August 11, 2008
By Rishab Hegde, Bellevue, WA

Dock went up the stairs. Nothing much was on his mind, though there should be. He was walking to his death, but he had already done that three years ago when he walked up the very same steps. Three years ago, the night was just like this. Pitch black, with no moon. The neighborhood that he was standing in had no lights and the only thing Dock had seen three years ago when he was driving down the road by the neighborhood was the house. The house that he had been walking up to. The house of his death. Why had this house caught his eye on that fateful day, three years ago? Dock had forgotten, but he knew that he had walked up the same steps that he was doing right now. It was as if Dock's ghost from three years ago had appeared and was walking next to the present day Dock. Dock's ghost dissapeared when Dock hiked up higher and higher up the stairs. He reached the top and stood outside the pure silver door. He rememberedd that three years ago, he had stood here and he had knocked on the door. Dock did not have a reason to knock three years ago, he just did. It was a reflex that he could not stop, as if the house itself was calling to him and his body just would not take no for an answer. He remembered that three years ago, the door opened and a man came outside. The man did not ak any questions, as if he already knew why Dock was there. And then, suddenly, Dock had been drawn inside of the house with the man. Dolck's memory skipped forward to him having coffee with the man witha paper and pen in front of them. Three years ago, Dock had signed the paper. Dock zipped back to present day and saw the man in front of him. The same man. He had an evil grin and a crazed look on his eyes. His hair was in a mess, and he had a bathrobe on. Dock was horrified and backed away.

"Hello, Dock!" The man said and then laughed.

Dock backed away even more. This man was crazy and delusional. But Dock owed him his life. Three years ago, Dock was a poor man who had borrowed money from the mafia, and then had gotten bankrupt. The mafia started tochase after him, to kill him. Dock took his rusty old car and had started driving, trying to outrun the mafia. Dock had known that it would never have worked. When e saw the darkened neighborhood, he had hurried up the stairs of the first house he saw and begged the owner to let him in. The kind man, who looked nothing like he did now let him in, and after a long conversation gave Dock enough money to pay back the Mafia and extra so that Dock could start a new life. The catch was that the man was dying of liver failure. He had already donated one of his livers to his sister, and his other liver was failing. The doctor had told him in about three years he would die of liver failure. New livers were too expensive so when the man stumbled upon dock, or rather, when Dock stumbled upon him, he payed Dock less money so that he could have one of Dock's livers. But in the time of three years, almost anything could happen. Dock had had one liver failure in the last year, and only had one liver left. He had to comply to the man's wishes and give his last liver to the man. It saddened him that his life would now end but without this man, it would have ended three years ago. But Dock wanted to live on. He had a lot to look forward to. He had started being a writer and had rented an apartment. He had written a book, and the publisher had a lot of interest in it. This man just lazed around at home after inheriting his father's fortune. Dock valued his own life more than this man. Before the man could say anything else, Dock dashed down the steps,got into his minivan and started up the engine. He saw the man's eyes widen and then the man dashed down the steps. Halfway down, he stumbled and fell down the remaining steps. He hit his head on the street with a loud crack, and Dock stopped the car, and got out. He walked over to the man and checked his pulse. The man was dead.

Dock was horrified. He had killed a man. No, he told himself. He did not kill the man. It was the man's fault that he was careless and fell down the steps. Blood started to ooze out of the recent crack in the man's skull. Dock backed away. If the police found him here, he would be in deep trouble. He had to get going. He started to his minivan and then remembered the paper. The paper that he had signed three years ago stating that he would give his liver to the man in three years. If the police found the paper, they would know he would have had to come to the man's house to give his liver to him. Dock rushed up the steps into the house. He racked his brains to remember where the man had kept the paper. The man had probably taken it out so that he could use it as a reference. He remembered the coffee table. He rushed to it, and sure enough, the paper was lying there. He looked outside of the house to see a man from one of the neighboring houses rush to the corpse. The police would be coming soon. Dock leaped out of the back door, into a forest thaat was so darkened that before Dock's eyes adjusted, he hit a tree. Dock tried to find a long way around the house to his minivan, but he soon forgot which direction he should be going. If he did not get to his minivan soon then the police would see his car and identify him using the license plate. He heard sirens on his right. Too late. No, it was not! The police sirens were coming from the road, where his minivan would be parked! The police would be too interested in the body to find something suspicious about his car for a bit. He rushed toward the road. Only some bushes remained between him and his car. But someone was standing by it. It was a police man. So they had noticed. It was too late now. He looked closely there were just looking at it, and he was pretty sure they had not noted down the license plate number. He quickly formulated a plan. If he could get in the car quickly and drive away when the officer goes to check out the body, he could jump in and wiftly drive away. On the way out of town, he could paint the car a different color. The officer went to the other side of Dock's car. Now or never. Dock jumped in and put the key into the ignition. The officer, on the other side of the van looked up suspiciously and when he looked through the window, he saw Dock. It was too late. Dock had already started to pull away. The officer began to run after him while noting down the license plate number. By the time Dock had dissapeared into the darkness, the officer had only written down two numbers.

Dock drove to his apartment. Dock thought that the policeman had noted down his license plate ans any minute now they would get him. He did not know that the police were now putting in the first two letters in their database, finding all red minivans with those two first letters. Dock gathered all of his things and his manuscript, and stuffed it all into three bags. He left the rest at the apartment, saying that he would be going for a vacation. As an afterthought, he let his editor, agent, and publisher know that he would be going out of town for a couple of days. Online, he bought a ticket under the fake name Ferdinand Goulland to Lousina, where Katrina had hit two months before. He could identify himself as a hurricane survivor. No one would ever think that he was a criminal and police were too busy with Hurricane Katrina too worry about one criminal. He went to the airport with a fake beard and moustache. He rode economy class, because he wanted to seem like someone going to moan about a relative in Katrina. The plane was relativly empty, which was good. Not as many people who would recognize him from his town. He had already told everyone before going to the man's house that he would be comitting suicide, which theoratically he would be doing in the hospital in a couple of hours. If he had not murdered the man. The guilt finally settled in. He had murdered a man. Dock had not remembered how the man stumbled down the stairs of his own will. He had just remembered the pool of blood the man was lying in as Dock checked his pulse. Dock was a murderer. He felt guilty and prayed for redemption, but he knew that God would never forgive him. He had killed a honest man who he had struck a deal with. The other man was doing nothing wrong, and yet Dock had killed him.

"Would you like a drink, sir?" A airostress said to Dock, interrupting his thoughts. His hand fell to his side as he ordered a Ginger Ale.

In New Orleans he started a plan. He partially ripped some of his clothes and found some cardboard in a dumpster. With a marker in his hand he drew a sign.


He held it in his hand as he wandered through the street. He had reserved an apartment and the doorman always looked at him suspiciously as he came in with the sign. Everyday he went out with those clothes and that sign. He kept all of his writer money in his apartment. With the money he got from begging he got something from McDonald's and sometimes added his writer's money to get some pizza and a salad. Dock wished none of this would have happened. Why did his stupid liver have to fail. If it had not failed, he would have given one to that guy, and they both would have been living happy lives. One day he picked up a paper to find out that the murder had been announced to the public five days before. He only read the headlines which blared "Famous mans death still a mystery, may be an accident" He stored it in his apartment open to that headline thinking to read it later. He had done such a cruel thing by murdering that man. He should have been dead right now, and that man should still be living. Over the next week, Dock went to church for two hours every day, to redeem himself. He knew it would be helpless, he had murdered someone. He was too much in despair. He had grown fat, and was miserable. He decided to kill himself. He went to the store and bought a rope and stool saying that it was for his pulley project. He went out with his rich clothes and ate at different cuisines. In two weeks, he did mostly everything that he ever wanted to do. He had mailed his manuscript and will to the publisher of the book. That night he tied hs wrists with the ropes and put the noose around his neck. He kicked away the stool. He looked at the last thing he would ever see in is whole life: the paper, flipped open to the page with the headline "Famous mans death a mystery, may be an accident" He started to choke but he read two sentences which explained that the doctor had diagnosed that the man had died from tripping and falling. Then Dock remembered it all. How he had not murdered the man. It was all an accident. His life need not be a misery. God had forgiven him and he had only happy thoughts as his soul flew higher and higher.

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