Sins of the father

November 20, 2010
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A pair of soft-soled shoes quietly made their way down the cobblestone path, solemn step after step. The gate hinges, covered in rust, creaked open breaking the damp silence of the early morning fog. The shoes walked in. the man wearing them short of breath-nervous. He stopped, silently calming himself so he could face his demons once and for all. The cobblestone path turned to moist ground, giving way under his feet, ready to consume him, swallow him whole should he falter for even a second. Finally, he came to a stop, his destination realized. He stared at the stone, battered by time, as it stared back. Steeling himself, he begins.

“Hello, Father.”

“Goodbye, Father.” The early morning mist gave way to a dreamscape of monotone sky, his memories as vivid as the day they were imprinted in his mind. The funeral procession was over, the guests starting to file out of the yard of graves, his mother among them, led out crying by a concerned friend. William remained, standing over the still fresh grave of his father. He wanted a minute to himself with his old man; one last time to say goodbye forever. As silence fell on the gray afternoon, his old scars began to itch, memories of old that had not plagued him until now.

He started to turn when he heard a voice behind him, a ghost come to haunt him, for the rest of his days.

“William, where do you think you’re going?”

Instantly he froze, chills running up his spine. “Is that you?” came the tentative question. He knew the answer.

“No. I’m a figment of your imagination!” Mocked; He was being mocked by his own father, from beyond the grave. “You honestly think that I would waste my time and come back down here just to talk with you?”

“Then why are you here?”

“I’ve got some unfinished business left to do.”

He could see his father now, even without turning around, casually leaning on his own gravestone with a cocky smile. He knows. He knows that I’m afraid of him. Thoughts raced in his mind. He always knew.

“And I need your help to do it, Will.”

“Hello, son. What can I do for you?”

His mind leapt forward from past to present in the blink of an eye, rage immediately coming forth from his tired mind.

“I knew it. I knew it! All along, you were planning this. You wanted this to happen!” Frantically, he searched about, looking for his father’s ghostly image in the shadows of the morning.

“What’s this nonsense you’re babbling about now?”

“You know…You have to know! You have to…” Hoarse, his voice drifts dreamily to the past, once more lost in the realm of memory.

The sky outside the window was bright and sunny; the perfect afternoon to spend hours listening to your father’s will be read. A pittance to these relatives, and a smattering to those friends; William’s father was a shrewd man.

“And to my son, I leave my entire company and the rest of my considerable fortune, under the stipulation that he run the company for a minimum of three years, after which he may do whatever he please with it.” This proved to be the largest shock of the whole event. It was not a well kept secret that His father disapproved of him and his more lackadaisical ways.

From behind, a voice whispered in his ear: “Now you will learn. You will finally understand what I went through.”

A soft chuckle came from all around Him.

“The look on your face that day was priceless. And the way you’ve managed my company has been most amusing as well. So many mistakes in so short a time. So many lessons to be learned, and people to set in their places.”

The end of the week had never been sweeter. In His office, His father’s office, He had worked non-stop for a five days now and his patience was beginning to wear thin.

“Sir? There’s a visitor for you from the Police Department.” buzzed the intercom.

So it begins…A voice, barely more than a hiss in the silent room, whispered.

What could the Police want? “Send him in.”

In he was sent. A short man with a large stature and an inconspicuous coat strode through the doors.

He’s going to ask you questions. Questions he doesn’t have the right to ask…
Meaningless pleasantries, half-hearted condolences, and finally the break:
“So what is it that your father was working on exactly? Did he have any big projects that he left unfinished?”

No, he just closed a big deal with some foreign business.
“No, he just closed a big deal with some foreign business.”
“Which business might that be?” From nowhere, a pencil and notepad had appeared, eagerly awaiting the commands to write.
A foreign one.
“A foreign one.” his tone more hostile than necessary.
“I see…Well, I’m afraid I have some more interviews to get to, so we’re going to have to conclude our business here.” Gathering his coat, his hat, he moved towards the door.
A shame that you can’t stay any longer detective.
“A shame that you can’t stay any longer detective.”
“Indeed, I was just beginning to enjoy our conversation.”
I trust you can find your own way out?
“I trust you can find your own way out?”
“You don’t need to worry about me.” He said with a chuckle. “Some advice: Don’t leave town.”

The tips of His fingertips began to go numb from the cold.

“I can’t believe this. That you would do this to me! Your only son!”

“I did what I had to do to ensure my companies safety. Now you are doing the same.”

“I don’t want this. I didn’t ask for this.”

“You think I did? Do you honestly think that I wanted to become what I was? No. Some people ask for greatness. Others have it thrust upon them. Like you. Like me.”

“What’s so great about the two of us?” Sirens could be heard in the distance. “We’re nothing but liars and thieves!”

“Don’t forget murderers…”

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