March 4, 2017

January 15th, 2017. Today is the day. Today is the day that he is free, liberated. He is going to do it. He is going to kill her. Private First Class Pauline Snow, his wife, the mother of his newborn child. He needed her to be gone. He needed this to be over. The overwhelming guilt, the frustration, the pain; he loved her, but he loved Cheryl Faulkner, too. He was torn. Sergeant Jacob Tierney was torn. He saw only one solution: death. As he drove hundreds of miles to his estranged wife's home, he stopped to refill the gas with one of the five tanks that Cheryl provided, along with the car and the gun. It was a long drive from Florida to Washington D.C.. But it would be worth it.
He would get his vengeance. What vengeance? She destroyed him; she made him cheat on her. She made him lack faith, yet, she gave him hope. She shouldn't have had a baby. She was an ovarian cancer survivor; her pregnancy alone was a miracle. He loved his baby girl, though he never saw her. Diana Lilian Tierney. His baby girl, six months old; he wouldn't hurt her. He loved her. He loved his miracle. Life and death, they are both miracles, both a blessing and a curse.
He pulled up to his wife's home, and tucked his gun inside the back of his pants, in his underwear line. Jacob kicked open the door. Pauline, his beautiful wife, was sitting on the couch, playing with their beautiful baby. She jumped up, startled. "Jacob? What are you doing here?" She asked. She was so beautiful, so strong — but so was Cheryl. Pauline put the baby down on the couch. "I'm sorry." He said. She questioned him, she asked what he meant, she demanded to know what was going on. But, all that he heard were muffled screams. It was as if she were muzzled with his guilt. She couldn't communicate because he wouldn't let her. He couldn't let her. She would talk him out of it. So, with his right hand, the one that he held her hand with at their wedding, he pulled out his gun. He spat out words that he couldn't decipher. His words seemed to be bullets, and his mouth the gun. He spat cry and scream after cry and scream. He screamed his love for her so loud that the dead walked among them, it seemed. He waved the gun around, not wanting to pull the trigger. She kept herself standing before the baby, almost as a human shield. He didn't want to kill her, but he had to. Cheryl and him were meant to be.
He managed to muster the courage. He aimed the gun with his shaking hand. He used his left hand to balance the gun. She held her arms up in protest. Tears swelled in her eyes and dropped like rain. He looked at his left hand, and saw the sole golden band, symbolizing their eternal love. He ripped his eyes away. He closed his eyes, imagined Cheryl's face before him, and pulled the trigger. Everything slowed down. He opened his eyes, and watched as the bullet made its way into Pauline's body. He watched as his baby girl cried from the loud noise. Blood seeped through his wife's shirt. It pooled around her until it appeared that she had been swimming in her own blood. She tried to breath, ask for help, wheeze. She begged him not to hurt her baby. But, Diana was his baby, too.
This baby. This baby whom he loved. He wished that he could take her with him, but that would give him away. She was crying, screaming, yelling. He placed the gun on the ground next to his beautiful wife, who mumbled something incoherent. He stood straight, and saw his reflection on the television. "Who is this man in the television? Who is this man, standing where I ought to be?" He asked himself. "Surely, this isn't me." He concluded. He is no mad man, right? That deadly, ferocious look in his eyes, that wasn't him, right? He shook himself from the thought, and smiled down at his beautiful child. She would not shut up. He held her in his arms, princess style. His baby girl, his princess. They would be together soon.
But, she continued to cry. He began to rock her, back and forth, swaying along with the rhythm which he hummed. He began to sing to her "Rock-a-bye, baby, on the tree top/When the wind blows the cradle will rock/When the bough breaks the cradle will fall/Down will come baby, cradle and all." He sang the first verse over and over again, but she just wouldn't shut up. He continued to sing, but got to his knees. He wracked his brain for the second stanza, and when he remembered it, sang "Mother sits near in her rocking chair/Forward and back, the cradle she swings/Though baby sleeps, he hears what she sings." He showed Diana her mother. He continued to sing the first two stanzas, only now beginning to notice the horrific irony of it all. Once he finished the second stanza, he held off singing the last one, for it seemed to have left his mind. He hummed the melody as he kissed his baby's head. And with that, he placed her in her mother's arms. Two perfectly made creatures of God. Two women whom he loved. Two perfect entities that he could have shared. Two perfect beings that he could have loved eternally, if not for his selfish habits. And so, as he rose from the bloody pool, he trudged to the doorway and left it ajar. He hummed the song as he made his way to the car, going mad with guilt, as he wrung his hands together, somehow hoping to create a warmth that could replace that empty void that he had created. And, finally, he remembered the last verse. He sang it, hoping that, somehow, they could hear him. "Rock-a-bye baby, do not you fear/Never mind, baby, mother is near/Wee little fingers, eyes are shut tight/Now sound asleep - until morning light."

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