(Wrote this for a competition a long time back. It’s a little long, but give it a thought please)
She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf. Stealthily her sharp eyes scanned the somber room; distant chatter of a budding couple perforated the air as the waiter shut the counter close for the day.
One by one the lights were shut. ‘Emma, we’re closing in 5 minutes,’ said a young lad unfastening his green apron. Taking a deep breath she put her cup down and stealthily slipped the knife in the bag, carefully as to not to spoil it with remnants of blood.
She walked out and scanned the arena, making sure no one was around. Fitting a torch in her mouth, she spread a map on the hood of her car and put a cross over an address. Her cold fingers followed a path up North. ‘I know you’re here somewhere,’ she said narrowing her eyes. Navigating it further she followed a trail to the east, searching for a nearby river so it would be easy to dump the cadaver.
‘Got you bastard,’ she muttered putting a red dot over an address. She measured the distance between the house and the river, ‘Three miles, well that’s not very far,’ she deduced with an ominous smile.
The night was unnaturally dark and the silver glow of the moon would occasionally hide behind the drape of grey floating clouds. Folding the map she closed her eyes and felt the stillness for a while. She remembered who she was before all this. A normal teenager but that was all gone now. Mere ghost of the past.
She glanced at her watch. It would all be over tonight.
The sound of the clock was his only company as Mr. Berg sat resting on his palm, poking his forehead with a pencil, staring at a note. A tear rolled down and soaked the paper damp. The throat was choked.
His son had gone for his most coveted lake trip. He remembered his last conversation with his son, ‘Dad, it’s going to be alright. It’s over now. We won,’ Lancel had chimed. But Mr. Berg knew it wasn’t over. He knew it the day he had seen the rage in Emma’s eyes when she had found out everything. And also when he received the news of Lancel’s death an hour ago.
It was an hour past midnight and he couldn’t even lament his son’s death. A guilt ridden, lonely father seeking ways to absolve his sins. A crash of thunder woke him up from his reverie and get back to what he was still trying to solve.
‘Blood is thicker than water,’ said the note he held, written inhard, vigorous strokes.
“What in God’s name does that mean?” The authorities had found this note in the backpack Lancel left across the lake, right before he went for a swim, as they put it.
After researching and digging deep, he managed to understand the meaning of the proverb from his small repository of books, but he couldn’t understand what she inferred from it.
Mr. Berg knew Emma was behind it, behind Lancel’s murder. She had been abashed after her best friend, Alan died and he knew she would seek vengeance right after she found out Mr. Berg had killed him. And the revenge was simple. Kill Lancel.
Suddenly, amidst the pang of grief and horror, he was still. Staring into nothing, his face was blank. And dark grey spread across his eyes, like heavy clouds discreetly covering the sky. The quiet before a storm. The hush after a battle. He had understood what the note meant.
He scurried up and rummaged through a tattered phone book. With trembling fingers he dialed a number and held his breath as the sinister bell rang and the phone was answered by an unwelcoming voice.
“What is it?”
“She’s coming. She’s coming to kill me. She found out! She’ll not stop before she has killed all of us! She already killed Lancel!!”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Come here before she comes and kill her!! Hello?!”
He had hung up the phone.
Mr. Berg was walking nervously across his study and figuring out how he would explain it all to Emma. His son was dead, he was next. He glanced at the ghastly note again and continued his tensed walk. Telling the truth was the last wise thing to do since the phone call didn’t work, he thought.
The storm picked up its pace and the lamp on his table flickered as he wrote a letter with trembling fingers. The night was cold and the lamp did little to keep him warm. He ignored the lump in his throat that came with thinking it would be the last thing he’d ever write and put the letter in his pocket. Now all he had to do was wait.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door. He glanced up and waited for a moment, the horror in the air jamming his legs. There was a knock again, loud vigorous thuds; surprisingly audible within the howling wind and frantic trees.
He saw the door being unlocked skilfully and his heart stopped as a grave, dark figure stormed in. Heavy, callous steps and a gory knife in her hand, she marched in, for the last bloody deed of the day. To complete the cycle, to balance the karma.
“Emma, listen to me. You need to learn the entire truth. You only know the grey part, the darker part awaits. Please, I beg you. Stop this madness and talk to me,” he stammered with joined trembling hands and shaky legs.
He was on his knees as she slit his throat open, and his head hit the ground as a copious pool of blood emerged around it. She looked at the ground and stared right in his pitiful eyes, “Alan, this was for you. I pray you have your peace now.”
In his last breaths, Mr. Berg handed her the letter and coughed some blood before finally closing his eyes.
Emma didn’t understand. Her first thought was to throw the letter in the fireplace. But her curiosity found her ripping it open and taking out an almost illegible piece of writing.
By the time you read this, I’m probably dead and lying on your feet as I know there’d be no mercy in you for what I did. In utter honesty, I will never forgive you for what you did to my son and neither will I forgive myself for what I did to Alan. It would be hard for you to believe, but we were ourselves dubious about this entire venture.
You should know, we are just pawns in a bigger game. Puppets to the master puppeteer and we did nothing but follow the instructions.
Someone you know, called me last month and told me about his vicious plan. Alan’s father was my cousin but also a business competitor, so the idea of his business being disrupted appealed to me.
He explained to me how big my cousin’s business empire was and wanted to sabotage it after his death by killing its only heir, Alan. But he couldn’t get close to the family so he made me, his uncle do it. He asked Lancel and I to give him a bulky share after we inherited the business since there was no one else of the family left. He made me see the long term benefits of this endeavor. We could shut the police down by a heavy bribe and no one would bat an eye.
No one would even ask of Alan’s family and we’d pretend to be atrociously grieved while the cash flows in our bank. So Lancel and I planned Alan’s murder. We asked a lorry driver to hit his car when he drives back from college and make it look like an unfortunate accident. The task was done but I still don’t understand how you found out. I rest my eyes with the satisfaction of not knowing it.
I knew you’d come to seek revenge. Alan was more precious than anyone to you. Your bond reflected that, everyone knew it. But that you’d kill for him, I guess I never expected that. Now I understand why the ‘blood of the covenant was thicker than the water of the womb.’ This is the entire saying isn’t it?
Despite being connected with blood, we couldn’t control our greed for wealth, while you stepped into fire for your best friend Alan.
Emma, he is a tyrant. A murderer and he’ll kill anyone who gets in the way.
I called him an hour before to seek help but be hung up. But I’m sure he’ll be coming to kill you.
Run Emma, run before he comes. Run before it’s too late.’
And before she even knew, there was a gun shot and a scorching pain emanated within her. Like a sword slowly slicing its way through her body. Her shirt was drenched with blood and she fell on the ground only to see a familiar figure.
She gaped with horror over the shadow above her.
Tears rolled down as she gasped for breath and said her final words,
“Dad .. No!”
Blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb, indeed.