Trust of the Innocent

“The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool.”
-Stephen King


James sat at the kitchen table, his friends all sitting around him. His mom had made him invite every kid in his Kindergarten class, even the ones he didn’t like. His mom brought out a chocolate cake with vanilla icing, the words ‘Happy Birthday Jamie!’ written on it in blue icing. Five candles stuck into the cake. His mom set them down and took out a lighter, lighting every candle. Another mom, Mrs. Blake, who was helping out with the party turned the lights off.

The room broke out into a chorus of Happy Birthday, most of the boys singing at the top of their lungs. Jamie took a deep breath and squeezed his eyes shut and made his wish, then blew out all five candles. He smiled to himself as everyone laughed and cheered. His mom just barely heard the doorbell. As Mrs. Blake started cutting the cake and plopping pieces onto the Spiderman theme birthday plates, Jamie’s mother hurried to the door. She opened it and was greeted by two cops. She lost her smile, her face going blank. Jamie turned and watched his mom, ignoring all his friends who were trying to get attention, smudging icing all over their faces.

Jamie slid from his chair and went up behind his mom, curious. One of the cops saw him, taking in the sight of his tilted birthday hat and quickly looked away.

“We’re terribly sorry, Ma’am. Good night.” One of the cops said, nodding and turning back to the street, both of them in sync with the other as they placed their hats on and went back to their cruiser.

Jamie frowned, “What’s wrong, Momma?” He asked, looking up into his mother’s watery eyes.

His mother looked down at him sadly, tears spilling down her face. “Baby… daddy isn’t gonna make it home for your birthday.”

Ten years later.


“Happy Birthday!” James cracked his eyes open, wincing at the shout. His mom set something down on his dresser and reached up to pull the chord making the ceiling light flash on. James groaned, throwing his blanket over his head. His mother laughed and yanked it clear off his bed. He sighed and sat up, just as his mom swung around and set a heaping plate of pancakes on his lap. “Fifteen.” She said, smiling sadly.

James shook his head. His birthday was his least favorite day of the year.

James ate his pancakes and got ready for school, not looking forward to the day. Atleast nobody knew it was his birthday.

“James! You’re gonna miss the bus!”

James sighed, staring at the mirror in front of him, this was gonna be a long day. He left their three room one bath apartment, his schoolbag on his back, and a disheartened spirit heavying him. He got to the elevator, unfortunately it was already occupied by the most unpleasent old man on their floor. As soon as they got to the lobby James so much as sprinted to the front doors. He burst out of them and into the streets of New York City. He looked to his left at the bus stop and ran down the street, just as the bus pulled up. James pushed through the hoardes of people, and yards away from the bus it up and drove off leaving James standing there in it’s wake.

“Perfect! Just perfect!” James said, followed by a few cusses. He shook his head and started walking the twenty-two blocks to his school. It would take less time than waiting for the next bus. Finally, with a sigh, he started jogging down the streets.

James slowed down after a few blocks. He was already late, what was the point? Walking quickly until he finally saw something that made him stop.

“Dad?” He whispered to himself staring across the street wide-eyed. No, it couldn’t be. James stared at him a moment longer, frowning. He ran across the street, ignoring the screech of brakes not two yards away from him, but he kept running. He followed him into a Starbucks, sitting in a booth so that he could see his face. He hadn’t aged a day, James was positive… this was his father. But… his father was dead. There was only one way to do this.

James took a deep breath and took a hat out of his school bag, putting it on his head and tucking his hair up into it. He went over to the booth next to his dad, taking his stuff with him. He looked up and met his eyes and cleared his throat,

“Morning.”

The man simply nodded to him.

“Weather’s nice.” James said.

“I guess so.” The man said. That was all that it took. James’s heart froze. That voice… the voice that had disappeared from his life when he was just five years old. James nodded to him, numbly, staring down at his lap, his face petrified in shock. He sunk down in the booth, waving off the waitress when she came to ask him if he wanted anything. James looked up and stared over his father’s shoulder, into space, his mind was racing, questions clogging his head.

Why did his father want them to think he was dead?

How did he get the cops to tell them he was dead?

James thought about it a long time. He didn’t remember any details about his father’s funeral except a closed casket and an apparent lack of his father’s relatives.

All Jamie could think was… Why?

The answer came not moments later. His father’s voice came again, accompanied by others. He looked up and saw his father being greeted by a tall blonde woman. She had a boy standing next to her who couldn’t of been but seven, and a boy in her arms about two. James’s heart froze.

“Daddy!” The little one cried, smiling.

James watched, his heart thriving in pain, as his dad took the little boy and held him, smiling brightly at him. James shook his head, slowly. He’d been replaced.

James nodded to himself and stood up, turning and walking out of the Starbucks. He turned and with a final glance, left his father in his past. He turned and walked to school.





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