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The Victim MAG
Slowly, Jack traced the wooden frame of the picture with his finger. Lovingly, he stroked the faces that smiled back at him. His wife Mary's sweet smile, her beautiful brown eyes. His son, six year old William,the "big" first grader with two top front teeth missing. His daughter Ashley,only two years old, with dainty golden ringlets and huge blue eyes.
Jack's mind wandered back in time. Memories came rushing back to him.
"You have a son, Mr. Russell. Congratulations!"
"Oh Jack, look! He's walking."
"Daddy? Why can't I have a little brother instead of a little sister?"
"Daddy! Ashley broke my new toy."
"Goodnight Daddy, I love you."
Jack continued to stare at the the photograph, still rubbing the frame as if to polish it, still remembering that night. It had been a clear, beautiful night. Jack had arrived home from a business trip in Los Angeles. Mary was supposed to pick him up at the airport, but she never showed up. Jack couldn't understand it; she was usually so punctual. Had something happened to her? To the kids?
"No," he thought to himself, "she would have gotten in touch with me somehow."
When Jack arrived home that night via taxi, no one was there. No usual welcoming embrace of sticky little hands. No familiar smells of a home-cooked meal. No anything. Then the doorbell rang.
Jack's train of thought snapped back to the present. Out of the corner of his eye, Jack saw a blue object halfway under the bed. He pulled it out. It was William's baseball cap , his favorite thing in the world. It had been washed so that hardly any of the blood stains remained. Jack reached further under the bed and pulled out a box that contained other articles of unusable clothing; a badly torn pair of small denim overalls, a tiny pink jumpsuit with ruffles on the sleeves,both badly stained with blood.
"Damn!" Jack put his hands and squeezed in a vain effort to block out the worst memory of all; he had rushed through the emergency room doors to find out that his wife and two children were in comas. Mary was technically brain dead and was being kept alive by machines. William and Ashley suffered trauma from multiple injuries. His family was hanging onto life by a mere thread. Jack ran out of the emergency room, away from the doctors, the nurses, and especially the ominous looking machines that were keeping his family alive.
Jack stopped in the waiting area and sat down on one of the vinyl cushioned chairs, unaware of the many people sitting around him, brooding over their own problems. He barely even nodded in response to the distraught young woman beside him who complained to him endlessly about her daughter's dog bite.
While Jack was still sitting there, the policeman who had taken him to the hospital earlier that evening walked by, escorting a man in handcuffs. Jack needed no explanation; he knew that this was the man,the man who had cost him his family. Jack caught the man's eye as he walked by, and he knew he would never, ever forget the blank expression on the man's face, nor the strong scent of alcohol that lingered in the waiting area even after the man had been led outside by the policeman.
The clock struck nine. Jack grabbed his coat and quietly shut the bedroom door behind hem. He would have to hurry. The funeral started at ten.n