie’s, that day.

I still cried myself to sleep some nights over the loss of Jude and my father but then I would steal into my daughter’s room at night and rock her while she slept. I remembered what Jude had said, about love not being what you want. This was never the life that I wanted but, the moment Charlotte arrived, I knew that I would do everything in my power to help her find happiness.


  1. I said no deaths, not all the deaths!! Waaaaaa!! :'(

    Srsly though that was an awesome story :)

  2. What a perfect conclusion to the story! I'm sorry her husband and father both had to die, but this is the way it is, sometimes, and its fitting. They were, after all, playing a dangerous game...

  3. I'm blown away, your story writing skills make me jealous! This was awesome!